Tell us about yourself.
My name is Tracey and I live in Harlem, NY. Though I’m unemployed right now, my career is in marketing and my last role was at the vice president level. I live with a roommate and my cat, whose hair is always getting stuck in mine!
Tell us about your hair.
My hair is 4B/C and it’s about 10 inches long, fully stretched. My natural color is dark brown but I color it light brown to cover gray and also to give my Afro more definition.
What inspired you to go natural?
When I decided to go natural, I worked with a lot of black women with natural hair and they all had different curl patterns and styles, from TWA to twists to flat ironed styles. I was surprised by all the versatility that could be achieved with natural hair. I’d also started to go more grey and knew it would be difficult to get the color hair I wanted while still using a relaxer.
Did you transition, are you currently transitioning or did you do the big chop? Why did you choose to do your selected method?
I did the big chop in 2007, on my 35th birthday. I cried in the salon, but was really excited once the stylist was done. I decided on the big chop because it was summer and I wanted a “wash and go” hairstyle that would stand up to the weather and the beach.
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?
My big chop was the first time I went natural. Right now I’m considering a texturizer because my hair has gotten longer and is less manageable.
Have you ever done anything to your hair that you now regret? (Aside from getting a perm if that is what you regret)
I probably regret that Care Free Curl in 7th grade, but that’s about it.
What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?
I love my hair in a twist-out but I usually wear it in a pouf because that’s easiest. I also wear box braids frequently.
Which products do you like to use?
I like Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus co-wash and conditioner. Mizani also makes a good co-wash in their True Textures line that I like a lot. I also use Carol’s Daughter Monoi when I feel my hair needs some repair and not just moisture. If I twist my hair I use Miss Jessie’s Curly Butter Cream or Taliah Wahjiid Curly Curl Cream if I want more definition. For an Afro or a pouf I like Cantu Shea Butter leave-in cream because it detangles well and pops my curls. I oil my hair and scalp almost every day with Hollywood Beauty tea-tree oil or straight coconut or avocado oil from the health food store.
What is your hair care ritual? Do you do it yourself or do you go to a salon?
I’m a DIY hair girl and I’m very low maintenance. I wash once a week or every 10 days, depending on how my scalp feels, just wash, condition and detangle in the shower. If I’m wearing a pouf, I put on my product and that’s it. If I twist, I’ll do that at night if I wash in the morning. I wear a scarf or a satin cap at night and I usually don’t re-twist before bed, just take out any hair pins, etc.
Tell us about your eating habits. Do you think your diet has had some sort of impact on your hair? If so, tell us why. If not, tell us why.
I eat nearly everything, but I think that drinking almost a gallon of water a day has the biggest effect on my hair as does taking Omega 3s every day. My hair is pretty resilient, and it grows fast, which is mostly genetics I think.
Where else can we find you on the World Wide Web?
You can find me on Twitter at @TraLlo
What do you want Permed to Natural readers to take with them after reading your story?
Just that what your hair looks like is dependent on what you do to it. I wouldn’t recommend my hair regimen to someone with fragile hair because it might be damaging. But if you have basically strong and healthy hair, and you don’t want to be high maintenance, you can still have good-looking natural hair.