Name: Tino’I

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Location: DC

How long have you been natural?
I went natural my senior year at Spelman College which was in the fall of 2007; so almost 5 years.
Did you always have dreads or did you transition?
I definitely transitioned which was definitely a journey. In September 2007 I decided to get a short hair cut. When I went to the hair dresser she gave me a short stylish cut and a perm (my last perm). As my hair was growing back I decided not to get anymore perms and that I would just let my hair grow naturally. I would wear 2 strand twist very frequently so I decided to loc my hair so I wouldn’t have to re-do my twists weekly. The first place that started my locs didn’t do good job, the parts were sloppy and big. So I decided I would comb them out and that maybe locs weren’t for me. A couple months later I got a texturizer to “loosen” my natural curls however it just straightened it. To make a long story shorter I was back at square one for this “natural” process and I decided to do the BIG CHOP January 2010 and loc my hair one month later (February 25, 2010).
Why did you choose that route?
In the beginning I transitioned because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to be natural. I didn’t know what type of hair laid underneath the years and years of perms I received. And lastly because I really didn’t know what to do with natural hair so I figured I’d ease into it and learn my hair along the way.
What inspired you to have locs?
My Spelman sister Audrey did the Big Chop and loc’d her hair our sophomore year in undergrad and I watched her hair transition daily and I absolutely loved it. I would always tell her that one day I was going to get locs and her response would jokingly be “No don’t do it…you got good hair [laughing]”. Also one my favorite male cousins loc’d his hair and I also had the opportunity to watch his process and I finally said “ok I’m going to did this”.
What has kept you motivated to remain with your locs?
Like I stated earlier this is my second time around with the loc-ing process. The first go-round I wasn’t motivated at all. I was very worried that they would not turn out the way I pictured them so I combed them out. This time around I stay motivated honestly because I don’t want to go through the Big Chop phase again.
What are two (2) natural hair products that you just can’t live without? Why?
Honestly, I haven’t found two products that I just can’t live without I’m still in the process of finding something that works, however I always you Jamaican Mango Lime products for my loc maintenance, and I have begun to do what’s called an apple cider vinegar rinse. If anyone has any suggestions I’m definitely open for some.
What is your favorite way to wear your hair?
My favorite way to wear my hair right now is in a plain Jane ponytail. I have only been growing my locs for 2 years and 3 months, I can still remember the days where I could not get a ponytail, and I would always say “ugh I can’t wait until I can get a ponytail”. And now that I have one (and a long one at that) it’s like a loc milestone has reached and I’m very proud of my ponytail.
What do you love about your natural hair?
I love that many times I can just wake up and go I don’t have to allocate a lot of time for my hair. Naturally my hair is like 3 different colors (I recently dyed a section of my hair blonde) and I love the way the colors fall within my locs. Most of all I love being a part of the natural community, I’m always advocating for natural hair.
What do you dislike about it?
Sometimes the buildup in my locs causes my face to break out something I never experienced during puberty. I guess it’s a part of the product trial and error phase. I’m trying to find a product that is light on the hair but will hold my locs.
What tip(s) would you recommend to someone who wants to become natural, is transitioning, or needs advice about natural hair?
Do research on the natural hair salon before opting to use them. Your hair should be treated as precious as the rest of your body. Lastly be PATIENT!!
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