Archive for the ‘Feature Interviews’ Category

Meet Shawna

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Tell us about yourself.

I am a driven young woman who loves to be involved. Outside of working at a communications company I volunteer with various organizations within my community. One of them includes, being a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., the New Mexico Divine 9 Council.

Tell us about your hair.

I am not sure exactly what my “hair type” is. I have tight ringlet curls and when picked out my tresses resemble a 70 style afro. My hair loves moisture! If I flat iron my hair, and it is raining outside (even before a drop of rain touches my head), the curls begin to spring into action. My hair does not do well in the dry New Mexico climate without a good leave in conditioner.

What inspired you to go natural?

Two things inspired me to go natural. First, my hair was not growing. Before my first perm, my hair was halfway down my back. After the perm, it would not grow longer than shoulder length. The second thing that inspired me to go natural was my college experience. I was finally around other girls who had hair similar to mine and I saw how healthy theirs was. I decided to stop relaxing it for a while and see how it turned out.

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

I let my hair grow out and trimmed the relaxer out bit by bit. I was by no means bold enough to cut all my hair off, especially since it was already short to begin with. However, if I went with the big chop I would have avoided a strange period of new growth mixed with old relaxer! It wasn’t the prettiest hair time for me. Luckily when my head was finally filled with curls, I was pleased.

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 first attempt in going natural was successful. Do I think about getting a perm again? Occasionally. Will I get another perm? Probably not. I keep in mind how damaging relaxers are to hair and how many style options are available for natural hair. Also, a major part of me staying natural is how much hair growth I’ve experience without having a relaxer.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

My favorite hairstyles are braids, twists, and large curly afros. I have yet to try braids on myself but I think they look beautiful. My easiest personal style is just pulling my hair back into a large ponytail creating a crown on ringlets on my head.

Which products do you like to use?

I switch products often as I have yet to find an absolute favorite. Currently, I am using Shea Moisture. So far this product has been okay, but I will be on the hunt for something new once I’m out. I give much credit to my natural friends out there in the kitchen making their own products!

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

I don’t have much of a daily ritual. I wash my hair once a week and wrap it in a bonnet at night. When I have extra time in the evenings I’ll put a leave in conditioner and twist my hair before putting my bonnet on. The only time I go to the salon is to get my ends trimmed about every 6 weeks. With the weather getting colder I will have to soon find a regimen that moisturizes my hair regularly.

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

I find time to tweet and blog every once in a while. I can be found on twitter @shawnabrown10.

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

I say to Permed to Natural readers (who are not natural): Just do it once! At least see what your natural hair texture is like. If you hate the new look, you can always go back. To the natural readers: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles. There are so may for us to choose from!

Meet True

Monday, January 9th, 2012

I have known True before she knew herself. Our families have been in touch since I was four-years-old. True recently found me on Facebook after years, maybe more than a decade, of being apart. Our families reconnected on Christmas morning. There was a lot of screaming from excitment on the telephone. Once I noticed True’s hair, I had to spotlight her. Check out her hair story below. 

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a 32 year old woman in Wilmington, N.C. originally from Queens, New York.  I am in the process of finishing school with plans also of starting my own business.

Tell us about your hair.

I have short, dark brown dreads that I love.  I’ve had dreads once before and restarted them because of the damage relaxers and coloring combined have done to my hair. My hair is very thick and grows faster. I think it’s healthier when natural.

What inspired you to go natural?

My initial set of locks was inspired by my mother’s friend. I thought her locks were beautiful and I wanted to emulate that same beauty.

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 the spring time of 2011 and I did the big chop because my hair was already damaged and falling out due to the relaxer.  So I had no choice but to do the big chop.

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?

Well as I stated above this is not my first attempt at locks and the reason for chopping off the first set was because the job market in this state was not excepting of my bright red locks.  I think had I just cut them and darkened the color it would’ve looked more like braids and it would not have been a problem. The relaxers damaged my hair so it had to be cut.

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

I didn’t know that putting bleach in permed hair would cause breakage.  I wouldn’t put bleach in my natural hair but in relaxed hair.  I let a hair dresser do that and my hair just fell out. This ultimately led to my new set of locks.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

I like locks styled in updo’s and or in unique ways.

Which products do you like to use?

Taliah Waajid, Carol’s Daughter, IC hair gloss, Cantu Shea Butter Sheen Spray, and to lock my hair I either use Taliah Waajid lock it up or Jam (hair gel) in combination with Jamaican Lime Locking Gel.  There’s no build up, it doesn’t flake and it lasts at least a month.

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

Right now I do it myself. I used to go to the salon but going every month to every other month is costly.  So I learned to do it myself.  I’m in the process of learning how to color my own hair with no bleach and also trying to build up my confidence to style and put my hair in a funky up do.

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

I’m on Facebook as Blooming Flowers and you can follow me on twitter at @TFLUV.

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

Natural hair is not for everybody. Do your research if you are contemplating going natural and decide what is acceptable in the field you work.  Tame your mane and look presentable when going through the process because appearance and first impressions matter in this society.  Once you get your flare and your style going stick with it and be proud of your God given natural beauty!

Meet Shannon

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Tell us about yourself.

I work as an executive assistant for a vice president of an engineering firm, and I am a writer by passion. I have published two articles on turn-of-the-century civil rights activist Ida B. Wells and am currently working on a novel. I am also a volunteer on the Marketing Subcommittee for the New Mexico Black History Organizing Committee.

Tell us about your hair.

I am bi-racial, so my hair is a combination of my father’s curl (prone to frizz with big poofiness) and my mother’s fine texture (which means my hair never got “bone straight” even right after using a hair relaxer. Please see the picture below.

What inspired you to go natural?

On three different occasions my hair broke off because of relaxer damage. The third time it happened, I was done with chemical relaxers for good.

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 because I knew that was the best way to stimulate growth but mostly because I did not want to deal with my fried thinning ends anymore. A man I had dated at the time was not happy with my new short bob, so I had to tell him that I could do whatever I wanted with my hair. I have never had a man complain about my hair since. Just the opposite—one boyfriend called it “wild and sexy.” That phrase sticks best in my memory!

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 third and final switch to natural hair. The other times I had tried, I always reverted back to relaxers because I didn’t feel “pretty” with my natural curls. I also lived in Washington State at the time, so the constant moisture wreaked havoc on the “good hair” look. I initially relaxed my hair myself with kits from the drug store, and after two disastrous incidents, I started going to a professional hair beautician. She would just touch up the roots with relaxer, but even that became too hard on my hair and caused it to dry out and shed. That was the last time I relaxed my hair.

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

I also regret getting my hair layered. This cut only looks good with straight hair, and it takes forever to grow out. It was a major pain trying to put my hair in a ponytail at the gym and having all these in-between layers of hair stick out at weird angles.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

I like to wear my hair down and loose, unless I am at the gym or doing chores around the house. Then I put it in a ponytail or bun.

Which products do you like to use?

Right now I am using Alba Botanica Leave-In Conditioner and Hawaiian shampoo, Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk, and Treasured Locks African Argan Elixir. I am experimenting with Giovanni and Beautiful Curls products because my hair changes its mind every year or so about what works well with it.

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

I get a trim every 2 months by Ross Sanchez at Artistic Phases. I rinse my hair with water and condition it after every work out, and shampoo twice a week. I like to do a deep conditioning treatment once a week, although I have been slacking on this lately. I especially need to do the deep conditioning now that winter in the desert is approaching. I massage T.L. Argan Oil into my scalp to prevent it from getting dry and itchy. To set my hair for the day, I apply C.D. Hair Milk.

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

I can be found on Twitter @shannonymoreau, Linked In, and at my blog: http://loisletshearit.wordpress.com

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

My hairdresser that I went to for the Big Chop told me repeatedly that it is so much easier to work with your curls than against them, and she is absolutely right. When I finally accepted and appreciated my natural hair, not only did life become easier—no more hair spray helmets, curling iron burns, fried ends, and weather drama—I also shed the insidious self-loathing that came with hair straightening. Making that final decision to embrace what God has given me was one of the most liberating and self-loving things I ever did.

Meet Shakera

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Shakera Crawley and I love living life to its fullest. I am an extremist who is learning balance (lol). I have a degree in Broadcast Communications, and a certificate in Digital Video Productions. I am now a Filmmaker; I have modeled and acted on stage as well as in training videos. I currently work at Court Youth Center through Public Allies which is a non-profit agency. My goal is to get an after school film program off the ground as well as a high school film festival.

Tell us about your hair.

My hair has a life of its own. I have so many different textures I am truly amazed my head can hold all of them; it goes from no kink to straight-up-nappy-coarse. I didn’t know hair could coil so tightly.

What inspired you to go natural?

My baby brother inspired me. Now, if you want to see a picture perfect fro, his hair… when he walks, it just bounces.

Did you transition, are you currently transitioning or did you do the Big Chop?

I wore my hair in cornrows for about 8 months and then I got my permed hair chopped off. But the stylist that I went to made me look as if I placed my finger in an electric socket (I was not a happy camper). Looking back I think I would have just chopped it off from the get go.

Why did you choose to do your selected method? 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 first attempt and I have been natural ever since. Two reasons I have not gone back, 1 I did not like the 1st degree burns, 2 My hair was starting to thin around my temple area.

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)?

I just like to wear it out, sometimes I will wear it with a headband, or a wrap, but that is it.

Which products do you like to use?

Living in the desert has challenged me, so I am constantly trying things to keep moisture in my hair. My hair likes Pantene Dry to Moisture right now.

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

I do it myself right now but I would love to find someone to manage it for me. I have a hair dryer that I sit under for deep conditioning that I try to do once a month. For years I would allow my hair to dry in plaits and I would only use wide tooth combs and of course a pick. Every night I plait it up; just recently I started brushing it instead of combing. I use a daily moisturizer (before plaiting) if it feels dry. I wash it about every two weeks, in the summer about once a week.

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

You can find me on Face Book, and Linked.

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

Going natural, for me, was the best thing I could have done. I have enjoyed getting in touch with my roots. I use to be scared of my new growth but not anymore. I use to believe that only straight hair was professional and mainstream. There is just so much freedom; I don’t have to conform to an idea of what beauty is. I pray that my sisters who want to take this step do. Don’t let society dictate to you who and what you are suppose to look like and be. If you want to rock the straight blond look go for it, but don’t do it because of an image of beauty. You are beautiful. The bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are thy works.

Meet CJ

Monday, October 24th, 2011

CJ and I met during our PSOfor AmeriCorps VISTA. Check out her story that reveals how she manages her long thick natural hair.

Tell us about yourself?

My name is CJ. I currently reside in Texas in my hometown of Denison.  I am a mother of one daughter. She is four-years-old.  I’ve been married, divorced, and looking to get married again. My passion is helping children, particularly the ones who need us (positive people). This led me to become a member of AmeriCorps VISTA and work with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization as a community recruiter. I’m a very active person living a healthy lifestyle. I have learned that nothing on earth can steal my peace or joy.  I live each day expecting blessings to overflow!

What inspired me to go natural?

I don’t believe anything in particular did other than the fact that I only got a relaxer every six months, and if I could wait that long without it, then I didn’t needed it. I also met a beautician that believes in healthy hair and she helped with my transition by giving me styling, tips and product selection.

In high school I thought I should be like every other girl and get a “freeze” or “wave” with my hair down in the back. But with my natural curly hair those styles were not going to look like everyone else’s. So in my freshman year I decided to stop getting my hair pressed and got a relaxer. My relaxed years totaled to about six. One day I just decided I wasn’t going to buy another perm. So yes I transitioned and have been chemical free since 1999.

During your transition (no matter how long) which hairstyles worked for you?

The hairstyles that worked for me were ponytails, buns, letting it be free and hanging down, spiral curl sets or I flat ironed it.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

Flat ironed and straight. Most people like the curly hair better.

Which products do you like to use?

Products I like to use are by Aveda. I use other products such as Nexus, Redken, Pantene and Bath and Body Works as a pre-shampoo. 

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

I wash my hair at least every 7 days. I do my own hair and have someone trim my ends when needed.

Why do you think natural hair is popular right now? Do you think it is a fad?

People around me are getting tired of relying on a relaxer for “The Good Look.” They see my hair and know they can do the same. So they start the transition.

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

Just be you and do what makes you comfortable and happy. Personally I don’t wear much make-up and don’t put a lot of product in my hair to make it look a certain way. When people see me, they know, it’s truly me.  I like a soft natural look and I think my hair completes it.

Meet Juliann

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Meet my cousin, Juliann. We met each other for the first time this Summer in Altanta at our bi-annual family reunion. Check out her hair story and how she handles her natural mane.

 Tell us about yourself?

My name is Juliann Butler-Green. I am 39 and work for Charleston South Carolina County Schools. I love the Arts, Cooking, Reading, Traveling and spending time with my daughter.

What inspired you to go natural?

After just having my daughter and relishing in my full head of hair, it slowly started to shed. Then the
stress of my marriage and divorce literally had my hair coming out in clumps. I had neck length hair that was barely hiding my baldness underneath. It was embarrassing and I new that it wouldn’t be long before the top started falling out.

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 because that was my only choice. I guess I could have hid the baldness with braids or a weave but I wasn’t big on braids and I tried the weave but I had to wear a cap before attaching the hair and that just made me itch and I did not feel comfortable with it. It was too artificial looking for me.

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?
I tried twice. The first time was in 2002, two years prior to having my daughter because of excessive damage and then in 2006 when my hair fell out. The first time I had no idea how to care for my hair. I just washed and conditioned as normal and used Pink Oil. I never felt 100% comfortable with my new look and on top of that I had pressure from my mother and husband to go back to the perm. The second time, I had no choice. But again I didn’t feel comfortable in my decision. But I threw caution to the wind, chopped it all off and looked at it as freeing myself from a bad marriage, chemicals and focusing on me and becoming healthy. This time around I do my research on caring for natural hair.

During your transition (no matter how long), which hairstyles worked
for you?

I tried wigs and wearing my hair in a bun.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

Back in a headband

Which products do you like to use?

Well, I’m a product junkie but I think the Aussie Moist Conditioner, Suave Shea and Almond Conditioner
and As I Am Curling Jelly work really well at defining my curls. I recommend them for daily wash and go styling.

What is your haircare ritual? Do you do it yourself or do you go to a salon? I do my own hair. I Co-wash 2 -3 times a week. Deep Condition once a week and use a Henna Color Treatment once every three weeks. Right now because I can’t find a product that refreshes my curls in the mornings, I just let the water saturate my hair while I’m showering and then run my conditioner through and let it air dry.

Why do you think natural hair is popular right now? Do you think it is a fad?

It is my hope that women are seeing the health benefits of ditching the chemicals and then embarrassing their true beauty, and not only that, the convenience.We are who God made us to be and we should love our uniqueness. That is what sets us apart. I hope this is not a fad and that we continue to embrace this “natural movement” and pass it on to
our daughters.

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

Our hair is beautiful with all it’s varied textures and we need to get away from the mentality that our hair is ugly or unkept. It may be intimidating to do the big chop but whatever method you chose, stay the course once you transition. Research and find out what your hair responds to and don’t let society dictate to you who you should be. Your hair is your CROWNing glory.

Meet TV Host Jane B.

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Tell us about yourself?

My Name is Jane B and I am the executive producer and host of “The Jane B. Show.” It’s a web-based variety show based on beauty, wellness and passion.

What inspired you to go natural?

I always thought I would go natural when I turned 40, but that process was sped up when someone at my job asked me if I “shaved” my edges because they were so thin. I was mortified! Literally, that night I got braids put in and never permed my hair again.

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 now been transitioned for more than 12 years. I had braids and weaves and then 6 months in, I lost my patience and just did the big chop on a whim. I LOVED IT immediately!

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?

Yes that was first time going from a permed to natural.

During your transition (no matter how long), which hairstyles worked for you?

During my transitional period, I did braids, weaves and two strand twists with the added hair. I liked the two strand twists the best.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

Currently I am wearing micro locs (they look very similar to sister locs). I absolutely love this hairstyle because it is so easy to maintain. It is very versatile. It gives my fine hair fullness and I can wear a wide variety of styles.

Which products do you like to use?

With the micro locs, I don’t use any products for maintenance. However, I like my hair to have a nice fragrance so I mist it with Indigofera’s Hydrating Hair Mist.

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

I get my hair retightened every 6 weeks, it takes approximately 4 hours. In between maintenance visits, I wash it myself once every 2 weeks. I like to braid my hair when it’s wet, sit under the dryer and when I take out the braids, it’s full and wavy. It lasts until I re-wash my hair.

Why do you think natural hair is popular right now? Do you think it is a fad?

I think wearing natural hair is more popular than it has ever been. I feel this way for a few reasons. I think at one point women viewed natural hair as something negative and unacceptable. However, now-a-days people have become more educated, styles have become more creative and innovative and there are more products on the market that keep our hair more manageable. Not to mention advertisers are featuring black women with natural hair now more than ever. Overall for the main stream, wearing your natural hair is viewed as cool and trendy. I also feel that women want a healthy alternative to permed hair. I myself was disheartened to see all of my permed hair on my bathroom sink and floor every time I combed it. Once I went natural, I never had that problem again.

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

You can find me at the following websites.

http://www.thejanebshow.com

http://www.restorationbyjb.com

http://www.thebeautyeducator.com

http://www.twitter.com/thejanebshow

http://www.twitter.com/restorationbyjb

http://www.youtube.com/thejanebshow

http://www.youtube.com/janebmakeup

Jane getting dolled-up to tape The Jane B. Show

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

I would like your readers to leave feeling that wearing your hair natural speaks volumes about you. It shows that you have self-confidence and self-love.

Meet Cj

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Tell us about yourself?

I am Cj Harris. I am a wife and a mother of two wonderful boys. I design. I blog. I love God. Most people would say that I’m a pretty meek and laid back person with a quirky sense of humor.

What inspired you to go natural?

I went natural because my hair doesn’t grow with a perm. My last perm left me with extensive damage. All my hair in the back of my head fell out.

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

I always big chop. I did the big chop three times. If I’m going to do something, I want to go all the way. I really didn’t have the time or the money to mess around with weaves.

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?

 

I’ve been natural on and off for over 10 years. Long story short, I basically kept going back to perms because I thought it would be easier to manage. In reality perms are much harder for me. I also kept going back because for whatever was going on in my life at the time made me feel like I needed to conform to a certain standard of beauty.

 During your transition (no matter how long), which hairstyles worked for you?

I mostly wore afros and two-strand twist. When it was really short I used a lot a product for a curly look. I actually left a little bit of perm on top for a spikey look.

What is your favorite hairstyle(s)?

Twist-outs rock!

Which products do you like to use?

Herbal oil Shea Butter, loc and twist gel…I keep it simple.

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

I just moisturize my hair every night and every morning. Occasionally, I go to the salon and get a trim and her let blow dry and flat iron it.

Why do you think natural hair is popular right now? Do you think it is a fad?

I think going natural could be a fad for some people. Though, I believe most of us are tired of putting harsh chemicals on our hair. Society is changing and is more accepting of different types of people. Conformity is no longer the standard.

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

You can find me on my blog at www.loveyournaps.com. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.com/LoveYourNaps and twitter.com/LoveYourNaps. I also write a blog on design and creativity at www.thatssocreative.com.