I'm Syd! I'm from Little Rock, Ark. I currently live there and work as a copy editor for a weekly city news and entertainment magazine.
How long have you been natural?
I'm 22 now, and I've been natural since some time in middle school; I would put that at about 10 years. I didn't start wearing my afro-textured hair publicly until college, if that matters. Press and curl was my life before then.
What made you go natural?
I got super tired of getting relaxers. I don't remember when I started getting them, and I definitely didn't have a choice in the matter. One day I just said to my mom, "Can I go back to presses?" And she was fine with it because it saved her money, I think. I loved the shiny, silky results from relaxers, but the chemical-filled process (ouch!) didn't seem worth it to me anymore.
How did your friends and family react to you going natural?
They didn't have any issues with it! Over the years, nearly everyone in my family became natural, getting sisterlocks, dreadlocks or some sort of 'fro. The only super rough time was during my middle school years when I was still transitioning and I had some obvious 'fro parts and obvious straight parts. Not my best moments.
What is your hair regimen? What are your favorite products?
I wash and style about every two weeks, typically on a weekend. After I wash, I always detangle sections with a wide-tooth comb, then my trusted Denman brush, and braid my nearly soaking wet hair with Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner and flat-twist the front along my edges with the same product. (I only use the Denman after I have product on the section, though). I strive to always take down the twists/braids with some kind of oil on my fingers. My favorite products are definitely Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner, a Denman brush and tea tree oil for my scalp! Another favorite product is Kurly Klips, which are the brand of natural hair extensions I sometimes clip-in for extra length and volume. Olive oil, castor oil and coconut oil are nice to add in a pre-poo, deep conditioner or to use for untwisting, too.
How does your hair affect your career and lifestyle?
I have to truly make time for styling my hair. I have to factor in how much time it's going to take for me to untwist/unbraid my hair in the morning, or I'll do that part at night and sleep on it (oops!) to cut down on time. The best thing, though, is that my hair is in my hands. I wash it when I want, style it how I like and only spend money on it when I want to. I don't necessarily have to drop cash every two weeks or something in order to have my hair "done," so that's cool.
What is your favorite hairstyle or protective style?
My favorite hairstyle is just a braid-out because I know I can accomplish that. However, my favorite style to look at is flat twists, but I can't manage to perfect that style all over my head yet! My favorite protective style look is box braids, though I haven't had that yet. I had a sew-in a few years back that had its perks, too.
How do you manage to retain length and moisture?
Drink, eat, trim! Just do it all the right way. Getting a nice daily intake of water is great for hair, along with taking vitamins. Eating right is advice we hear all the time, but I won't say I follow that. : ) I think trimming is a great way to retain length and aid hair growth. I do it myself sometimes but want to find a stylist who specializes in natural hair to get it done right.
What advice can you give to those who are thinking about going natural?
If you've ever considered a big chop, just do it. I transitioned in middle school, a time where everyone is awkward yet extremely judgmental at the same time. If I would have known big chopping was a thing to do in the natural-hair community, and if I weren't so concerned with what my peers thought, I would have done it. Well, I'm not sure if I would have for real, but I should have! All of the big choppers I've known had such quicker results.
Would you like to add anything else?
Do your research if you're interested in dying your natural hair! There are definitely some boxed dyes that many naturals have had great experience with, and there are also other ways such as a henna treatment to add color to your strands. Take in as much info as you can before you decide which route to take.
Also, keep your Instagram feed, Youtube subscriptions, Twitter feed and all that jazz filled with your favorite naturals or just inspiring natural hair accounts, especially if people around you are shading you for having natural hair. The community is so supportive!
If you're transitioning: YOU CAN DO IT.
Are you on social media?
Yes, follow me!