Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Featured Reader - Aja!

Meet Naturally Beautiful Hair blog reader Aja. Aja talks a little bit abut her transition to natural hair and what inspires her -
 

Q: How long have you been Natural? If you transitioned from process hair to natural hair, what made you want to change?
A: I transitioned to natural hair after having been a 'relaxed' girl for more than 15 years.  I started (slowly) making the switch to natural products after a health concern made me more aware of the things that I was introducing to my body--this was back in 2001. Since then, I've eliminated pork, white sugar/flour and a few other foods from my diet. I started my transition (via braids & chignons) in May 2009 and finally mustered up the courage to Big Chop (BC) in November 2009; it's one of the best decisions that I've made! I've made it my goal to be as natural as possible, not only with my hair, but with my overall well-being.

Q: What has been the most amazing or surprising part of your having natural hair?
A:  I think the most amazing & surprising part of being natural is that my hair is even more manageable now than it was when I had a relaxer. When I was relaxed my scalp suffered most of the burden; it had been burned from the chemicals within the relaxers and therefore itching and flaking became "normal" to me. I would go to the salon for a doobi on Saturday and by Tuesday I'd be washing my hair--not because it was dirty--but to remove the dry, chemically burnt patches of skin from my scalp. I was doing too much to my hair. I had a collection of products and none of them made much of a difference. But now that my hair is chemical-free and I'm feeding my body more of what it needs (as opposed to what I want), I've been able to slowly nurse my scalp back into shape. It's still not 100% healthy, but it took time to...
damage it so it will also take time to heal it. Scalp issues aside, I also find being natural much easier because now I get to make moves the way I want to without my hair dictating how the day will go. I no longer worry about not being able to go swimming, to amusement parks or even on a date with my husband based on whether or not I'm going to be able to pull off a certain style because I haven't had a relaxer in a while. Natural hair is extremely versatile and if you're good to it, it will be good right back to you!

Q: What is your maintenance routine? What product do you love?
A: My maintenance routine is pretty simple: I cleanse/condition/leave-in condition/hydrate/ and style. During the colder months, I cleanse/condition/leave-in on a bi-weekly basis while moisturizing my scalp (and sometimes hair depending on the style) about once every 3-4 days. I haven't used any heat on my hair since May 2009 and I really don't have the desire to; right now, I'm really just enjoying my kinks.
As far as products are concerned I keep it really simple, using mostly all natural (either store brought or handmade) products. 

The staple products that I love are:
  • To Cleanse: Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap (Almond & Peppermint are my favorites)
  • To Condition: Giovanni's Smooth as Silk conditioner and Direct Leave-In conditioner
  • To Hydrate: Organic coconut oil with a few drops of rosemary essential oil (for my scalp) & for my hair, I use a cream from my own natural product line: SheaCoCo Love  (which is a great moisturizer for both thirsty skin & hair).
Q: What advice do you have for any one that is considering go back to their natural texture or getting their hair loc'd?
A:  I'd say, "go for it and don't allow anyone to make you feel anything other than fabulous!" I know it may sound clich√©` but I think we are all unique, and the one thing that makes me truly unique is how I was made to be. I was born with caramel skin, full lips and kinky hair in my DNA and I feel blessed to be this way. Don't be afraid to let the real you shine through!

Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey (for example: Facebook, fotki, tumblr, twitter, and more)?
A: Please feel free to keep up with me & my natural journey via:
-Twitter: @AJANaturals
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Blessings,
Aja Walker-Rice
AJA Naturals, LLC
732-539-4165
Natural products for body mind & spirit
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4 comments:

  1. It was very cool reading this piece on Aja. I totally understand the issues with the scalp, and i would love more info on caring for flaky scalp and other issues that can happen to the scalp that damage or stop hair growth. my reasoning for doing dreads was because my scalp was always itchy, and medical tx was too expensive. so i opted to go more natural with my hair and my hair treatments.

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  2. Hello,
    I see that you had questions about scalp issues/treaments. You already went natural, so in my opinion that's half the battle, but I've also learned another natural trick for fighting scalp problems, consider giving this a try:

    -Grate/cut about 3 TBSP fresh Ginger root
    -add it to about 1/2 cup of boiling, hot water
    -Allow the combination to steep until water is warm
    -Pour warm ginger water through funnel/filter and discard of the ginger
    -Add mixture to freshly washed hair, cover hair w/ shower cap. Let sit for up to 30 mins.
    -Rinse with cool water, condition & style as usual.

    *This can also be made into a hot oil treatment, simply by substituting the water for Organic Sesame seed or Jojoba oil (really any oil of your choice will do. Castor oil may be nice).

    This recipe has helped me in my journey for a healthier scalp. I hope that it helps you as well!

    Blessings,
    ~Aja

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  3. Ooh,that last picture!! Last week when I was re-tightening my locs I undid one that I felt was too fat (compared to the others) so I could make two locs out of it.my loose hair tempted me to undo them all.If itwasn't for the fact that I was pressed for time due to exams,I might have done it.Seeing pics like this inspire me...I know if/when the time comes for me to take my locs down, I'll have fun playing with the hair I never played with-seeing as I transitioned via braidlocks.Thanks for the interview.

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  4. @Thandi-Thank you for the comment. I looked at your profile photo & I think your locs are beautiful! I've played with the idea of locs, but I must admit I'm really loving the versatility that my loose hair has to offer. But that’s the beauty of natural hair too—I’m rocking a free flowing ‘fro today & who knows perhaps I’ll decide to loc in the near future. It’s just fun having all the options :-)

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