The natural movement is strong in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area and sometimes it gets hard not to lump all naturals together. But Alena, stands out from the crowd. For one, she’s a preacher’s kid. I would make a joke here, but really she’s a sweetie and the girl can sing. And she has beautiful hair (and a beautiful spirit) and she reps Virginia State University AND she studied communications like I did. Could the chick get any cooler? So it is my pleasure to feature her as my first natural hair profile.
Hair Say: How long have you been natural?
Alena: My most recent “natural hair journey” started back in October of 2010 after receiving my last relaxer. I transitioned for a little over a year before cutting out the rest of my relaxed ends on January 6, 2012.
Hair Say: What made you stop getting relaxers?
Alena: I never actually intended to stop getting relaxers when I initially started transitioning. In fact, I didn’t even realize that I had started to “transition” until 3-4 months in. I was wearing sew-in weaves and extensions and just thought “Why should I get relaxers when I am just going to braid my hair up anyway?” I challenged myself not to get a relaxer, just to see how long I could go. Then one day after removing some braids and washing my hair I realized that my natural hair texture was interesting. It was soft, it was manageable, it was NOTHING like I had fearfully envisioned it to be, but it was everything I wanted it to be. That’s when I officially realized I just didn’t want or need a relaxer anymore.
Hair Say: What is your current hair care regimen? What products do you use?
Alena: Right now I would say that I am really in the experimental phase of my natural hair journey. I am always trying different styles, products, oils, moisturizers, etc. One thing that stays consistent is my “wash day” routine. I only use shampoo every other time that I go to wash my hair and I use my regular conditioner on the other days. After washing my hair I then apply a leave in conditioner — A 10 Miracle Leave-In, braid it up, and allow it to dry overnight.
Hair Say: What is the one hair care product or tool you can’t live without?
Alena: Good Quality Bobby Pins!! I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a serious “Not so Good Hair Day” crunch, but with a few strategically placed bobby pins I am able to create quick styles that look great, effortless, and stay in place ALL day!
Hair Say: How has your natural hair influenced your personal style?
Alena: I think that having natural hair has made me bolder in my personal styling choices. I pick and pair wardrobe pieces together because they make ME feel good, not because everyone else thinks they work. I have learned that when you walk around with your head held high and not ashamed or worrying that your dress it too bright or your hair is too big; people think that you did it on purpose. And the beautiful confidence that you exude because you made choices that make YOU happy often cause people to admire your fashion statement even if they don’t agree with your styling choice.
Hair Say: Whose natural hair do you admire?
Alena: Honestly, I admire anyone who has the guts to wear their natural hair fearlessly, loving it for everything that it is and embracing it for everything that it is not.
Hair Say: You are also a hair stylist. What are your specialty areas?
Alena: I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “specialty” but, I have a serious commitment to HEALTHY Hair Care. I know that “Healthy Hair Care” sounds like something that every stylist thinks about, but you would be surprised how many of my clients have come to me after going through years of “hair styling” or “doo-ing”, but never came across a stylist that actually wanted to teach them how to properly care for their hair. For me, it’s about more than someone simply sitting in my chair once a week or twice a month for a “hair-do”. The time I spend with my clients is about helping them love their hair on the days they aren’t in the salon.
Hair Say: What is your advice to those considering transitioning?
Alena: Be ready for the journey. There are highs & lows and there will be times when you just want to take some shavers to your head and be done with it or just drive to the store and buy the first relaxing kit you can get your hands on…but stick to it. It’s hard, but it’s worth it and I have no regrets.
Hair Say: Can you be found online?
Alena: Yes, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel for style tutorials & hair updates @ BlessedStyles2007.