Growing Bored of your Natural Hair?
So, you’ve gone natural. It’s been a couple of years and you’re getting bored.
- Should you keep trying to let it grow out?
- Or would getting it cut into a style work better for your lifestyle?
- If you did cut it…what style would you choose?
We sat down with a 4B stylish diva, Alexis, and she walks us through her decision to cut her hair. She discusses how long it takes to style, her family’s reaction and what products she uses to keep her do fresh and fabulous!
Sharon: So today I’m going to be interviewing another 4B (as she calls herself… I think I’m a 4B too). She lives in the Maryland area, her name is Alexis. We just want to find out about your natural hair journey.
How long have you been natural?
Alexis: I have been natural now for 4 years and I have loved every minute of it!
Sharon: Really? Every minute?!
Alexis: Every minute!
Sharon: So there was never a time when you were like “this isn’t going to work for me!”?
Alexis: Never! It had to work, it just had to work. I never thought about going back.
So you never had any doubts or regrets about going natural?
Alexis: I think maybe once I did, but I think it was just because I was really frustrated at the amount of time it would take for me to get my hair the way I wanted it. But that was probably once in the four years.
Sharon: Was that in the beginning?
Alexis: No, it was about a year or two ago. Just kind of a passing thought, like I think I’m gonna do it (get a relaxer). Sometimes I’ll even have nightmares that I went to a shop and I got a perm and I was devastated, like all of my years of hard work is gone and I have to start all over.
Sharon: What do you think that stemmed from? Boredom?
Alexis: I think its just because my lifestyle was so busy, it required a lot of time and because I like to have my hair a particular way it just takes a lot of time for it to get there.
Sharon: But now you’re ‘in it to win it’?
Alexis: Oh absolutely! Yeah.
How did your husband respond to your decision to go natural?
Alexis: When I first told him I was gonna go natural and cut my hair, we had just got married a year before so we were newly married and he wasn’t a huge fan of the natural hair thing. But I think because he is just naturally supportive, he did support me when I came home with a short Afro. He actually put color in my hair the first time! We had a nice bonding experience then. During my whole journey he has just been really supportive and now he absolutely loves it! So he went from not initially ‘feeling’ natural hair to now he LOVES natural hair. Even when my hair was long and I would get it pressed out he would say, “I prefer your hair curly better.” It’s kind of interesting.
How did the rest of your family react?
Alexis: My family loved it and it’s so funny you ask because I was the first person in my family to go natural. I think…or maybe my sister…I don’t remember but immediately after that…my younger sister went natural, my older sister went natural, my mom went natural, my niece was later born and she’s natural 8 years later. So we’re all doing the same thing.
What are your hair products?
Alexis: It’s definitely my Kinky Curly Knot Today, I absolutely love this stuff and I’ve been using it since the day I got it cut. This is definitely my go-to now that I’ve cut my hair. I actually grew it out really long and I just cut my hair recently, so one thing that I definitely need is Shea Butter. I just get that from a local market here in Baltimore. I get a huge tub of it and I use that when I’m twisting my hair with some water and that really keeps the definition really nice. I really like Jane Carter Solution Nourish and Shine. It smells really good and what I use it for is after I twist my hair, when I’m taking it out and I separate my twists or my curls, I use this. It adds shine, smells really good and helps it last long.
How often do you wash your hair?
Alexis: I have to wash my hair once a week. Because my scalp is really dry and even though my style may last longer than that, I definitely have to wash it about once a week.
How do you style your hair after you wash it?
Alexis: It’s interesting, what I do with this is: after I wash it and condition, I use Knot Today and then my Kinky Curly Curling Custard and I use that for the shortest part of my hair. On the back and on the sides, just coiling my fingers through and twisting it. And then when I get to the longer part, that’s when I do a two-strand twist and then I do a twist out the next day.
Do you sleep with wet hair?
Alexis: Typically I try to do it during the day because my twists will dry but, interestingly enough, my shorter hair won’t. It will still be wet and then with the Kinky Curly if I sleep on it, it will mat itself down. So I try and make sure that the shorter part of my hair is dry and I let my twists dry overnight.
How long does the style take?
Alexis: After I wash it, probably about 3 hours.
Sharon: Including the shampoo and conditioning?
Alexis: That’s just the actual styling because my shampoo and conditioner actually only takes about 15 minutes. After that it’s about 3 hours, because it takes an hour just to do the shorter part. I start from one ear and work to the other section by section. I take it and, with the kinky curly, I do my fingers like this (gesturing a twisting motion) to define each coil section and I work my way around and that takes me about an hour.
Sharon: For the back?
Sharon: Wow. That is so cool! But it lasts!
Alexis: Exactly. It lasts the entire week. So even though it may seem time consuming upfront, it kind of works itself out if you think about over a 7 day course. In the morning, I typically easily wake up, take my bonnet off and just run my fingers through it like that and go.
Tell us about the color.
Alexis: I actually wanted to have my entire hair this color and then go back through with some lighter highlights in the front. But because I have really dark features, (my eyebrows are dark) I thought that it probably would clash, so she just left the shorter part of my hair in it’s natural color and just added this color on top with a few highlights in it. And I really like it.
Sharon: Do you notice that your hair has a different texture now that it’s colored? Or did she use something that works well with natural hair so that it wouldn’t dry out?
Alexis: Yeah, it definitely works well with natural hair. I can’t remember exactly what she used, but my hair hasn’t broken off and its still really healthy and it has retained its texture and its length.
Tell us about your hair stylist.
Alexis: My stylist’s name is Rochelle, she is amazing! Almost 90 percent of her clients are natural, so I just brought her a picture that I found on google and the style is called a “Tapered TWA“. I showed her a picture of what I wanted, I sent it to her through a text and she duplicated it in about 20 minutes, she is awesome!
What are the benefits of having short natural hair?
Alexis: I wanted something easier. Like I mentioned, my lifestyle is really busy so I wanted to remain natural but at the same time I wanted something that was a little less maintenance. And I noticed that when my hair was longer, it took me a lot of time. Just to wash it would take me about an hour. So with my hair short, it only takes me about 15 minutes, it saves me 45 minutes right there!
What have you noticed about natural you vs. relaxed you?
Alexis: I think one of the main things that I notice is my hair is healthier. When I was relaxed, I think I started getting a relaxer when I was 5. So by the age of 13, the back of my hair broke off and it refused to grow and it refused to straighten. So that meant that I couldn’t wear a lot of up styles because my hair would be straight and the back would be “nappy”. So I didn’t really like that I would always have to wear my hair down. So when I went natural, I noticed that my hair texture changed. It was much softer than I thought it would be. Much more manageable and it actually grew. So I have hair places now that I didn’t have when it was relaxed. I think just enjoying my hair in its natural state. That it’s healthy. That it’s different. It’s interesting. I find it interesting that my hair grows UP and it doesn’t grow DOWN, which is something unique to us. I really like it and I’m learning a lot about it. I really appreciate its DESIGN!