Anika, it is such a pleasure to have you as a guest on Secret Curl Society. Although we have known one another, we have been apart throughout your entire transition. I am happy to learn from you and to share you with Secret Curl Society.
1. Have you always worn your hair natural?
I have been natural for about 3 and half years. Before that, I relaxed my hair.
2. How difficult has that been and why did you decide to go natural?
I decided to go natural because I was tired of relaxing my hair. I was tired of getting my scalp burned, looking for new growth, or finding a good hairstylist. Living in NY, there are several hair salons and a lot of them are owned by Dominicans, who use a ton of heat on your hair. After my last visit of getting burned, tugged, and yanked at the scalp, I said this is enough and I stopped relaxing my hair. I also knew that I wanted to start having children soon and I did not want any extra chemicals in my body.
3. What are some things that are unique to your hair journey?
I do not know if I have anything unique specifically, other than I grew my relaxer out without using any weaves or wigs. I say that because many women feel they need to use those things to grow out their hair, and I encourage people not to use them, because they are not needed.
4. What are some things about your hair journey that other women can also relate to?
Most of us go through hearing other people’s opinions of what our hair should look like. Before I cut my relaxed hair off it was past my shoulders, and to the black population, a woman with long natural hair is everything. So my decision to go natural AND cut my hair caused a big uproar. I stuck with my decision despite what family, my husband, or friends said and went through with the natural process and now my hair is at the same length straightened as it was when it was relaxed, but its healthier.
5. What is your philosophy of beauty and how has this natural movement enhanced your view of beauty?
As I said before, society, especially the black population, has this obsession with long straight hair. I believe that is why black women started straightening their hair to keep up with society, to feel more “beautiful”, to conform to look like everyone else. Remember when the relaxer came out racism was at its highest, therefore I believe black women wanted to straighten their hair to try and “blend in” a little better. I think the move towards natural hair is black women standing up for who they are and what they look like in their true form. I had an Indian friend ask me “Why don’t you keep your hair straight, it looks better.” I said, “It looks better to YOU, because that is the type of hair you have, but this hair is how it grows from my head, and it is the best.” I love seeing women go natural, half of my family has went natural, and they all love it. Our hair is unique and it makes us even more unique.
6. Do you think it is a phase or do you think natural is here to stay?
I believe natural is here to stay. The days of conforming to look the same are over.
7. Tell us about your ethnic background and how your curl pattern and texture relates to those in your family?
My father’s side is Jamaican and my mother’s is Trinidadian. My grandmother on my mother’s side is of the Carib Indian descent. I have a tight curl pattern and my hair is not very coarse, which I think has to do with my mother’s side.
8. Please enlighten us on your hair regiment. What works for you and what has not worked for you?
I usually do a wash and go style regiment. It works for me. I like having the consistent curl definition and that allows me to do different styles to my hair daily. I am lazy so doing twist outs are not my thing and do not work for me. I usually wet my hair and put conditioner(usually hair rules conditioner or keratin complex) in it then my styling product (hair rules curly whip, or miss jessie’s pillow soft curls or baby buttercream) and then I style my hair. When I wash it I use Hair rules shampoo or mixed chicks. I sleep on a satin pillow as well to keep my hair from breaking.
9. Do you have any particular hair goals, if so, do tell?
I would just like to continue to have healthy hair and for my hair to continue growing.
10. Finally what piece of advice or encouragement would you give to other women in regard to their beauty and their hair?
My advice to other women is remain strong in their decision to go natural, it is very enlightening. Many will try and discourage you, but you will be healthier because of it. Once you rid yourself of the relaxer addiction your hair will thank you. There are some days that will still be rough when you are learning what products work for your natural hair and how to style it, but it is a rewarding process that you will not regret. I will still have someone say something about my hair if it doesn’t look like a “proper style”, but at the end of the day I am the only one who is wearing it, and if I am okay with my hair, then everyone else’s opinion really does not matter.
True That! Thank you so much Anika for sharing your journey with us. I am equally empowered by your story. This is truly a big step for black women to receive themselves in their true state. I bet God is just shaking his head at us wondering what took so long!
Curl Blessings to you ladies,
– Janelle Sands
Anika Cox, PA-C