Background / I was born in Memphis 53 years ago and I currently reside in the city. Having had the opportunity to live briefly in Washington D.C., New York City and Boston, MA, I still prefer home. However, traveling is one of my passions and I have visited many cities in the United States and have also gone abroad. In January of 2010, I may be making my first pilgrimage to Israel.
Hairstyle / Currently, I am wearing my hair in a puff set. This is the look where you use a large ponytail holder and once on the head you twist it into the shape of the number 8. Your hair is pulled back and you gather the hair into the twisted band. I also wear the spiral rod look, which can be done using natural hair flexi-rods or the plastic spiral rod. Occasionally, I wear my hair pressed.
Reason for wearing a "natural" hairstyle / In late 2003, I decided to stop the chemical relaxer regimen and wear my hair natural. The natural look was more "me." Relaxers with all the chemicals in them are harsh on the hair and have a drying effect on one's crowning glory.
Support of your natural look / Many people and even strangers will compliment me on my natural hair styles when my hair do is fresh. By this, I mean having recently left the hairdresser.
Negative reactions / My goddaughter's father feels I should get my hair done when I'm wearing it naturally. He thinks I should wear it straight, relaxed or even pressed.
Response to negative commentary / Other than the above negative response, I can't think of any other negative comments; people may not want to convey their negativity to me. As far as my goddaughter's father, I really don't say anything because I know what is best for me."
A woman with natural hair whose style you admire / The character named, "Mona" in the canceled "Half and Half" TV sitcom is one I admire. Her hairstyle maybe a wig, but I still like the look on her.
Useful natural hair care tips, styling techniques or products / A local sister in Memphis sells her concoction at the Farmer's Market. This product is organic and consists of apple cider, vinegar, rosemary and nettles. It is called herban hair cider. It soothes my scalp and the cleansing feel it gives me is refreshing. This mixture is applied after shampooing and then rinsed off. Olive oil products, deep conditioners and hot oil treatments, I feel are a must.
Advice for a woman who is considering going natural / For a woman who is thinking about going natural, I would say, "Go for it!" It will not hurt anything and I feel it will only make the hair healthier.
Any blogs, websites, books or print magazines, which deal with the subject of natural hair you'd care to share or recommend / A co-worker shared with me the YouTube "Natural Black Hair Tutorial." On this site you can find a variety of hair styles and how to create them. In addition to the models showing you step-by-step the techniques of the hairstyles--you can learn about grooming your natural 'do. Of course, ESSENCE magazine features interesting articles on the natural look.
Additional comments/ My experience over the past six years is: my hair is thicker, softer, and has more length to it and I am pleased.
Definition of "a natural woman"/ My definition of a natural woman is one, like myself who is low maintenance when it comes to wearing a lot of make-up or any at all. And like myself, a natural woman does not like the artificial effect of wigs, weaves, hair color and finger nails. Although, I do like nail polish. I feel a natural woman is someone who likes herself both inside and out and does not compete with other women for her looks. She dresses to satisfy her own taste.
"Michelle F.'s Story" is part of an on-going series I created that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Check the archives (see sidebar on the right) for past segments, features and profiles. If you'd like to participate in the series, please email me for details (go to my blog's profile page or visit my website for contact information).
Your feedback is always appreciated. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you might have about "Michelle F.'s Story," the "Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories" series or Black hair in general, in the section below marked for comments.