Hello lovely nappturalites! My name is Ebony Washington. I am from Alabama and currently reside in Washington, DC.
Random fun fact about yourself?
I delicately balance my left and right brain as a software consultant and poet.
What inspired you to go natural?
After many years of sensitive scalp, dandruff, and hair breakage, I decided to cease the monthly ritual of getting a relaxer. Having been permed since elementary school, I started the journey to naturally, coiled hair. Growing up in rural Alabama, I knew nothing other than pressed or permed hair. It was only after I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area that I saw the beautiful diversity of natural African American hair. I was inspired by the versatility of natural hair.
How long did you transition/Describe your transitioning experience.
I started my transition in the summer of 2007 after a failed attempt at going natural in 2005. With a very nervous husband and a “What are you trying to do to your hair now?” family, I gradually grew out my relaxed hair and did the final trim in early 2009. I kept my bi-weekly appointments with my stylist religiously during the grow-out phase. Though I kept my hair pressed during the transition, I now only wear it curly.
What do you love about your natural hair?
The texture of my coils are so amazing! I cannot keep my hands out of my hair. Finding such perfect coils after years of relaxers was like removing cheap linoleum from the floor to find pristine hardwood. I can wear it in a funky fro hawk or press it straight. I can work out and not worry about my hair reverting. I can wash it daily, apply leave-in condition, and go after pulling it back into a puff. I feel complete with my natural coils.
My natural hair has made me more aware of the things I put on and in my body. After going natural, it was like a complete lifestyle change. I wanted to live more…well…naturally.
What's one natural hair myth you wish would die?
“Wow, your hair is so soft!” I wonder why some people think that natural hair would be wiry and rough. Good hair is healthy hair and healthy hair is soft and full of body.
Has your natural hair changed how you view yourself?
My natural hair enhances facial features that I thought were problem areas before (forehead and cheekbones). I spent years covering my forehead with bangs only to find that natural hair brought out the true beauty of my features. My natural hair, cheekbones, and forehead were always meant to be together.
Name your top three hair products and what you like about them.
Aloe vera gel, shea butter, and coconut oil. These are 3 staples that I use in most of my hair recipes. Aloe vera gel is great for hydration and moisturization. I mix aloe vera gel with filtered water and jojoba oil and use it as a daily leave-in spritz.
Shea butter is my overall favorite as it softens my hair and seals my ends. Coconut oil is the ultimate oil-based moisturizer. A little coconut oil goes a long way and I do not have to use a lot of heavy pomade to get the healthy shine that coconut oil provides.
What advice do you have for those thinking about transitioning?
1. Ask yourself why. If you are doing it because you think it is the latest fad then the journey may not be for you.
2. Once you are ready to start, tap into the rich source of information found on the Internet. YouTube, Twitter, and blogs helped me learn so much about natural hair.
3. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people as there are a lot of people who are very vocal about their misunderstanding of natural hair.
4. Document your journey. Start a blog, video log, or just take pictures. Honor each stage of the journey and celebrate once the journey is done.
5. Find a stylist that specializes in natural hair. Improper care of natural hair can be just as damaging as harsh chemicals (i.e. relaxers).
Where can people find you online?
Finding salons and hair products that specialized in maintaining type 4B hair was a struggle. With that, I began to experiment with natural ingredients in my own home to create hair, bath, and body products. The products are designed to work for people with naturally curly hair, sensitive skin, and an affinity for using all-natural products. Good hair is healthy hair. Good skin is glowing skin: