-As told to Ellen Haille. Edited for clarity.
After a fresh start as a new natural (and college freshman) our most recent hair story inductee, Amber Richardson quickly became accustomed to the leaps and lows of natural hair. From awkward lengths to color expression and everything in between she shares her story and a few go-to-tips learned along the way.
I would rather transition for a million years and wear protective styles before I just go bald.
Tell us about your hair journey.
I recall having perms when I was younger and all throughout my adolescence. It wasn’t until my first year in college that I decided to big chop and just start fresh. I wore protective styles for a while then decided to big chop again because I thought my hair wasn’t growing. However, since that point, I’ve been natural and have been wearing so many protective styles throughout the years.
Describe your hair.
My hair is 4c/4b, short, named Evangeline, fluffy, and dark.
How did you wear your hair when you were younger?
When I was younger I wore a lot of braided styles because those were easy styles for my mom to do. Looking back, my hair was in braids for about 80 percent of my childhood.
My Hair Through the Years
Three different hairstyles I’ve worn are short hair when I big chopped, my first wig, and my first time dying my hair a bright color.
When I big chopped, I had a lot of transitions going on in my life; graduating high school, adjusting to starting college and my mom being in the hospital. However, despite that, I knew it was time for a change and that’s why I decided to start over with my hair journey. I definitely hid my hair during this time because I disliked how my face looked with short hair.
The first time I wore a wig… was my first time seeing myself with colored hair and my first time making my own wig. I saw so many people do it on YouTube and decided to try and I ended up loving the versatility and new color on my skin.
I decided to dye my real hair a ginger color over the summer and it was strange because I was so used to my dark hair. I just woke up one morning and told myself I was going to dye my hair and I did it. I loved it but it was short lived because I can never be consistent with my hairstyles.
What has been your favorite look of all?
My favorite style is definitely when I cut my wig short and dyed it an orange and brown two-tone color. Orange is my favorite color and it was such a fun look for me. I got a lot of compliments!
A style you’ll never wear again?
Wearing my hair super short. I would rather transition for a million years and wear protective styles before I just go bald. I just think short hair isn’t good for my head shape.
Tell us a bit about your hair routine.
I always wear my hair in protective styles, but normally they are wigs. So I normally oil my scalp as much as I can, and take the wig off every week or so to wash, condition and rebraid my hair. I do protein treatments but not often. My routine is simple. I try not to throw random products on my hair if I don’t know that it will work.
What products can’t you live without?
I can’t live without the Shea Moisture Castor Oil collection. My hair is dry but the conditioning mask makes my hair feel so soft when I deep condition. I also love anything with Argan oil because my hair loves Argan oil but particularly the Argan oil collection.
My Hair Now
How do you feel about your hair right now?
My hair right now is still a work in progress. It’s not where I want it to be in terms of length right now but I am working on it. I have problems with changing my hair a lot, which, in turn, makes it break off because I manipulate it too much. But I do like the growth that I have had overall and I love my texture.