Ok Lovelies! I am super excited to bring to Tres Lovely, my very first beauty feature.
Everyone– meet Candace!
How long have you been a naturalista?
I have two periods of being natural. The first time I went natural I was natural for six years. I began relaxing my hair again for a multitude of reasons. I hadn’t learned to embrace my natural hair. I wasn’t comfortable or confident in my skin yet, so I fell prey to societal ideals of what being beautiful was supposed to look like. I didn’t fit this ideal. I attempted to remedy my insecurity with myself by relaxing my hair again. Of course, this didn’t work, but it taught me a valuable lesson about self-acceptance. It was during this period that I truly learned to embrace my self and in turn my natural hair. At the age of 23 I began transitioning to natural hair again. I have now been natural for 9 years.
Why did you decide to go natural?
My own hair texture inspired me to become natural. I got my first relaxer when I was 11 years old. When I relaxed my hair I would get touch-ups about every three months. When I was 15 I went longer than three months and saw a significant amount of hair growth. I was amazed at how curly and wavy my new growth was. And I loved how it looked and felt. I decided at that time to stop relaxing my hair. I wanted to see what a head full of curls would look like. I have no idea why I didn’t remember what my natural hair texture looked like.
Did you encounter any negative or positive reactions from your family and friends as a result of your decision?
My nuclear family (meaning my mom and brother) have always been super supportive of my decision to go natural. They are also natural. My brother has waist-length locs and my mom has been natural off and on for most of her adult life.
Did you make a long or short transition from relaxed to natural?
Both times I decided to stop relaxing my hair I did a long transition. My first period of being natural I transitioned until the relaxed ends all broke off. I had no idea what I was doing, so I didn’t think of it as a choice between a big chop or a long transition. I just stopped relaxing my hair. The second period I was much more knowledgeable about caring for my natural hair and I made a conscious decision to do a long transition. I transitioned for nearly two years. Yes, it was a LONG transition. It was not easy. The more hair I got the more complicated it was to style. I kind of wish I had gone through a TWA (teeny weeny afro) period. Although, when I got all the relaxed parts cut off, it still felt extremely short. I felt like I had a TWA, but I really didn’t.
Share with us your top essential natural hairstyling products/tools?
My all time favorite hair styling product is anything shea butter based. My hair loves shea butter. A little bit of shea butter goes a long way. Water, of course, is key. I use water in combination with whatever leave-in hair moisturizer that I use. The majority of the leave-in hair moisturizers that I use have water as the first ingredient.
As far as tools go, wide teeth shower combs and hair clips are a must. I cleanse, condition, and style my hair in sections. Handling my hair while it is in sections makes it so much easier to style.
What is your curl care regimen (including your favorite looks & nighttime routine)?
I wash and condition my hair each week. I then style it by putting it in two-strand twists on wet or damp hair. Twist-outs and twist-out updos are my signature styles. I use a light leave-in hair moisturizer and a shea butter based hair cream to set my twists.
I really do not have a signature nighttime look. I’m kind of a homebody, so I don’t hang out in places frequently where I need a nighttime look. My idea of a good Friday night is hanging out casually with my family or boyfriend. This usually involves a movie at home and dinner at a casual restaurant.
What are the top 5 things that you enjoy about being lovely & curly?
1) I love that I can be me! I don’t have to depend on anyone to make my hair do something that it doesn’t naturally do. I love my kinks and curls!
2) The EXTREME diversity of natural hair. Natural hair can be turned into so many different looks, all without doing much to it. Shrinkage illustrates this so well. My hair can be like 4 different lengths, all without getting a single hair on my head cut. It is one length freshly washed (all shrunken up). It is another length stretched, blown out, and flat ironed. Shrinkage always amazes me!
3) It saves me money. I don’t have to go to a salon to have my hair chemically treated. And at this point in my natural hair journey, I really only need to go to the salon to have my hair cut or trimmed. I know how to style my kinks at home.
4) I don’t have to worry about a rainy day.
5) Big hair! I love the fullness of my hair.
If you have any, who are your Curly Hair Icons (be they famous or not so)?
My all time favorite curly hair icon is T’Keyah Crystal Keymah. She is well known for her time on the television show In Living Color. She has gorgeous hair. I never thought of kinky hair growing very long until I saw photos of her lovely long kinky tresses.
My YouTube curly hair icon is Autumn, a.k.a. Curly Chronicles. I love her spirit, and of course her gorgeous curly hair!
Your YouTube channel is wonderful. What inspires you?
Women who have decided to embrace their natural hair, or who are considering going natural, inspire me to make videos! For many kinky and curly haired women we have grown up styling our hair in non-curly ways, so many of us have never learned how to care for our hair in its curly state. Through the years I have learned a great deal about how to care for my natural hair. The more I know the more I love my hair, and the easier it is to style.
There is a big learning curve to contend with when we do decide we want to embrace our kinks and curls. Through my channel I strive to support women who wear their natural hair texture by providing them the knowledge they need to reduce some of the challenges associated with styling kinky hair. My hope is that the added knowledge will give them an extra source of confidence that will contribute to greater success with their natural hair journey, and ultimately in their personal and professional lives too. When you feel good about your hair it definitely boosts your confidence. I don’t want women who want to style their natural hair reverting back to relaxers because it is easier. Once you learn how to care for your hair, you learn that it isn’t any easier or harder to style than relaxed hair. It is just different.
For more Candace:
My YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/kinkytresses