Posts tagged ‘giovanni’

Tressumé: Black Girls Run(Ashley Hicks & Toni Carey)

A few days ago I posted about a program called Black Girls Run. I discovered the program on the news one night and did my research. I was amazed by both how great program was as well as the natural hair of the founders Ashley and Toni.
I got the opportunity to interview the lovely ladies of Black Girls Run Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks. They share with me how they began their own natural hair journeys, information about Black Girls Run, as well as tips for the African American woman who wants to begin a healthier lifestyle.
If you have not heard about the amazing program, please take the time out to learn more from this interview and by visiting their site

Toni & Ashley


Photo Courtesy of

Norfolk, VA & New York


How long have you been natural?
Ashley: I have been natural for 2 years

Toni: I have been natural for 1 year & 4 mos.

Did you transition or do the Big Chop?
Ashley: I transitioned

Toni: I transitioned for a short time then did the Big Chop.

Why did you choose that route?
Ashley: I had an appointment for a perm and my stylist cancelled on me the last minute. Being that I was a runner I decided to forget about the appointment and embrace my natural hair.

Toni: I was tired of the two different textures

How long did you transition?
Ashley: I transitioned for 9 months and cut it 2 years ago September

Toni: I transitioned for a short time.

What inspired you to have natural hair?
Ashley: Being cancelled on for a perm and the fact that my hair would be much healthier. Discovering my curls was also an inspiration.

Toni: I saw Ashley’s hair, how healthy it was and I decided to do my own transition.

What has kept you motivated to remain natural?
Ashley: I love my hair. It is easy also with working out, and I can wear it straight if I wanted to.
Toni: I want everything healthy with exercise, organic food and my hair. It has become a lifestyle.

What are two(2) natural hair products that you just can’t live without? Why?
Ashley: Giovanni’s Leave In because it feels amazing after a wash and keeps my hair moisturized.
Toni:</em> I use Giovanni’s 50/50 conditioner and Hair Rules Curly Whip and Kinky Curling Cream

What is your favorite way to wear your hair?
Ashley: Wash and Go, I haven’t really mastered any twist out or braid out styles yet.

Toni: Being my hair is so thick a wash and go is my go to style.

What do you love about your natural hair?
Ashley: I love my texture and how soft my hair is and its volume. I always loved big hair.

Toni: It’s easier to manage while on the go, and I don’t have to make schedules around my hair.

What do you dislike about it?
Ashley: Detangling, because it takes me a really long time to detangle my hair.

Toni: I feel like my hair never gets enough water, so I would have to say battling the dryness of my hair.

What tip(s) would you recommend to someone who wants to become natural, is transitioning, or needs advice about natural hair?
Ashley: Have patience and enjoy the process.

Toni: Don’t have expectations for your hair. Take advice but understand that everbodys hair is different.

How do you typically prep your hair as a runner with natural hair?
Toni: I may add a headband and condition more making sure to wash my hair to prevent salt buildup.
Ashley: I usually don’t really do much different besides washing my hair more.

We also got into detail about some aspects of fitness. I thought of some things that many of you might want to know about fitness.

What do you think is the biggest misconception women of color have in regards to fitness?
Toni: Many women think you can’t workout and be cute. When you definitely can be cute while working out.

Ashley: The idea of consistency; fitness should become a lifestyle. You must put in the time and effort. It will take some time to get where you would like but you just have to wait it out.

How do you feel Black Girls Run will motivate women to improve their health and fitness?
Toni: Black Girls Run provides a support system as well as accountability. The women expect me to be there to support them.

Ashley: It helps to educate and give people the information they need about taking the next step in fitness. It is also a support system, as we have workshops and blog posts on how to get started for the beginner in fitness.

What are the minimum and maximum amount of days one should exercise?
Toni: I feel there is not maximum it is based on what your body can handle. You should always listen to your body. The minimum is 2 to 3 days.

Ashley: We use the Couch to 5k program, which is about 20 to 25 minutes of cross training for about 3 to 4 days a week.

What are some quick home exercises you can recommend to someone who is a beginner?
Ashley: Core exercises are great. They help you to work on your form, which is the base for when you’re running. A good core exercise is the plank.

Toni: Many people don’t think about this one much but jump roping is an awesome home exercise. You can spend 20 to 30 minutes doing this; it helps burn calories

Where would you like to see Black Girls Run 5 years from now?
Toni: I would like to see Black Girls Run out more in the community and helping people to understand what it means to be healthy and fit.

Ashley: 80% of the U.S. is obese or overweight and I would like to see Black Girls Run help to decrease that number.

I think this is a great opportunity for African American women to get together. It also helps them to motivate each other in getting and remaining fit. I would like to thank both Toni and Ashley for creating Black Girls Run, as well as taking the time to share their natural hair journeys.

Do’s and Don’ts of Transitioning to Natural Hair

Yes and NoDO…

Eliminate direct heat like flat irons, blow dryers, etc. as much as possible. Use hooded dryers on a medium setting (or lower) for as little time possible.

I stopped using direct heat 2 months into my transition.


Learn to embrace your texture. It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s head, but chances are your hair isn’t like theirs. So don’t waste your time wishing you had someone else’s crown. It will leave you disappointed and exhausted. Love what God gave you.


Deep condition weekly with moisturizing conditioners. This will help strengthen and soften your new growth, relaxed hair and prevent breakage.

A lot of new transitioners complain about coarse and unmanageable new growth. Let me tell you that deep conditioning is key to dealing with this. After doing this consistently for 6-8 weeks (I use Organics Olive Oil Replenisher), I noticed a changed in my hair’s manageability and texture.

This is especially important if you’ve used a lot of direct heat (flat irons, blow dryers) on your hair. Even a minimal amount of heat damage can make your hair texture feel worse than it truly is.

And unless you carefully moisturize your new growth before flat ironing (and most people don’t) you probably have some heat damage. This can be misleading and it makes you think your hair is more coarse than it is. Your hair is probably just fried and starving for moisture.


Wear a lot of protective styles. Rod sets, twist outs, braid outs, flat twists, buns, braids/extensions (not too tight), straw sets, etc. should become your go-to styles. See my posts on styling transitioning hair.


Limit combing, pulling (tight ponytails) and manipulation. The above hairstyles do not require combing. The only time you should comb your hair is when you detangle on wash day.

Use sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfates strip your hair of its natural oils. Natural hair can be dry enough, you don’t need help from sulfates. The Giovanni line is my fave.


Trim your ends every 4-6 weeks. If you have split ends, they will travel up to your natural hair and cause breakage.


Make assumptions about your hair texture too early. It will likely change as you continue to transition. In my 2nd month of transitioning, my new growth felt dry, coarse and brittle.

My hair follicles were extremely damaged, so even after I stopped relaxing I was still growing scab hair. At first, I thought this was my hair’s texture, but it wasn’t. This is the very reason many people stop transitioning.

But as I continued to deep condition weekly and lay off the direct heat, my hair softened up. I started seeing curl definition and my hair began retaining moisture better.

So don’t be fooled by your new growth’s texture while you are relaxing and when you start transitioning. You may be going through the scab hair period.

The good news is, most people stop growing scab hair 3-6 months after starting their transition.


Listen to ignorant peers, friends and family. Why should there be anything wrong with wanting to wear your hair the way you came into this world?

Unfortunately kinky hair is often seen as the ugliest/worst kind of hair to have, but that’s only because we are comparing it to the majority, which is straight, Euro-centric hair.

If everyone had kinky hair there would be no class system of hair and comparisons. We have been brainwashed to believe straighter hair is more beautiful because that’s what society feeds us (through magazines, TV, etc.)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As long as you feel your hair is beautiful, why should anyone else’s opinion matter? Trust me, it may take some time to get to this level, but it will happen eventually.


Coat your hair with too many products. As your hair grows out, you may feel the need to “fix it” by using multiple products. Product overload can suffocate your strands, cause breakage and make your hair appear dull.

Your hair does not need to be “fixed.” Learn to embrace whatever grows out of your head. A light moisturizer 3-5 times a week should be enough for most people. You can seal in the moisture with a natural oil like olive, castor, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, etc.


Become a product junky. This is sort of like the pot calling the kettle here. I’m a self-proclaimed product junky. I have been for many years, even when I was relaxing.

It got worse when I started transitioning because I was obsessed with trying to achieve someone else’s hair by using the products they use. I talk about this very issue in this video.

The only products you need are a good shampoo, conditioner (leave-in and rinse out) and a few daily moisturizers (preferably natural oils.) See my favorite transitioning product page.


Get caught up in rules and judgments. There are a lot of naturals who have definitions of what wearing natural hair means. Some become anti weave, anti colored contacts, anti straight hair, and anything that is not “natural.”

Remember, this is your journey. Find out what being natural means to you. Don’t let other’s opinions shape your actions and beliefs about what you have to do and cannot do because you wear natural hair. Also be careful of criticizing others just because they don’t share your journey or opinions.

I think it’s great when going natural inspires people to live healthier lives. But it’s not cool when that turns into judging others for their choices and opinions.


Expect acceptance from everyone. Let’s just keep it real for a minute. A lot of people don’t like and will never like natural hair. Period. End of story. There’s nothing you can do to make everyone approve of your choice.

But your real friends and people who genuinely love and support you will respect your decision, even if they don’t embrace your choice of hairstyle.

Naysayers of natural hair are everywhere, but at some point you have to live life for yourself and not for other people’s acceptance.


Until next time….