Teachers love natural hair. It must be a true statement because LaTonya is the second teacher featured in the Hair Say spotlight. When she is not busy educating young minds LaTonya says she can be found napping.
“Seriously, I am so busy with work and church that when I get to rest I am usually stretched out somewhere relaxing. If I manage to find some free time and I am not in dire need of rest, I like to check out new and happening restaurants in the area with friends,” she told Hair Say.
Hair Say: How long have you been natural?
LaTonya: I stopped getting relaxers at the end 2008. I cut off all relaxed ends in early 2009.
Hair Say: Why did you decide to go natural?
LaTonya: I used to have thick, full hair that could handle almost any style. I would relax, color, and flat-iron my hair all the time. My beautician at the time, wanted me to get touch-ups every 4-5 weeks. In about 2007 I began experiencing breakage. Not all over, but in certain areas. I went to the doctor and she was adamant that the breakage was due to over-processing. My beautician did not believe over-processing would break my hair off in some sections and not others. So going natural for me began as an experiment of sorts. I wanted to see if my hair was healthier without chemicals.
Hair Say: What were your favorite products when you first began transitioning?
LaTonya: I went into going natural with very little research. I wish I knew then what I know now. I really just stopped using relaxers and called that going natural. I continued using the same products and styling tools I used when I relaxed. I was getting my hair blown out and straightened (with a hot comb) and doing a lot of rod sets. Once I researched more and began to embrace the kinks, Cantu’s Shea Butter Leave-In was my go to product for conditioning and doing two-strand twists. I also liked Kinky Curly’s Knot Today as a detangler and leave-in.
Hair Say: What are your favorite products now?
LaTonya: I consistently use the hair care line from Shea Moisture. My favorite products from Shea Moisture are the Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Curl and Style Milk, Raw Shea Deep Treatment Masque and the Curling Soufflé. They are affordable and easily accessible. I am also a huge fan of coconut oil. I use Nutiva organic coconut oil as a sealant; it also adds the shine I desire. I like Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner for co-washing. I also love the Giovanni Direct conditioner as a leave-in.
Hair Say: What is wash day like for you?
LaTonya: Wash day is getting easier and easier as time goes on. I co-wash my hair about once a week, sometimes more depending on what my week is like exercise wise. I finger detangle every wash day and a deep condition with every other wash. My signature style is the two-strand twist out. It’s familiar and I like the result. The process from start to finish is about 1.5 to 2 hours. I am attempting to use the warm weather to experiment with the ‘wash and go’ style, seeing what I can do with my natural texture instead of wearing two-strand twist outs.
Hair Say: What is your go-to style when you are having a bad hair day?
LaTonya: I wear an Afro puff when all else fails.
Hair Say: How has being natural influenced your overall style?
LaTonya: I can’t say my hair has influenced my style, but I do believe I’m much more confident now. There’s a section of people out there who believe natural hair styles do not look styled. I try to still look classy while rocking a twist out; making sure I look put together even though my hair is big with red highlights.
- Hair Say: What is your favorite cosmetics line?
LaTonya: No favorites really. I love Arbonne’s eye products, mascara and liners especially, because they all go on smoothly and are easy to take off. I like lip products from Bare Minerals because they do not feel heavy on my lips. I also like lip gloss from MAC.
Hair Say: What is the best advice you ever received about caring for your hair?
LaTonya: Moisture, moisture, moisture! I am learning that my hair thrives when it is properly moisturized and sealed. The Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey taught me so much about why my hair behaves the way it does and that it is usually reacting to lack of moisture. I also believe that protective styles are necessary for kinkier hair types. I have to keep my hair twisted up from time to time to give it a break from being over manipulated.