The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One of the best decisions I've ever made - Interview with Dana

Dana is such a breath of fresh air! I was really excited when I noticed she had natural hair. Ready for a laugh, straight forward and loving every day with her natural hair: meet Dana.

Name? Dana Alexander.

Where are you from and where do you live? I was born in Canada (LaSalle, Quebec to be exact). I currently live in Mississauga, Ontario. My parents hail from Trinidad and Tobago.

What do you do? Consultant at a software company.

What is your passion? I love working with kids. I currently teach step at Church (Kingdom Covenant Centre - KCC - in Canada). The group of girls on the step team are between the ages of 9 and 16.

How long have you been natural? Almost 2.5 years!

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural. I could no longer stand the burning sensation of relaxer left too long on my scalp followed by the agony of having the hairdresser haul and pull my hair with a flat iron because the relaxer didn't work to get it straight enough. I realized that my hair just was not meant to be straight. When I was young I had very long hair (it was halfway down my back) but over the years the relaxer, and my ignorance when it came to taking care of my hair, worked together to leave me with a slightly thinned out, brittle, flat mess. Also, at one point, I had a bald spot in the middle of my scalp. That was my lowest point but it was years before I understood what it meant to be natural...and I'm so thankful I know now!

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? I had initially planned to transition but then on July 1, 2009 I decided to bite the bullet and just chop it all off. I got a bit impatient. I didn't tell too many people what I'd planned to do and those I told were not sure it would be a very good idea.

Did you have any challenges when you were transitioning or trying to decide to go natural? If so what were they and how did you overcome them? Actually the hairdresser I went to for the big chop tried to persuade me to not cut it off. She was really horrible actually. She told me that I'd look like a man and look terrible. She wasn't very nice at all and I haven't been back since (not even for a trim).

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? I love Janelle Monae's signature style and actually tried it myself once or twice. Other than that I love seeing beautiful curls, coils and large afros on anybody! You can get a lot of inspiration all around you (even while traveling to work). ;)

What’s your hair regimen? No real regimen to speak of (this is bad I know!). I currently co-wash with Garnier Fructis conditioner and when I'm behaving myself, I deep condition with mayonnaise. I moisturize with Rose water and Jamaican black Castor oil. I sometimes put a few drops of Jasmine oil in the Rose water or Castor oil.

Products you would wait in line for? Castor oil, my hair loves it! I had to experiment a bit as I quickly found, after going natural, that I react to Jojoba oil and Coconut oil and I already knew that my skin didn't like aloe vera (all the good stuff!). The other thing I cannot live without are bobby pins: lifesavers!

How do people react to your natural hair? Positive, or negative or just odd? At first when my hair was very short I received a comment or two that were not nice. Someone just looked at me and said "I don't like your hair". You would think it would have been someone from my workplace where I was the only black employee but it was another young black female that I guess just was not down with the curls.

I haven't gotten negative comments in a long time thankfully. In fact I tend to get compliments even on my worst hair days now! LOL. But back when my hair was short I had to just ignore the negativity and remember why I went natural: no more burnt scalp!

Comment about natural hair in your place of work. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to work? Everyone at work seems to love my hair. I have to start training some people to stop putting their hands in my hair though. :( I'm the only black person in the company and it is a professional environment but I don't feel awkward about my hair in the office. I think part of it is because of how I wear my hair and the fact that I am very comfortable that the styles I choose suit me well.

What hairstyles do you usually wear? I almost always rock a twist out pinned into a fro hawk. It's such an easy style because you just twist the night before then spend a few minutes the next morning untwisting, fluffing and pinning! Just this morning I tried a dry twist out for the first time and loved it!!!

What do you like best about being natural? On my worst hair days I receive compliments. Thank God for bobby pins!

What do you hate most about being natural? Ummm...nothing comes to mind.

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Oh yes! Before a fancy event (with THE PERFECT dress) I decided to try mini twists. They weren't actually mini but were a lot smaller than my usual. Unfortunately, I'd made the twists on wet hair so when I finally untwisted just before the event it looked as if I had no hair on my head because it was all shrivelled! Bobby pins to the rescue! They salvaged the look a bit but though my hair was shoulder length by that point, it looked like I had short hair. :(

Why are you still keeping your hair natural? Being natural helped me to realize how important it is for me to take care of myself. It was a concept that I didn't get before. But when I became natural and I couldn't quickly apply some cream or heat to "make it all better", I learned that it takes time to take care of myself and that time is worth it. There are days when I REALLY don't want to twist my hair or take the time to deep condition it but I know I'm happiest when I've done everything I must to give myself the hair I deserve.

What do you say to people like you about going natural? DO IT! It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. There are so many resources online to help guide you. For a while I was practically addicted to YouTube as I learned how to care for my hair and looked up tutorials on how to style it.

What's next for you on your natural hair journey? I have a couple of goals. 1. Go Rihanna/Sharon Osbourne red (love it!). 2. Have hair so long that it lays down by itself. :)

Dancing or singing? I love them both!

Keep it natural!


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