A Natural Natural Redhead

When I discovered that this fellow Bay Area Natural’s natural hair color was red, I knew I just had to feature her.  At first I was a skeptic: “send me a picture from when you were little.” She did.  And here you have it, Nicole– a true natural redhead with a head full of gorgeous natural curls! Read on for the interview!

C: Tell me about your curly hairstory.

N: Well, I always remember getting relaxers. My mom attended cosmetology school so she applied my relaxers and kept my hair healthy…as healthy as you can keep relaxed hair. My hair was always long, but during my last year of college I noticed that my hair started thinning at the crown. My mom encouraged me to see my dermatologist and my doctor said that it was bubble hair and she suggested that I stop putting chemicals in my hair until the spot grew out. Well, my hair was in the middle of my back and the patch of hair where the hair broke off was about 1/2 an inch long. I looked at my doctor like she was crazy! No more relaxers?! After pouting for a few days I started doing some research on going natural. That was November 2006 and I really didn’t know where to begin so after 3 frustrating months of trying to blend my new growth and my relaxed hair and my patch of confused hair I decided to chop it all off. My mom and I experimented with every and any product out there and I learned to love my TWA. But then one day my TWA wasn’t so TW anymore and a friend suggested getting my hair pressed. VOILA! Straight hair without the chemicals!! Hallelujah! There is a huge natural hair scene in Atlanta, but most women I know get their hair pressed. I started pressing my hair in 2008 and I didn’t stop until I moved from Atlanta to the Bay area almost 5 months ago and couldn’t find a stylist. I feel like I’m back at square one, reading the natural hair blogs, buying products and praying that they will work and dealing with 2 different textures (my curls and my heat damaged ends). I’m falling in love with my natural curls all over again. I will probably give my mom the honor of doing BC #2 whenever I go back to Atlanta.
C: When and how did your “learn” how to do your hair?

N: I was forced to learn how to do my own hair in October 2010 because I couldn’t find a stylist in the Bay area that could press my hair without burning it and leaving me bald. My mom tried to explain styling techniques over the phone and I was confused so I watched YouTube for hours on end and learned how to flat twist. Natural hair care blogs have really saved my hair!

C: What’s your current regimen and what products do you use now?

N: Oh, where should I begin! I wash and deep condition my hair every Sunday then I do flat twists and wear a twist out during the week. I usually have to re-twist my hair every other night because my straight ends like to do their own thing. I sleep with a bonnet or satin pillowcase to avoid spit ends.

Pre-wash oil treatment: jojoba, olive, grape seed oil

Shampoo: Chagrin Valley shampoo bars (butter bar & ayurvedic bar) or Giovanni Smooth as Silk

Conditioner: Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle & Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose

Deep condition: Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioning treatment

Leave in: Paul Mitchell The Conditioner & Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner

Style: Curl Soufflé & Komaza Coconut Curl Pudding

Moisturizer: Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Buttercream & Komaza Coconut Curl Hair Lotion

C: Any tips/tricks/techniques you’d like to share?

N: Tip–If you can, find a curl friend or a blogger with a hair texture similar to your own because it really helps. I think you (Cassadie) and I have similar curl patterns and I’ve found that products that you like typically work for my hair. So you’ve saved me some money and have helped me to find some products that really work with my curls.

C: Can you share a curly anecdote or memory with us?*

N: I have one favorite curly memory that comes to mind. When I did my 1st BC my then 3 year old brother said “your hair! What did you do?!” My mom said “what’s wrong? You don’t like your sister’s new hair?” and he said “It’s fine. I like it. I love her.” I wasn’t a cry baby until he arrived (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and that memory makes me smile and cry every time.

C: Redheads are pretty rare, black redheads are even rarer.  What was it like growing up as a redhead?  And what’s it like now?

N: I actually didn’t realize how different I looked until I moved from Massachusetts to Georgia when I was 7 years old. I am the only redhead in my family (that I know of) and I thought it was odd that people asked questions about my hair color, but as a child I didn’t think much of it. My balding Grandfather would tell people “she got it from me! Her hair is just like mine”. When I moved to Georgia the kids at school would say “both of your parents aren’t black because black people don’t have red hair” or “how do you know that you weren’t adopted?” And those were harsh things to hear as a child. My mom told me that she prayed to God for a healthy baby with a unique feature and she was blessed with a healthy, redhead. Now that I’m older people assume that I dye my hair so they just ask “what color do you use?” It used to be annoying, but I’m used to it. I’ve noticed that my hair is much brighter now that I am natural so when I see pictures of my hair sometimes even I am shocked at how bright it is.

C: If you could use three words to describe your hair, what would they be?

N: Coily, red, amazing!

Pomp and CURLStance: LaTanya

Next up in the Pomp and CURLStance series is LaTanya, sharing with us her moving story of how and why she decided to go natural and the fierce head of coils she has grown to love!

C: Tell me about your curly hairstory.

L: I like to call myself a “forced natural” because I went natural due to health reasons.  Back in 2006, I was diagnosed with Stage IIA Breast Cancer. After my initial pity party was over, I realized that I was going to lose my hair! Hair that I’d worked for so long to grow out. I know it’s shallow, but I was really concerned about my hair…maybe even more than my actual health!! Well…I did tell my surgeon to do whatever he could to save my boobs because I NEED them…and he did. I had a lumpectomy.  But back to the story! LOL What’s always funny to me is that prior to my diagnosis, I was considering going natural. I hadn’t had a relaxer in 25 weeks and was getting ready to take out microbraids to see just what my hair was doing (I didn’t have braids the full 25 weeks, I’d gotten then redone twice). I wasn’t mentally “ready” to go natural, it was just something I was toying with and I definitely didn’t know how to take care of natural hair. So with all of my devastation, when I received the diagnosis, I decided to get my hair cut and relaxed since it was going to fall out anyway. (Crazy..I know). I rocked a short, relaxed cut until my hair started falling out from chemotherapy on Saturday, February 10, 2007, which was exactly two weeks from the start of chemotherapy. It was devastating. My hair was falling out in big chunks. I was scared to comb OR wash it, so finally on February 13, 2007, I decided to go ahead and shave my head. I did it myself, GI Jane style in my bathroom mirror. Best feeling (at that time) that I’d ever had!!! I was back in control!

May 2007

I wore a wig for three months before my hair started growing back and when I was finally comfortable with the amount of hair that had grown back, I decided to reveal my new self to the public on Memorial Day 2007. I didn’t have ANY hair y’all. I chuckle now, but all I could do back then was put on some mascara and earrings and pray that I didn’t look sick.

By my hair growing out completely new, it has been a very interesting experience. When it first started growing back it was straight and thin. Then it started to thicken and curl up and grow out and boy oh boy! Before I knew it, I was rocking natural, coily, hair. Now, three years in, I have very thick and dense, tightly coiled in some places, super kinky in other, and super curly in others places hair!! But you know what…I LOVE IT!!!!

I am proud of my decision…not just because I am not longer putting chemicals in my hair, but because I am wearing my hair the way that God intended (except for the color) it to be. I told Him that if he wanted me to go natural, all He had to do was tell me :) For those of you wondering about my cancer, chile please…I am HEALED. I never had a day of true sickness…just days that I felt “weird”. From the beginning I surrounded myself with positive energy and only asked people to pray for me that I KNEW loved me. My oncologist was amazed that I went through a year and a half of treatment (yeah, that long) with minimal sickness. Look at God.

September 2007

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Pomp and CURLStance: Gabriela

This week’s Pomp and CURLStance brings us the uber-talented photographer Gabriela Herman.  Hailing from New York City, Gab shares with us the history of her fiercely fabulous curls and the starring role they take in her photography.  Ever since Gab shot photos of me,  I’ve been excited to feature the curls and the girl behind the lens!

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My Fellow June Baby/Partner in Crime: Phallon

Today is the birthday of my dear friend Phallon.  We were born three days apart and have been friends ever since.  I wanted to wish her a special birthday on Natural Selection because Phallon falls into a rare breed of natural: a LIFELONG NATURAL!  With this trend of “going natural” I think it’s equally important to celebrate those who have just “been natural”.


...and Now!

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