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Older Natural Feature – Joelle

Older Natural Feature - Joelle
Joelle M.

How long have you been Natural? I am not sure how long I have been natural as I did not do the big chop and grew out my perm using braids and cornrows.  What I do know is that I did my last perm August of 2004 because one day I woke up and decided I wanted locs. 

Was it a hard transition?  How did you transition?
For me the transition was easy since I did it with braids and other stuff so I didn’t have to see my hair in its weird transition period or I may have done the big chop.  If somebody had told me when I was younger that I would have a kinky fro and love it I would have known they were crazy.  I have never been a hair person or a fashionable person but I never would have thought in my younger years that I would be natural (I have to say that I do not like that term, other races don’t define their hair as natural or not, just saying why should I have to?)… Anyway. 

Did your age aid in your decision to go Natural?
My age didn’t have anything to do with deciding I wanted locs, not sure what did.  I still want them, just haven’t made that commitment to do it nor do I want to fork over $300+ to get them started.  I don’t think age has anything to do with it at all, it is my hair and this is what I am choosing to do with it now, who knows what the future holds but I am pretty sure it won’t be a relaxer.  I have gone back to braids and other protective hairstyles because I was not well informed when I finally debuted my fro to the world, combing it dry and such so it broke.  I am going back to the half way point and will do braids and twists to give it a break from me combing it all the time.

Older Natural Feature - Joelle

Do you see many Naturals in your area?  If so, what styles are they sporting?
San Diego has a lot of people with their hair in the state that they were born with, locs on all races too.  I love seeing somebody in Target and asking them what they do to their hair to learn whatever I can.  When I worked at the middle school, I was the only black staff there and I would hear some of the little black girls commenting on that to their parents as they walked by. 

By my second year there I had worn my Afro out several times and by the the end of that year I began to see many of the black girls wearing their hair with out braids and extensions too.  Nothing against the extensions, I have some in now they are a good break or transition time… Seeing them be confident enough to wear their hair out is the best thing that has happened since I went back to me.

How do you primarily wear your Natural hair?
For the most part I wear my hair in twists since I finally learned how to do it and can get it done typically in 2 episodes of True Blood but my favorite is my kinky fro but that style doesn’t always work the way I want it to. 

Older Natural Feature - Joelle

Favorite products and/or product line?
I love the Wen cleansing system, others hate it but I love it.  It took a while and after about 8 months I wasn’t sure it was doing anything so I used regular shampoo and boy did I feel and see a difference.  I like to use Liv the night before if I think I am going to do the kinky fro thing and I massage it into my hair after I wash and while damp braid/twist it.  I like Mizani Rose H2O and Root Stimulator for twists/locs and Shea butter with some coconut oil.

Any words of wisdom or encouragement for other Older Naturals already Natural or thinking about it?
Advice… check out to see if there is a naturals group there, they have taught me so much.  Unlike our permed/relaxed hair, the texture we were born with does do well with water… don’t try too many products at one time, give one a chance to work so you can see what it does to your hair and you won’t spend to much money… knowing your ‘type’ of hair can be good if you are looking on YouTube for styles and suggestions, somebody with a loose curl can do things differently than those with a tighter curl… see a hair style you like, ask her how she did it or what she uses.

Older Natural Feature - Joelle

I would like to thank Joelle for taking out the time to share her experience, knowledge and love with us.  She’s so beautiful and this is feature is really special since she’s not only my first feature but we grew up and went to school together.  Our mothers are actually really good friends.  We’re pretty different women and went down two different paths in life but I love the fact that we both became Natural as older women.   

Take care Naturals,



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