I’m Imani Davis. I am a naturalista, college student, a wife, new mom of a now very mobile baby boy, a budding YouTuber, and full time employee from Detroit, Michigan. When I was about 6 years old, my mom had surgery on one of her hands. The surgery left her temporarily unable to manage my hair and relatives were less than enthused to do my hair – they thought it was just “too thick”.
That was my first experience with the “Just for me” kiddy relaxer that many know all too well. I also attended private elementary and middle schools where I was one of few Black students. I was teased from time to time about my Black features like my hair, lips, nose, and skin color. Even though more students looked like me in high school, I hadn’t embraced my kinks and curls, and began using texturizers. In 2010, I started researching different ways to care for my hair and the rest is history!
How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I’ve been natural for about 5 years now. I definitely have NOT always been a fan of my curls. I was very critical of my hair, comparing it to my mother and sisters’. They have the “But you don’t look black, what are you mixed with?” hair that reaches their waist with long and loose curls. I would feel so self-conscious about my tighter curls and shorter length.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
The summer before my senior year of high school (2010), I noticed more hair than usual shedding while rinsing out a texturizer. While drying my hair, I noticed a pretty large chunk of hair missing from the back section of my head – that day I decided I had to try something new. Without really knowing much about my natural hair, I began to search for information online.
A year after the texturizing incident and the day of my high school graduation, I did my version of a big chop. Not completely ready to let go of it all, I cut my hair about shoulder length.
How would you describe your hair?
My hair is a dense, thick forest of dark brown kinks and curls that sometimes have a mind of their own. I have about two different textures of curls. If I had to use the hair typing system, I would say maybe a mixture of 3c or 4a but I’ve never been very sure.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love the versatility of my natural hair. I can have big, luscious Diana Ross curls on Monday and small defined ringlets on Tuesday. By embracing what most naturalistas despise, the dreaded shrinkage, I can let my locks shrink into a chic bob or rock a long stretched style if a wish.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
I would say the most memorable part of my journey is looking back at all my failed hairstyle attempts. My Bantu knot outs that were WAY too defined, and I probably looked like I was a poodle. After about 5 years, I’ve learned from my hair mistakes and finally started to embrace every aspect of my natural hair, like experimenting with a wash and go and not being so nervous of what others might think.
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’?
My go to hairstyle while I was transitioning would have to be the bantu knot out. Lately, I’ve been experimenting more with different styles, but I can always rely on my braid out, Bantu knot out and twist out. For all the mornings when my hair hasn’t fully dried and I need to run out the door, I go to my faithful bun.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural’? Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I have had a mix of experiences with people in my life regarding my natural hair. I’ve had the “what is going on with your hair?!” reaction more than a few times. Recently, I’ve become more confident about it and now those same people ask me for natural hair tips.
My husband has been VERY supportive of the whole journey and I’m very grateful to have him. Some days when I’m really questioning a style, he’ll make me feel beautiful by making me laugh, hugging me, or putting a smile on my face with some encouraging words. He really helps bring out the creativity in me.
What is your hair regimen?
My hair regimen isn’t very extravagant, especially with life as a busy student,wife, and mom. I consider myself to be a natural mixologist; I love to experiment with my own hair products from time to time. My routine usually consists of a pre-wash treatment, a mixture of oils, yogurt or honey. I wash using the Shea Moisture Curl and Shine shampoo.
I’ve been trying out different conditioners and stylers, but my favorites so far are the Giovanni direct leave in, 50:50 conditioner, and Eco-styler gel. After washing, I’ll usually do a braid out or twist out to let my hair air-dry.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I enjoy looking at different natural hair Instagram pages, but my favorite YouTuber would have to be Naptural85. I’ve been watching her since I first looked into going natural and she has been inspiring me ever since.
Your journey will be hard sometimes but love your hair. You will find what works best for you and trust me, there is no miracle hair product for growth, etc. Try not to compare YOUR hair to others. You can be overly critical of yourself when you do. Try to have people around you that are supportive of what you are trying to accomplish. Most importantly, try to enjoy every stage of your journey. It won’t always be the easiest, but you’ll be so proud of your growth-no pun intended
Where can people find you for more information?
For tips on natural hair, being a new mom, and even healthy lifestyle advice, you can find me on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook @NaturallyMani93.