Brittney is a 10-year veteran of the natural hair game. She first enjoyed her loose coils before embarking on a Sisterlocks journey almost two years ago. And despite being diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis, today the newlywed has a head full of healthy gorgeous locs. Here the North Carolina knockout chats transitioning, deprogramming, and acceptance.
How long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural since 2012.
Did you transition? And if so, how?
I guess you can say I transitioned. I did a lot of protective styles like braids, twists, and wigs. It took about 3-4 years to completely trim the relaxer out of my hair.
Why did you decide to stop relaxing?
I used to get relaxers faithfully, every 6 weeks. However, when I went off to college, I didn’t come home as often to get my hair done. I started going longer in between relaxers.
Eventually, I got down to two relaxers a year and one day I just decided to stop getting them altogether. Initially, it was more for convenience rather than a huge desire to be natural.
How did you wear your natural hair before locing?
Before I locked my hair, I was a loose natural and I would wear my natural curls, wigs, crochet styles, braids, twists… you name it. I experimented with many protective styles during that time.
Who/what inspired you to start your loc journey?
I’ve always admired the look of locs on other people but I was afraid to loc my own hair. I feared that I wouldn’t have that much versatility, so I put it off for a very long time. When I went to grad school, I had a classmate who had Sisterlocks and I instantly fell in love with them.
I immediately started doing research and looking up the Sisterlocks hashtag on Instagram to see how they looked on different people and different hair textures. That’s how my interest began.
The installation of my locs took a little over 30 hours over the course of three days. They were completed on 2/9/20, so I’m coming up on two years.
What were your thoughts on natural hair before you became a natural, and have they changed?
As a child, I was obsessed with long straight hair. I would see commercials advertising hair products (for white women, of course) and I would tell my mom and grandma, “I want bouncing and behaving hair.” That was the catch phrase for Vidal Sassoon shampoo at the time. (Crazy how I even remember that [laugh]).
I was programmed to think that straight hair was “good hair,” and I kept that mentality through adolescence. It wasn’t until I got to college that I started to appreciate natural hair and wasn’t ashamed to wear my hair that way. I think that was mostly due to being around girls who were natural and seeing how comfortable and confident they were. It inspired me to do the same.
Describe your hair.
My hair is dark brown and the curl pattern is a mixture of 3C-4A. I currently have 672 Sisterlocks. The length of my hair varies from 10-14 inches.
What’s the natural hair scene like in your city?
The natural hair scene in Winston-Salem is pretty popular. I see a lot of protective styles here. There’s a good mixture of both older and younger people who are natural.
Do you ever have times when you struggle with your natural hair? How do you deal with those days?
I’ve had my Sisterlocks for almost two years and it’s honestly the best decision I’ve made for my natural hair. Prior to locing my hair, I used to struggle with styling. It was hard for me to just get up and go. I always felt like I had to do something to it before leaving the house. Out of convenience, I would just incorporate more protective styles.
Name one thing you’ve learned about your hair since being natural.
I was diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis when I first got my locs installed, and it was pretty challenging to navigate at first. A good shampoo and a wash day schedule help to keep my scalp clean and clear.
What’s your current hair routine? What products do you use to maintain your crown?
I’m unable to use a lot of products on my locs because they could cause slippage and interfere with the natural locing process. I currently just use a clarifying shampoo to wash my hair every two weeks. My loctician uses a moisturizing mist on my hair when I go to my appointments, which is typically every 4-5 weeks. That’s all.
How do you preserve your natural hair overnight?
I wear a bonnet at night.
You have to wear one style for the rest of your life. Which do you choose and why?
Hands down, my locs. I’ve fallen in love with the look of them and how easy they are to maintain.
What’s the best part of being natural?
I really don’t have to worry about “doing” my hair. I wake up in the mornings, remove my bonnet, and I’m ready to go. My hair is always done and it doesn’t require a lot of effort on my part.
Where can we find you online?
Follow me on Instagram: @bri_jenee.
Any advice or words of encouragement for other naturals?
Being natural may have certain challenges but it’s worth It to stick it out and find what works for you. Not only is it about healthy hair but it’s embracing the crown you never take off.