Candace's Journey

1:59 PM Keenya Kelly 0 Comments

How long have you been natural?
    I have been natural for about 14 months.

What made you decide to go natural?
    This is my second time (and final attempt) to go natural.  I was natural for about year a couple years ago.  However, because of pressures from others, the job market, etc. I went back temporarily to relaxed hair.  During that time I was honestly miserable every time I passed someone with natural hair. I felt as if I had let myself down by allowing the other voices to persuade me to “look like” everyone else.  So this time around, my choice to return to my natural hair texture has been a journey to embrace my authentic self.  More and more each day I find myself falling in love with the person who God has called me to be, and doing so UNAPOLOGETICALLY!!!

What did you do to transition to Natural?
    While I was transitioning, I wore my hair in braids, kinky twists, and sew-ins for about nine months. Initially, I wasn’t actively transitioning my hair, just wanted something to give my hair a break for a while. But I after seeing my new growth, I decided to fully commit to being natural again.

Why did you opt out of the Big Chop?
    I opted out of the Big Chop this time because that was my route the first time I went natural. I’ve rocked short styles before, but that was the shortest my hair had ever been.  I absolutely hated it! So I just wanted to have a little more new growth this time...and it worked much better.

What did and do your friends and family think about you going natural?
    I was shocked at the reaction of my friends and (most of) my family this time—they really love it!! My mother still feels that I look better with relaxed hair, but she respects my personal choice.  Other than that, mostly everyone believes it’s a natural fit! J  The one complaint they would have is that I should experiment more with styling my hair…which is actually a goal of mine.

Did it matter to you?
    This time around it was just added support.  The fact that my hair was longer this time when I started wearing my natural hair is why I think they really liked the look this time. My mother and I are very close, so it did hurt a little to know that she didn’t care too much for the natural look—but my decision was made, and I’m glad that we are able to agree to disagree on this point.  One day, I hope that she will embrace her natural hair texture as well.

Have you ever had self esteem issues?
     What woman (especially black woman) hasn’t suffered from body image issues? We are constantly bombarded with articles, tips, videos, etc. subtly (many times not so subtle) telling us how to improve, enhance, and sometime totally reconstruct who we are.  So definitely this coupled with other life experiences have sought to attack my self esteem—but with God’s help I am actively combating and silencing this spirit of negativity.

A lot of women battle with needing to be light-skinned with long hair....have you ever had that issue?
     As a light-skinned girl growing up I was constantly teased for being “high yellow” and the one of the lightest in my family.  For a while I did not like my complexion and desired to be darker.  On the other hand, hair length wasn’t really an issue for me as I would cut my hair frequently. If anything my issue was that I wanted to have thicker, more full hair—but that which I couldn’t achieve, I could buy!
J It’s no longer an issue because now that I’m natural it’s much thicker!!

Do you have any challenges in your professional environment with your natural hair?
     No, thankfully there are no challenges in my professional environment. I don’t look for there to be any since I am in the process of going into entrepreneurship.

What have men said to you about your hair?
    I have not received much negativity about my hair from men. My guy close guy friends have shared that they really like my natural look, that it’s complimentary on me.

What's your favorite thing about being natural?
    My favorite thing about being natural is that it’s taught me a lot about myself…it has been an eye opening journey.

 Least Favorite thing?
    The myth that it doesn’t take as much to be natural…It definitely takes time to wash, untangle, condition, style, research products, etc. my hair.

What products have you been trying out on your hair?
    Kinky Curly Leave-in * Shea Moisture curl defining smoothie * 100% aloe vera gel * raw shea butter * olive oil * Herbal Essence’s Hello Hydration Conditioner * Suave’s Tropical Coconut conditioner

What's your Fave?
   Hello Hydration Conditioner by Herbal Essence is my fave because it melts away my tangles and leave my hair moisturized.

Least Fave?
   My least fave was the Kinky Curly curling custard…too much shrinkage and left my hair feeling crunchy when dry. Not cool!!! L

What's your hair type?
   My hair is schizophrenic…it is a combination of 4.

How often do you deep condition your hair? What do you use?
    I try to deep condition weekly. I am looking for new deep conditioner, but right now I mix Hello Hydration with olive oil and allow it to sit on my hair for 30 mins or longer. I don’t like putting a lot of heat on my hair, so normally, I just put on a plastic cap and then wrap a towel around it.

What is your weekly regimen? 
    I preface this with: “I’m still learning and tweaking my regimen to find what truly works best for me.” I shampoo my hair every 7-10 days and then deep condition and detangle my hair. Once my hair is detangled, I usually braid it into sections.  During the week, most of the times I keep my hair in some braided/plaited protected form.  On the weekend I wear my hair out—mainly because it’s hot.  Daily I do spray my hair with a water bottle (water/oil mixture; usually olive, sometimes castor oil) and add a little dab of shea butter and/or curl defining smoothie.  I co-wash my braids a couple times during the week with Hello Hydration.
What would you say to someone considering going natural or one struggling with their natural hair?     Go with your heart!!! Drown all the outside voices out, and focus in on what/who really matters—God & You!!! Then do what’s necessary to make the journey to embrace who you are authentically and unapologetically!! Love God and yourself whole heartedly!
Any final comments: 
  Far more important than any other decision we make in our lives, is the decision to REALLY & TRULY get to know Christ. I know it’s a blog about hair, but a big part of my natural hair journey has allowed me to tap into the wealth of love God has for me…and begin really showing it to myself and others. I pray that everyone has the opportunity to experience HIS TRANSFORMING POWER and LOVE!!! Be blessed.