To know Nonie is to love her natural hair. When I met her two months ago at a brunch event I had so many hair questions going through my mind but I had to remind myself I wasn’t there to discuss natural hair and instead saved my questions for a possible feature on my blog.
Related: Natural Hair Exposé: Kiffa Bee
How long have you been natural?
As of today I have been natural for a little over than 6 years. Seven years is coming up in April of next year!
What made you decide to go natural?
This is a long but interesting story, but I will try to keep it short 🙂
I was natural when I was younger until I was 4 or 5 years old. I got a relaxer around then. It was a one time thing and then I went back to being natural until I was about 12.
The interesting thing about this story is that when I was younger, obviously it was not my will to get a relaxer. But as soon as I got into middle school around 12, I gave into peer pressure and got one. Prior to that I was always wearing braid extensions. Then it got to the point when I was 10 that my hair was too long for them and then I started to wear it out more often. This was the first time I actually had to actually deal with my hair because I stopped wearing braids. My mother would often blow dry my hair and/or use the hot comb to put it in big braids with the barretts on the ends or interesting cornrow styles. My hair was fine but I craved to wear my hair out and loose by the time I was approaching middle school. I tried pressing and curling my hair but they were reserved for special occasions. But unfortunately they were truly temporary one day styles. As soon as any type of moisture and/or humidity hit my hair, it was a wrap! And my hair would revert back to a fro. I even tried just wearing my hair out in its natural state but it was a complete disaster. My fro was HUGE and that meant the detangling session would be an experiment later in the day. But the thing is, when I wore my natural hair loose, I felt “powerful”. I felt “strong”. However, wearing my hair in a gigantic fro had it’s other set of problems. Either I was subjected to being teased by my peers or scolded by people older than me for wearing my hair “wild”. I recall walking into a salon and they snickered and laughed underneath their breaths about my hair. I think they even charged me more too!
But the pressure became too much for me as a young girl and I resorted to conforming.
I was teased because I had REALLY big hair and that it was “nappy” on top of that. People would ask me all the time when I was going to straighten it or keep it “tamed”. The interesting thing is it was not my will to get a relaxer when I was 5 but as soon as I was 12, decided to make that decision again, but this time for myself. Everything felt great after I got a relaxer. My hair was really long, I just became a teenager, and high school was in my near future. However, I had a constant battle with maintaining my hair and getting it to grow throughout high school. My hair became shorter and thinner, and I refused to go back to being natural out of fear.
But everything changed as soon as I entered college in 2008. At this time I was rocking an asymmetrical bob cut which I hated at first but started to love. I would say the thing that made me go natural was a series of events. One I had a friend that was starting to lock her hair and she would bug me all the time about the benefits. Two, I saw a few African American girls with long loose natural hair. But what did it for me was another one of my friends who never got a relaxer in her life. She always wore her hair pressed and straight but rarely in her natural texture. The day I saw her wear her hair in her natural texture (which was similar to what mine was) was the day I decided to really consider going back to natural again. Plus it also helped that she introduced me to Youtube for natural hair help and some blogs at the time. With research and educating myself on natural hair I decided to quietly take that leap of faith. It was after my last relaxer in April of 2009 that I was going to start transitioning. Then I finally big chopped in September of that year.
What is your experience so far as a natural?
My experience as being natural was not always easy. As I mentioned in my story about going natural, I was faced some of the same things I experienced and some new challenges as well. When I was younger I did not fully appreciate my big voluminous hair. And when I went natural again, it still wasn’t popular until a year or two after I did before the natural hair revolution came about. I was looked at differently because not only did I have kinky hair again but because this time it was VERY short. I never had really short hair in my life and it forced me to face the lack of self confidence I had without a lot of hair.
When I big chopped, my intention was to stay natural for two years or until my hair became longer again, and then relax it. I just wanted to have long hair and I thought by going natural that it would grow longer or faster. But as time went on I fell in love with my hair. I’ve had ups and downs and setbacks, but I don’t think I would get a relaxer again. I’m here to love my natural hair through thick and thin.
Please describe your natural hair texture/type.
My natural hair is mostly 4b with a few sections of 4c. The back of my hair is actually is actually 3c.
What are your favorite natural hair products and what have they done for your hair?
My favorite natural hair products are Creme of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo, Shea Moisture Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, Sally’s Beauty Supply Generic Value Paul Mitchell Leave In, Castor Oil, Aloe Vera Juice, and Raw Shea Butter. All of these products help with keeping moisture in my hair. Also I use VO5 Moisture Milks Conditioners to detangle my hair. And sometimes I use an egg mask for protein treatments.
Describe your hair care regimen and reason behind it.
I’m still trying to find a set regimen for my hair but I just base it on what my hair needs (moisture or protein). Not too long ago I actually eliminated all commercial products except for my shampoo. I would literally use only water and oils for my hair. It worked for a while but at times my hair would lack moisture. However I noticed my hair was thicker and I had less build up. Currently I detangle, wash, deep condition, use leave in conditioner, detangle, blow dry, then seal with castor oil/shea butter on my hair. Then add more moisture back into the ends of my hair then use a oil to seal. Then I usually do bantu knots afterwards or a style that will stretch out my hair. I find that stretching my hair reduces tangles. Also I recently started using Jamaican Black Castor oil to help with my edges.
What are your go-to natural hairstyles?
Twistouts or Bantu knot outs to keep my hair stretched out. Then I’ll usually do an updo when I don’t feel like wearing my hair out. Also I love crochet braids for protective styling!
What advice do you have for new or old naturals hoping to grow their hair healthier?
My advice would be to not give up when times get tough! Use Youtube as a resource and read some books as well. I found that knowing the science behind natural hair really helped me get to the root of some of my hair issues. Knowing what vitamins and minerals you are lacking in your diet could be the underlying cause of unhealthy hair.
Do you have a blog and/or social media page people can visit for more info?
Currently I use my personal Instagram at times to talk about my hair from time to time. I’m also a visual artist and I tend to illustrate “afrocentric” themes throughout most of my artwork.
Personal Instagram: @lovenonye_xoxo
Art Instagram: @artbynonye
Natural Hair Exposé is a monthly feature on LME where I interview naturals both old and new to gain more insights on their natural hair journey, favorite products, hair regimen and advice for other naturals. If you would like to be featured please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org<