5 April 2011

Meet Erica...Nappy, happy and luvin' it!

This is one Senora who's nappy and proud!  
Beautiful and uber-confident, my girl, Erica!
Keep reading to find out more about Erica's natural high!

Was this your first 'Big Chop'? Or, have you always worn your hair natural?
No, my first 'BC' was in 1995. At that time, my hair was long and relaxed and  I just got tired of processing it. I cut it off and let it grow until 2001; when, I did another 'BC'. About a year later, I permed my hair again, out of boredom and kept it that way until early 2009. My hair was very long by then, but somewhat limp. My scalp also became very sensitive to relaxer so I decided to cut it off for good!

How would you describe your hair?
My natural hair consists of different textures, ranging from wavy to tightly coiled. I'd say a 4b/4c.

What is your hair regimen/routine like?
My regimen is changing as my hair grows. When it was shorter, I would co-wash it almost every day. Now that it is longer, I wash it twice a week with sulfate free shampoo by JASON Natural - Grapefruit Aloe Smoothing Shampoo. I follow that up with the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner. Finally, I apply Oyin Handmade's Honey Hemp Conditioner. The Oyin leaves my hair VERY moisturized and VERY soft! I love it!  I learnt quite a bit from the net - YouTube mostly - about sulfates and the damage they can do because they dry out your hair. It's best to wash every few days or every week with a moisturizing conditioner; and then clarify every two weeks to a month with a clarifying sulfate free shampoo to get rid of any product buildup.

Any favourite products?
My favourite products are Shae Butter and Oyin Handmade's Honey Hemp Condition. 

Any words of encouragement/advice you wish to share?
Sure. Mainly to anyone who is keen on wanting to wear their hair natural, get educated on how best to maintain your hair once you have transitioned. I, like many others, had misconceptions about how to care for my hair. I thought it needed 'grease' in order to look healthy and I thought I had to avoid getting it wet. None of that is true! In fact, the opposite is true. Old-fashioned hair grease with petrolatum and mineral oil, etc can be harmful. Natural hair thrives on moisture; so the more you wet it, the better! Most of the products advertised in the magazines aren't good for our natural hair so we have to look harder for things that will work. It's a whole new way of thinking about hair that I didn't know about until 2 years or so ago.
So, Erica...what is your take on the re-emerging discussion that natural hair is sometimes not professional enough for the office/work life.
Although I find our culture to be pretty conservative, natural hair is gradually moving into the mainstream. There are so many more women with locks and twists these days. However, we still have certain ideas about the "right" way to wear our natural hair. Many people are okay with natural hair as long as it's pinned up in a style but they think a loose chunky fro or twistout is "crazy". That's the next thing we have to conquer. In it's natural state, our hair does not lie down and bounce around like relaxed hair does. That doesn't mean it's untidy or unclean or unhealthy or unprofessional. It's how our hair is. So if women of other races can work freely with their hair loose, why can't I do the same? It goes back to the need to be educated about how we came to adopt the ideas and values we have about black hair in the first place. 

 Maybe, we need to re-educate ourselves? What do you guys/gals think?  Weigh in and let us know your views. 

And thanks to all of you who stop by Naturaleza. I appreciate the feedback and the fact, that you DO come by! Besos!

Erica, thank you so much for stopping by Naturaleza!


  1. Great interview! I like Erica's product suggestions as I'm always on the look out for something new and natural. At the same time, I'm looking for a way to break my addiction to Coconut Petroleum. I love the way it holds my afro up and the softness, but I know it's not good. Ideas?

  2. Nice interview. Nice meeting you Erica, I personally like your views on the professional look of natural hair. Yes, some of us need to re-educate ourselves. Keep up the good work Naturaleza!!!!

  3. @ Leo - thanks so much. I'll relay your appreciation to Erica as well.

    @ Charish - thanks so much for the comment! :o)
    As it relates to a natural alternative for coconut petroleum, I'll get a response to you as soon as I can.

  4. Hi Charish. Have you used coconut oil? You might be able to get the result you want with that. I'm no expert but as I understand it Coconut oil will give you shine and softness while penetrating the hair shaft. So it actually nourishes and moisturizes the hair rather than just coating the hair shaft like petroleum products do.

    As I mentioned in the interview, I'm an Oyin fan and I have used their Greg Juice to give my fro some life. It's very moisturizing.
    Maybe something like that might work for you as well.
    Hope that was helpful. :)

  5. Or, have you ever tried a pomade? Oyin has a Burnt Sugar Pomade. Carol's Daughter or Qhemet Biologics might also have something similar.
    If I find anything else, I'll drop you a post for sure.


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