Archive for the ‘Feature Interviews’ Category

Meet Tracey

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hybrid-Documentary to Unlock Complexities of Black Women’s Hair

Friday, November 15th, 2013

hair13u-2-webI was very pleased when I saw an article in the New York Daily News about first-time film maker, Rhadames Julian, making a hybrid-documentary to untangle the experiences black women have had with chemical relaxers, perms and other processes to change the look and texture of their locks.

What exactly is a hybrid-documentary? Honestly I am not sure. But before I saw Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” I was ambivalent about going natural. After viewing the film my mind was made up. So I support any film, stage play or series of photos that highlight black women going natural and maintaining the texture they were born with.

In the article Julian said;

“I want my film to make people think. What I’m saying is, hey, take a leap of faith and go back to your natural state, and see what happens.”

The Puerto Rican born and current Harlem resident along with his four-person team began working on the project in March. In the film titled, “Follicle: People of color, Identity and the Barriers That Lie in Between” he interviews women from South Africa and the U.S.

So far Julian raised $4,000 but needs at least $350,000 to see the project through. Julian blames commercialism, high profiled celebrities with straight weaves and mainstream hair ads for the reason some black women shy away from their natural hair.

“Hair and identity,” Julian says “are intertwined, and he plans to combine fiction and non-fiction techniques to make his points, in slightly more serious fashion than comedian Chris Rock did in “Good Hair.”

“I believe the first thing we have to do collectively to get to a better place is to accept the way we look first.”

I couldn’t agree more. I often wish we loved ourselves more or weren’t taught to think our natural state is unattractive. But all of that is wishful thinking now. Moving forward positive images about our hair, skin and features are important. This is why I hope Julian’s film gets made and is a huge success. We can never have too many images like his and Rock’s that spotlights the true beauty about black natural hair.

To make a donation visit http://www.folliclefilm.com.

Meet Laverne!

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

What can I say about Laverne? We go way back from when we were 11 and 12-years-old. We lived in the same apartment building in South Jamaica Queens, New York. She is one of my oldest and dearest friends and I want you all to meet her.

Tell us about yourself.

I am a 46-year-old wife and mother of two who enjoys traveling and having fun.

Tell us about your hair.

My hair is soft and curly.

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What inspired you to go natural?

I was inspired to go natural after realizing what the perm was doing to my scalp…I was getting sores in my head constantly; also being diagnosed with seborrhoeic dermatitis…I had a very itchy scalp and scratched it constantly. Since I went natural, I have no sores or an itchy scalp and my hair is chemical free.

Did you transition, are you currently transitioning or did you do the Big Chop? Why did you choose to do your selected method?

I had my last perm in November 2011. I tried to transition first to keep the length of my hair. Every time I washed my hair strands of permed hair would fall out. I tried keeping my hair in protective styles, such as braids or weave while transitioning and it still did not work. So, in June 2012, I decided to just do the big chop and cut out the perm. I did this because it was very hard trying to deal with two kinds of hair textures and I was losing hair.

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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?

This is my first time going from permed to natural and I don’t plan on going back to perms because it’s not healthy and it’s damaging to my hair and scalp. If I want straight hair I will weave it or wear a wig.

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Have you ever done anything to your hair that you now regret? (Aside from getting a perm if that is what you regret)

There is nothing I regret…I enjoy being who I am and wearing the hair I was born with.

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What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

I love wearing an Afro, it brings back memories of the 70’s and I like the way I look in that style.

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Which products do you like to use?

I love using just plain old grease and water or Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage 10-IN-1 Styles Gelee and treating my hair with organic coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil…depending on the style I choose to wear.

What is your hair care ritual?

I wash and condition my hair at least once a week and braid it at night.

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Do you do it yourself or do you go to a salon?

I do my own hair. I do coils, braid-outs, twists, extensions, afros, kinky twists, etc….I do it all myself!

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What is your favorite vacation spot?

Right now I have two favorite spots; going on a cruise and renting a cabin at Smoky Mountain in Tennessee. These are my favorites at the moment.

What do you do for fun?

I enjoy vacationing and hosting events

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Do you like to cook? If so, what is the best dish you enjoy putting together? If not, who does the cooking in your family?

I am the cook in my house. I enjoy cooking Spanish, Italian and gourmet foods. I love putting a quick Italian dish together because it’s quick and easy.

What type of diet do you have and why do you eat this way?

I eat boiled, grilled, seared, bake and roasted meats. I enjoy whole grains, fat free, low-fat and I buy everything brown like rice…Sometimes I slip with potato chips which is my favorite or a piece of chocolate.

What is your favorite activity and why?

I love to exercise and dance. I do it for my health.

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What or who makes you feel sexy? Why?

Honestly; I haven’t been feeling sexy lately because I feel I need to shed at least another 10-15 pounds than I can feel sexy, right now – no.

What do you do for a living? Have you noticed any changes towards your new hair style from your co-workers or boss?

I am a quality review officer for the Federal Government, a certified/licensed event planner and a SC notary public…My co-workers and boss love my new look. I received a lot of compliments. I’ve been told that I look good wearing an afro…They said I change up so much sometimes they don’t recognize me coming down the hall.

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Thus far, what is your favorite book, movie and song?

My favorite book is My Home Remedies because it gives me guidance on when I’m ill. Instead of taking meds I use herbs or spices in my cabinet…My best movie was “Braveheart.” I cried…I’m not sure of my favorite song but I love old school music the most when singers would sing without studio-help.

What do you want Permed to Natural readers to take with them after reading your story?

I went from permed to natural for health reasons not for beauty…If you decide to go natural do it for your health which is more important than your looks.

Meet Jael!

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

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?

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.

Seeking To Spotlight a Feature Story

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Everyone does not have hair that automatically grows long, healthy and thick once they go natural. Some people have very serious personal issues that span way beyond going natural.

Therefore, Permed to Natural is seeking people with natural hair to spotlight who have or had problems growing their hair due to medical issues or growth defect.

Sharing your story regarding your hair struggles on how you feel/felt, what you did to enhance your length, what steps you are taking/took to make your hair healthy, and how long you have or had hair growth issues, may help someone else deal with or overcome the same problems.

Those willing to share their hair struggles, please feel free to email me in private for more information at ContactMe@permedtonatural.com.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Hair Growth Issues

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Everyone does not have hair that automatically grows long, healthy and thick once they go natural. Some people have very serious personal issues that span way beyond going natural.

Therefore, Permed to Natural is seeking people with natural hair to spotlight who have or had problems growing their hair due to medical issues or a growth defect.

Sharing your story regarding your hair struggles on how you feel/felt, what you did to enhance your length, what steps you are taking/took to make your hair healthy, and how long you have or had hair growth issues, may help someone else deal with or overcome the same problems.

Those willing to share their hair struggles, please feel free to email me in private for more information at ContactMe@permedtonatural.com.

I hope to hear from you soon!

Meet Rochelle

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Tell us about yourself.

I am 37 years young. I love to shop, read, sew and crochet. I currently teach English to Israeli youth in Southern Israel.

Tell us about your hair.

My hair is my crowning glory although there are times when I just want to cut it all off!

What inspired you to go natural?

I really don’t remember exactly. I do remember being in college and dating this “conscious” brother. I’m sure he influenced me. It was 1996 when I last had a perm. That was 16 years ago. It was kinda the thing to do with the people that I was hanging around.

Did you transition, are you currently transitioning or did you do the Big Chop? Why did you choose to do your selected method?

I have always had a lot of hair. I cut it to shoulder length and wore braids for about 2 years. I decided to choose this method because I couldn’t bring myself to cut off all of my hair. I also wore it pressed, for years once it all grew out.

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?

There was only one attempt and I have never looked back.

Have you ever done anything to your hair that you now regret? (Aside from getting a perm if that is what you regret)

No.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

Small two-strand twists.

Which products do you like to use?

Castor oil, olive oil and even body lotion by Queen Helene. I use Queen Helene’s Cocoa Butter formula that I purchase at Wal-Mart. It makes my hair easier to comb after it is washed.

What is your hair care ritual? Do you do it yourself or do you go to a salon?

I don’t really have one. I just started getting it done by a friend of mine once a month. That has been working out well. Oh, and, I wash my hair once a month now as well. I used to wash it every week, then every two weeks. I guess as I am getting more mature, and spend less time worrying about my hair, the washing process has dwindled down to once a month.

What do you want Permed to Natural readers to take with them after reading your story?

There is life after chemicals – a very long and healthy life!!

Meet Amaka

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Amaka and I am a 24-year-old living in New Mexico. I attend the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy and am pursuing my doctoral degree in Pharmacy. I am the oldest of four children, two brothers and one sister. Although my siblings and I were born and raised in New Mexico, my parents were born and raised in Nigeria, Africa. My dad moved to America to pursue his college degree in pharmacy and my mother in dental hygiene.

Tell us about your hair.

My hair can be a hot mess! It is so kinky, thick, and dense that I can’t even imagine trying to style it every morning. My solution? BRAIDS! I get them done about every two months and don’t have to worry about how much time it will take me to style my real hair or how much pain I will experience just trying to get a comb through it.

What inspired you to go natural?

Many people ask me, “Why don’t you just relax your hair?” I used to relax it religiously every two to three months but I just got so tired of it! The money wasted on relaxers, the pain from the chemical burns, and the stench of it all got to be too much. But the most important reason I stopped is because I questioned myself, why do I need to have my hair as straight as everyone else’s? Why can’t I embrace my real hair and all the different natural styles I can do with it. I was tired of “trying” to have hair like my Caucasian counterparts so I stopped relaxing it and went from permed to natural.

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 about three years ago. I did not do the big chop because it takes a long time for my hair to grow and right now I’m trying to grow my natural hair out into a nice afro.

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?

This was my second attempt to go natural. My first attempt failed because I was trying so hard to fit in with everyone else – trying to have “un-nappy” hair. Afterwards I realized I should stop wanting to be like the girls in the magazines and on television. I needed to embrace my natural hair, and because of that revelation, the second time wasn’t even a question.

Have you ever done anything to your hair that you now regret? (Aside from getting a perm if that is what you regret)

No I don’t regret anything that I’ve done to my hair other than perming it

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

By far, my favorite style is braids. I just love how they look (on me HAHA). Next to that I would say twists are pretty neat too. I am a bit naïve when it comes to hairstyles because I live in a city where Black culture is not dominant so I don’t always know what the latest and greatest new hair-do is.

Which products do you like to use?

Since I haven’t had my natural hair out of braids (I’m trying to grow it), I’m not sure what I like. I do like to use hair oils like Africa’s Best for my roots to keep them nice and soft and any oil sheen spray to keep my braids looking fresh and shiny. As far as shampoo and conditioner, I use Pantene Pro-V for Women of Color but I am currently looking for a new shampoo/conditioner.

What is your hair care ritual? Do you do it yourself or do you go to a salon?

I go to a salon…kind of. I see a lady who is from the Congo who braids my hair for me. But usually I get my braids in back-to-back so I don’t really style my natural hair. I do wrap my braids up every night to keep them from tangling too much.

Where else can we find you on the World Wide Web?

Man, I’m not famous like that! I’m not really on the web. Just Facebook and Twitter.

What do you want Permed to Natural readers to take with them after reading your story?

I would like for your readers to know that going natural was a personal decision that I made for myself. I didn’t do it because everybody else was doing it. I did it because it boosted my self-confidence and esteem. I am learning to embrace myself and love every aspect of myself including my crazy natural hair. If people want to judge you for not going natural, don’t pay them any mind because going natural is a personal journey not a social requirement.