-My name is Tammy Huggins.
Where are you from and where do you live?
-I'm from Lethbridge, in southern Alberta [Canada]. My dad was Nigerian and my mom is Ukrainian/Hungarian.
What do you do?
-I am a social worker but for now I am home full time raising my 3 kids.
How long have you kept your hair natural?
-I'm a newbie to natural hair. It's been just over a month.
At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural?
-I've been relaxing my hair or wearing extensions since I was 14. I am now 33. I just got so sick of always hating my hair and having to spend so much time and money on it. I just want to be really authentic inside and out. I was never really happy with my hair anyway, so I decided, "what the heck what's there to loose."
How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop?
-The BIG CHOP! I just went for it. Go big or go home!
What’s your natural hair regimen?
-I'm still learning a lot about my natural hair. I'm watching lots of videos on Youtube and experimenting with product. I usually just wash'n go. Lately I've been co-washing, then a bit of leave in conditioner and gel. I use a sponge in a circular motion to define my curls (learnt that on Youtube).
Products you cannot live without?
-So far, Gel and leave-in conditioner. (I'm not totally committed to a brand yet b/c I'm still experimenting.
You have two daughters whose hair you are keeping natural too?
-Yes, I have beautiful little girls. They are strikingly different from each other. My 7 year old, Eden looks like me and has tons of thick, curly hair. My little Anna (20 months) has brilliant orange hair. No that wasn't a misprint, I said ORANGE hair. She is fair like her dad and although her hair is curly, it's more like her dads.
Why have you decided to keep their hair natural?
-I spent my whole life trying to change my hair. It took me 33 years to finally appreciate the beauty in my natural curls and hair texture. I would be ashamed of myself if I encouraged Eden to relax her hair. I want her to spend as much time as possible with her natural hair and teach her to appreciate how beautiful it is . God knows, when she's a teen, she'll go through hair experimentation all on her own. It's so much more beautiful natural. Girls today already have so many pressures to change how they look to fit someone else's idea of beauty. No way am I going to contribute to that by changing their hair.
Did you ever relax their hair?
-No. I used a Chi to straiten Eden's hair once for fun. It was weird. We went back to curly the next day.
Do you and your daughters use the same hair products? If not, what products do you use for them?
-We use the same leave-in conditioner. The more I've been learning about my own hair, the more I'm starting to do with Eden's hair. She's just starting to pay a little more attention to doing her hair and trying things herself. Anna's still just a baby so I don't do much with hers other then piggy tails.
What hair regimen and techniques do you use for them?
-Like I said, with the baby its mostly piggy tails for now. With Eden, during the school week we mostly keep it braided up. Sometimes cornrows. This makes our mornings much more enjoyable and minimizes the drama.
Do you make their hair or do you take them to the salon?
-I started taking Eden to the salon for hair cuts when she started school. It's tricky here in Lethbridge because there is hardly anyone trained to work on African hair. Sometimes I just do it myself.
Challenges in caring for their hair – Do they cry / do they dread "hair days" or is it a great time all around/ do people pass negative comments?
-Eden hates getting her hair combed out. She usually cries and yells at me. I try to saturate it very good with leave-in conditioner. Someday's are worse then others. If I let her "do her own hair" one day, then the next day is a bit of a nightmare to get untangled because she doesn't really comb through it all the way. Today while I was combing her hair, she said to me with clenched teeth, "It's not that I want strait hair and it's not like I don't like my hair, but sometimes I wish I had it so it wouldn't be so annoying to brush."
Are you teaching them about their hair?
Mostly that it is beautiful and a part of her. We talk about how lucky she is to have such curly hair and how many great things she can do with it. Because she is 7, I try to let her do her own hair every couple days so that she can learn to manage it herself. Like I said, it usually means more work for me the following morning but what can ya do? She's 7.
Right now were working on keeping moisture in her hair. Teaching her to keep her cap on at night and introducing her to Shea Butter.
What are you learning as you care for your hair and your daughters' hair?
I'm really learning to appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of my own hair. I hope I can pass on the pride and confidence that I now have to both of my girls.
What do you say to other mothers about caring for their daughters’ natural hair?
-Youtube. There are hundreds of videos on all aspects of caring for and styling natural hair. I've learnt a ton and I'm still learning.
What do you prefer for mother – daughters time: crafts or manicures and pedicures?
-I would prefer mani/pedis for sure! But for now, we do a lot of crafts. I'll give the girls a few years to appreciate being pampered rather then gluing and painting ;-)