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One of my missions on CurlyNikki.com, and in my everyday life, is to show the world that naturally curly hair can be chic and glamorous too!  This is the first of many interviews with real life natural hair idols:

CN: How has your routine changed since your first interview on CurlyNikki.com?

Well, I’ve tweaked a few things.  I shampoo/deep condition bi-weekly instead of weekly…No special reason. I just “listen” to my hair more now as opposed to just doing something to be doing it. Things are more simple now. I have incorporated Jamila Henna into my routine which I have found to be amazing for my hair. Love it! I have been hennaing once a month or once every 3 weeks.

Every once in a while (every 3 months or so) I will straighten my hair which entails shampooing with a non-sulfate shampoo (sometimes if I used a product with alot of cones I will use Suave daily clarifying and prior to henna I use this to make sure my hair is clean and clear of product residue), deep conditioning with a protein reconstructing conditioner followed by a moisturizing deep conditioner.   I always, always apply IC Fantasia straightening balm/heat protectant prior to flat ironing and get awesome results!

January 27th will mark my 3rd year of being natural!! I have come a long way since then as I now use less products and don’t experiment any more. I wear twist-outs for the most part and buns. Sometimes I will do a wash n go but not often as my hair is too thick to work with if I wanted to pull it up into a bun. Since my hair has gotten much longer now I also do everything in four sections whether it’s shampooing, conditioning, co-washing etc. It is so much easier to detangle this way. I do less manipulation to my hair now which makes it so much easier on me as I am not always in the mood to do my hair especially not every day. So I keep the twist-out in for the whole week and if it starts to look a lil “rough” then I bun it and add a hat for extra flair if I feel like doing so. I also use my Jilbere shower comb and denman for detangling if my fingers don’t seem to be getting the job done which is usually rare. Oh yeah…Devacurl Set it Free is a wonderful frizz buster/twistout refresher!

CN: What are you current favorite products?

I love Jamila Henna! I have done 3 treatments with this brand and I really noticed a huge difference from the previous henna I had used in the past. I think it really brings out the true beauty of my hair and for some reason I find that my products work better if that makes sense?? I think I get the true benefit from the products I use as long as they are of good quality.

As far as conditioners I still stick to my Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and I mix it with Olive Oil Replenishing pak, honey and olive oil. Adding honey and olive oil have been a mainstay as far as my deep conditioning treatments. I don’t know what it is about Jane Carter Leave in Conditioner but my hair loves it. I usually use this when I do twists on wet hair. It just does what it says it’s supposed to do :) I also keep sticking to my Paul Mitchell The Conditioner as a leave in when I am doing a quick wash n go or the first day of bunning when I apply to wet hair and follow up with my Fantasia IC clear gel. Herbal Essences Totally Twisted is my main co-washing conditioner and I tried using it along with the JC leave in for twists and sealed with shea butter and got great results! Love coconut oil to moisturize and add shine but I truly think that henna has brought the shine out in my hair! Tis all for now ;)

CN: Any tips for women transitioning from relaxed to natural?

I didn’t transition when I finally went natural in January of ’06. I just bc’d but I did try to transition once, and I had quite a bit of new growth but I caved in to the creamy crack! lol…I didn’t have much inspiration then but now there is so much information out here that you must stay motivated. Patience is key and think beyond what your new growth looks like because even though it is beautiful during your transition it will be even more beautiful when you cut those relaxed ends off and just let your hair be free. Stay looking at the fotki albums of natural sistas who document their progression and sometimes include albums dedicated to other inspiring naturals…Stay visiting sites like Curlynikki.com which contain tons of helpful information. Youtube has alot of vids of slideshows of women wearing their natural hair in all textures with confidence, beauty and style as well as how-tos on how to detangle, deep condition, henna etc. I think what truly discourages a lot of people from going natural is the distorted self-image they have of themselves as far as what the texture of their hair will be…It’s cool if some want to just try wearing their hair natural as a trend or just to switch things up…To each his/her own, but if you truly want to appreciate your kinks, coils and curls and be an inspiration to others then you must understand that beauty is multi-faceted not one-dimensional.

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CN: What is your night time routine?

If I am wearing a twist-out, I either wear a satin cap, sleep on a satin pillow case, or put my hair in a high ponytail. I don’t like to manipulate it much by applying oils and butters so if I feel the need to moisturize I gently smooth some coconut oil or shea butter on my ends. The high ponytail really works for me even when I am trying to preserve a wash n go. If my hair is in a bun I take it down and wrap my hair into a pony tail with a satin scrunchie and follow with a satin scarf for extra protection after moisturizing my ends with either coconut oil or shea butter.

CN: Your favorite natural hair compliment to date?!

I love and appreciate all genuine compliments that people give me especially random people on the street but one that really stood out was a compliment I received from a white woman in the mall who stopped me and said ” Your hair is so beautiful. It really compliments you well.” Surprisingly a lot of brothas will compliment my hair as well which I really love because it shows that there are black men out there who love and appreciate women who wear their hair natural instead of the common straight or relaxed styles :)

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