Featured Reader - Aja!

Meet Naturally Beautiful Hair blog reader Aja. Aja talks a little bit abut her transition to natural hair and what inspires her -

Q: How long have you been Natural? If you transitioned from process hair to natural hair, what made you want to change?
A: I transitioned to natural hair after having been a 'relaxed' girl for more than 15 years.  I started (slowly) making the switch to natural products after a health concern made me more aware of the things that I was introducing to my body--this was back in 2001. Since then, I've eliminated pork, white sugar/flour and a few other foods from my diet. I started my transition (via braids & chignons) in May 2009 and finally mustered up the courage to Big Chop (BC) in November 2009; it's one of the best decisions that I've made! I've made it my goal to be as natural as possible, not only with my hair, but with my overall well-being.

Q: What has been the most amazing or surprising part of your having natural hair?
A:  I think the most amazing & surprising part of being natural is that my hair is even more manageable now than it was when I had a relaxer. When I was relaxed my scalp suffered most of the burden; it had been burned from the chemicals within the relaxers and therefore itching and flaking became "normal" to me. I would go to the salon for a doobi on Saturday and by Tuesday I'd be washing my hair--not because it was dirty--but to remove the dry, chemically burnt patches of skin from my scalp. I was doing too much to my hair. I had a collection of products and none of them made much of a difference. But now that my hair is chemical-free and I'm feeding my body more of what it needs (as opposed to what I want), I've been able to slowly nurse my scalp back into shape. It's still not 100% healthy, but it took time to...
damage it so it will also take time to heal it. Scalp issues aside, I also find being natural much easier because now I get to make moves the way I want to without my hair dictating how the day will go. I no longer worry about not being able to go swimming, to amusement parks or even on a date with my husband based on whether or not I'm going to be able to pull off a certain style because I haven't had a relaxer in a while. Natural hair is extremely versatile and if you're good to it, it will be good right back to you!

Q: What is your maintenance routine? What product do you love?
A: My maintenance routine is pretty simple: I cleanse/condition/leave-in condition/hydrate/ and style. During the colder months, I cleanse/condition/leave-in on a bi-weekly basis while moisturizing my scalp (and sometimes hair depending on the style) about once every 3-4 days. I haven't used any heat on my hair since May 2009 and I really don't have the desire to; right now, I'm really just enjoying my kinks.
As far as products are concerned I keep it really simple, using mostly all natural (either store brought or handmade) products. 

The staple products that I love are:
  • To Cleanse: Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap (Almond & Peppermint are my favorites)
  • To Condition: Giovanni's Smooth as Silk conditioner and Direct Leave-In conditioner
  • To Hydrate: Organic coconut oil with a few drops of rosemary essential oil (for my scalp) & for my hair, I use a cream from my own natural product line: SheaCoCo Love  (which is a great moisturizer for both thirsty skin & hair).
Q: What advice do you have for any one that is considering go back to their natural texture or getting their hair loc'd?
A:  I'd say, "go for it and don't allow anyone to make you feel anything other than fabulous!" I know it may sound clich√©` but I think we are all unique, and the one thing that makes me truly unique is how I was made to be. I was born with caramel skin, full lips and kinky hair in my DNA and I feel blessed to be this way. Don't be afraid to let the real you shine through!

Q: How can we keep up with you and your journey (for example: Facebook, fotki, tumblr, twitter, and more)?
A: Please feel free to keep up with me & my natural journey via:
-Twitter: @AJANaturals
Aja Walker-Rice
AJA Naturals, LLC
Natural products for body mind & spirit
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