The Curl Files

The Curl Files – feat. Kenni


Left: 2011 | Right: 2013 (Transitioning)

Please introduce yourself.

Hey, I’m Kenni and beautiful people, words, and moments tickle my fancy. I was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan and currently living the military life in Las Vegas, NV. I started my natural hair journey the same time I started my military career and so far it’s been fun and rewarding.


How long have you been natural?
3 years.


What made you decide to go natural?
Growing up in Okinawa my mother and step mother who are both natives didn’t really know how to do my hair. When I was in 6th grade I got my first Japanese straightening perm and from then on I would get one every 6 months or so. When I finally flew out to basic training for the Air Force I decided I wanted to let me hair grow naturally.


Did you do the big chop or did you transition?
I actually transitioned until my natural hair was about shoulder length and then I chopped off all the permed hair.


What was the hardest part of going natural in the beginning?

The hardest part was learning how to care for my hair. I was at a disadvantage because most of my life I was so used to having straight hair.

Did you care what others would think about your hair? Do you still care?

No. I did at first but then I came to realize that as long as I was happy that’s all that matters.

How did others react to your hair in the beginning? How do they react now?

My family and friends were surprised at first; some of them didn’t like it and preferred me with straight hair. Now pretty much everyone is used to it and I even get plenty of compliments.


Left: June 2014 (“Big” Chop)| Right: June 2015

Have you faced any struggles from being natural in school or in the work place?
Being in the military there are strict guidelines on dress and appearance, including how hair is worn in the workplace. That being said I always have my hair slicked back and wrapped in a bun. Most people don’t even know what my hair looks like unless they see me outside of work. I personally don’t like having to wear my hair back all the time but luckily for those of us with natural hair, we’re allowed to wear braids and twists as long as it follows the guidelines.

What is your current hair regime?
Currently my hair regimen is simple. I usually shampoo and deep condition once a week and co-wash every other day.

What products do you love?
I love using Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, Tea Tree Hair and Body Shampoo, Conditioner, and Leave in Conditioner, Eco Style Olive Oil Gel (for when I do my hair for work), Aussie Hair Insurance Leave In Conditioner spray, Palmer’s Coconut Oil Hair Polishing Serum, Organic Coconut Oil (For deep conditioning), and Mixed Chicks straightening serum (for when I straighten my hair). 

What is/are your favorite hairstyle(s)?
Honestly, I’m still learning how to style my natural hair but because I always have to wear it pulled back for work I love just wearing my hair down.

What is your hair motto?
Take your time detangling!!! (I get frustrated and want to rush through it).

What’s the best part about being natural? What is the hardest part?

The best part about being natural is how you get to experience how versatile your hair can be, the hairstyles are endless!!! The hardest part of being natural for me personally is how sometimes I get frustrated with my hair and I get the urge to just chop all my hair off.

What tips or advice would you give others that are starting their natural hair journey or thinking about starting?

For those who are thinking about going natural, DO THE RESEARCH and BE PATIENT! I dove right into going natural and once I chopped off my hair I had to experiment what products work best with my hair type. It’s worth it to go natural but you have to put in the work to keep your hair healthy, not just the right products but proper diet as well. Good luck!



(See more from Kenni on Instagram: @Okennichiwa & on Tumblr: Ridethewave365)


What part of Kenni’s hair journey inspired you the most?

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