Hair and Healing the Spirit with Julia Inglis

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The more I learn about hair and culture and ancestry, the more interested I find myself in the question of hair and spirit. A few months ago, I asked a question about Hair and Spirit. I was curious about the stories out there that illustrate the link between our hair and our spirits and identities, stories that bring the truth of this link to the surface.

A dear woman healer that I know of and admire very much named Julia Inglis of Sacred Familiar raised her hand over the internet and said, “I may have something to share.”

Julia is an ancestral healer through folklore, storytelling and mythology. She lives in the forest in Australia where she makes medicine dolls, woven and felted characters containing natural elements and found fibers created to assist in the healing journey of an individual.

 

Julia Inglis clearly spends a lot of time thinking about the energetics of fiber and the spirit within, and she offers today her thoughts and a beautifully woven story on a topic that sits deeply in her heart, on hair and spirit and healing, and the women of the Magdalene Laundries.

The Magdalene laundries were Asylums set up by the Catholic
Church in the 18-20th centuries in England, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the US for what they considered ‘ Wayward Women’…….Unwed, pregnant out of wedlock, women who lived alternatively to the normal standards of the day. Much like persecution of the Witches, the Magdelene Laundries served to enslave women who wouldn’t submit to the patriarchal oppression of the Catholic Church.

Julia Inglis has made it a mission to honor these women in her work, through story and creation of dolls to commemorate the lives of those effected. Here are her words on Hair, Spirit and Healing, through the experience of the Women of the Magdelene Laundries. Lets all take a moment to make room for these stories in our hearts so that we may never forget.

 

Hmmm hair and spirit feel forever linked to me. As if the tendrils of our hair are always in constant contact with spirit, moving and communicating with the atmosphere around us and holding ancient memory and DNA. Our hair can feel so electric, it can be a way to sense energy and spirit in a room – the hairs on arms stand up, the hairs on our head prickle and become alert. I watch this a lot in animals too – the way hairs stand up on a dog’s back when it becomes aware of needing to be alert, to investigate or when danger is near. I see hair more like our own personal fiber, our fur, our fleece. It is alive and full of creative possibility. I see the work you do Roxie and it reminds me of weaving with fibres. The braiding is perhaps a way of us to connect to and remember  ancestral arts like weaving and feeling the living and creative spark that lives in our hair.

And there is so much in our hair that is familiar, people can recognise our own individual scent by smelling our hair, we can remember them. When someone we love is returned to us we hug them tight and often without thinking, smell their hair. On the day a baby is born they are passed through the arms of those who love them, each relative taking turns to hold the baby and smell their hair. We do it without thinking but I believe this is very old, that we are taking this moment to imprint the memory of their smell so that we will always know them, we will always recognise them and know how to find them again.

This ritual and deep memory of hair and it’s connection to us runs through a lot of my work. I create spirit dolls as companions and friends to anyone in need and I make an effort to work with fleece and fiber from loving farms. I like to the know the people gathered the fiber and how much they love their animals. My own ancestors, for many generations were spinners and weavers and wool workers in Scotland but I only began to work with fibre 4 years ago when I moved to Sherbrooke Forest.

The forest began to heal my own pain, and anxiety and as my mind quietened, my hands had an urge to craft. A friend showed me how to needle felt a woollen and from the moment I began, I have never stopped. And the first thing I did was bend my head and smell the wool. It was just as important to smell as to feel it, it still feels the only true way to recognise it. From the moment I held the fibre in my hand, it was as if I already knew what to do. And it was as if my hands had been longing to return to this ancestral craft.

I became obsessed with learning about fibre and ancestral textiles. I began sourcing all kind of fibers – plant fibres such as nettle and ramie dyed naturally with ancient dye plants such as woad and madder. And fiber from wool workers and farmers from around the world that were working to bring rare breeds of ancestral sheep and goats back from the brink of extinction. The same animals that had lived on the land with our ancestors, and provided them with fleece for clothing and blankets and fine weaving were now in danger.

I became aware of this movement of preserving and caring for ‘rare breeds’ and when I could I created dolls with this wool and fiber, so happy that in a small way I could help to assist in their preservation and I was also aware of this ancient memory in the fiber and the hair of this ancient bloodline living on in a doll and bringing the magic of that land and it’s stories to the doll’s new keepers.

Rare breeds. I thought about this a lot as I made the dolls and carried on the work I had been dedicating my time to for the last 10 years, the work of Swan Blessing. Swan Blessing is the name of the personal and group sessions I hold for women to heal the memory of shame and fear from times of persecution of the women for working as healers, witches, midwives, herbalists. This ceremony works to clear the trauma in the female lineage of the Burning Times and the asylums and institutions that patriarchy built to contain, jail and silence the outspoken and wild women, the orphans and outcast, and the misdiagnosed psychics and mentally ill. The ceremony works not only to heal past life memories but also the collective memory of what happens to women who speak out, are different, are natural healers or unmarried mothers or women who have a healthy relationship to their own sexuality.  Over the years of travelling and offering this ceremony to hundreds of women I kept hearing again and again how it was believed it was safer to be hidden, to work undercover and to not be found.

In 2013, six months after making my first doll, I began to dream about the women of the Magdalene Laundries. I had known about these Catholic institutions where women and children were locked up and forced to wash laundry from morning to night without pay, poor food and very little if any education. This was their punishment for being too outspoken, too attractive and bringing too much attention to themselves, for being homeless and for being pregnant without a husband. 

The Magdalene Laundries named for Mary Magdalene the redeemed prostitute and sinner in the eyes of the church were meant to be places of penitence for ‘fallen women’. Ah yes, you may say, well this happened in the Victorian years and you are right – but did you know that the last Magdalene Laundry in Ireland only closed it’s doors in 1996? Many survivors of these cruel and damaging institutions are living among us now.

The dreams about these institutions grew stronger and stronger until one day I knew that I must gather at the site of the old Magdalene Laundry at the Abbotsford Convent here in my home in Melbourne, Australia and hold a ceremony to not only let the spirits of the women who were abused there know that they were loved but to also heal ourselves of the invisible chains that are still keeping us quiet, unseen, and afraid.

One of the first things that was taken from you when you were incarcerated in the Laundries was your hair. It was cut roughly and as punishment – hair was seen as women’s vanity – another sin. There is a history of women having their heads shaved before entering prison, asylums, during wartime as punishment and even when women became sick.

I once made a doll for a grandmother in her 80s and the doll had long, long plaits. She told her granddaughter that she cried when she saw her because it reminded her of her own hair that had been cut because it was seen as ‘draining her health’ when she was a little girl and she’d never really gotten over it.

I have spoken to survivors of the Laundries and they have all spoken about the huge trauma and degradation of having their hair removed or even changed without their permission and under force. It is almost one of the strongest memories of their time there. It was a way to break the spirit of a wild young woman the moment she stepped through the door and it was affective.

Hair and the way we choose to wear it is so personal. It is not like clothing or fashion. It grows from us. It carries our DNA and ancient memory from our great grandmothers. The church did everything it could to cut ties and family bonds. A sure way to help break a familiar bond is to tell a family a lie about their daughter and how evil she is and then present to them (if they were actually allowed to visit), a child that no longer resembled their daughter in any way.

It is much easier to disconnect when we can no longer recognise the one we used to love. When a baby animal is born to a sick or grieving mother, it doesn’t get enough nutrients for it’s hair and it is born with what is called a ‘fever coat’. The fever coat is dull and lifeless and usually lacks vitality and colour. I think of these young girls ripped away from their families and away from their own mothers and many of them pregnant with their own babies, terrified and worked into the ground and fed so little. 

I imagine their families finally getting a visit with their daughters in the Magdalene institutions and hugging these abused unrecognisable girls and leaning in to smell their chopped off hair and instead smelling not their child but a fever coat. Another link and memory lost. Not your daughter any longer but a different creature entirely who no longer looks like your own or even smiles like it. In her place an unfamiliar and sickly creature that has no trace of the wild spirited girl that once lived inside.

A couple of years ago I began a project called Dolls for the Outcast – travelling to places of trauma neglect and leaving a spirit doll made from pure and loved fibers for the spirits who had lived through those events and also dolls for the living survivors. I have gifted dolls to survivors here in Australia and travelled to the Cross Bones Graveyard in London, once known as a Magdalene Grave for the prostitutes of Southwark who were not allowed to be buried in consecrated ground even though they had to pay the Bishop to work on the streets of his borough.

It was a huge joy to see a doll I made for the women of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland come to live with survivor, activist of Forgotten Mothers, Terri Harrison. In the video I received of Terri holding the doll she is constantly caressing and smoothing down the doll’s hair with great affection. Nothing could have made me happier than to see this moment.

I am now going even deeper with this theme of returning hair to the women and children of the Magdalene Laundries by beginning a new project called the Memory Shawl. It is my intention that it heals the Fever Coat of so many women who lost their mothers and then had their babies stolen from them. Over the last year as I have travelled and shared the Swan Blessing ceremony around the world, women have gifted me strands of their hair to spin on a spindle with fibers from rare ancestral breeds of animals lovingly being brought back from extinction and also fiber created from the nettle plant.

Nettle I see is our Grandmother guardian and protector of women. From the nettle plant comes a strong and beautiful fiber. I am weaving our human hair or fiber with plant and animal fibers, making a shawl that like a great spider web, connects all of our families and lineages – human and animal and plant. My wish is that this ‘hair shawl’ will help to reconnect us all to the Great Mother and heal the sickness of the fever coat. So that we remember and find ourselves again by connecting to the ancestral spirits and grow strong in our communities respecting all life forms.  By healing the broken lineages of the past the memory shawl can provide warmth and comfort and new dreams – a gift from our ancestral DNA to the outcast living and dead.

By sharing our own hair we are sharing our own stories and families with the women of the Magdalene Laundries we are warming them so that the fever coat heals in ourselves too. We do not see them as fallen women but as rare and sacred and we speak up, let ourselves be seen and found again.

The human spirit is some of the strongest fiber of all. In my communications with some of the Magdalene Laundry survivors I have been amazed at their fight, their fire and resilience. Some of have become powerful activists, teachers, artists and writers who are now standing up and speaking for the sisters who can not. They are taking on governments and the church that terrorised them as young women. This has shown me that the ‘fever coat’ is temporary and that the human spirit is more resilient than any institution, that bonds of sisterhood can replace the loss of family and that voices once silenced can become a roar.

Thanks Julia. The tears are flowing and heart is swelling. Deepest gratitude and the biggest hug to you, Dear Sister of Scotland.

Shedding Hair and Shedding Fear

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I have wanted to shave my hair since high school, when I met a beautiful, free-spirited friend who sported a perpetually shaved head.  I have decided to shave it now because, after finishing my PhD at Stanford and having my first child, I now know that I can take on much more than I had imagined, and I’ve been trying to put everyday fears aside.  

I’ve been attempting the things I have always wanted to do, but have been too afraid to try.  Following one lifelong dream, I tried out for a punk band, failed, and then helped form my own.  On the career front, I aimed my thesis paper for the highest impact journal and negotiated for a bigger salary. In general, I have been working to live a life free of the fear of things that don’t warrant my fears.  

Additionally, as a parent, I have been working to teach my little son to trust himself, to distinguish between the crucial, elemental fears that help him to survive and the useless fears that prevent him from living a life full of boldness and new experiences.  I am preparing to teach the same to my in-utero daughter someday.  All of this to say, it was time to face the fear of exposure I had always felt at the thought of shaving my head.

After reading my sister’s brave and honest post about the experience of shaving her own head, I started to think more about what that fear signified for me.  It wasn’t only aesthetic or practical.  I don’t often worry about being insufficiently feminine, and pregnancy has gotten me past many of my fears of a dramatically changing body or appearance.  

What I fear is being seen by others as dangerous, untrustworthy, or unfamiliar in a threatening way.  I realized that I have worked hard to keep up the appearance of normalcy, modeling my career, aspects of my personality, and my relationships to avoid appearing too “fringe”.  

Why?  Because when I was 14, after periods of major depression and a few destabilizing manic episodes with elements of psychosis, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  At the time, I was told by people whom I loved and trusted that having a mental health label would mark me forever as an “other”, unlike the people around me, and this planted the seed of the shame I have carried about my diagnosis.  

Compounding this, before learning to manage my disease, I was outwardly marked by it.  In middle school, when everyone was striving for normalcy or a way to fit in, my lack of impulse control and sometimes erratic behavior made it hard to cultivate and maintain friendships.  

High school was easier – I found a niche that fit my unpredictability, learning to channel it into a type of apparent fearlessness that attracted friends.  But the cost was a perception by my peers that I could not be trusted, that I was flaky and spacy, that I had chronically poor judgement.  My erratic behavior led one friend to quietly ask another why I constantly acted like I was on drugs.

 In addition, I was cutting myself regularly, but trying to hide the scars from friends and family.  I wanted to be perceived as “fun crazy”, not “crazy crazy”.  This continued into early college, culminating in flunking out of my freshman year and a suicide attempt that landed me in the ER for several days, first unconscious, then incoherent.  This prompted an intervention by my panicked family that resulted in a several month stay in a dual treatment rehab clinic for mental illness and drug abuse.  Afterwards, I spent several years in and out of inpatient psychiatric treatment facilities.

 For the first time, I recognized that people I loved were afraid for me.  Their fear felt like a daily burden, and I was determined to turn things around and show everyone that I was fine, that I could function and take care of myself.  However, after several years of stability, I had an extended period of psychosis that introduced a new, more deeply internalized fear.

 At the time, I was working as a teaching assistant to middle schoolers, struggling to keep myself together and trying to reconcile my irrational thoughts and feelings with the real world around me.  Years of hearing terms like “bipolar” used to describe someone unstable and irrational, of hearing stories of young people with mental illnesses doing dangerous and violent things, of media and popular culture feasting on tales of unstable women who harmed their partners or children, had left me with the sense that I might be someone who could not only be feared for, but be feared.

 Now I felt that I could no longer trust myself and my perceptions, and I became convinced that if I were exposed, people would literally be afraid of me.  After recovering from this psychotic episode, I found a medication that provided long-term stability, discovered running as a way to dampen the remaining highs and lows, and went back to school to become a scientist.

(photo Constance Brukin)

 I now work in a profession where dependability and trustworthiness are my most essential assets, one that relies on careful and methodical thought and analysis.  In addition, I have become a parent, one of the greatest responsibilities a person can undertake, one that requires consistency, self-control, and again, trustworthiness.

 I am privileged that by now my disease is, for the most part, hidden, that I can pass unnoticed through most of my life.  But when a senior scientist with no knowledge of my diagnosis makes jokes to colleagues about my “having a mood disorder”, or when I make errors that call my dependability into question, I feel panicked and unmasked.

 Similarly, dyeing my hair has always seemed a bit risky and potentially unmasking, but it is increasingly socially acceptable.  To be a woman with a SHAVED dyed head seemed to represent a much more dramatic non-conformity, a way of renouncing societal norms and intentionally standing out as someone who goes against unspoken rules of fashion and gender.  It seemed like something that could out me as fundamentally different from those around me.  

I did it anyway.  Here is why, and here is what I have learned.  First of all, while for practical reasons I must still sometimes tread carefully when talking about my mental illness, in shaving my head I am renouncing the shame of this disease.

 I am powerful, I am a survivor.  My experiences have given me a perspective that is unique and important.  As I have increasingly outed myself, I have met women who share my symptoms as well as the fear of what their disease will mean to others in their lives.  THEY are powerful, THEY are survivors, THEY have taken their lives and transformed them into enriching, successful, connected existences that anyone would be glad to call their own.  

Like me, every one of them has been afraid to talk about their own experiences, and every one has been inexpressibly grateful that someone else is talking about theirs.  We are afraid of owning one of our greatest accomplishments, surviving and thriving with this disease, because we live in a society that questions womens’ emotions, experiences, and perceptions, and pounces on any excuse to invalidate them.

My beautiful naked head symbolizes a shedding of my fear of who I am, and a symbolic shedding of the fears of all women with this disease and other mental illnesses, of the stigma that keeps all of us (your friends, your neighbors, your parents, siblings, and other relatives, and maybe even yourself,  millions of your fellow Americans, over one billion people on this planet) hidden away from the world cowering in fear of discovery.  As the brave, beautiful, and bipolar Carrie Fisher demonstrated with her words and her example, we are all many things; for some of us, one of them happens to be mentally ill.  Or, as Walt Whitman wrote, “I contain multitudes”. I am a mother, a scientist, a runner, a musician, a wife, a sister and daughter, a friend, and someone with bipolar disorder. And I am not afraid.

Check out Brook’s Transformation from a few months back HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Combat Negative Reactions to Your Choice to Embrace Natural Hair 

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Here is a guest post from our friends at Hairstylehub.com on transitioning to Natural Hair, and how to keep it positive. Thanks, Maureen for sharing your personal insights with us, and as always, we hope to educate and inspire, and invite you to share your personal hair stories by emailing me at howtohairgirl@gmail.com

How to Combat Negative Reactions to Your Choice to Embrace Natural Hair

Natural hair has become more and more common over the last decade. Women are making the decision to embrace their natural hair for all sorts of reasons. Many credit this spike in popularity to the wealth of information about natural hair care that’s now easily accessible, as well as the wide range of products catered to natural hair that are now available.

Personally, I was tired of the uncomfortable (and sometimes downright painful) process of getting relaxers and I was ready for a change. Regardless of the motivation behind the decision, learning to embrace one’s natural hair is a journey for most women. A big part of that journey is learning to break free from negative ideas that we’ve been conditioned to believe about natural hair. But even once you’ve done that, you might still find yourself bumping heads with people in your circle who still subscribe to the notion that natural hair isn’t beautiful, presentable, or professional. Here are some ways to deal with negative comments about your natural hair.

Consider Transitioning

If you have not yet taken the plunge into the world of natural hair and you have hesitations about how you and others will react to seeing your natural texture, consider transitioning. Transitioning lets you grow out your hair for an extended period of time and cut off your relaxed ends when your natural hair has reached a length you’re comfortable with. When I transitioned, I blended my natural new growth and my relaxed hair with curly styles such as braid outs, roller sets, and  rod sets. Transitioning allowed me to gradually get used to seeing myself with textured hair, which made my eventual big chop less shocking and drastic for me and those around me.

How To Respond

In a perfect world, all of your friends, family members, and colleagues will be (at best) supportive of or (at worst) indifferent to your decision to  embrace your natural hair. This was the case with me, but I lucked out. You might have at least one person in your circle who is critical of your decision, which could lead to off-handed comments about your hair. If this happens, try not to get defensive. Be confident and politely let them know that natural hair is beautiful and that you made this decision for you and no one else. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about such a personal choice, but you can offer one if you choose. You never know: you might be able to turn an awkward encounter into a teachable moment.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

One of the best things you can do when you are newly natural is surround yourself with like-minded people. If you have friends/family/colleagues who have natural hair, use them as a support system: ask them questions, get advice, vent about your frustrations. You won’t need to explain or defend your decision to return to natural hair because the people in your support system have already made the decision themselves. If you are the lone natural in your circle, you can always turn to the internet to find a support system. There are a variety of natural hair blogs, forums, and social media pages where you can find and connect with other naturals from all over the world. I joined an online natural hair forum while I was transitioning and it was hugely helpful. I learned a lot about natural hair care and connected with some great people.

Get To Know Your Hair

One of keys to a successful natural hair journey is finding products and styling techniques that work best for your hair. This can be a tricky process and it’s often a source of frustration for many new naturals. Experiment with products and do research on what types of products generally work best for your hair texture (keeping in mind your hair’s thickness, density, porosity, etc). A bad hair day can take a toll on even the most confident among us. I generally practice new hair styles over the weekend so I have time for a do-over if it doesn’t come out the way I anticipated.

The Take-Away

So if you ever encounter negativity in response to your natural hair, remind yourself why you started your journey. Hold your head high and remember that your natural hair is beautiful and one of the many characteristics that make you unique. If you’re not yet completely comfortable with your natural hair, don’t be afraid to fake it ‘til you make it!

New Wash, Rainbow Hair Colorist Dream Cream

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Hi babes. I have been working with this cool independent hair company out of New York City called Hairstory Studio for a few years now. I originally was attracted to what they were doing because the visuals stories of hair transformations that they show in their instagram and quarterly magazine, and their Less is More philosophy on washing hair.

They launched their brand with a product called New Wash, which is a botanically blended and expertly formulated cream hair wash that doesn’t suds or lather…….And I tried it out and loved it.

It may confuse some of you who come here for no-shampoo inspiration to see me talking about another product for sale, but hear me out. I am a real skeptic, but I gave it a chance and I wanted to share today what I love about this stuff called New Wash, and the way the company works and why it is a dreamy opportunity for Hair Colorists.

I signed on as a hairdresser affiliate for Hairstory, meaning I make a small percentage of each sale that comes through their website when I am listed as a referral at checkout. I knew that in my clientele and readership, there was a place for a non-shampoo system that wasn’t quite as crunchy as the Baking Soda/ Cider Vinegar technique. And, because I do so much rainbow color and bleaching, I needed an alternative wash that was a bit more color/chemically treated-hair friendly.

I soon learned that it was with the rainbow hairs is where New Wash REALLY shines, and it has become an essential tool in my hair color kit as a base for mixing color and for using to gently wash and condition brightly colored hair without any color loss or buildup.

And as a colorist and affiliate of the company, I earn enough points from the sales of it to my color clients that they send me my own large bag of New Wash for free whenever I need it, and so I am able to use it exclusively in my color formulas. Thats right. Every bowl of color I mix is made in a base of New Wash. Why do I love it? Because it is the PERFECT consistency for color application, it glides on the hair beautifully, it is creamy and smells wonderful like roses and black tea, and it isn’t filled with chemicals. It is a rainbow hair colorists dream cream. 

(this is a transformation done using New Wash as my color mixing base)

While a bottle of the product may seem costly for the first time buyer, what I tell people is this: When you invest the time and money into rainbow hair, you need to also invest in a care plan for it, so that you get the most out of it. When you have bleached and colored hair, you need to wash it much less often and you never want to strip it. With New Wash, a little goes a LONG way so your bottle of product will last a long while and your hair will be so much happier and more hydrated and colorful.

With that said, hair stylists, and colorists, I hope that you will register here today for your free bottle of New Wash to try out, and make sure to let them know that How-to hair Girl referred you! Affiliates like these are how I make a living and continue to share my experience here with y’all. If you are a client, friend reader, sign up today for 25% off your first purchase.

And, just FYI, Hair Story Hair Balm is my hair’s favorite balm.

Check out my Instagram today for a custom color mixing video demonstrating my favorite ways to mix with New Wash!

xo, RJH

On Going Natural, with Patrina AKA Natural Hair Queen

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The way we wear our hair isn’t just about self-expression. Our kinky hairdos and our coily locks are beautiful and unique, but it’s never just about you as an individual. How we style our hair goes way beyond that. It’s almost as if we’re representing the entire race. African-American hair is woven into a traumatic history of cultural discrimination, political turmoil, and fighting for basic human rights.

African-American hair bonds and unites us as a people. However, the scars of having been ignored, shunned, and frowned upon still exist. Managing African hair takes time, patience, and dedication. Whether you have natural, relaxed, or a protective style like braids, you are undoubtedly going to spend hours doing your hair. Yet, I feel that is the main reason our hair is beautiful and unique. We can create any and transform our hair into many different styles.

Our hair connects us. It’s the internet that brings sisters together. Now we can freely discuss and exchange ideas about how to take care of our complex hair, something we haven’t had since before slavery. Yes, we always had casual conversations with friends and strangers alike, but You Tube and blogs made our connections stronger and more frequent.

  • Patrina, Natural hair blogger and consultant

 

Patrina, where are you from originally?

I’m from Battle Creek, Michigan

What was your hair like as a kid? How did you wear it and what was your care ritual like?

As a child I always had a perm; my first perm was at 5 years old. I remember hating the process of my Mom perming my hair because it used to always burn. My hair care ritual consisted of a wash and condition and the use of hair grease called Blue Magic.

What beliefs/wisdom around hair were passed to you from your family?

Since I only knew straight hair I thought that was normal, and beautiful.

What were your feelings about your hair?

I only knew my hair straight so I felt my hair looked better straightened. Everyone I grew up with had permed hair.

At what point did you decide to go natural?

I decided to natural in my last year of graduate school. I was searching for hairstyles on You tube and came across Dominique Banks page AKA: Longhairdon’tcare2011 and was floored by her long hair. Up until that point I had never seen a Black woman with long hair that was real. I was captivated and binged watch natural hair videos of women who had long hair.

Did you experience any negativity when you decided to go natural? I did from family members. Did anyone try to talk you out of it?

I didn’t tell anyone about my decision I just did it.

How did it feel for you to take that leap?

When I took the leap it felt really great but, I must say I still permed my edges for a while. Once I went all in and stopped using the creamy crack reality set in and I panicked. When I look back at my hair diary I laugh but at the time the pain of dealing with two different hair textures and my natural curl pattern was difficult.

What was the process like? Did you go really short and then grow out, or?????

I was very afraid to do the big chop so I just grew my hair out and cut off the permed ends little by little. Once my hair got to the level of armpit length I cut off the remaining permed ends.

Any unexpected challenges/ victories along the way?

The biggest unexpected challenge was how long my wash day routine lasts. When I would perm my hair I was done from beginning to end in 30 minutes. I would say a victory along the way is the feeling you get when you find a product or an entire line that works with your hair and makes your hair feel like butter and retain moisture feels like you won the lottery; the hair lottery.

What would you tell someone who is considering going natural?

When you go natural you will need to re learn what your hair likes and dislikes. This goes for products, tension on the hair, and styles. You will need to be patience as you re learn how to care for your new texture. Learn as much as you possibly can from others who have long natural hair (if that is your goal).

How do you feel now, with your hair long and natural?

I feel great; now that I’ve taken the time to learn about my hair and which products work well and help my hair to thrive. However, I do receive the occasional question of: “where did you get that hair piece from”, or when my hair is straight: “Which company did you buy your hair from”.

What is your care ritual like now?

I wash my hair every week. I deep condition under a hooded dryer with my essential oils and a moisture rich deep conditioner, followed by a sulfate free shampoo, light protein treatment, and I detangle my hair with conditioner under running water in the shower. Then I use the LOC method and depending on my hair style I will add a curling custard to set my hair.

What is your go-to product/tool/trick that you use most often in your hair care? My go to product for

deep conditioning is Shea Moisture superfruit complex hair masque 10 in 1. This product melts my tangles away. This is a product that I stock up on every time it’s on sale.

If your hair had a spirit animal, what would it be and why.

My spirit animal would be the humming bird, I like to enjoy my hair and have fun with it. I feel it’s just hair and you don’t have to be so serious or boring with it. It’s ok to switch up your look and put on wigs, color your hair, and play with different hairstyles and textures. Once you have the basic foundation down on how to care for your hair; you will be able to test out more styles and know how to keep your hair safe and protected.

 

Bio

Patrina is the founder of Naturalhairqueen.net; a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.

Social Media: 

Website: www.Naturalhairqueen.net

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