Natural Hair Crush of the Week is finally back with the first installment of 2012!
I am thrilled to introduce you to Shanti, the beautiful co-editor in chief of the natural hair blog ‘A Curls Best Friend’.
Shanti and I initially met at the Curly Girl Collective: Curl Crush event a couple months ago. I was instantly drawn to her beautiful mane and warm personality!! I was super excited when she agreed to be my first hair crush of 2012! Check out her hair journey below.
NB: Please introduce yourself.
“Hello all! My name is Shanti. I am 25 years old and a student at Temple University studying biology with intention of becoming a pathologist assistant. I am a mother and co-editor of the natural hair blog A Curl’s Best Friend (which is soon to be called something else!).”
NB:What is your occupation?
“I am currently lucky enough to take some time off of work and school to be a full time mother to my daughter.”
NB: Song that describes your natural hair.
“I think the song that best describes my natural hair is Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved”. These lyrics really resonate with my journey towards loving my hair. I love my hair and I can love and respect other’s hair preferences as well.”
“Don’t let them fool ya,
Or even try to school ya! Oh, no!
We’ve got a mind of our own,
So go to hell if what you’re thinking is not right!
Love would never leave us alone,
A-yin the darkness there must come out to light.
Don’t let them change ya, oh! –
Or even rearrange ya! Oh, no!
We’ve got a life to live.
They say: only – only –
Only the fittest of the fittest shall survive –
Stay alive! Eh!
|This picture is everything!! Gorg!
NB: Finish the following statement: “Natural hair makes me feel .”
“..like an agent for change.”
NB: When did you transition from relaxed to natural?
“I never permed my hair. My journey has been one of transition from damage and lack of self-esteem to health and confidence. Around the spring of 2009 I decided to cut my hair. At the time I was going to a salon and the cut was made with the intention that I would only wear it straight. In between straightening sessions I would wet my hair and see that I had a head of curls. I decided to stop straightening from that point on a deal with my hair as it grows out of my head. I began doing a lot of research and trying various styles and products. As my hair grew and proper techniques were solidified, I learned to love my natural hair. The more I loved my hair the more others responded to it as well. I have not turned back since!”
NB: What’s been the most challenging part of being natural?
“I think the most challenging part as with anything that it worthwhile is the slow, confusing, trying beginning. Everyone wants instant funk, instant length, instant health and instant knowledge! It doesn’t work like that. It takes time, effort, trial and error and patience. My biggest hair issue has been the center of my head. It is also the greatest testimony that I have in favor of going natural. ALL MY LIFE the center of my head had been dry, brittle, porous and short. Not until I began my “natural” healthy hair journey did I realize that I had to really pay attention to and cater to the needs of my hair. I had to learn to be gentle and consistent. I had to research and understand new concepts such as porosity, pH levels, deep conditioning etc. That was a challenge but that center now is growing out normally and healthily!”
NB: What is your current natural hair regimen? (What do you do to take care of your hair, ie washing, conditioning etc.)
“Currently I use a non-sulfate shampoo from L’Oreal. (I cleanse my hair once a week and in sections of 2)
I ALWAYS finger detangle.
I deep condition when my
boss baby blesses me with an extended nap. I usually use Earth Science Avocado and Olive oil DC.
I moisturize with Kinky Curly Knot Today as a Leave In
I seal with castor Oil.
I style my damp hair in 6 flat twists and dry them overnight.
I take them down and style in whatever fashion I fancy for the day.”
NB: Describe your personal style.
“For a while I feel like I have become rather grungy. You will find me often in shorts or skirts with tights and plain tees or sweaters, black army boots or Durango boots on my feet. As of late, I really want to change my wardrobe to become more feminine and classic. I love 1940-60’s era clothing so I am working on revamping my style a bit.”
NB: What do you do when having a bad hair day?
“Honey, I put a high bun so fast on top of my head and I am good to go!”
NB: Any thing you wish you would’ve known before transitioning?
“I wish I knew what the hell porosity meant!”
NB: What is your go to hairstyle?
“I have been wearing a twist out with a retro bang daily. I need to stop though because the loose hairstyles with collard winter jackets cause mad tangles in the back of my hair. It is a nightmare!”
NB: Have you experienced any resistance to your natural hair from men? Do they embrace it or fight it?
“All the men in my life have been supportive of my natural hair beginning with my father. As a young girl under 14, I knew not to come in the house with straight hair. I never forget trying to sneak in after my friend’s mom hot combed my hair. I was sent right to the shower!
The father of my daughter was also a cheerleader of my curls in the early days. I could always count on him to compliment my hair upon each encounter.”
NB: What is your favorite part about being natural?
“I love the comradery that natural hair brings. It is a topic in which women can find commonality and comfort in each other. Competition and rivalry is less common and expected. It also is a great beginning to helping someone find a greater appreciation and value in their self-perception and acceptance.”
NB: In what ways do you incorporate your personal sense of style into styling your natural hair?
“It is not really a deliberate thing. No matter what I am wearing the curls are going to be there.”
NB: Craziest thing someone has said about your hair in the street….
“Nothing too wild has ever happened to me. Once I was on the sidewalk after a concert and a car stopped in the middle of the street. A loud, thin, white guy popped his head out of the car and screamed a compliment “ Your hair is awesome!” That’s about it!”
NB :Who is your hair crush?
“I am a polygamous when it comes to curl crushes. I love Nicole from the deceased blog “Moptop Maven”, Tracee Ellis Ross, Esperanza Spalding and the lady who plays Nia Long’s BFF in ‘Love Jones’.”
NB: What inspires you to continue on your natural hair journey?
“My baby girl is my inspiration.”
NB: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered during your transition from relaxed to natural?
“I suppose the biggest obstacle was accepting my curls as they were and realizing that no magic product or technique was out there to change them. Once I fully accepted that as reality, my growth process figuratively and physically sped up!”
NB: Best natural hair advice you can offer someone who is transitioning.
“Do your homework! If your hair is dry research porosity, pH levels, henna, silk pillowcases etc. Don’t give up easily. You have to do your research and listen to your hairs needs.”
NB: Tell me what makes you naturally glamorous.
“My overall intention in my style and hair is effortlessness. I’m not trying to say too much or do too much.”
NB: Anything else you would like to add?
“Mind over matter. Be deliberate in
re-conditioning and re-structuring your ideas and images of what beauty is because quite frankly the bombardment of European beauty ideals are so deeply rooted that we don’t even know why we dislike our natural selves.”
Shanti currently resides in Philly and is a student at Temple University.
Want to hear more from Shanti?? Find her writing on her blog with her bestie Antoinette at Acurlsbf.com