Please introduce yourself.
Hello, my name is Tiara! I’m 17 years old.
How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for the better part of 4 years.
What made you decide to go natural?
My mom had been “texlaxing” my hair for a while, I was young and didn’t know I had any other options. Then the natural community started popping up all over Youtube and I realized that relaxers weren’t healthy for my hair. I asked my mom to stop relaxing my hair, she agreed, and we went from there.
Did you do the big chop or did you transition?
I transitioned. The idea of cutting my hair so short at the time was a definite no.
What was the hardest part of going natural in the beginning?
The transitioning phase- having more than two curl patterns in my hair that were different textures, and not knowing what products to use.
Did you care what others would think about your hair? Do you still care?
I didn’t until people started commenting on how I should have never cut my hair, and that they wondered how long it would have been if I hadn’t cut it. Then as my hair grew longer, it grew out as well. As in it started getting bigger it looked like a triangle and I was very self conscious. I got it cut by Danielle Greene at Radically Curly, and it looked 100x better, but I still felt insecure about how big it was. I’m only just now learning to embrace it.
How did others react to your hair in the beginning? How do they react now?
Most people were very positive, with the exception of the ones mentioned above, and someone in particular who asked if I was having a bad hair day right after I got it cut. People’s reactions now make me happy. They ask if it’s a wig, and I get a lot of compliments on it.
Have you faced any struggles from being natural in school or in the workplace?
Not in school, because it was being relaxed when I was doing public school. I don’t have a job right now and sometimes I do wonder about certain places- not being hired because my hair isn’t viewed as being professional. But I’m going to Cosmetology school soon so that won’t be a problem.
What is your current hair regimen?
I alternate between twist outs and wash and go’s so it depends. But I definitely strive to deep condition once a week, and do a protein treatment once a month. Currently I’m using shampoo without sulfates to cleanse my hair once every 1 or 2 weeks.
What products do you love?
For twists, I like Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Souffle, but I’m still trying to find something that won’t leave residue. For wash and go’s I like the smoothie with the Cantu Define & Shine Custard. With that I’m trying to find something that moisturizes my hair better. For Wash Days, the shampoo and conditioner I love is Kevin Murphy’s Repair-Me Rinse & Wash. I also really like the Tresemme’s Botanique conditioner.
What is your favorite hairstyle?
It depends on my mood. If I don’t want to draw a lot of attention then twists for sure. If I’m lazy- wash and go’s.
What is your hair motto?
Find your balance!
What’s the best part about being natural? What is the hardest part?
The best thing is definitely the community, there are so many of us, we all look different, but we still get each other. Also being able to do SO many hairstyles. That’s great. The hardest part is trying not to compare yourself with other naturals or people with straight hair, and remembering that your hair is unique to you. Trying to find products that work is tough too.
What tips or advice would you give others that are starting their natural hair journey or thinking about
It’s definitely an adventure. There will be times that you get frustrated with your hair, and nothing seems to be working. If you push through you’ll find something that works great for you and you’ll be so happy. It’ll all be worth it! Remember to be gentle with your hair, and get trims when you know you need them, and don’t get caught up trying to attain a certain length. Just try to have the healthiest hair you can, and everything will work out.