The Next Chapter

Season’s Greetings, naturalistas and natural hair enthusiasts!

Just a short note, first and foremost, to thank you for following! I know it has been a very long time, so I want you to know that I truly appreciate your ongoing support!

I had many plans and aspirations for this year—to go on tour, to write more, to speak more—but then we experienced an exciting, but life-changing, turn of events this summer…

 

 

So happy to share the news of our latest “joint-venture” with you! Let’s just say, 2019 is definitely going to be a year for the books! Stay tuned for the next chapter…

Wishing you and yours a safe and enjoyable Holiday season!

Advertisements

Tracing our Roots: On DNA, African Ancestry and hair

I recently came across this video on Facebook from the “Back to Our Roots” episode of the talk show, Sister Circle. 

***Please note: I do not endorse AfricanAncestry.com nor the validity of their DNA testing.***

 

After watching this clip, I really felt tempted to do the DNA test. I (like I’m sure many other members of the African Diaspora) would love to know exactly where my ancestors came from.  However, I do have certain reservations about giving companies access to my genetic information, who may then, in turn, be selling that information to third parties; so I don’t know if I’ll ever do it.

Although I may not know the precise ethnic group I came from, my hair and my melanin-filled skin serve as constant and powerful reminders of my African ancestry.  As stated by Dr. Gina Paige of AfricanAncestry.com in the clip: When we [displaced Africans] got [to the New World], we lost our names, our languages, everything. We are the original victims of identity theft, but we didn’t lose our DNA.  Her statement really resonated with me: though the enslavers tried to strip us of our African culture and all of those practices that made us “human”, they could not erase our DNA.  But for those particular elements which they could not destroy—our skin, our features, and our hair—they simply demeaned.

Try as they might, however, Africa is (and always has been) with us.  Africa is in our hearts and in our souls, and more importantly, she’s inscribed in our genetic code. And the global spread of the Natural Hair Movement is a clear reflection of this: while we, members of the African Diaspora, may have various ethnocultural and linguistic differences, our unique hair texture is a distinct genetic marker, connecting us together and also linking us back to the Motherland.  As noted by Byrd & Tharps in Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, ever since the Transatlantic Slave Trade, hair, rather than skin colour, has been used as the main identifier of “Blackness”, and this notion is evidenced by the way Black people around the globe can relate to each other’s experiences with their hair (and the politics of hair), no matter our geographic coordinates.

So, until I take the DNA test, I may never know exactly who my “people” are, but what I do know is that I belong to a resilient community of people of African descent, who not only share a common history of enslavement, resistance, perseverance, but also similar lived experiences, foods, music, artistic and cultural expressions, and of course, hair.  And I think that’s good enough for me…for now, at least…

Would you trace your ancestry through DNA testing? Why or why not?

Share in the comments below.

 

Hair Typing, Texturism and Natural Hair (Facebook Live)

Due to the politics of hair, hair typing continues to be a pretty touchy topic within natural hair circles.

Is hair typing really necessary? Or is it another form of hair discrimination?

Last week, I had the privilege of chatting with Dr. Susan Walker, ND, WTS, Founder of Earthtones Naturals, about hair typing and texturism in the natural hair community.

Check us out on the replay here:

What do you think about hair typing? Is it necessary, or is it just another way to divide us in the textured-hair community? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Don’t forget about the hair: Symbolism in “This Is America”

If you have not seen Childish Gambino’s thought-provoking video for his new single, “This Is America”yet, please watch it:

***Warning: Violence and explicit language; viewer discretion is advised***

I myself have watched the video several times, and every time I watch it, I notice something else, from the minstrel movements to the fun-loving children dancing in the foreground while devastation unfolds in the background… With all of the analysis articles and commentaries that have surfaced since the video’s debut, it’s clear that every element of this masterpiece was intentional.  And I don’t think that hairstyle choices were an exception.  

In the video, Gambino dons a freeform Afro and a grown-out beard. Whether we like it or not, Black hair, in and of itself, tends to make a statement, and the Afro, in particular, makes a political one. As we know, Black/African hair is distinctive in comparison to other hair types; as such, it has been characterized as the most important feature to indicate one’s “Blackness”, even more so than skin complexion (Byrd & Tharps 17-18). As for the Afro, a result of the Black Power Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, the hairstyle is often conflated (and incorrectly so) with Black nationalist sentiments. Remember in 2008, when the Obamas were caricatured on the cover of the New Yorker? The Former U.S. President and FLOTUS were “supposed to be” depicted as “terrorists”; note that Mrs. Obama was depicted wearing an Afro to top off her paramilitary gear. 

Ever since the Transatlantic Slave Trade, wearing African hair in its natural state has been an affront to Western society, and, as a result, Black hair has been sought to be policed for centuries. For instance, one of the first things that slave masters would do to the enslaved African people was to cut off their hair, which stripped them of their not only their cultural identity but also their dignity (Byrd & Tharps 10).  Hair was (and still is) a big deal in African cultures: hairstyles provided important information about their wearers, such as their respective clans, social status, and religion. As such, cutting off the enslaved people’s hair robbed them of their humanity (Byrd & Tharps 11). To this day, in many ways, Black hair continues to be treated with disregard and disdain and is a cause for discrimination.

That’s why I think it’s no coincidence that Childish Gambino’s hair is in a freeform Afro: a style that is unapologetically and unmistakably “Black”.  Yes, I do realize that Donald Glover/Childish Gambino tends to wear his hair on the longer side in his everyday life—whether in a TWA, a sculpted ‘fro, freeform locs, or a hard part ‘fro—but in the video, his hair clearly stood in contrast to the styling choices of the other Black cast members, whose hairdos ranged from bald to high-top fades, curly weaves to straight-backs, which could be viewed as options that are more in conformity with a European aesthetic.

Runaway Slave Ad (Public Domain)

Furthermore, in a society where men are socialized to err on the side of keeping their hair short and being clean shaven, when men—and Black men especially—grow their hair out, it has often served as a form of resistance or protest, and I don’t think that Childish Gambino missed that point. Keep in mind this is not a new concept.  According to Tharps and Byrd in Black Hair in America, runaway slaves did the same thing:

“Even though unkempt hair went against the African aesthetic, some historians suggest that … unconventional styles [worn by runaway slaves] were a way for Black people to assert their individuality and humanity in the repressive slave culture. ‘Hair that was worn long and bushy,’ argue Shane and Graham White, authors of Stylin’: African American Expressive Culture from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit, ‘emphasized and even flaunted its distinctive texture [and] may have been an affirmation of difference and even of defiance, an attempt to revalorize a biological characteristic that White racism had sought to devalue’ (Byrd & Tharps 15).

And the same goes for Gambino’s beard.  Though beards and beard care have become popular in men’s fashion lately, notice that Gambino’s facial hair is not manicured, but rather scruffy; it does not appear that he’s looking to make a “fashion” statement.  As noted by Victoria Sherrow in The Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History, “[w]hen beards are in style, they may be regarded as a sign of manliness, health, and honor. In places where shaving is the norm, however, a beard might be a sign that something is amiss.  Perhaps the man is in mourning, lacks time to spend on his appearance, or does not care about social conventions? He might even be signaling disregard for convention and conformity” (Sherrow 56). Perhaps Gambino was trying to send all of those messages at the same time. 

Moreover, long facial hair for Black men, in particular, has been disapproved of, dating back to the Civil War era:

“It was considered best for Blacks, especially men, to keep a low profile.  Anything that a Black person had or did in excess was subject to the White majority’s intense scrutiny. This was even true with regard to hair.  In post-Civil War society, it was the fashion for White men to wear longer hair and beards, but when Black men allowed their hair to grow and stopped shaving off their facial hair (think Frederick Douglass), they were considered uppity and wild” (Byrd & Tharps 21-22).

Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist, Orator, Writer (Public Domain)

Taking all of this into consideration, I personally don’t think neither Gambino’s hairstyle choice nor his scruffy beard was an accident—I think he’s making an intentional statement: to be a Black man in America is an offence in and of itself, but it’s not one for which he is begging pardon.

Sources:

Ayana D. Byrd & Lori L. Tharps, Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

Victoria Sherrow, The Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History, Westport: Greenwood Press, 2006.

 

What are your thoughts on the symbolism in This Is AmericaToo deep or not deep enough?

Share in the comments below!

Cross-Cultural Talks Interview

Recently, I had the honour of being interviewed by Robinette D. Cross of Cross-Cultural Talks, LLC!

Cross-Cultural Talks is committed to the instruction, education, and upliftment of all mankind and, as global citizens, making sure that all who wish to have access possess the fundamentals needed to be successful in academics and cross-cultural understanding.”

Please support this good work that Robinette is doing: like and follow her Facebook page and subscribe to her YouTube channel to tune in for more interviews from the African Diaspora!

Watch the interview here:

 

 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Secrets of The Red Yao: The Path to Body-Length Hair

I’m sure at some point you’ve seen the crown of another naturalista and uttered to yourself “#HairGoals”. Whether it be for the length, health, shine, bounce, elasticity, manageability, or whatever it is, I’m sure it must have happened at least once, right? We all get a little bit of Hair Envy every now and then: for some reason, we tend to want what we don’t have. While I strongly believe it’s important to be content with your own hair, there is nothing wrong with trying techniques that can enhance what you’re already working with!

Part of how people become our “Hair Goals” is by finding and sticking with the techniques and ingredients that work for them. Plain and simple. And there’s a group of women located in the Huangluo Yao Village in China who are doing just that! They have found exactly what works for their hair, and in doing so have achieved body-length hair: hair that is longer than life! To learn more about the Red Yao Women, click here.

Red Yao Women: Front Ponytail

Red Yao Women: Styled

Red Yao Women: Styling

The secret to the Red Yao Women’s super-long hair is found within grains of rice, believe it or not! More specifically, the water that is left over from rice that has been cooked or soaked. Rice water, which contains vitamin B, C, and E, is said to add elasticity and shine to the hair, increase its manageability by serving as a conditioner, and also provides protein.

Yes, I do recognize that the Red Yao Women have straight hair- and at first, I myself thought that the effectiveness of this technique was probably specific to people with Asian hair- but after attending a Black hair workshop recently (Hair Inside Out, sponsored by Francine Francis, and hosted by Kym Niles of I Can and I Will), I found out that rice water is actually good for all types of hair, including African hair. So why not give it a shot?
Rice Water Recipe:

  1. 1 Cup of Organic Rice (any kind brown, long grain, short grain etc)
  2. 4 and a 1/2 Cups of cold water

Instructions:

  1. Mix the rice and water in a container.
  2. Let mixture sit for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 30 minutes, strain, and transfer the water into a spray bottle.
  4. Store in the fridge for no longer than 2 weeks.

Rice water works as a wash day/pre-poo treatment, so when the time comes, follow these instructions:

  1. Saturate your strands with rice water and oils of your preference.
  2. Cover your head with a plastic shower cap or bag for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. After the time has elapsed, take the cap/bag off, and continue on with your regular wash day routine.

And there you have it- the secret to length from the Red Yao Women of China is right in your pantry! And the best part is, it doesn’t cost a fortune!

Have you ever used rice water in your healthy hair journey? Tell us how and whether it worked for you in the comments!

Phenomenal Professional Naturalistas: March 2018

Thank you for following the Phenomenal Professional Naturalistas series this Women’s Month! We hope that you feel empowered, affirmed, and inspired by this roster of PHENOMENAL women, who have not allowed society’s perceptions of their natural hair to stop them from thriving in their respective fields!

A BIG thank you to Racquel Brown, Shelby Wilson, Fana Gibson, Norah Dorcine, Natasha Patten, Janine Clarke, Shaneka Shaw Taylor, Kym Niles, Abigail Browne, Kimberley Tull, Kimberly Johnson, Sybil Thompson, and Kareena Elliston for sharing your hair-stories with us!

These women have truly proven that we are so much more than our hair and that true confidence as a naturalista comes from the inside out!

May you also find the confidence to let your natural glory shine in the classroom, boardroom, courtroom, or whatever space is graced daily with your presence!

Know that your natural hair is beautiful. It is doable. It is professional. And it is nothing short of phenomenal!

 

 

 

Phenomenal Professional Naturalista: Ms. Kareena Elliston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your name?

Kareena Elliston

Where do you live?

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

What is your occupation?

Senior Manager Finance, Capital Assessment

What is your educational background?

Honours Bachelor of Arts in French, Spanish and Mandarin; Master’s of Business Administration, International MBA

How long have you been natural?

Since 2003.

Why did you decide to “go” natural?

I decided to go natural when I was studying/living in a foreign country and the water was causing huge chunks of my hair to fall out. I figured that my hair was strongest in its natural state and had the best chance of not falling out if I went natural. Also, it would also be easier to take care of my hair by myself in its natural state, given that I was without access to black hair products or chemicals for long periods of time. My commitment to my studies meant going months at a time without access to hairdressers, hair product suppliers, and other black women. My hair would best survive if it was free!

What is your go-to natural hairstyle?

My go-to natural hairstyles are twist extensions and a natural twist out.

Have you ever experienced any challenges in the workplace due to your natural hair?

I was told early on in my career that my natural hair could affect my ability to get hired into certain banking departments or to be promoted. It may well be possible that certain doors closed for those reasons. However, others opened. I decided that if people were narrow-minded enough to have those thoughts about my appearance, then they wouldn’t be able to handle my intellectual contributions; thus, it would be better to look elsewhere for opportunities.

What do you love most about your natural hair?

What do I love the most about my hair? Its strength, versatility, and forgiveness. It can withstand my lifestyle: it’s willing to be manipulated into creative, sometimes arduous styles, and it’s forgiving of my ‘neglect’.

What have you found to be most challenging about being natural?

Honestly, for me, the most challenging part about having natural hair is that I am not as good to my hair as it is to me—I don’t have the time! I don’t explore new, more caring, ways to maintain and highlight its natural beauty. And it does require additional thinking for vacationing or long-term travel.

How do you maintain your “work-hair-life” balance?

The vast majority of my time, my hair is in twist extensions. I don’t wrap my hair at night and I don’t do it in the morning. Every few months, I replace the protective hairstyle with another set of twists. It’s easy to travel; to work late; to attend a wedding that I had forgotten about; and to care for a newborn!

What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is considering going natural, but may have reservations due to their profession?

A few things come to mind in terms of advice for others: expand your mind on what is ‘beauty’, what is ‘acceptable’, what is ‘time-consuming’, and what compromises you are willing to make. Don’t underestimate your hair’s ability to grow! Finally, there are some really amazing new products out there that make natural hair so much easier to manage and celebrate. This is one of the best times to go natural—our hair is everywhere right now!

Phenomenal Professional Naturalista: Ms. Sybil Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your name?

Sybil Sakle Thompson

Where do you live?

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

What is your occupation?

I’m a lawyer by training.

What is your educational background?

My Bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto was in International Relations and Social Cultural Anthropology. I then did my Master’s degree in Social Anthropology at Oxford University. I studied Law at McGill University and was awarded both B.C.L. (Civil Law) and LL.B. (Common Law) degrees. I was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2010.

How long have you been natural?

Since the age of fifteen.

Why did you decide to “go” natural?

My hair has always been coarse and styling it was a constant source of pain and frustration, even in childhood when my mother would braid it once a week. As I got older I tried out Jheri curls once, then defaulted to regularly relaxing my hair by the age of ten and occasionally wearing braided extensions. Even though relaxing was supposed to be less painful than braiding my hair once a week, and less expensive and time-consuming than having braids put in, it didn’t make taking care of my hair any easier—occasionally the scalp burns I suffered from the relaxer were far more painful than having my hair combed.

Because I associated my hair with frustration and pain I neglected it and it didn’t grow. By the time I was in my teens, I was tired of fighting with my relaxed hair every day and dissatisfied with the way it looked—unkempt and uncared for.

Cutting it off and adopting a short ‘fro at age fifteen was a liberating experience, and I have never once regretted it.

What is your go-to natural hairstyle?

I keep my hair natural and very short, cut close to my scalp with clippers by my barber.

Have you ever experienced any challenges in the workplace due to your natural hair?

I have never had anyone confront me directly about my hair or offer any negative comments or criticisms. Inquisitive and sometimes dismissive looks have sometimes been directed at me from afar in some workplaces, but no one has yet had the courage to tell me that my hair is inappropriate or unprofessional.

I look forward to having the opportunity to converse with and educate anyone who in the future might offer negative criticisms of the way I choose to wear my hair. Challenging misconceptions and stereotypes that are associated with natural Black hair through respectful dialogue with parties who are interested in listening to and learning from my experiences as a natural hair “advocate” is always a pleasure.

What do you love most about your natural hair?

Natural hair to me means freedom. I always feel most beautiful when I have just had my hair cut short and my edges lined up with a straight razor. I find the very process of having my hair cut at the barbershop to be a restorative and cleansing experience.

I value the fact that wearing my hair cut close to my scalp means that there is nothing for me to hide behind. Everything about me—my face, my comportment, and my affect—is immediately visible to anyone who chooses to look at me and take the time to see me.

Short hair also means that my grey hairs, wrinkles and acne scars are as apparent as the shape of my skull. Each of these individual elements contributes to the unique whole that is me.

Accepting my self in my natural state encourages other people to consider the possibility that Black is normal and natural—and that it can beautiful as well.

In short, for me, keeping my hair short and natural affirms to myself that there is nothing about myself that I want or need to hide.

What have you found to be most challenging about being natural?

Because my hair is very short I don’t have the option of adopting lots of different hairstyles. I do sometimes tie my hair up with fabric when I want to try something different. Making different shapes and folds and carefully pleating the fabric of a head tie can sometimes be as time-consuming as styling longer natural hair—at least it is for me, since my fingers are not so nimble.

How do you maintain your “work-hair-life” balance?

My hair stays the same no matter where I find myself—and that consistency of style contributes enormously to my efforts to maintain balance in my very busy life.

My short natural hair is very low-maintenance. I wash and condition it once each week with a plant-based, sulfate-free, unscented shampoo and conditioner. I also wash my hair whenever I exercise at the gym. I use coconut oil to condition my hair and scalp after they are washed. I comb it a few times each day with a fine-toothed comb. I have it cut every four to six weeks at a local barbershop. I use a lidocaine-based ointment to prevent razor bumps along my hairline. Otherwise, I leave my hair to its own devices.

What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is considering going natural, but may have reservations due to their profession?

Do it and don’t look back! You will be liberating others from the misconception that natural hair is inappropriate in any workplace.

You will also be giving yourself a gift. Your natural hair will require a different kind of maintenance than your current style, but that maintenance is a part of the self-care that is so important for every person to engage in. Never doubt for a moment that this self-care is something that you deserve:

Condition your scalp well with coconut oil and shea butter. Rinse your hair with water steeped with cinnamon, and soothe itchy spots on your scalp with drops of peppermint oil mixed with charcoal. Wrap your braids in soft fabric before you sleep, and pick out your ‘fro with a wide-toothed wooden comb in the morning. Use sweet-smelling cocoa butter to loosen any stubborn tangles and kinks.

Take pride in the glory of your hair, and don’t begrudge yourself the time spent taking care of it and yourself.

As well, please don’t be afraid to ask questions of other women (and men!) whom you see wearing natural styles about what their experiences have been, in reflecting on what style or styles might work best for you. Remember: in choosing to adopt a natural hairstyle you are in step and in solidarity with many other people who choose every day to make this transition!

Phenomenal Professional Naturalista: Mrs. Kimberly Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is your name?

Kimberly Johnson

Where do you live?

Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

What is your occupation?

Service Manager in the Federal Public Service

What is your educational background?

Bachelor of International Business degree, Carleton University, Ottawa

 

How long have you been natural?

I started transitioning in October 2015, but I did the Big Chop in January of 2016, because I couldn’t deal with the two textures.  It was very annoying, and none of the styles looked right—when it was curly, I had straight ends.

I went to the hairdresser in January 2016, because I didn’t know how to manage it and I was looking for support. I wasn’t planning on cutting it that day- I went in for wash and style—and then I saw these straight ends, and I was like, “No. Cut it off.” Initially, my hairdresser refused to: she thought I was being emotional; but I insisted.

I was sitting under the dryer after my hairdresser had cut it all off, and I texted my fiancé (at the time), and told him, “Yeah, I cut off all my hair.” So he asked me to send him a picture. Keep in mind that this was January before my wedding in August.

Did I have regrets? Well, the first time I came to wash it and do it, I didn’t have a clue; so I felt like, “What did I do?” So I started asking other naturals, I tapped into the community, and I used YouTube like crazy; that’s how I learned how to manage it.

 

Why did you decide to “go” natural?

That’s a loaded question.  I had several reasons, one of them being for health reasons—in preparation for having children—I knew that I couldn’t be relaxing my hair.

I could no longer reconcile perming my hair and thinking about what I’m going to tell my kids. They were going to see my straight hair, and then out of the other corner of my mouth, I would be telling them that they are beautiful. Now I could deliver that message without being a hypocrite.

I wouldn’t want them to get caught up in the foolishness that I did, taking years to be confident with my hair in its natural state.

But I had to be converted. I had a “Damascus Road” Experience because I was hard-core on the creamy crack! I was the last person in my nuclear family to go natural—my mother and my sisters have been natural—way before this “Movement”. Since age 13, when I went to the hairdresser to get my first relaxer, I hadn’t seen my natural hair.  When I got my first relaxer, I wanted it. It was like a rite of passage for me; it wasn’t a question. I realize now in my journey that I CANNOT go back!

Also, I was emboldened by one of my colleagues, who is a very good friend of mine: a few months earlier [before I decided to go natural], she came to work and she had chopped all of her relaxer off. Because she was in the government context, and she had done it, that encouraged me.  Since she had done it, I knew I could do it.

It’s about passing that torch: the more of us who do it, the more we will encourage each other to do it!

I realize in my current context that I have Black females who report to me; and in the 6 months I’ve been [in this department], I’ve seen two of them chop their hair off. Perhaps it could be coincidence; but I believe that they could see that I’m their boss and I go to work like this, so they feel like they could do it, too.

 

What is your go-to natural hairstyle?

Wash-and-go, all day, every day! Part of it is because I really haven’t figure out how to do anything else! But I will do the occasional twist-out. It’s all about the wash-and-go though.

 

Have you ever experienced any challenges in the workplace due to your natural hair?

I guess, the comments. Sometimes I’ll put braids in or protective styles, and then everybody on the floor has to come and parade in to see Kim’s new hairstyle. I’ve had people stop meetings with big wigs, even, to come and say: “OMG! Kim changed her hair again, I can’t keep up!

Sometimes people think they are giving me a compliment, and for most people, it’s not coming from a malicious place: “I like it when you do your hair all crazy!” Or when I do stretched styles: “I like it when you do it all big and crazy!” Those kind of underhanded micro-aggressions. I really believe that for some people they are really trying to compliment me, but the question is, “Would you say that to your other colleagues?” No, because you don’t think that their hair is crazy- you think my hair is crazy.

 

What do you love most about your natural hair?

At first, I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t love it; but there was one day, that I just realized that I “love this”, I love ME; it was like a switch that went off.  It had to do with me figuring out my own hair.  I love the versatility of it; I love the fact that it’s MINE. It’s my authentic self. That’s what I love about it. It’s Me.

 

What have you found to be most challenging about being natural?

The TIME—don’t let anyone tell you the fallacy that natural hair is faster or more simple—there’s nothing simple about it! It’s a lie from the pit of Hell- it’s very time-consuming. Especially for the wash-and-go, it’s time consuming on the front-end, but you get a lot of longevity out of it—at least out of my wash-and-go, I do.

Also, the expense with respect to products because the industry realizes that it’s the new “in” thing. They want to charge $30 for 8 oz.  It can be very expensive if you want to get the good quality stuff.

Another thing is dealing with the ignorance, sometimes from people at work with the “I love your hair when it’s crazy” comments, and sometimes it has been from my extended family: “Kim, your hair was so pretty, and so long!” My relatives who haven’t caught it yet are usually from another generation, not my generation; they haven’t been delivered yet.

 

How do you maintain your “work-hair-life” balance?

I just try to find styles that will stretch—for me, it’s all about the longevity. I don’t straighten it, partly because I haven’t been able to get that longevity out of it. Since going natural, I’ve straightened it about 3-4 times, but I don’t like the idea of putting heat on it—I know it’s not good, so I don’t do it.

 

What words of encouragement would you offer to someone who is considering going natural, but may have reservations due to their profession?

I would say, just do it! Just do it! Take the hit, because you will get a hit.  The first week or so, you will literally be on parade.  One of my girlfriends and I were laughing about it: I knew everyone at work would come to my cubicle to spectate.  So take the hit for the week, and then everyone will move on to something else. The freedom that you will have from taking that one single action is worth it.  It’s worth the parade past your desk and the spectators! So, just do it!

It all depends on the sector you work in, but there will be a reaction, so don’t fool yourself! But just move on with your life in FREEDOM!

Also, you will feel ugly for a period of time—especially if you do the Big Chop. It looked bizarre to me! You’ll feel like there’s nowhere to hide, and that’s the part that was very unnerving for me, the high level of exposure and vulnerability.  But you have to push through that.  You have to learn how to love and become reacquainted with yourself.  So prepare yourself for feeling ugly.