1. How long have you been Natural?
I put the last relaxer in my Hair in Jan. 2010, So I consider Jan 2010 to be the beginning of my natural journey, however, it took about 12 to 18 months for the relaxer to fully grow out of my hair.
2. Why did you become Natural?
Honestly, I became natural after seeing how my mother’s hair was beginning to thin. The phrase…”she got it from her Mama” really started to resonate with me…lol. My mom and I are sooo much alike in so many ways. When I looked through pictures of her when she was a child I could see the strong resemblance in us….even down to the long thick ponytails and I started thinking….I don’t want my hair thinning like that in 20 years! In efforts to help my mom figure out why her hair was thinning we started discussing possible causes and solutions, and one of the possible causes we came up with was relaxing her hair for so many years….and we shared that in common too. So in process of helping her, I helped myself….and it has been yet another fun, loving, intricate journey that I’ve been blessed to share with my mom.
3. Was it a hard transition? How did you transition?
I wouldn’t say it was hard to transition, more than it was challenging at times. I was challenged more emotionally than I was with the process of moving from relaxed to my hair in its natural state. I decided not to do the BC…..just the thought of cutting all my hair sent me in a panic (thus the emotional challenges I was talking about). Although I had never given it much thought before, I now realize how emotionally vested I am in my hair being a part of who I am. I was able to see that India Arie’s song “I am not my hair” was not necessarily a true statement for me. So the process of getting comfortable with the changing texture and look of my natural hair often challenged me to examine what society has dictated is beautiful, and to decide what I think is beautiful.
In terms of the process of transition for my hair, I really didn’t have any significant difficulties, but I think my attitude helped that a lot. I was determined to make the transition in support of my mom and because I wanted make sure I was doing everything I could to ensure my hair was healthy 20 yrs from now. With that determination I decided to focus on all the things that worked during the transition and not the things that didn’t work. I would hear other newbies saying things like….”see my hair just won’t do that”…..or ” you’ve just got THAT kind of hair”….and I would think….Noooo i am just vested in doing what it takes to get my hair where I want it to be. So I began to YouTube and visit blogs for tips and resources and product reviews until I found processes and recipes and styles that worked for me.
4. Did your age aid in your decision to go Natural?
I am sure it did. I think there is a level of maturity that comes with knowing who you really are and what YOU really want. While I don’t discount another person’s experience…no matter their age, for me, I would not have been in a space mentally to embrace my natural hair when I was younger. Also, people sometimes think that being Natural means that you don’t do anything to your hair and that is so not true! I’ve found that maintaining healthy hair is WORK…LOL! So in hindsight, I probably would not have wanted to put in the time needed to maintain my hair in my 20’s.
5. Does your age make it easier or harder to be Natural?
I think so. In my 20’s and 30’s my son was young and I was so focused on him and his needs…..not to the point of neglect for myself, but you know….you prioritize. And what I found joy in then was seeing him grow and being happy and having fun with him. He’s now in his 20’s and doing his own thing and I have shifted my focus back to myself and what I WANT AND LIKE….lol….and that’s a freedom I’ve rediscovered in my 40’s that’s exciting!
6. Do you see many Older Naturals in your area? If so, what styles are they sporting?
I am beginning to see more Naturals. A lot of people are sporting the Sister Locs.
7. How do you primarily wear your Natural hair?
I wear my hair a LOT of different ways. When I decided to stop relaxing my hair, I toyed with whether I wanted to get sister locs, or dreadlocks and decided on neither because I wanted versatility. Although you can style locs in a variety of ways, you still have the same LOOK in terms of your hair being in locks. I wears 2 strand twists, and I have worn it straighten with a flat iron. I’ve done flat twists and wash-n-go’s. I’ve done buns and updo’s and finger coils. I can go from curly to straight in a day or long to short and I LOVE it!
8. Favorite products and/or product line?
My favorite products are the Shea Moisture products! I Love them! And I am an EcoStyler fiend…lol. I do not however consider myself I product junkie. I don’t buy a lot of products…just primarily Shea Moisture products because they work well on my hair. I’ve also found that I can create a mean deep conditioner from some of the contents in my cabinet!
My deep Conditioner (pulled somewhere..probably YouTube…lol)
1/2 C. Olive oil
1 ripe Avocado
1 Can Coconut Milk
2 Tbs Honey
2 Tbs Aloe Vera Juice
1/3 C. Shea Moisture Deep Masque Treatment
**Blend all ingredients together in blender(otherwise you will have avocado pieces in your hair). Use generously on your hair and condition under plastic bag and heat for at least 15-20 min…longer if you choose. Store remainder in refrigerator until next use.
***Disclaimer… This works great on my hair but I make no claims that it will work well for yours…..:-)
9. Any words of wisdom or encouragement for other Older Naturals already Natural or thinking about it?
The thing I would say to anyone who is considering going Natural is do it because YOU WANT too…not because it seems to be “the” thing to do right now. If you embrace this journey as truly your own, you will be less likely to be overly discouraged along the way. For those already Natural….I’d say ROCK ON!!!
I am so grateful for Sunni sharing her story with us. She was one of the participants at the National Natural Hair Meetup Day in Denver. Her hair is gorgeous and she’s so pretty as you can already see. The top pic was how she had her hair that day and I was in serious hair envy. I’m gonna try her Deep conditioner since I’m on the hunt for one and may change it up a bit since I don’t use Shea moisture. I’m so glad she shared!
Don’t forget I’m always looking for women thirty and over to share their Natural hair story with us.
Take care Naturals,