Hair Story Feature: Meet Samantha

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Hair Story Feature: Meet Samantha
Samantha 2016transition
2016 – transition

Your hair is? Transitioning to natural

When did you start your hair journey? What inspired you?

My hair journey started in March 2015 when I decided to stop relaxing my hair and transition to natural. I was inspired partially by my frustration with my damaged relaxed hair and partially by the natural hair movement – I was so impressed by these women who were redefining the definition of beauty that prevails in the Western world by embracing their curls. I had relaxed hair ever since I was a child and had no idea what my natural hair looked or felt like. I decided to stop relaxing my hair for good in March of last year and I haven’t looked back!

Describe your hair for us.

My hair has a tight curl pattern at the nape that becomes looser and more wavy near the crown. My hair overall is very thick and high porosity. The back of my hair is short and completely natural, but I still have relaxed ends hanging on in the front, which makes the front of my hair much longer than the back.

What is your current regimen?

I wash my hair once a week. I stopped using shampoo after discovering Benzonite Clay! That stuff is amazing at clarifying and detangling the hair. So on wash days I mix Benzonite Clay with water and let it sit in my hair for 30 minutes before rinsing. I then follow up with a deep conditioner, detangling my hair under the water as I rinse it out. Finally, I apply a leave-in conditioner and comb it through my hair before styling. I’ll moisturize my hair once or twice during the week in between wash days but I know I need to do it more.

Do you have any hair goals? Have you achieved them?

My goal is to be completely natural (i.e. chop off the rest of my relaxed ends) at my two year transition mark, which will be March 2017. I hope to be APL by that point.

2014 - relaxed
2014 – relaxed

How did you achieve your goals? How are you working to achieve them?

I’m taking biotin pills everyday and detangling my hair VERY carefully to avoid breakage. I also wear protective styles during the week to keep my ends tucked away, and deep condition every week.

Have you had any setbacks? How did you bounce back?

My hair has a lot of single strand knots that drive me crazy! I know they will have to be cut out at some point. This is probably due to me being lazy and not detangling properly when I first started transitioning.

How has your hair journey impacted other parts of your life?

My natural hair has changed me more than I ever expected! I feel so much more confident in my own skin, and I feel that my hair has helped me grow as a person and explore my identity as black woman. I also get SO many compliments on my hair now from tons of people – that never happened to me when I was relaxed. It’s encouraging to have people recognize how unique my hair is and appreciate it.

What are your favorite protective styles?

One of the reasons why I haven’t big chopped the front of my hair yet is because I really like wearing ponytails. I wear them all the time.

What are some of your favorite products?

I love my Tangle Teezer, Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioner, and ORS Smooth n Hold Pudding.

How do you deal with people who doubt you? What motivates you to keep going?

I’m lucky enough to have a strong support system and people who believe and encourage me on my journey. I haven’t heard any negative comments about my hair since my transition. I am comfortable with my decision because it was my choice and the fact is I am more in love with my hair now than ever before. I feel that it is so much easier for women to transition now that natural hair is becoming more embraced.

2015 - relaxed
2015 – relaxed

What advice would you give someone just starting out on their journey?

Remember why you’re doing it. Remember your goals and your setbacks because you can learn from them. Patience and consistency are key.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things (e.g. conditioner, bobby pins) would you wish you had?

Bobby pins, Tangle Teezer, leave-in conditioner, flexi rods, and a mirror

What do you love most about your hair?

I love all of the different styles that I can do with my hair. I love experimenting with new styles all the time and how forgiving my hair is to my mistakes (if a style turns out bad, all I have to do is wet my hair and start over again!). My hair is unique, adaptable, and amazing.

Where can we find you on the web?

Follow my beauty blog I’m also on YouTube under the name Samantha Ess, and @heysamshine on all social media accounts.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Samantha!

If you’d like to share your story on JGA, please feel free to submit it here.

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