1. Which Caribbean Island are you from?
I’m from the Commonwealth of Dominica, which is located between the two french islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.
2. How long have you been natural? I’ve been natural for One year and six months.
3. Why did you decide to go natural?
I decided to go natural after I observed that my hair wasn’t doing well with the relaxer. It wasn’t thriving or growing in a way that was satisfactory to me. I also saw the movie “Good Hair” which caused me to start researching about natural hair and how to grow, style and take care of my natural hair. Over the course of a few weeks I sealed my decision to transition and start my journey back to natural hair, which was a very interesting and some what roller coaster experience.
4. Do you find it difficult to acquire products your hair likes where you live?
Yes I do find it difficult, however I’m not a product junkie but whenever I see a product online that one of my friends may recommend or that I read about on a blog and might want to try out on my hair it is quite difficult to find it in the stores here. Ordering it online is the only option and often times it is quite difficult and almost impossible to have it shipped to me.
5. What are some of the products your hair likes?
My hair loves Coconut oil, Castor oil, Argan oil, Garnier Fructis Intensely Smooth Leave-In Conditioning Cream and Coconut Milk.
6. Do you find your natural hair more difficult to take care of than relaxed hair?
No. I don’t find natural hair more difficult to take care of than relaxed hair. I just find that with natural hair there is more meticulous care that needs to be placed on it and also due to the fact that people with natural hair do a lot of their hair care at home it might seem longer or more difficult as opposed to always going to the hair salon to get your relaxed hair done by someone else.
7. Is taking care of your natural hair expensive?
It seems a bit more expensive to take care of than relaxed hair because I go through conditioners really quickly as compared to when my hair was relaxed. I’m learning about a few plants and flowers right here in my country which I could substitute as conditioner and shampoo. However when I really analyse it, I realize that the amount of money I spent at the hair salon that I don’t have to spend now, might just be equivalent to the amount I spend now. I don’t spend a lot on things like my oils, my coconut oil is made by my aunt and my mom and we get the coconuts from our farm.
8. What’s the best and worst thing about your hair?
The best thing about my hair is its texture. I love that it’s really soft and manageable. I love that it has curl definition but also the fact that when I wear it in a ponytail it stays down really well without having ‘flyaways.’ The worst thing about my hair is the fact that it has so much ‘jump’ it shrinks a lot. When it’s wet you can see its true length and I really wish it would remain at that length but once it gets dry it becomes almost half its actual length.
9. Did your lifestyle change once you decided to go natural?
I would say my lifestyle changed to some extent. For example I adjusted the way I ate, I’m always looking to eat things that will aid in promoting the health of my hair and growth of my hair. So when I go to get foods at the stores I ensure that they will not interfere with my hairs health as well as the health of my body. Another way my lifestyle has changed due to going natural is that I spend a longer time at the supermarket because I end up taking extra time reading labels to ensure that the ingredients that are included won’t harm me or my hair. I also workout even harder and more often now not only for my physical health but to promote my hair growth and health also. Going to the beach or river isn’t a hassle anymore because my hair is natural so I worry less about my relaxer getting washed out or when I wore extensions that they will get messed up cause of getting it wet. I’d say being natural has helped make my lifestyle a bit less complicated in some areas and a little more complicated in other areas.
10. Any tips/words of encouragement for other Caribbean Naturals?
I’d say to my other Caribbean Naturals or those thinking about going natural to ‘just do it’. Don’t think about what others will say or that other people might make fun of you just go ahead and make the best decision for the health of your hair. The truth is relaxers are not the best thing to put on your hair. Don’t do it for fashion or style just do it for healthy natural hair. Think of yourself in the future when you’re in your 60′s whether you would want a full head of hair or a head with patches from the damaging effects of relaxers. Read a lot about growing and taking care of your natural hair because the truth is no one else will be able to do as good a job with your hair as you can. Eat healthy because what we eat is also an important part in growing and keeping our hair healthy.
Keep in mind that there might be off hair days, so once you are having a bad natural hair day and you are tempted to get a bottle of relaxer first call up another ‘naturalista’ who has been or is going through the same journey as you and tell them what’s going on in your head, most likely they will give you some encouragement and help get you to focus on the reason you went natural in the first place. Remember that there will always be other people who have negative remarks to make once you decide to wear your hair natural again, but be strong and don’t let the negativity break you.
Finally the natural hair journey is an interesting and life changing one. The experience will be different for each one of us but what’s for sure is that if you keep a positive mind set throughout, the experience will be a wonderful and fulfilling one and you will even realize that going natural is more than just about hair. The experience of going against the ‘hair’ norm and embracing your natural hair beauty will help make you a stronger person and discover things about yourself that you didn’t even know existed within you.
Cheers to naturals!