Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tonya's Journey to Natural Hair

Need some natural hair motivation? Check out the journey of Texan Beauty, Tonya and get ready to be inspired!!

Nappturally Chic Jere: So Tonya, Tell me about your hair before going natural. How did you feel when you first relaxed your hair. Were you frustrated with your relaxed hair? 

Tonya Baker: My hair was pretty healthy before going natural. It was soft, had a nice sheen to it, and blew in the wind lol! I got my first relaxer at the age of 12 after refusing to let my grandmother burn me any longer with that pressing comb!!! I was relieved afterwards but years later I can say I was definitely frustrated with  my relaxed hair. It was a lot thinner and flat all of the time. I got tired of wearing it the same way over and over so after getting my first sew-in I was hooked! I could do all kinds of things with my extensions that I’d never dreamed my own hair could do so I constantly wore weaves.

NCJ: I can completely relate to the Yaki addiction...lol! So,When and why did you decide to transition back to natural hair? 

Tonya: I remember thinking, if I keep my hair braided while wearing sew-ins and quick weaves it will grow faster and longer in no time and my hair would be healthier since I wasn’t messing with it...wrong! Instead wreaked havoc on my edges and hair broke off completely. I was practically bald there. It was then in late 2009 I decided to stop getting relaxers. I did not know it was called going natural at the time. I just did not want to get any more relaxers.

NCJ: After experiencing the breakage did you slowly transition or did you do a Big Chop?

Tonya: I transitioned back to natural over a course of 5 months exactly. I was slowly trimming the relaxed ends off but eventually got impatient. I ended up doing my big chop sooner than expected on July 22, 2010. During that time, I tried braided bantu knots, flat-ironed it, and mostly wore wigs when I didn't feel like messing with it at all.

(Big Chop)

NCJ:What was your biggest fear about going natural? How did you overcome it?

Tonya: My biggest fear about going natural initially was, cutting my hair or doing the big chop. I had made up my mind that I would not look right with short hair so my plan was to transition long term. However, that fear faded quickly once I began to see my natural curls. They were beautiful to me. I was so amazed that my hair was curly! I can wet this and it will curl?!!!...I literally ran out the door to go have the rest of my ends chopped off! 

NCJ: I love that moment when natural girls see the absolute beauty of their curls... you look beautiful with short hair, by the way...! Now that you have been fully natural for almost three years and rocking your natural hair with such confidence and beauty, what are your favorite natural hairstyles and products?

Tonya: I love to try all kinds of different styles when I am introduced to them but I think that my favorite would be the top knot bun or puff. They are the easiest and quickest to do especially when I am having a bad hair day. My top favorite products would include Terressentials Organic Hair Wash, Jane Carter Nourish & Shine, Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Style Milk, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner, KCKT(Kinky Curly Knot Today),  and a host of oils and other natural health store items like ACV(Apple Cider Vinegar), and AVJ(Aloe Vera Juice) to name a few.

NCJ:Some advice you would give to other new naturals or those thinking of going natural.

Tonya: My advice to new naturals or those thinking of transitioning back to natural would be to not expect your hair to look like any other natural. Know before transitioning or big chopping that your hair could turn out to look any kind of way but never like anyone else's. It may be similar but it will never be the same. Once you accept that I think the process will be much easier to grow on you. I would also say to my new naturals that because your hair may be frizzy and dry, or have little to no curl pattern in its twa stage doesn’t mean it won’t be different in a year or so down the line. Be patient at every stage! Give it time to do what it does! You will come to love it and own it!

NCJ: That is great advice!! So Ms. Tonya, what is the biggest lesson you learned about yourself and your hair through your journey?

Tonya:The biggest lesson I have learned about myself through my natural hair journey is accepting who I am and not being afraid to be different. I love my big afro hair! I love that I can embrace how God made me. Black people are absolutely beautiful and truly unique! I love how we are the only people who have our types of hair. We are special. I have come to love everything there is to love about myself because I was unafraid. I saw myself for the first time being natural. The feeling is indescribable but when you will feel it you will know. 

NCJ: Wow, that is so true and amazingly stated! You are a natural girl that simply rocks!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story. I'm inspired and I know many other will be inspired as well. 

Do you want to connect with Tonya? Here's How...
YouTube- ArtlessBelle, Instagram- artlessbelle, Facebook- Tonya Baker

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