Meet EmpressRi. A fotki friend of mine and a natural hair inspiration. Don’t cha just want that hair…

How long have you been natural and when did you BC? 

Okay, technically I began to grow out my relaxer in 2001 (which took me a year to do so). But I flat ironed a lot because I didn’t know how to really care for transitioning hair. However, I joined Nappturality in 2006 and that’s when I learned how to really care for my hair without being dependent upon heat. Although from the chronic heat use I had some ends that wouldn’t revert so August 2008 I chopped them off myself! So that’s the only mini chop that I’ve done.  

What are your staple products and hairstyles? 

Okay, yes I dabble in some of everything but the ones that never let me down are Qhemet Biologics, Curl Junkie, Karen’s Body Beautiful, Oyin Handmade and Kinky Curly. If I want to do a wash and go, I reach for the Curl Junkie, and/or Kinky Curly products. For twists or braids, it’s the Qhemet Biologics, KBB or Oyin. My hair never, ever gets dry with these products which is the key to maintaining length! (One of them at least!) 

What are your natural hair goals? 

To keep it long, strong and healthy. I nearly grew my hair to my tailbone before doing my mini chop last August, I’d like to get back there or heck even longer. It’s getting back there I’m happy to say ;) 

How do you keep your hair intact overnight?

Okay, I’ll be a little lengthy here. If I have a wash and go, believe me I stretch it for a few days by putting my hair in two pigtails, then putting them together and securing an elastic around both pigtails together. Then I put a bonnet on. In the morning I just take out the elastics, fluff and go.  

If I have in twists, I may oil my scalp every other night, maybe the ends if needed, but I break out the trusty bonnet again.  

If my hair is straight (which it is two times a year when I get my trim) I put it in a loose bun and put on a scarf AND bonnet because somehow both manage to work their way off my head in the middle of the night.  

How do you maintain length? 

I tell everyone this….NO HEAT. Now, what I mean by that is constant or overuse of heat. Being that it’s the height of winter right now I had been diffusing my hair lightly when doing a wash and go, but to avoid that I try to do protective styles when it’s cold.  I also mentioned that I flatiron twice a year and get a trim. I found that the less heat I used on my hair, the less it needed to be cut. My hair also shed less! How’s that for a kicker? 

Balancing moisture and protein is also key. There are some folks that don’t need to do this, but if your hair feels too mushy, you need protein. If it feels brittle and snaps easily and you have those little hairs poking out all over? You need moisture. 

Name 1 reason you went natural and why you love being natural. 

One reason? Hmm. I knew there had to be something more than a relaxer. It was such a random decision that pushed me to go natural. I just happened to see a girl with natural hair, then I saw another walk by, and then ANOTHER and I said to myself why can’t I do that? I’m going to!! 

I love being natural because, heck for one I don’t need to have a relaxer burning away at my scalp until I scream “Uncle!!” every few months, plus it’s unique! I love perusing through all of the blogs, fotkis, websites and what have you because no one has the exact same texture. Similar yes, but never the same. I also have tons more styling options than I had before, even if I’m not particularly adept at some of them. Sometimes I wish some of the gorgeous naturals on fotki and youtube would come style my hair cause there are days I really don’t know what to do with it!! :D

EmpressRi’s Fotki

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