Hair Diary: Melissa S.

1:18 PM

About me…I am a 25 year old taking steps to better my situation, my career, and achieving my goals in life! I will say I have accomplished things that some may never be able to say… I LOVE who I am, who I am becoming, the color of my skin, and of course, MY HAIR. Those things have been a struggle for me to overcome, but I can finally and honestly say that…I LOVE ME!

 Where do you live? How is the natural hair community there?
I live in Laurel, MD (basically the District, Maryland, Virginia). The natural hair community here is becoming more evident, but I still feel like it’s not as big as it SHOULD be. I do see A LOT of dreads (male/female), a few sprinkles of twists and sister locks here and there, and when I do see braid outs and twist outs I have to do a double-take, because 9 times out of 10 it’s a weave or a wig. But I will say there are a lot of women who are natural UNDER their wigs and weaves, so you have to ask questions in order to REALLY know the natural hair community.

When and why did you decide to go natural?
I went natural officially (BC’d) the summer before my senior year of college, so in June 2006. I had wanted to go natural years before, but was too self-conscious. I transitioned for about a year, before I decided to chop the relaxed ends. I decided to go natural because when I used to get relaxers 1. I thought it was too expensive and I RARELY came out fully satisfied with the service. 2. Stylists had too many comments about my hair, “Ooooooh girl you have some THICK hair, when’s the last time you had a relaxer?”(In my head: I’m sorry ma’am that I was born with thick hair and you obviously don’t like to WORK for your money, and I get relaxers the recommended every 6-8 weeks) 3. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the model/actress Tomiko Fraser’s hair! I would see how beautiful her natural curls were, how thick and full her hair was, and the texture and just be in awe. And 4. I love volume, I was probably the only girl in high school who would use rollers in her hair instead of the popular wrapping technique, because I just loved my hair full!

Were your friends and family supportive? If not, how were you able to move forward?
My family was pretty supportive, my mom already had dreads and my brother’s girlfriend (now wife) chopped her hair a couple years before I did. My older brother was the worst, but he just has a straight hair complex. My best friends of course were supportive, but friends in school had their comments (NEVER to my face though). They had this notion that because I was natural I should only wear my hair in an afro, other than that what’s the point of being natural? I didn’t get it either. I would constantly here people on campus singing India Arie’s song, “I Am Not My Hair,” so that was annoying, but I loved India, so I really didn’t care. Honestly, I don’t know how I overcame it then, I think I just internalized it and frankly I didn’t care what people thought of me because I cared so little about myself.

 What is your current hair routine?
This is still in its experimental phase. Recently, I’ve taken my hair regimen seriously and this is what I’ve come up with, once a week, depending on the style of my hair:

Pre-Wash – Unrefined Coconut oil– Plastic cap and towel and I leave on for a few hours (still experimenting with times though)
Cleanse – I tried Curls shampoo that I got from Target, there’s no lather which I just can’t seem to wrap my head around a shampoo that doesn’t lather so I also use Herbal Essence Herbal Hydration (not at the same time).
Condition – Curls conditioner (I like the consistency, but not the smell) so I’m on the hunt for a new one.
Detangling – I have a detangling comb, but I want to try the Tangle Teezer. I detangle with conditioner still in and do about 6-8 twists. Rinse out while twists are still in.
Moisturize – I use a Flax Seed gel I got off of YT (Naptural85). I also use a water, almond oil, and peppermint spray to mist my hair every night.
Seal – My own Shea butter whip

•I am also trying out homemade deep conditioners – once a month since I do the pre-wash
•Moisturizing and Sealing are in combination with styling
•I trim my ends when I see fit, I don’t want to get too scissor happy

Do you have any hair goals? What steps are you taking to achieve them?
My hair goal is to attain APL hair, I didn’t really set a date to achieve it, I just know I want it!
The steps I am taking to achieve it are:
•Being gentle with my hair (I realized I combed way too much) and to stop playing in it as much
•Using more homemade recipes (My hair loves them and it shows)

What is your fav go-to style for your natural hair? Tell us how you achieve it?
My favorite go to style is two-strand twists…I absolutely love the versatility of them, I use a banana clip, do updos, curl them, and do twist outs or braid outs with them. To achieve the style I section the hair with my fingers. I normally do small twists. I use flax seed gel and Shea butter and begin to twist my hair. I try to be more creative and use YT for styling ideas as well.

Curly girls have more fun because...We don’t let our hair define who we are, we define our hair!

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