If you ask me, I’ll let you touch it! I’m talking about my hair! Well, it’s been 4 ½ years since I went to a Dominican hair salon to BC (that is, “big chop” in natural hair lingo) my relaxed hair. Like so many, I’d been addicted to the “creamy crack” like, forever. I accidentally became a kinky-coily-curly Type 4a naturalista, purely out of necessity.
After going to a new hairstylist for a relaxer and trim of my signature bob, 30 days later, my hair was falling out like I was undergoing chemotherapy treatment or something! I was loosing my tresses, strand by stand, until finally I HAD to cut it all off!
I wasn’t mad about the loss of my hair; but it really perplexed me about what caused it. I knew it wasn’t alopecia, since there were signs of hair growth. Anyway, it’s hair, and my hair grows fast, like a weed; so, I didn’t fret. I saw my BC as a fresh start, and I was inspired by the Afro of activist, scholar and author Angela Davis along with memories of my mother and aunt wearing the style in the 1970s. Because the styling of Black hair can be so labor intensive, I gave myself permission to embrace a new sense of freedom with my hair. My goal was to grow it out for three or four months, then get a relaxer for a short Halle Berry ‘do. That was January 2011. I haven’t had creamy crack in my hair since! Two years later, I met Davis, the ultimate soul sistah, at the Pan African Film Festival, and it was such an honor to take a picture with her, ‘fro to ‘fro.
While sporting my TWA (that is, teeny, weeny Afro), and researching ways to care for my natural hair, I realized there was this whole natural hair movement going on, and now I was a part of it! Thanks to websites like CurlyNikki.com, NaturallyCurly.com, and BlackGirlLongHair.com, along with vbloggers Taren Guy, Naptural85, and Mae aka NaturalChica, I was learning new things about my hair like texture, shrinkage and porosity as well as hairstyles and products to care for it. Suddenly, I was experimenting with such hairstyles, like a wash ‘n go, a twist out, bantu knots, and bantu knot out, and updos as well as turbans and headwraps, if I was having a bad hair day.
I’m not gonna lie to you, I prayed upon a star that my hair would magically transform into the curly locks like tv personality Tanika Ray or vlogger Taren Guy. Oh how I envied and coveted those girls’ hair! But I quickly realized it was never going to happen, no matter how much I spent on hair products.
Well, maybe I couldn’t change my curl pattern (Type 4a); but, there’s one thing I COULD change — that is, the hair color! And so, in 2012, I started down the road of Blond Ambition; transitioning my ‘fro from jet black to ginger, and finally blond with a touch of platinum highlights if the lighting is just right. I have natural hairstylist Leo Freeman and two-time, Emmy-winning celebrity hairstylist Kiya Wright to thank for the conscientiousness and courage in caring for my curls.
“WHAT DO YOU USE ON YOUR HAIR?” (Updated September 2017)
I get asked this question all the time. I use a “cocktail of products,” depending on my mood and desired hairstyle. Well, here’s the product listing of my favorite things:
Shampoos & Conditioners:
- Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
- Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Grow Leave-in Conditioner
- Wen by Chaz Dean, Cleansing Conditioner (Sweet Almond Mint & Fig)
- Wen by Chaz Dean, Re-Moist Hydrating Hair Mask (Sweet Almond Mint & Fig)
- KeraCare Natural Textures Cleansing Cream
- KeraCare Natural Textures Leave-In Conditioner
- Giovanni Balanced Hydrating Clarifying Shampoo
- Giovanni Balanced Hydrating Calming Conditioner
- Miss Jessie’s Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo
- Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner
- Mixed Chicks Morning After Redefining Foam
- KeraCare Natural Textures Detangling Mist
- Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Moisture Mist
- KeraCare Natural Textures Butter Creme
- KeraCare Natural Textures Hair Milk
- Mizani D’Tangle Moisturizing Leave-In Milk
- Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue
- Mizani Gloss Veil
- SET by Hairplay
Although most naturalistas in the natural hair community swear by a various mix of oils to seal the hair after shampooing, I’m not one of them. Instead, I like to use products with oils infused in them like the Natural Textures line of KeraCare. I do like to use either the KeraCare Essential Oils or the Mizani Gloss Veil spray as a finishing touch in my hairdressing. For my nails and the body, I really like Shea Moisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
Tools of the Trade:
- A pick
- A wide-tooth comb by Wen for detangling
- A rat-tail comb
- A spray bottle
- A diffuser
- My fingers
What I Can’t Live Without:
- A silk scarf
- A fedora
Best Places to Shop for My Favorite Hair Products:
- Ensley Beauty Supply at ensleybeautysupply.com
- If you’re in LA, Wilshire Beauty on Wilshire Boulevard is like a candy store of hair products.
As you can see, I love a good creme, gel or spray. But despite the list, I really keep my hair regimen very simple. If you want to see my hair journey, visit “Diary of an Afronista” on Facebook.
DIARY OF AN AFRONISTA:
As you can see, I rock a pretty big, blond Afro now. Lately, people have been giving me compliments on my gravity-defying locks, saying how much they love my “wild hair.” Oh-kay, I guess. It’s not a political statement or anything. I’m just wearing it the way God gave it to me, and exploring another aesthetic of my beauty. It’s just a natural part of me. I’ve always been obsessed with hair – all types of hair. But, Black hair is particularly fascinating and interesting because of the various textures of it; the hairstyling of it; and the versatility of it.
And just so you know, my hair isn’t nappy! In fact, I don’t like the word. It’s so derogatory and marginalizes the beautiful aesthetic of Black hair. Remember when Don Imus called the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” in 2007? Well, he had hell to pay for those racially disparaging remarks. So, let’s keep THAT N-word at bay, as well. Besides, my hair feels like cotton candy! Don’t believe me? If you ask me, I’ll let you touch it.
But just maybe … maybe I should reconsider my thoughts about the term, “nappy” after receiving this tweet below. Nappy or not, everyone wants to touch a fabulous ‘fro!
@WyllisaBennett nice post. It’s funny, in France, nappy has been given new meaning = natural + happy.
— un’ruly (@hairunruled) July 21, 2015