Please introduce yourself.
My name is Mika I’m 28 years old and I’m a Sr. Internal Auditor for a gaming company in Las Vegas.
How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for seven years.
What made you decide to go natural?
I wanted healthier hair and scalp. Relaxers always burned my scalp and I had a lot of hair breakage. I I figured natural hair would help me grow longer, healthier hair.
Did you do the big chop or did you transition?
I wasn’t brave enough to do a big chop so I transitioned. I wish I would’ve done the big chop. That would’ve made the process a lot easier. So now I recommend to anyone that goes natural to just fully embrace it and cut it all off!
What was the hardest part of going natural in the beginning?
The hardest part was learning my hair texture and accepting it for what it was. I had to understand that certain natural styles would not work with my texture, which happens to be a tight 4c texture mostly throughout my entire head. I do have looser curl patterns in certain sections of my head. I also had to accept the length of my hair for what it was while I was transitioning which was hard to do as a new natural who experienced I’d say at least 75% shrinkage.
Did you care what others would think about your hair? Do you still care?
At first I did care a lot about what others would think about my hair personally and professionally. I think I worried a lot about my employers and what they would say about my hair since I work in a corporate/professional setting. I’m seven years into my natural hair journey and I can now confidently say I no longer care what people think of my natural hair. However, I will say I’m glad I decided to participate in this because I realized trying to look back and find pictures of my natural hair journey I didn’t have quite as many as I should. I still wore a lot of weaves up until 2014 because I was not confident with my hair, and had this ideal image of what my hair should look like. It was not until I decided to cut a majority of my hair off in December 2014 and do a tapered hairstyle that I truly started to embrace my hair! I take a lot of pride and have a lot of confidence when it comes to my natural hair now. I’ve noticed that I accept my hair for what it is, embrace it, and typically let it do whatever it wants. This didn’t happen overnight, but I can say now I love my natural hair!
How did others react to your hair in the beginning? How do they react now?
Hmm…this was so long ago haha. I’m pretty sure I had mixed reactions. Some people thought it was awesome, and others did not. Now, people surprisingly react pretty positively when it comes to my hair, and that probably has a lot to do with the confidence that I have with my hair now. Also, a lot more black women are wearing their natural hair now which I think is great.
Have you faced any struggles from being natural in school or in the workplace?
I thought I would have a lot of struggles in the workplace, and I’ve always worried about an employer or potential employer making a comment about my hair, but thankfully I haven’t had that experience. Hopefully I’ll never have that experience. The main struggle I’ve had over the seven years is finding a product that worked great on my hair, and testing out different natural styles. Every natural knows the anxiety of trying out a new style and it either not turning out great, or we thought it looked better than it actually did haha. It’s not until we go back and look back at old photos, and cringe at what we thought was a good style, but that’s part of the process!
What is your current hair regimen?
It took me a LONG time to find a hair regimen that worked really well for my hair because moisture has always been a problem living in the desert. I usually try and wash my hair whenever I notice a lot of product build up, or it starts looking really dry which has ended up being at least every two weeks.
I start with adding coconut oil to my hair as a pre-poo and letting that sit on my hair for at least 30 minutes. I use Design Essentials Natural Almond & Avocado shampoo and leave-in conditioner. Sealing in moisture while I either rod set, twist, or braid out is important. So I moisturize my scalp with jamaican black castor oil and will seal my ends with it as well. I also use a luxury oil and honey dip creme(New Outlook Beauty Concepts) that my hair stylist makes to moisturize my hair. To set my curls I use Ecostyler gel that has argan/olive oil in it.
I typically try to use minimal heat on my hair so I let my hair air dry and then will take down my hair in the morning. From day to day I either use an oil or a cream on my hair as needed depending on how dry it looks, but I usually can’t go a day without applying some type of moisture. Writing this seems like a lot and it is, but this is what I’ve found through trial and error that really seems to work well for my hair.
What products do you love?
I mostly stick with the products that I mentioned in the previous question. Very rarely do I introduce new products since it took me so long to find a regimen that really worked for me. I’m scared adding anything new will mess up my progress. Until this regimen no longer works I’ll be sticking with those products. There is one new product that I discovered recently that I like to use to re-braid or twist my hair, and that is the Keraveda Creme Brulee. I love the smell of the product and the shine and moisture it adds to my hair.
What is your favorite hairstyle?
When my hair was shorter I really liked flexi rod sets which I still do from time to time, but now I really love a good braid out so I can get that full big hair effect.
What is your hair motto?
The bigger the hair the better!
What’s the best part about being natural? What is the hardest part?
I love the freedom of being natural and I like the versatility. There are so many hair styles and techniques so there’s always something new to learn. The hardest part about being natural is wash day lol, and I think every natural would agree with me.
What tips or advice would you give others that are starting their journey or thinking about starting?
Stick with it, and really try and find what products and techniques work best for YOUR hair. Accept your hair for what it is, no matter what your texture is. Whether it’s a loose 3a/3c or a tight 4b/4c it’s all beautiful so just embrace it and have fun! And be patient!
What would you tell your younger self about your natural hair?
Your hair doesn’t have to be straight to be beautiful.
How has wearing your natural hair changed/influenced your style?
My natural hair has changed/influenced my style so much. I’m more willing to take a chance on styles I never would have before, and it has allowed me to be able to express myself more with my style. My natural hair is like another accessory to me now when I put an outfit together, and I think it makes getting dressed up more fun!