In search of finding new beautiful Naturalistas to feature, we were recommended by Public Relation Firm JSW Media Group about this up-and-coming natural hair guru named Sasha Manley. Jameka Whitten, the CEO of JSW Media Group, suggested she was the perfect fit for what we were looking for, natural and beautiful within to share her hairstory. We hit the jackpot as she fits the description, and now Sasha contributes for Vissa Studios. Look out for her post on celebrities and reviews, but in the meantime, here is a snippet about her and her hair.
What’s your name and where are you from?
Sasha Manley from Hampton, Virginia. I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina.
How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural about 11 to 12 years.
What made up your mind in going natural?
Honestly, until I was natural, I never really liked my hair. I remember my mother tussling with my hair when I was a child until she told me I was going to get a perm. DONE. . . DONE. . . DONE. . . .! I was in the second or third grade. Although she explained to me it would make my hair easier to manage, I didn’t want any part of it. I see myself as a little girl with my hands crossed and shaking my head. 🙂 Looking back, I think I felt this way because it was the fear of the unknown.
So from primary school all the way until 11 or 12 years ago, I was getting perms off and on, hopping from salon to salon, praying that I’d find someone with miracle hands who did hair well. One hairstyle that I continuously loved was rod/roller sets. I guess you can say that was my go-to hairstyle. My hair felt full and had lots of body, but I never left the salon happy. After every visit I found myself looking in the mirror trying to fix it here and there. I must say there were some great times in the salon, but more frustrating times than good. The last straw was a typical Saturday event with getting my hair permed. I was in the hair salon like a work shift, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I came in without a bald spot and left with one. It really didn’t help that my hairstylist wasn’t really sympathetic.
That’s when I went home and said no one is putting their hands on my head any more. I vowed to do my hair myself and really learn without the reliance on a salon.
What do your peers and family think?
It’s funny because I heard countless jokes from some of my friends. Lots of jokes about “nappy hair” and black power mimics from the ’70s. It didn’t faze me, though, because I could see the bigger picture.
When I decided to go natural, it wasn’t as popular as it is now. I really taught myself about natural hair through trial and error. Reading what books and info I could find at the time. I even cut my own relaxed ends off. That’s how determined I was; lol. My family was great with it. My parents and sisters knew firsthand about how damaging perming and relaxing was.
What are your favorite products for washing, moisturizing and conditioning?
I can sometimes be a product junkie. [She raises her hand in shame. :]
I really enjoy Shea Moisture products because they’re affordable and do the job.
Sometimes I use Creme of Nature Shampoo, Detangling Conditioning. It leaves my hair feeling very springy and moisturized.
What’s your favorite natural hairstyle?
Two-strand twists have always been my go-to hairstyle because of the versatility. I can wear it up or down. Plus it helps retain moisture in my hair. Recently, I’ve done lots of loose updos (no braiding or twisting), just washing/conditioning and seeing what I can come up with using bobby pins, etc. I also love incorporating head scarves into my hairstyles. Now that the season is changing, I want to try something new; ummm, let’s see what I can come up with.:)
What advice do you give to people transitioning?
The biggest advice I have for transitioners is the following:
- Expect the unexpected: Lots of people who want to go natural are anticipating their hair to look like the next person. This is a misconception. Most who go natural really have had relaxers for a long time and don’t know what their hair texture is or how thick and so on. Even in its natural state we all have different textures, growth patterns and similar conditions. So embrace whatever your new growth may be.
- You don’t have to cut all your hair off to go natural. If you’re looking for a gradual transition, you can grow your hair out and cut your relaxed ends when you’re comfortable with the length. Many who do this like to wear rod/curly hairstyles or even braids because it camouflages the relaxed ends and the new growth well. If you want to do a big chop, go for it! 🙂
- Not every natural hairstyle is for everyone. This goes the same for relaxed hairstyles. Not every person who has/had a relaxer has worn the same hairstyle. Two-strand twists may look good on person A, but an updo style may look better on person B. Embrace this.
- Have patience and experiment: Natural hair is lifestyle not a hairstyle. It may just be hair, but you still need to learn how to work with it if you’re not used to your new texture. So experiment with different styles.
- Do not dye your hair during your transitioning and early post-chop phase. Your hair needs time to transition without any chemicals. Give yourself a clear view of how your natural hair is without any gray areas with chemicals and adding color. Think about starting with a blank canvas, and you’re about to create a new work of art.
Lastly, think of your hair as a beautiful flower; you want to keep alive. It needs to be watered (shampooed), fertilized (conditioned) and maintained (conditioned).
Where can we find you?
You can find me at www.thenaturalhighblog.com, Twitter at @naturalhighco, Facebook at www.facebook.com/naturalhighblog and Instagram at @naturalhighco. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org