For the most part, I have always been pleased with the length and condition of my hair. Until I discovered the FLAT IRON *insert dramatic sound* in late 2007!! After a year of flat ironing my hair to death, I received my last relaxer in January of 2009. I went the natural route because my hair was breaking off due to excessive heat damage. I used the flat iron my hair entirely too much, I’m talking almost daily WITHOUT A HEAT PROTECTANT! I was sooooo CLUELESS at the time but, hey, you live and you learn.
Through the transition process, I was surprised and intrigued by my natural curls. Thanks to Youtube videos and natural hair sites like Protecting your Crown and Glory and CurlyNikki, I began to learn how to care for my own hair. I transitioned for a little over a year and cut off my relaxed ends in February 2010. Caring for my own hair was a great feeling, I no longer had to depend on a stylist or spend half of my day in the salon.
I have learned SO MUCH about my hair over the past 12 years and I’m still learning through the good and the not so great experiences.
Like when I relocated to Maryland in the summer of 2010, I wanted color OHH so bad. I mean I just couldn’t wait! I wanted it INSTANTLY! So I went into this random shop and let some unknown beautician bleach my entire head peroxide blonde! I wanted to cry. It was BAD!! I can laugh about it now but the sad part is the stylist was so proud of herself. I wanted to wear a hat to work the next day. My scalp and hair were almost the same color.
Anyway, lesson learned, patience is a virtue. Researching professional stylists that pride themselves in spectacular hair care is so important to me. *Ends rant here*
My Hair Now:
My hair is complex, I have looser curls on the left side and the right side ALWAYS outgrows the left side despite me cutting it even. It is soft, unruly at times, thick, beautiful, sometimes at work I have to sit on my hands in order to stop playing in it but I embrace it all! Perfectly flawed, but I LOVE my hair for that. Afterall, what on God’s green earth is perfect?
I co-wash my hair at least once a week and deep condition twice a month. I love variety so I try to switch it up but my go to style is flexi rods. I love them because it requires little upkeep so I can flexi rod on a Friday and not have to do hardly anything to it until the following Friday. Since it is winter, I am currently in a protective style mood so I bun up my hair or twist/braid my hair back into protective styles. I also like to flat iron my hair every now and then.
I can’t say that I have a set routine, but I do listen to my hair. Sometimes it is as simple as running my fingers through it and I can tell exactly what she needs.
New Natural Advice:
If you are new to the natural hair world, my advice would be to develop patience because this journey is definitely a process.
Fall in love with your texture and your natural curls. Don’t compare yourself to others because this is your journey. That applies to products as well, what works for me may not necessarily work for you and vice versus. Experiment and try new products and hairstyles to see what works for you. If you are experimenting with a new hairstyle and it turns out disastrous, try again. The more you try, the more you will learn and the better you will get at it, just like anything else in life. 🙂
Q & A WITH LOVE THE HAIR YOU WEAR FOUNDER VECOYA BANKS
What is Love the Hair You Wear?
Love the Hair You Wear is campaign and annual event that encourages the natural hair community to come together to learn more about their hair. It promotes self-esteem and creates networking opportunities for young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs. Every summer, I host Love the Hair You Wear in Washington, D.C. Last year we transitioned to a digital platfom because of Covid. The event features vendors, hair models, natural hair tutorials, panels featuring bloggers and hair stylists, an amazing DJ and all around good vibes. This year we’ll host LTHYW hybrid style (online and in person) on August 15th from 12-4!
What inspired you to use your natural hair journey as a platform for entrepreneurship?
After going natural in 2009, I became inspired by the versatility of natural hair. I took risks with my new look; trying different styles, colors, and cuts. As I spoke with friends and family who also transitioned to natural hair, I realized many of them were not enjoying the journey or fully embracing their natural hair, so I wanted to do something about it. Everyone’s hair is different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. It’s important to me that women understand that.
For many women of color, hair is inevitably linked to self-image. If women of color are uncomfortable or unsatisfied with the way their hair looks they may suffer from low self-esteem which negatively affects mental and physical health. How do you think Love the Hair You Wear can change how women see themselves?
My hope is that my campaign can promote positive self-image and self-love. I was inspired to develop a platform that would not only encourage others to love themselves but also foster collaboration in the natural hair movement. Gathering naturals in an upbeat environment gives us a chance to have fun, exchange best practices and appreciate our individuality.
Some may argue that “going natural” is no longer a movement because it seems like being natural way of life. Even the recently crowned Miss U.S.A., Kára McCullough who is from Washington, D.C., rocked her natural hair while winning the title. What are your predictions for the future of the natural hair movement?
Natural hair has definitely taken over, but even after tweleve years, I am still learning. When I first went natural there were a few unhealthy things I did to my hair, that I definitely wouldn’t do now. The future of natural hair is not just about being natural but understanding how to have healthy hair.
Love the Hair You Wear boasts partnerships with companies and beauty lines like Palmers and Curls. What’s your secret to creating a successful event and forging relationships to support its visibility?
My background is in project management and partnership cultivation. I used those skills to create a specialized movement for naturals in the Washington, D.C. metro area and beyond. After a year of planning and brainstorming, I hosted the inaugural Love the Hair You Wear in 2015. I developed partnerships by reaching out to businesswomen in the beauty and wellness industry. I kept seeing these same individuals at mixers and networking events, and our relationships grew organically. The hardest part about creating an event with my name on it is putting myself out there. It’s a vulnerable place to be but my passion for Love The Hair You Wear overcomes my fear of putting myself in the open for judgmen
Love the Hair You Hair You Wear is next month, do you feel like giving a shameless plug?
Absolutely! With 150+ attendees and a feature in Essence, Love the Hair You Wear has been wildly successful over the past two years. I’m optimistic this year will be the best one yet! Join me and hundreds of other naturals and entrepreneurs on Sunday, August 15, 2021 at 12 PM to embrace your natural beauty, support women in business and love the hair you wear. See you there!
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