HairStory- Ashley O.

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Transitioned for 8 Months

1. How long have you been natural?

I will have been four years natural on September 18, 2012.

2. Why and how did you go natural? (Did you transition? What products and styles did you use?)
I was tired of being restricted to straight hair and wanted more diversity. I transitioned with kinky twists and other transition styles such as rod sets and sew-ins. The products that I used at that time were Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme and Aveda Be Curly.

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3. Did you transition long term or do the big chop? Why?
I transitioned for eight months and big chopped down to an Afro that was about three inches long. I was tired of transitioning and was anxious to see my natural curl pattern, so once I felt I had a decent length, I had the stylist do the chop.

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4. Tell us about your hair regimen. What products and techniques do you use?  How do you keep your hair moisturized?
I typically wash my hair every two weeks when I’m not wearing a protective style like I typically do. I wash my hair with Shea Moisture’s Argan Oil and Shea Butter shampoo.  I divide my hair in about six sections, detangle and wash each individually using a shampoo/water mixture that’s in a spray bottle. When conditioning, I use a mixture of Kinky Curly’s Knot Today and coconut oil for moisture. I detangle with a Denman brush small sections at a time and then style however.  My hair usually air drys and I always tie it up with a satin scarf and bonnet before bed.

Bantu Knots

5. How would you describe this experience?
At first my regimen seemed to take a long time and I would dread having to do my hair, but with time it has become easy and manageable in a way that doesn’t seem typical for the amount of hair that I have.

5. What was others response to your naturality?
At first I would get lots of stares because I was known for my long hair and it was short.  Now that I have my length again, the response is remarkable! I’m constantly being asked about my regimen, styles, products, etc.  I’ve even been featured on some natural hair websites and other forms of media, so my hair has definitely been an absolute blessing.

6. Who was your biggest influence/support?  How did they provide support during your natural hair transition?
I had some friends that were natural while I was transitioning and some that were hair stylists at that time that would recommend ways to transition.  They would also look at how much progress I had made and let me know what to expect during the process.  I also stayed on many websites during the transition to find advice and ways to deal with handling two textures of hair.

7. What have you learned since being natural (about yourself, your hair and other people)?
I’ve learned that I like diversity and that I can have it more than I ever imagined with my natural hair. I have realized that I can do my own hair rather than depending on others all the time, even though I definitely go to a stylist about every other month. I also learned that people will always have something to say, so you have to do what makes you happy and do it with pride!

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8. What advice would you give to those transitioning or concerning natural?
BE PATIENT, do what works for you and understand that everyone’s hair is different, so what may work for one might not work for the other, but that’s completely ok. Embrace it, try different styles and keep it healthy!

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