Florida Natural Antoinette has been sporting her Natural hair for four years and wears it well. Her candid profile echoes truths that many of us have experienced when contemplating going natural. Through trial and error she has learned how to master her beautiful mane. Hopefully her profile will inspire you and answer some questions you may have about your own hair. Here’s her story.
ONHN: Hi Antoinette, how long have you been wearing your hair natural?
I’ve been wearing my hair natural for about four years.
ONHN: What inspired you to go Natural?
I’ve had a perm since I was four years old. I’ve always wanted to go natural since I was a little girl but it wasn’t until my sister went natural and I saw how well her hair did that I was inspired to go natural too.
ONHN: Did you transition or did you do the Big Chop?
I did a long transition. For the first two years I wore it braided or the front braided and the back out with the crimped look. I would look at how much growth I had and I would cut it about every two weeks. Actually, I wouldn’t recommend transitioning like this but instead doing the big chop. It was really difficult for me to keep the two textures from getting tangled after washing. I braid hair so I was able to manage braiding the two textures but it wasn’t easy. My sister (Tamara Floyd – Founder of Natural Hair Rules!!! ) has been natural for 6-8 yrs and she did it with the big chop. She’s cut her hair at least twice since she’s been natural and her hair is about the same length as mine.
ONHN: How does wearing your Natural hair make you feel?
I like it a lot – I feel more comfortable now that it is a longer length. I was a little self conscious at first because I was used to wearing straight styles. I was just not used to wearing my natural hair out and it not be straightened. When I started wearing it out and getting compliments it gave me more confidence. Also going on facebook and YouTube and reading others testimonials gave me more confidence.
ONHN: Do you feel the same (emotionally) as when you wore straight styles?
No – I would say I feel better. When I think about how I can wear my own hair naturally without a relaxer it’s really a blessing. A lot of people don’t realize why Black women stated getting relaxers. Also people think that darker complexions aren’t beautiful. Wearing my natural hair has defiantly raised my self esteem … knowing that you are beautiful as you are and not how someone wants you to be.
ONHN: How do strangers men/women alike, react to your natural hair?
All kinds of people, races stop me at work or the grocery store to chat with me about my hair – They really like the curls .
ONHN: What was the reaction from spouse/family/friends/co-workers when you went natural?
I actually had one friend that would tell me to go get a relaxer all the time. She’s still one of my friends but I don’t see her that often now because I moved to another state and she’s in another country now. She obviously didn’t convince me. Once I have my mind set on something its set. .
ONHN: Have your personal relationships changed since going natural?
Men like my natural hair – especially with the length. Where I live in Florida there are a lot of men with locs and they really admire my hair.
ONHN: What is the greatest discovery you have made about your natural hair? I love the way that I can get it to lay down. I’ve had a relaxer since I was four (4). My mom used to always tell us she should not have relaxed it since we had really curly hair. Once I discovered my curl, and how I could keep it curly with the right gels and moisturizers I really began to love it. When I had the two textures while transitioning I could not get the new growth to lay down right. Now I know it was because of the two different textures.
ONHN: Do you know what texture hair you have (3/4 a-b ect?). Also please share your hair’s ethnic heritage?
I’m really not sure what texture hair that I have. If I had to guess I would say a 3b maybe. I’m definitely all African American. My Great grandmother was born in 1908 and she was mixed – her hair texture was very soft but still more of like an afro.
ONHN: Which is easier for you to manage – your natural or chemically treated hair?
Now that I actually know what to do – my natural hair is easier to manage. The first two (2) years I was on my own. If I would have known what I know now it would have been a lot easier for me (smile.)
ONHN: How did you get so knowledgeable?
I kept trying different things, looking at things on my sisters’ blog site (Antoinette’s sister is Tamara – founder of Black Hair Rules!!!) and other natural websites and on you tube. There were no books to help me. Most natural hair books/magazines were really just natural hair with weaves – no advice on how to care for my natural hair.
Antoinette’s Hair Regimen
ONHN: What are your favorite products?
My number one product is Olive Oil because it’s really great for my hair. I use the grocery store brand or purchase tubes of it from my local beauty supply store. I also use a lot of alcohol free gels like IC Fantasia, DooGro Oil and I use Olive Oil sheen spray in my hair several times a day.
ONHN: How long did it take you to find your staple products?
I use a lot of alcohol free gels and I didn’t learn of those until about 2 years ago.
ONHN: What is your current wash / condition routine?
I shampoo my hair maybe every 4-6months depending on if the hair is dirty or greasy. I usually just rinse my hair with water and massage the scalp for about 15 minutes and then use conditioners and let my hair sit with a cap on for about 15-30 minutes, after that I rinse the conditioner out. The reason I rarely shampoo is because it dries out my hair. The key to natural hair isn’t what products you use; it’s about keeping your hair moisturized. Because my hair tends to get dry a lot I spray oil olive oil sheen in my hair 2-3 times a day and I apply pure olive oil daily or every other day- It really depends on the humidity in the air on how much oil I need.
ONHN: Do you use color on your hair, if so how does it affect your hair and how do you treat it.
I don’t use color on my hair.
ONHN: What do you do when you need a change? Do you straighten your hair?
I rarely straighten my hair. When I want a change or a break I do wear weaves or wigs sometimes just to give my hair a break. Wigs are also good for your hair if you feel that you are having a lot of breakage. If I wear a wig I conditioner with (Doo Grow) every week. I wouldn’t recommend glue on or lace fronts.
ONHN: What motivates you to stay natural?
I love my natural hair and I feel better knowing that it’s my real hair in its’ natural state. My hair was long when it was relaxed but it wasn’t as healthy as it is now.
ONHN: What are your favorite sites for learning about Natural Hair?
I like my sister Tamara blog – www.NaturalHairRules.blogspot.com – and she really is my sister
ONHN: Finally, what advice would you give to someone who was thinking about going natural?
Keep your hair moisturized and GO FOR IT!
ONHN: Antoinette, thank you for sharing your story with Our Natural Hair Nation where we strive to Inspire Women to embrace the Freedom of their Natural Hair.