Allow me to Introduce myself, my name is:
Nicole. I’m 20 years old from Dallas, TX. I’m about to be a junior in college.
Have you always been natural? If not when and why did you decide to transition?
Sadly, I have not always been natural. 🙁 I got my first relaxer when I was six years old. From that point on, relaxers became a part of my normal life. I made trips to the salon just about every six weeks to get more of that creamy crack saturated on my suffering hair follicles.
Until I went natural, I did not even know what my hair texture looked like. My hair had suffered throughout my life because I simply did not understand that just because my hair was artificially straight, did NOT mean my hair could be treated the same way that a person with straight hair would treat theirs. I gradually became more tender-headed and was susceptible to burns and scabbing. I would wake up the day after a relaxer with scabs covering my head, and secretions oozing out. I hated how greasy I felt too. But the possibility of eliminating relaxers from my routine didn’t even cross my mind.
Around my senior year of high school in 2012, my mom BC’ed and she looked so freaking cute. She’s the one who opened me up to the possibility of being natural. But I wanted to wait and try to experiment with other things (like undercuts) before dedicating myself to the au naturale life. The summer of 2013 after my freshman year of college after I went to Honduras for a week with the Global Medical Brigades in May I had my hair relaxed and then got a weave put in. That day, I decided that would be my very last relaxer. The only reason why I relaxed that summer was because I had an internship at a children’s hospital and I wanted to have weave again, because it was easy and quick to install. I didn’t want my roots to look nappy.
How would you describe your hair texture?
Oh I’m 4C all the way. There’s no sugar coating that. Hahaha. Throughout my hair, there are definitely clumps of defined curls. But then in an equal amount of other parts, the curls aren’t clumped together and defined, so it just looks nappy. My hair is also very dry and “hard.” However, the back of my head, above the nape of my neck, my hair is a little too soft (which I blame on possible follicle damage from relaxers). I absolutely love and take pride in my hair. I’ve never been a fan of twist-outs on my own hair because I like the nappy look more. However, the ONE issue that I will admit I have with my hair is my amount of shrinkage. My hair shrinks to about 75 percent of its actual length. Yikes. My dream is to have BIG hair, so I feel like I have to do twist-outs, etc. to achieve that. But regardless of shrinkage, I love all of my hair’s qualities and wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂
What does your diet / lifestyle consist of and how does this affect your hair?
Okay, I feel a little embarrassed answering this question. Lol. During the school year when I’m living on campus, I eat healthier and work out (in a non-committal way) about five times a month? I’m not really sure how it affects my hair since I have box braids at that time. Buuuuuut when I’m home, I will admit that my lifestyle choices aren’t as ideal. I’ll eat my mom’s home-cooked meals at times, but I eat a little more fast food and snacks than I should. Plus I work out less, although my fast-paced job I feel makes up for this. The good news is that my hair is out during this time (so I can observe how my habits affect it), and I have to say that my hair is growing pretty strong…most-likely because of my hair regimen (and not my unhealthy choices). 🙂
Which products (if any) could you not live without?
Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Crème and EVOO!!!!! SERIOUSLY. I use these products EVERY DAY and my hair is feeling
What is wash day like for you?
I have wash days two times a week and a deep condition at the end of each month. On Thursdays, I shampoo and condition my hair with SheaMoisture products. On Sundays, I just condition my hair. After washing, I dry my hair with a towel so that it’s damp, but not completely dry. Then I moisturize with Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Crème, and seal it in with 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I don’t really do the “C” part of the “LOC” method. After that, I twist my hair in medium-sized sections, massage a little more leave-in and olive oil to my hair, put a silk bonnet on, and continue on with the rest of the night.
What is your ultimate hair goal?
‘Nuff said. Lol.
Tell us your best and worst hair moments?
Worst Relaxed Hair Moments
My worst relaxed hair moments were when I was between the ages of 6 and 19 years of age. In high school, I would straighten my hair EVERY DAY (I kid you not) on the highest heat of my CHI. Womp. Then I would get relaxers every six weeks. Womp womp. And to top it all off, I decided to highlight my hair. Womp womp womp. The back of my head looked like complete crap. But I didn’t really realize it because I thought that if I parted my hair with half on each shoulder, it’d look stylish (like a bob). Dead wrong. Since I was clueless about hair health, I didn’t know that my relaxer was the cause of this. I seriously blamed my lack of hair at the back on the fact that I liked to sleep on my back. (Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time and punch myself for being so naïve). The last day that I ever used a hair straightener, it BROKE MY HAIR OFF. Seriously!
Worst Natural Hair Moments
My worst natural hair moments happened during my first month of my big chop in December of 2013. I was still clueless on how to take care of my hair. My hair was cute, because it was so short. So I think this is the reason I was able to get away with being so clueless. But basically, the only products I used were the Dark & Lovely Au Naturale products, Worlds of Curls Curl Activating Gel, and my hair pick. My hair shed constantly, I’m guessing because it wasn’t getting the nutrients it needed and because I’d use the pick to harshly detangle instead of my fingers.
Best Hair Moments
My best moments happened this summer (2014). These were just days that my hair looked REALLY good. One of these days, I spent all night and morning banding and then unbanding my hair, only for it to shrink back to a fro by the time I reached summer school… But the way it shrunk, looked great! The curls were stretched out to the longest that they’d ever been and I looked wild and fierce (in a good way!)! Hahaha. I remember freezing and going back to look when I caught a glimpse of how fabulous my hair looked in the mirror. My second moment was on the day of my cousin’s graduation. My hair looked super cute with my headband and flower. I felt like the picture I took that day belonged on someone’s TWA Tumblr page! Lol. Ohh, and a couple of nights ago, I had another great hair moment… I’m going to sound so dumb. Hahaha. But when I was doing my twists the first time that week, there was a particular section of my hair that was super long when I stretched it. I freaked out and tried to see if it was because there were knots of hair attached to the ends of my strands. There weren’t any. I seriously considered cutting that section of my hair, but my mom was like, “What? WHY?” She was right. So I sighed and just twisted the section a little looser so that the twist wouldn’t be longer than the others. I never thought that I’d see the day that I’d say that my hair was too long. But now that I’m thinking on it, it was definitely a good moment, although it shocked me.
Who inspires you and why?
All of the beautiful African-descendant women of the world who sport their natural hair for whatever reason (and especially the ones that blog or vlog about their journeys in order to educate people like me) inspire me. This is because I see them as strong, proud, and empowering women. They have changed me into someone who walks with her head held higher and sees beauty in herself. I am so grateful for this change of mindset that I can attribute to these women.
What advice would you give to other naturals or those transitioning?
- Do not give up. You WILL reach your goals.
- Who CARES what negative opinions people might have about your hair? Why should their opinions matter? It’s YOUR fabulous God-given hair. No other race has it. Own it. <3
- Love your texture or you will never be happy with your hair.
- Work with your hair, not against it. Love it and care for it, and it will grow. I promise.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Nicole: A 4C Redemption Story.
We don’t want to end this here, can we find you on any web pages or social media platforms?