Hair Talk With Cynthia

Friday, April 27, 2012

Firstly introduce yourself? Where are you from and what do you do?
Born in Maryland, but originally from Cameroon, West Africa, I have lived in NYC for the past 15 years. I am an attorney during the day, been doing that for a little while now. Evenings and weekends I do some blogging, and because my life wasn't busy enough, I have gone back to Business school at night to kind of broaden my perspective and just be more well rounded professional.

How long have you been natural?
I was natural from the ages of Birth through age 15.
Then it was all about the creamy crack. At the time, I felt my hair was always too (whats a nice way to say it) TOUGH. So, I used SUPER or the strongest relaxer I could find. And then I finally went natural again close to 2 years ago.

If all your life what kept you from relaxing your hair?
When I was younger- my mum. When she gave permission, it was over.

If you have transitioned to natural what prompted you more from processed to natural hair?
I got tired of my hair breaking, it looked weak. I also spent so much time and money at the salon, I didn't even like the way it looked, and I was tired, frustrated and bored.

How did you transition, did you big chop?
no big chop for me. I transitioned slowly, trimming the relaxed ends slowly every week till there was none left.

What were the main reasons for your choice to wear your natural hair? 
First, I knew there had to be a better way, no running from water, no burning my scalp, no thin flat hair. Honestly, I loved the natural look on many others, but I was worried about being able to pull it off. I wasn't sure I could take care of it, as it had been years since I had to. I was concerned about making it work in the workplace. Thankfully at the end of the day, I realized all my concerns were silly. I really think natural hair looks beautiful and has so much versatility...Of course, not that there's anything wrong with relaxers (lol).

What are your earliest hair memories? How did these memories influence your hair journey today?
I remember when I was young, my hair wasn't relaxed so my mum would use a hot comb and was I ever scared of that hot comb. It hurt and it was hot. I think it was the only way my mum could manage my hair. I always felt that my natural hair was too kinky, too nappy, too African to be styled natural. Because from youth (and not blaming my mum), there was always some kind of effort to alter it.

What does having naturalhair mean to you? 
Acceptance. I stayed away from sun, cos I didn't want to be darker.
I relaxed my hair every 4 weeks because I didn't want one iota of kinky curly hair peaking out from beneath the overly relaxed strands.
It's so much easier loving and accepting that you can't be anyone else than who you are. You can try to change or play around with styles etc, but at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with who you are and what you see. It makes you so much more beautiful to others. Because they can see that you're happy and comfortable. It's like the girl who goes out in the hottest designer heels. If she's not comfortable, it doesn't matter how hot the shoes are, all you see is a wobbly mess. And thats how I felt before, a wobbly mess. This way suits me much more. I'm sure I'll play around with different things, but there's a place called home, where you let go of the superficial and you can just relax

How do you keep your hair looking so good? 
Honestly, I have been through so many phases. At first, mainly because I wasn't sure of what I was doing, I bought each and every product anybody ever made or recommended. Slowly I learned what worked. I'm super busy and I can honestly say, I don't always have time to do some of the more intense hair treatments and such. As a general rule, I keep my hair clean, no heat, and conditioned. I sleep with a satin scarf to prevent breakage. I've really gotten my regimen down to the bare necessities.
  • I love the entire Shea moisture line- their shampoo is pretty much the only shampoo I use.
  • If my scalp is particularly flaky (dry winter months and all), then I use the Body Shop Ginger Scalp care on my scalp (its a little drying for my hair). I immediately follow with Aussie Moist 3 minute miracle deep conditioner. I should own stock in this conditioner. Then finish off with some tea tree on my scalp
  • Every now and then if my hair feels/looks thirsty, I'll do a deep treatment with a mix of products (Kinky Curlys knot today + coconut oil + shea butter).
  • Everyday without fail, I spritz my hair with either Garnier Nutrient spray or Shea Moistures coconut & hibiscus Moisture mist. These are non-greasy and prevent overdrying.
  • I also stopped using gels when I do my twist outs- just a personal preference. I do the twists under the shower with my hair soaking wet and with a little conditioner. When done I spray my moisture mist and treat my scalp. If I leave twist in for atleast 2-3days before I take out, I realized I don't need gel or hold  spray. If I am letting it out sooner rather than later, then I might use Organix Weightless Styling Mousse Coconut Milk.

  • New discovery I love, again this is for dry itchy scalps, I dont know why this isnt more popualr, I picked it up on clearance for about $1.50- should have grabbed more. It's Ellin Lavar Textures Scalp Rx for Dry Itchy Scalp, I noticed that it soothes my scalp and helps keeps my scalp cleaner longer.
  • And for travel or super busy months, I have been getting braids. I don't keep braids in longer than 3 weeks, which has caused some people to tell me that i am throwing money away, but I just can't keep them long. I don't think braids are always the healthiest option for your hair, but sometimes they get the job done- use human hair if you can afford and don't forget to still take care of your hair and scalp.

What products do you use in your hair? 
Entire Shea Moisture line, Aussie moist, Virgin Coconut Oil, Raw Shea Butter, Garnier Nutrient Spray, Essential oils (tea tree, rosemary, cinammon leaf) and lately been using Argan Oil (too soon to tell if its making much difference, but its one of those things that everyone loves right now, so I'm trying it).

What are your go to hair style?
Twist outs, Afro Puffs, High Bun, Wild and Free Afro.
Usually, I will start with a twist out that evolves into an Afro Puff, mellows into a high bun and then gets picked out and spritzed with water and ends up as a big Afro.

How do you protect your hair in the winter months?
Moisture, moisture, moisture: in the form of Moisture sprays, deep conditioners, put a satin scarf on it.

Do you have any advice for women starting out on there natural journey?
Buy the small or sample size if you can. I mean you're going to hear about so many products and tips and tricks. It's ok to try to see what works for you, we're all different. Our hair reacts differently to different things and acts and grows how it wants to. When you find something that makes your hair look and feel good, you can stop searching- you're good. Stop thinking there's something better or some miracle out there, don't become a product junkie (its so easy to become one). You know that saying- grass is always greener. Find your shampoo/cleanser, your conditioner, your treatments and some essential oils to promote healthy scalp and hair growth. Then STOP. At the very least, allow yourself a 3month rotation- see how your hair is responding, before you pick up something new. get your basic regimen down first, everything else is EXTRA.
Most importantly- stop COMPARING. your hair isn't my hair, isn't your hair, isn't her hair. your goal is the best hair you can have, not the best version of someone else's hair.

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