Tell us about yourself.
Have you ever met a person who smiles for seemingly no reason and yet always appear to be deep in thought? Have you ever met a person who is always looking to help where she can or come up with a solution to someone’s needs so that they can be better off? Have you ever known a person who purposely keeps spare change handy to put quarters in other people’s parking meters? All of these things describe me. I am thinker, laughter, I cry during sad movies and my hubby makes me laugh. My children make smile; I am blessed and I know this full well and I strive to live that way every day. I enjoy who I am. I like my own company. I’m a pretty cool chic. I am a co-founder of a blog about natural hair and my husband and I are getting ready to launch our newest venture Natural Hair Box.
Tell us about your hair.
I have been relaxer free for 6 year now and boy has it been real and it has been fun! My hair is beautiful. I absolutely love it! When I keep it moisturized, it’s soft and airy. My hair LOVES protein. I am currently in Another Personal Challenge for 32 weeks to grow my MBL hair to WSL. I have fine thread like strands but my hair is dense. I have learned to work with my hair and not against it because it will generally win. My hair can be typed as 3c-4ab
What inspired you to go natural?
My daughter inspired me to go natural. I watched her hair morph into lifeless strands from relaxers, no balding spots or sores – just limp, lifeless hair. I made the decision not to relax her hair and to keep it braided. I now know this was the start of her transition. After a year with braids, she started to wear her natural texture and that is when the teasing began.
Kids can be so cruel and the constant teasing from the other kids devastated my daughter. As a parent, one of the hardest realities that come with the job is when your child is hurting. Now comes the time to pick up the pieces. All of the teasing and name-calling was because her hair did not look like their hair – anymore. I constantly told her that she was smart and beautiful, not just beautiful on the outside, but a beautiful person.
I explained, as best I could, that God made us perfect. Our hair is exactly how it is supposed to be. If he wanted us to have straight hair, He would have given it to us. But He didn’t. So be happy with what you have. There I was with long flowing relaxed hair, giving encouragement to my daughter – who was natural with short tightly coiled hair. That did not make me feel good.
As a parent, there are two things that I have to remind myself of: children will usually do as you do and hardly ever do what you say. I feel like I should be the best example for my children – if not me, then who? Now, feeling extremely hypocritical, I came to a pivotal point and a decision needed to be made. Either I stay relaxed and relax her hair again or she stays natural and I transition. Now, with over six years into my natural hair journey, I have no regrets.
Did you transition, are you currently transitioning or did you do the Big Chop? Why did you choose to do your selected method?
I transitioned for 16 months, and then I big chopped. At this point, my natural texture was taking over. It was so luscious, thick and wavy and my relaxed hair was sickly looking in comparison. When I big chopped, it was like I was putting my relaxed hair out of its misery.
Was this your first attempt going from permed to natural hair? If not, how many times have you tried? What made you go back to permed hair and what made you decide to go natural again?
No, this was not my first attempt. Actually, this is my second time going natural. Honestly, in 1995 I just didn’t know what to do with my hair. All I knew was water and grease. That’s what my mom did to my hair growing up and that is literally, all I knew. Also, at the time, I was so styled challenged and could only put my hair in a decent ponytail. That was an all-time low point for my natural hair because I didn’t know how to care for it. Refer to question number three as to why I went natural again.
Have you ever done anything to your hair that you now regret? (Aside from getting a perm if that is what you regret)
Yes, I regret starting my loc’ing journey in 2009. I thought I was ready for them but I was not. I want to rock locs one day, but I have to be completely satisfied with my loose hair journey first. I missed my hair terribly when I was loc’ing. I definitely hope to loc my hair one day in the future. When I combed out my locs, I had so much breakage, it was unbelievable. That breakage set me back at least a good year and a half of growth.
What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?
My favorite hair style is two stranded twists in a bun or updo.
Which products do you like to use?
Currently, I am using Wen products.
What is your hair care ritual? Do you do it yourself or do you go to a salon?
Oh, I haven’t been to a salon since 2009, even then it was to get a quick weave for a wedding. Man, that seems so long ago. Currently this is what I do:
- Every night I wear a satin bonnet
- Every week I try to wash my hair with a moisturizing shampoo and condition with a moisturizing conditioner and retwist my hair.
- Every month or so I use a protein conditioner
- Once every 10 weeks or so use ApHogee 2 Step Protein treatment
- Every once in a while, I will do search and destroy missions for splitting ends and fairy knots.
Where else can we find you on the World Wide Web?
- Natural Hair Box (launch early 2013)
- Natural Hair Community
- Twitter: @naturaljael
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/naturalhaircommunity
What do you want Permed to Natural readers to take with them after reading your story?
Teach your children to love the differences in other people; not just with natural hair but in life. Everybody wants to feel accepted and they want to feel that it’s okay to be who they are. It will definitely make parenting a little bit easier.