Monday, January 10, 2011

Coilybella Project 365 #64

Meet Distinguished Coilybella Orisabunmi

1. What inspired you to go natural?

Honestly, I got tired of weaves and braids. I started to feel confined and trapped. I started to feel as though I was hiding…and in retrospect, I was! My fine hair type was not made to weather the stresses of relaxers, weaves and braids. It became so badly damaged that I was ashamed to wear it out and didn’t have the courage to do a big chop. Actually, I didn’t even know what a big chop was until after I did it!

2. How long have you been natural?

I have been openly natural for about 18 months now but actually stopped relaxing my hair about a few years before. Due to a life-changing journey, my hair was shaved off in 2009. I felt like the real me came shining through! For the first two months, however, I wore a wig to work. I was apprehensive about the reactions I would receive since I work in a corporate environment. I only wore my natural hair when I was away from the office. But that was short-lived; I decided that I couldn't do it anymore. I HAD to be me! One Friday evening after coming home from work, I threw my wig in the garbage and went to work with my God given hair on Monday morning! Oh happy day! I vowed to never go back to the creamy crack or hide my hair in shame again. It was then I started my journey to healthy fine natural hair. I did a lot of research on hair care forums and YouTube.

3. What styles did you wear before this decision?

I started relaxing my hair at age twenty and then eventually moved on to weaves because it gave me a full looking head of hair as opposed to the baby fine tresses I had to deal with all of my life. My beautician at the time was extremely talented when it came to styling. I allowed her to style my weaves however she wanted – glue-ins and sew-ins. Ooh...and I loved the compliments I received everywhere I went. In the meantime my fine hair was becoming thin damaged hair. Eventually I stopped relaxing my hair but still continued with weaves and braids, opting for more natural and coily looking weaves. I so wanted to be natural. I then moved on to wigs hoping that I would be able take care of my hair under the wigs to bring it back to life. That didn't work. I knew nothing about natural hair care. In 2007 I decided get kinky twists thinking that my hair would breathe better since my scalp would be exposed to air. Again, I was hoping to get my now natural hair on track in hopes of eventually wearing it out. Still ignorant to healthy hair care practices, I kept the twists in too long and only washed it once or twice in between installments. Can you believe it? I became more concerned about maintaining neatness of the twists than maintaining the health of my hair!

4. What were the responses you received in response to your natural hair decision?

I received unbelievably positive responses from family and friends, and even strangers on the street. As mentioned above, I was a bit nervous about the reactions I would get at work. But when I decided to go to work without my wig that Monday morning, the compliments immediately started! Some co-workers didn’t even recognize me at first. My manager did a double take and said to me, “Wow, you look so chic!” It felt great! I couldn’t believe it! I kept asking myself, “What were you so afraid of all this time?” It was absolutely amazing! Let me just go on record to say, had the reactions been negative I had already made up my mind that it would not be a deterrent for me.

5. What is your current regimen? How do you maintain length? Moisture? How do you protect your coils at night?

I live in New York where the cold weather is not kind to my fine natural hair. Currently, I use Ori Organics products for hair care and Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding for styling. I wash and deep condition my hair once a week and detangle using hair milk. I have learned to retain length by moisturizing my hair twice a day by spritzing it with a mixture consisting of 95% water and 5% oil and then I seal with a buttercream. I also keep my head covered when I am out in the cold weather for an extended period of time. At night I sleep with a satin bonnet. Additionally, I do a henna treatment every 3-4 weeks.

6. What products do you use in your hair?

I have been fortunate to finally find a product line where all of the products I use work wonderfully on my hair. As needed, I use Ori Organics: Ori Hydrating Curl Cleanser, Ori Curl Nourishing Daily Deep Conditioner, Ori Golden Jojoba Hydrating Conditioner (for fine hair), Ori Curl Replenishing Hair Milk Leave-in Conditioner, Ori Curl Restorative Masque Deep Conditioner, Ori Leave-In Cream Sealant, and Ori Moisture Balancing Buttercream. For styling, I use Miss Jessie’s Curl Pudding, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, and Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner. Additionally, I use Henna, Castor Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Aloe Vera Juice, and Aubrey Organics GBP Protein Conditioner.

7. What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?

Be very very patient and listen to your hair. Do not compare it to others. Start off with the basics: shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, deep conditioner, moisturizer and build from there. This will help you to easily figure out which products your hair likes or dislikes. Take lots of pictures so that you’re able to look back and see your progress. If you make a mistake that causes a set back don’t beat yourself up. That’s part of the learning process. Most of all don’t give up! Don’t’ get discouraged! Remember why you wanted to go natural in the first place. It’s going to take time to learn how to take care of your natural hair especially if you’re coming from years of taking care of relaxed hair.

8. What's the best thing about being naturally beautiful?

I no longer have to be concerned about whether or not my tracks are showing…LOL! But seriously, it is so empowering and liberating. It may sound cliché but it’s absolutely true. Being courageous enough to wear your natural hair in spite of society’s opinion that it is unkempt in its natural state speaks volumes.

9. What mistakes have you made in your journey? What have you learned?

I have made quite a few mistakes that caused set backs and inability to retain length. It’s important to find a technique and a regimen that works for your own hair. I’ve learned to document results to avoid repeated mistakes. I’ve learned to listen to my hair. My hair journey is my hair journey. Products, combs, brushes, that work wonders for others might not necessarily work wonders for me. Most of all, I’ve learned to be patient and to embrace my hair the way it is…naturally fine.

10. Please name three products that you cannot live without.

Ori Organics Curl Cleanser, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Ori Golden Jojoba Hydrating Conditioner

11. What advice would you give to women thinking about wearing their hair natural?

Ask yourself this question: Is it worth damaging your God given hair in order to conform to society’s opinion of how your hair should look? Do you honestly believe that God would give us kinky, coily, curly tresses if He didn’t think it is beautiful? We deserve to be loved and accepted for who we are, not whom others think we should be.

12. Where can you be located on the Web?

I recently created a YouTube channel    and plan to start a blog in the near future.

13. Anything else you want to add?

A man was talking on his cell phone and actually interrupted his call so he could compliment my hair. He added that for a woman to wear her natural hair she has to be self-confident and must really know herself. If you are confident about your natural hair that is the energy others will receive. It’s not what you wear; it’s how you wear it!



  1. Wow! What an inspiration! Thank you so much for sharing sis!

  2. She's made nice progress and I like that last word of advice she gave.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. That's my mom!! The last word of advice is very inspirational as I've done my BIG CHOP almost a month ago. Confidence is definitely key to being exceptionally happy with your natural hair and I love my natural hair!
    I enoyed this Blog Post<3


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