The picture you see is of just a portion of the products I own geared towards natural hair. I went natural in 2008, on a whim after a breakup with my ex-boyfriend. I was wearing a weave that at the time lended itself to my many jobs (actress, model, dancer). I couldn’t see myself without the long hair. It booked me modeling jobs; got me big tips when I bellydanced (most people in the Arabic culture found long hair more attractive), and when I used my seductive “hair-ography” to book a job as a dancer for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, I felt super sexy, but passed on the job for a higher paying cosmetics commercial that wanted a black girl with…. yep long straight hair. So you, see my life as a straight hair black girl seemed great.
However, a part of me was using my hair to hide behind myself. I was having my second bout of cystic acne, and along with the pounds of makeup I wore, the long hair was an excellent distraction. Plus, I was 2 years into a relationship and was in denial about how unhappy I was. Amongst our many arguments, the one thing my ex kept telling me, was that I should rock an afro (He also said I should get fake boobs, but I didn’t buy into that one). My ex thought that an afro would make me stand out from the long hair luscious weaves that were status quo for every black female in the entertainment industry at the time. I dismissed his suggestion for a while, but a few weeks after our breakup, I wanted a change and I mustered up the courage to do it. As I let my mom cut out my extensions, I realized I had no idea what to do with my hair. Four years ago, going natural was not as much as a trend as it is now, and believe or not, not very many hairdressers, (much less hair dressers specializing in ethnic hair), knew what to do with my super kinky curls. I think I wore a straight 70’s afro for about 3 months before I was lucky enough to stumble upon some naturalistas who turned me on to products such as Curls, Kinky Curly and Miss Jessie’s. These products allowed me to explore the versatility of my texture.
Four years later. I’ve learned quite a bit about my hair. Just a few of my gems:
1) My hair WILL NOT withstand excessive chemical dying. Use natural color.
(Lesson learned from a yearlong dancing/modeling job I with a high profile hair company specializing in color. The final bleach, dye job, wreaked havoc on my hair for a almost 2 years)
2) My hair needs TONS of moisture. Every. Single. Day.
3) The less I manipulate/style my hair the more it grows.
4) My hair my likes coconut oil, but my face does not (major breakouts)
5) Detangling and pre-conditioning are non-negotiable
The great thing about natural hair is that everyone’s hair is so different and you have to take the time to explore what’s right for you. I’m still learning a lot about my hair and I’m currently in the process of testing and transitioning into using more natural products and oils for my hair. I’ll share in an upcoming post.
If you’re wondering how it has translated to my many careers. I have booked more jobs than I have in my entire career because I have natural hair. In fact many of the jobs I go out for commercially and for modeling specifically want a African-American female with curly or afro hair. It is being celebrated much more than I anticipated (and now I have way more competition!) It’s still not as much of a trend in television and film where straight hair still rules, but we’ve come a long way baby. I love my hair and even though I have a small army of wigs that I use for auditions, gigs, and sketch comedy shows to keep my chameleon-like ways (hey, Viola Davis does it too), my natural hair feels the most “me”, and that’s where I stand.
Natural Hair Care Resources: