I’m Dianne Daniels, and I’ve been Natural (napptural!) since the summer of 2008. I originally went natural (no straightening chemicals, though I do color my hair) because after 30-plus years of relaxing, my hair totally rebelled.
I’d been a press-and-curl girl all through elementary school, but when I started high school and had swim class first period, I had to make a change. My first relaxer did not give the desired results – my mama wanted my hair “bone straight” so they re-did it two weeks later. Big mistake – my hair broke off from mid-back to just above my shoulders and never really recovered.
I decided to go natural because of breakage behind both my ears and thinning all over. I was seeing a lot of hair shedding in the morning when I combed it, and having to worry about my “do” made it next to impossible to enjoy activities like swimming and working out. I read a lot from other naturals and felt I was in a place in my life and my career where I could finally stop letting my hair control and define me that way.
I started my transition in late 2007 and tried blow-drying and flat-ironing my hair, plus wrapping it to get through the first few weeks. By the time summer arrived, I had a couple of inches of new growth and dealing with dual textures was very hard, so I chopped off almost all of the relaxed ends and sported a short Afro. I think my age made it easier to make the decision, because at nearly 50 now, I’m much more comfortable with who I am and know that my physical appearance, while important, is not the end-all and be-all of who I am.
I think my age makes it easier to be Natural in some ways – because I am more confident, and because so many of my peers are also natural. Where the transition occurred, however, was going from my beloved Afro after three years to locing my hair in February 2012. THAT has been a bigger transition, I think, because of the many misconceptions about loc wearers.
I see more and more mature Naturals in my area – primarily with afros or rocking their natural curls. I think they choose shorter Afros because of the ease of care – literally wash, fluff and go! I like my hair longer, so my Afro was getting pretty big when I decided to loc my hair. I primarily wear my locs curled with rods – I rod-set the locs at the beginning of a week (or right after a retwist) and then let the curls ‘relax’ throughout the week until I feel they need curling again. I’ve also done updos and ponytails (now that I have some length). I am eagerly awaiting the time when they will be past my shoulders so I can style them even more ways. They are not “mature” yet, so I’m trying to be patient.
My favorite products are fairly simple – I use Taliah Waajid’s “Lock it Up” gel for retwists, and her African Healing Oyl for moisturizing. I’ll put the oil and some water into a spray bottle and spray my locs if they feel dry. I also use Organic Root Stimulator’s Herbal Cleanse Dry Shampoo between visits to my loctician, Maria Thompson of Twists and Curves. I use Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo, and on the recommendation of my loctician, while my locs are so new, I only shampoo once a month.
I would tell any mature / older Naturals (or those considering it) to weigh the challenges of learning how to style and care for your hair differently against what it will mean to you to have lower maintenance costs and less time invested in your hair. When my Afro was shorter, it was the ultimate in freedom for me – I liked being able to ‘wash and go’. As my hair grew, I realized that I really do like myself with MORE hair – partly due to the fact that I’m tall and full-figured, and partly because I like the attention I got with ‘big hair’.
In addition to considering your own feelings on the matter, consult and consider what your loved ones will think / feel. My husband was overwhelmingly supporting of my decision – and that greatly helped me during my transition. I truly love my natural hair and outside of coloring away my gray hairs, I will NEVER go back to chemical straighteners.
Dianne M. Daniels, Speaker / Author / Coach
Dianne Daniels Speaks, Inc.http://www.
What an inspiring story! Like Dianne, I too feel that my age was a great factor and made it easier for me to go Natural. She's comfortable with herself and with a supportive husband she was on the right path. Love the hair, love the sexy pic just above and love her beautiful smile that lights up her face.
Check out my new feature next Monday which is my Older Natural Feature day. Come and share your story with us as well.
Take care Naturals,