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 – As told to Un’ruly

My hair journey started with natural hair, afro puffs and braids. I got a relaxer when I was about five or six years old and kept it up until I was 18. At 18 I decided to put in braids, grow my natural back and then I cut off the perm by myself (what a freeing feeling!) Now I’m mostly wearing weaves/wigs for length but still rock the ‘fro occasionally.

my hair through the years

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The Fro Hawk, Summer 2009

This was a behind the scenes outtake of a photoshoot from the former pop duo I was in. I had light brown/blonde highlights as well. The top was in two strand twists that I took out for added texture. I’ve always loved Mohawks and different variations of faux hawks and I first wore a similar style in 2007. I think I started seeing them on the natural front in about 2005 and have been rockin them over the years. Aside from the general styled afro, it may have been my most frequent style.

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The Pin Up, Spring 2012

In the Spring of 2012 I wore this look or variations of it for a large portion of that year! When this picture was taken, I happened to be at Pink Elephant, a nightclub, shortly after it’s reopening. I was re-visiting my party phase and loved wearing the pin up out so it stayed nice and neat despite the heat or crazy atmospheres. It was a fun and easy look so I would often revert to it to avoid bad hair days when the ‘fro was out of control. I kind of miss it. I think I had first seen the look on some random passerby in NYC and decided to try it. However, after the Janelle Monae became popular, I definitely became more inspired by the front poof—or whatever it’s called…

Curly Natural Fro

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Photo by Ismael Cruz Cordova

I wore this look mostly from winter 2012 until early summer of 2013. I was in NYC and looking for a healthy change on the hair front. I had always been doing twist outs, braid-outs, pins, etc. and really wanted to find some form of a “wash and go” for simpler and natural hairstyling. I teamed up with my hairstylist, Chereen Monet and Image Consultant, Chris Santiago, and we worked on products and tips for styling and wearing my natural curl pattern. It was an eye opening and refreshing experience for me and my hair. I was inspired by just wanting to be true to myself.

I had a curly afro weave once and I cut it too short because it was longer while wet. It got so matted up and I had no idea how to take care of it. I won’t be doing that again.

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August 2013, Senegalese Twists

I was at one of the Everyday People Parties [a monthly brunch party in New York] and it was during Afro Punk so it was a fun day. I had been rocking the natural curly fro and was NOT feeling the summer shrinkage and maintenance. Ironically, since I had really grown comfortable with it in its natural state, I felt ready to branch out to something different. My image consultant was pushing for long “Solange” box braids and I went to get them done but the hairdresser misunderstood me and thought I said Senegalese twists- LOL. However, it was a Happy accident because I loved them. I used to rock braids in Elementary/Middle school but hadn’t had them since then. I was Inspired by Solange and her fabulous hair variety along with the many brown beauties that have been rocking braids lately.

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Photo by Tarik Carroll. Styled by Chris Santiago.

April 2014 Long Tresses

This was in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn and is the style I’m currently wearing. After having the braids I realized I liked the look of long hair and had never done any form of long hair aside from braids. So, it was time for something dramatically new. I started trying on wigs for fun and realized I didn’t like the swoop look that most of them had. I looked at a lot of actresses and stars that I like and came up with the middle part. I’m also wearing the straight hair to give my fro a rest. I’m taking hair vitamins and really investing in ways to nurture my hair and keep it healthy for the long run.

what’s in my cabinet

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Shoot conceived and styled by Chris Santiago, photography by Xyenz Fyxion, hair/makeup Amanda Valdes

Right now I’m using a coconut co-wash by As I Am and the Enhancing Herbal Conditioner by Taliah Waajid. I follow with the Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner and Protective Mist Bodifier by Taliah Waajid.

I wash my hair at least once a week, sometimes more depending on gym days, heat, etc. and then I braid it.

My favorite wash and go products for a curly style are Deva Curl’s Heaven in Hair Intense Moisture Treatment as conditioner followed by Hair Rules Curly Whip. Both can be a little pricey but well worth it!

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