hair story: nicole barringer

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– As told to Un’ruly

Part “jewelry designer and part obsessive natural hair product junkie,” as she says on her Twitter page, Nicole Barringer’s hair story is one of great lengths, waist length hair to be exact. This naturalista has no qualms about chopping off her hair. She’s done it to go from straightened to natural and has also chopped her locks simply for the look. Take a look at the different lengths she’s rocked and find out what she does to keep her hair ultra long. Here’s Nicole’s Hair Story.

my hair

My naturally curly, wild, frizzy and sometimes untamed hair is a direct reflection of my inner self. When I first started my natural hair journey in 2010, I was at a place in my life where I was going through some very difficult personal obstacles.  Making the decision to go natural gave me a freedom I longed. To not try to fit into this “image” or this “picture” that people portrayed me to be.  Prior to going natural, I had a career in the pharmaceutical industry and I was with an extremely conservative company. So, hence, I wore my hair straight or in a bun every single day.  I tried to fit into a stereotypical mold.  It wasn’t until after I left this company that I decided I wanted to just BE ME.  I literally let my waist length hair down, chopped it all off and then a year later I threw my flat iron in the trash can.  The journey was hard in the beginning because I felt ugly during those transitional stages, but when my curls started coming in, I truly embraced them.  I stopped striving for perfection and came out of my shell and accepted myself.  I loved my naturally curly, wild, frizzy and sometimes untamed hair and I loved my bold, unfiltered, crazy and unperfected personality that matched it.

through the years

Clockwise: May ’13, September ’13, February ’14, April ’14

This was over the last 12 months. I took these shots to document my ever growing afro. I love the look of an afro and every now and then I pick my hair out and wear it this way.


This was in 2013, just a few months after I had a baby. My hair was super long. I was at my hairdresser’s salon about to chop it all off.  I ended up cutting off 16 inches. While I was pregnant I decided I wouldn’t cut my hair and just see how long it would grow.

On retaining length:  I try to keep my hair as moisturized as possible with products that contain mostly natural ingredients. Minimizing the heat that I put on my hair also makes a big difference. I only flat iron my hair two to three times a year at the most. I also only trim if I have dead/split ends. Fortunately for me, this doesn’t happen that often. I also try to do protein treatments once a month and moisturizing deep conditioning treatments twice a month. All of this has helped me to be able to retain length.

This was in the summer of 2013. It was hot out and I didn’t want my hair touching my neck, so i decided to do an up ‘do.  I loved how this look came out, especially with the two tone color that I had in my hair.

I actually dye my hair almost every year. I’ve been a full blonde, red head, brunette, jet black… I’ve also done highlights as well. [Here] my hair was dyed in a two toned color. The top half was blonde and the bottom half was dark brown. I absolutely love playing with color in my hair; I think that’s my weakness. I just like to change it up every now and then. This year I’ve decided that I’m not going to color my hair because I always get some type of damage when I do that. The only dye I’m using now is a semi permanent black or dark brown rinse.


In April of this year I decided to try my hand at a braid out.  I liked it, but it didn’t last long at all. Tracee Ellis Ross was my inspiration for this look.

This was also in April in my mother-in-law’s backyard hanging out with my sister-in-law. I wanted to see how long my hair had gotten.  I hadn’t straightened it in about 6 months. I was inspired by the beautiful late singer, Aaliyah.  I absolutely loved her signature black hair with her deep side part.

On protecting her hair from heat: I used a heat protectant spray and flat ironed it on a lower heat setting so I wouldn’t get heat damage. I make sure to wrap my hair every night with a satin scarf and I sleep on a satin pillowcase. I only flat iron it the initial time and then I don’t put heat on it again. I also make sure I put a little bit of either almond oil or coconut oil on my ends each night

my hair now

My staple hairstyle these days is simply the wash-n-go.  I don’t use too many products and I don’t manipulate it that much.  I’m actually in the process of growing my hair back out.  I cut it a year ago very short (above my shoulders) and now I’m trying to grow it back to waist length.  Hopefully in a year I will be able to achieve that goal.

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