The Curl Files

The Curl Files – Feat. Keisha

 Left: Apr 2012 | Right: Dec 2014

Please introduce yourself. 
Hi, my name is Keisha! I’m from the city of Chicago and I’m currently in my last year of college. I started my natural hair journey during the beginning of my college career and it’s been an awesome experience! I’m looking forward to sharing my natural hair journey with everyone.

How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for about 3 years now.


What made you decide to go natural?
My first reason for going natural was so I could embrace my natural hair texture. Growing up, I was always embarrassed to have big, frizzy, curly hair…maybe because I grew up going to predominantly white schools…But with that being said, all throughout middle school and high school I wanted my hair straight as a stick. I also thought it was easier to manage at the time. When I did wear my hair curly every now and then, people either loved it or some questioned it…for example, “is that you real hair? Why is it so frizzy?” But as I entered college and I saw girls rocking the natural look on campus, it gave me the confidence to do so as well! The second reason for going natural was to obtain healthy growing hair. After straightening and coloring my hair for years, my hair was completely damaged. When I first started wearing my hair curly, my curl pattern was all over the place. I wanted to have defined, moisturized, bouncy curls. So after trial and error with hair products and staying away from heat (flat irons and blow dryers) for about a year, I started to achieve my dream curl pattern.


Did you do the big chop or did you transition?
After a lot of thought, I decided to go straight into transitioning instead of doing the big chop. At the beginning of my transition, I didn’t see the need of doing the big chop. But I’m going to be honest…the big chop terrified me since I’ve always seen myself with long hair. But after routinely taking care of my hair and getting trims every 4-6 weeks, my hair still turned out pretty healthy!


What was the hardest part of going natural in the beginning?
I think it was the “up keep” of it all. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty lazy at first. I didn’t want to put in the effort to obtain the curls I really wanted. And since my hair is pretty long, it tends to get quickly tangled and if I don’t detangle it right away…let’s just say that I’ll be detangling for awhile; but in the beginning of my journey, I let it get to that point quite often which is CRAZY! No worries though, I’ve gotten a lot better! I detangle my hair pretty much every night before I go to sleep.


Did you care what others would think about your hair? Do you still care?
Growing up I cared a lot about what others thought about my hair. I don’t why but I always thought that people thought it looked “nappy” or “untamed.” But now that I’m embracing my natural hair, I honestly don’t mind what others think about my hair!


How did others react to your hair in the beginning? How do they react now?
I got SOO many reactions during the beginning of my transition. I would get things like, “Wow, your hair looks great!” or “What did you do to your hair?” or “Is this your natural hair?” or “I LOVE IT!!” I honestly wasn’t expecting all of the reactions but it made me realize that I was hiding my natural hair for a long time. As my journey continues, I still get many reactions…like how my curl pattern has changed or how bouncy my curls are! It’s a good feeling when people of all cultures compliment my hair as well.


Have you faced any struggles from being natural in school or in the workplace?
Thankfully I haven’t faced any struggles with being natural in school or in the workplace. The only struggle I’ve had is getting my hair to fit under my work hat (LOL) but other than that, I’ve been very thankful that I haven’t been discriminated against due to my hair.



Left: Aug 2015 | Right: Nov 2015


What is your current hair regimen?
To be completely honest, my hair regimen/routine is not very consistent…let’s just say it’s still a working progress (lol). As of now, I try to wash and condition my hair at least once and week. For the other days of the week, I like to keep my hair detangled as well as moisturized by braiding it every night before I go to sleep. Then every 4-6 weeks I go to my hair stylist (shout out to Kay at Panache Hair Salon!) and she gives me an awesome deep condition as well as a much-needed trim.


What products do you love? 
After trying to find the right products, I’m currently obsessed with Cantu Coconut Curling Cream for Natural Hair, Curls Crunch-Free Curl Definer by Paul Mitchell and Mizani’s True Textures Perfect Curl. After washing/wetting my hair, I usually mix these three products together, distributing the product throughout my hair. Once the product is distributed, I brush/comb throughout my hair and once my hair dries, I’m left with a bouncy, defined curl pattern!


What is your favorite hairstyle?
My favorite hairstyle is with my hair down and parted to the side. It’s quite simple and it’s pretty much my every day hairstyle. To spice it up, I might pin one side of my hair behind my ear or I might do a half up/half down ponytail.


What is your hair motto?
“The bigger the hair, the harder they stare.”


What’s the best part about being natural? What is the hardest part?
I think the best part about being natural is being able to experiment with different products as well as all of the different hairstyles that can be done with natural hair (bantu knots, twists, etc.) Although I’m not that advanced in the area of hair styling, I plan to just practice and try out some different hairstyles! I also just love to embrace my curls. My hair honestly makes me beautiful and I want my fellow naturalists to feel the same way! The hardest part about being natural is the “up keep” of it all. There are days where I don’t feel like washing or detangling my hair but I continue to tell myself that if I want healthy hair, I have to be willing to put in the work.

What tips or advice would you give others that are starting their natural hair journey or thinking about
Just be patient, don’t give up, and never stick to just one hair product!



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