Textured Beauty Spotlight : Chauncia
Here at Ms. Naturally Random! I'm always out and about seeing fabulous ladies with textured tresses. I choose to wear my hair naturally as well, I love the diversity in which we style our hair. I understand that for a lot of us, our "going natural" stories are often quite unique as well. I'd like to celebrate our differences and hopefully share some insight into other's "natural hair journeys" as I continue my own.
Recently, I reconnected with a high school friend and now a fellow "Textured Beauty" and I had the opportunity to catch up and interview her. Here is our Q&A session.
Shan: Introduce yourself! Quick bio, please include where you can be found online.Chauncia: Child of God, Allen & Adriene. #helpmeet #momShell #DIVA With a name like #Chauncia, it has to be good! #imnotoneinamillionimoneofakind
My name is Chauncia. I graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia. I am a freelance writer and editor. I’m from St. Louis but I recently moved to Orlando. I love to talk, read, laugh, and spend quality time with my family and friends. I love natural hair, but don’t think anyone should be ridiculed for their tresses. I’m #teamDoYou It’s all love.
IG: @Chauncia Twitter: @Chauncia Blog: mynameischauncia.tumblr.com (I haven’t updated in two years)
S: Why did you make the decision to "go" natural?
C: I have Systemic Lupus Erythematosus which sometimes affects my scalp, causing sores. When I would get relaxers, the chemical treatment would burn more than normal to the point where it was excruciating (not every time, but frequently). You would think I would stop after the first time, but I was sick and in college and I didn’t feel like maintaining my hair without the relaxer. That’s actually a little shameful, but whatevs…
Eventually, I realized that it was ridiculous to endure that type of pain and damage. So, in December 2008, I got my last relaxer. At the time, I had planned on wearing straightened hair without chemicals, so I got a partial sew-in. I would flat iron or press the leave out whenever necessary. I continued getting sew-ins throughout 2009, but in my third trimester of pregnancy, I was too sick and tired to maintain my hair. I didn’t want to get a relaxer, so I had my hair braided. I was one year natural when I delivered my daughter in December 2009.
By the second week of January 2010, I had removed my braids and I couldn’t manage being a new mother and hair care. After struggling to flat iron my hair one night, I had my husband attempt to press the back of my hair for me. (Yikes!) It was then that I decided to go back to relaxers. I was 13 months into my natural journey and I couldn’t take it anymore. I continued to get relaxers (some terribly painful) for two more years. In April 2012, I got my last relaxer. My daughter was two and a half with her own head of kinky curls and I wanted to be a role model for her. And, I was tired of the pain.
S: When and how did you transition into natural hair?
C: Again, my last relaxer was in April 2012. I wore a partial sew-in for one month, and then I had my hair braided. I decided that in order to avoid relaxers and stay natural, I needed to keep my hair away from myself. I continued getting braids/twists for seven months. And in December 2012, I cut some of my relaxed ends before having my hair braided. I kept my hair braided for five more months. And to commemorate one year natural in May 2012, I cut off all of my relaxed ends… and then I had my hair braided. I kept my hair braided for five more months and then I was ready to see my completely natural hair for the first time.
S: In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
C: I don’t really think wearing my natural hair has really affected me. My hair is much healthier and the growth and strength is amazing. My hair fell out from the root for at least 10 years before and after my lupus diagnosis. My hair is no longer falling out because I am not exacerbating my condition. Superficially, I have never received more compliments on my hair in my life. People constantly ask where I get my hair done (home) and if I am wearing a wig or a sew-in (neither). People frequently ask me for tips or just tell me they wish they had hair like mine. Natural is good for my self-esteem.
S: What mistakes (if any) have you made with your hair that you've learned from?
C: My afro—kinky, curly, or a combination of the two—came about through trial and error. When I revealed my natural hair in October 2013, I had it flat ironed and tight curled for an event. When I washed that style out, I was impressed with my curls, but I found that I didn’t know how to manage them. I had been managing my daughter’s natural hair for almost four years, so I just used her products: Kinky Curly Knot Today and several items from the Shea Moisture Line like the soufflé, smoothie, and mousse. I tried to style my hair in a mohawk (fail), a twist out (fail), and a kinky bun (eh). One day, I gave up on my hair. I washed my hair and applied detangling and curl enhancing products. I was going to try to do a knot-out, but I didn’t feel like it.
My husband came home and told me my hair—which was just sitting with no style—was beautiful. He suggested I leave it like that. I didn’t really like the style, but I left it “as is” anyway. That day and the next my family and friends raved over my style. I still didn’t love it, but they made me feel good. So, I would say one mistake I made was trying to do too much. I’m not so much in this for the fancy styles as I am for the benefit of having a healthy scalp and strong hair and being an example of pride for my daughter. I am still willing to try though, because the styles are super cute. (I’m looking forward to rocking a big, fluffy puff.) One more mistake I made was going to bed without twisting my hair. A satin cap and an untwisted natural do not mix. My shrinkage is crazy.
S: What is your go-to hairstyle?
C: My go to styles are my afro and braids. My hair varies from curly to kinky curly depending on my use of the curl enhancer (Shea Moisture). I keep my hair braided when my lupus fatigue is too overwhelming to manage my hair or when the weather is not optimal for excellent hair management. I wear my braids in several different styles, but my favorite is the high bun.
S: Share a random fact about yourself.
C: I had my first chemical treatment when I accidentally gave myself a relaxer at two years old. So, I never really knew myself as natural until two and a half months before I turned 30. (I was in a house full of people. Is it too late to hotline? I mean, who was watching me?). I also had a processed curl for about half a year as a toddler. LOL
Thanks for reading and check out @Chauncia on IG and Twitter!
Talk to you later lovelies,
~Shan, Ms. Naturally Random