Hair Story Feature: Meet Tiara

3 years post
3 years post

Your hair is? Natural

When did you start your hair journey? What inspired you?
I had been getting relaxers since 1999. I started on my healthy relaxed hair journey March 2012 after my younger sister convinced me to take better care of my hair. She is also an avid reader of your blog! My hair thrived for a while but I was still relaxing every 10 weeks. In July 2012, I got married and moved to another city.

My dad had always been my “stylist” and relaxed my hair for me. So I decided I would just stretch my relaxer for 6 months at a time and then visit him and let him relax my hair. My last relaxer was November 2012. My “6 month relaxer stretch” turned into a 24 month-long transition to natural after I fell in love with the coils springing out of my scalp. I completed my transition in November 2014.

Describe your hair for us.
My hair is 3 years post relaxer and I have been natural for one year. My curls and coils certainly have a mind of their own! I’m not a huge fan of hair typing systems, but I would say my curls range from 3B to 4A; 3B at the nape and the front top, 3C in the middle, and 4A at my hairline and crown. My hair is medium to low porosity. I have fine strands and I have medium density hair. When I was a kid, my mom use to tell me how she wanted to name me Ko’lana Shatori, but that my dad really liked Tiara Danielle. When I started on my hair journey {and subsequently my YouTube channel} I decided I would ‘name’ my hair Ko’lana Shatori, or the Ko’lana Kurls.

What is your current regimen?
Generally, I wash my hair once a week. Each wash I start by detangling with coconut oil which is also my pre-poo. Then a scalp massage. I leave the oil in for 30 mins and apply heat. Next, I shampoo with a sulfate-free shampoo with cool water. Then, I deep condition with a moisturizing treatment {protein treatments are usually once a month}. Lastly I rinse with cool water and style. I’m lazy so it’s usually just a plain ol’ wash-n-go. Twice a week I do a scalp massage with just my own natural scalp oils. I trim my ends roughly every 3 to 4 months. I only use direct heat about once every 4 months. And I henna my hair twice a year.

Do you have any hair goals? Have you achieved them?
My first hair goal was to reach bra strap length when my hair was stretched/flat ironed, which I achieved November 2015. Now, I want to reach bra strap length when my hair is in a curly wash-n-go. This will take quite some time since my wash-n-go hangs around collar-bone length.

Day before my transition chop
Day before my transition chop

How did you achieve them? How are you working to achieve them?
I regularly take a daily multivitamin that contains biotin. I haven’t been super consistent in measuring my hair since taking them so I don’t actually know if they help. But consistency in deep conditioning, pre-poos, scalp massages, henna treatments, and regular cleansing have helped my hair thrive. I rarely use direct heat like flat irons and blow dryers, which I also think has helped. Also, trimming my ends WHEN NEEDED has helped too. I don’t have a set schedule to trim.

Have you had any setbacks? How did you bounce back?
Yes. When I was transitioning, I struggled with a severely itchy scalp right at the crown. As a result, my hair growth slowed and I experienced lots of breakage at the line of demarcation. It wasn’t detrimental because I knew I was going to chop the relaxed ends anyway. But I didn’t realize that sulfates were the culprit until about a year into my transition. After I stopped using sulfates, started doing regular hot oil pre-poos, and alternated between sulfate-free shampoo and full strength ACV treatments, my scalp regained health.

How has your hair journey impacted other parts of your life?
My hair journey has helped me gain confidence. I never felt very attractive with relaxed hair, but I knew that I’d rather have straight ‘flowy’ hair than the ‘nappy’ hair I thought I had. Once I discovered I could have manageable, healthy, natural hair, I began to see myself differently. My transition to natural has encouraged one of my sisters to big chop and the other to begin a transition to natural! Still working on my mom, though. My husband has been my biggest advocate and he is the reason I started a YouTube channel. My channel is slowly growing, and even though it started as a hobby, I hope to grow more so I can help others on their hair journeys.

What are your favorite protective styles?
Crochet braids! They are inexpensive, easy to maintain, look extremely natural, and still allow me to care for my hair and scalp while taking a break from the everyday maintenance. Second fave is probably marley twists.

Soft dread crochet braids
Soft dread crochet braids

What are some of your favorite products?
I really love Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus line of hair products, specifically the shampoo, Curl & Shine Mist, and the Curl & Style Milk. Coconut oil and Aloe Vera Juice are my favorite natural products. And Three Sisters of Nature Curling Gelo is my favorite styler.

How do you deal with people who doubt you? What motivates you to keep going?
I haven’t had many people who doubt me, rather people who don’t understand my hair choices. When I first decided to transition, my dad was concerned I’d have ‘nappy and unkempt’ hair. And while transitioning, several ignorant folks didn’t understand the concept of extensions/crochet braids. I received some really awkward requests to touch my hair, real or synthetic. My motivation is seeing other women with long, gorgeous, healthy tresses. I know that my hair can grow and that I can have long, healthy hair so I keep to my regimen to ensure I have similar results.

What advice would you give someone just starting out on their journey?
Patience. And consistency. And MOISTURE! Had I known dry hair was as counterproductive as it is, I would have deep conditioned twice a week when I was transitioning! Keeping high levels of moisture is important; layering moisture underneath your stylers is imperative; and deep conditioning regularly is essential. Also, never rip through tangles. It only makes breakage worse. Use a gentle hand whenever styling, detangling, or handling your hair. Lastly, natural hair and single strand knots go hand-in-hand. There’s nothing to be done about it. So accept them, snip them whenever you find them, and carry on

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things (e.g. conditioner, bobby pins) would you wish you had?
Coconut oil, a spray bottle, gel, deep conditioner, and hair ties

What do you love most about your hair?
I love how soft my hair is. I use to think I had thin hair when I was relaxed, but now that I’m natural I know that I just have lots of fine strands that lay close together when straightened. The fine-ness of my hair makes it oh so soft!

Where can we find you on the web?
My YouTube channel is youtube.com/kolanashatori. Or just search for Ko’lana Kurls.
My Instagram is @kolanashatori


Your hair is lovely Tiara! I love your crochet braids and your note about trimming when needed. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and hi Tiara’s sis *waves* 🙂

If you’d like to share your hair story, I’d love it post it! Submit your story here.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Jen! *waves back* Hi Sister! 😀

    1. And yes, I am Tiara’s sister.

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