Meet a SuperNatural-Bianca G.

Natural hair on a night out 😉

How long have you been natural?4th grade… ish? I’m not too sure, but for a while.

Position in SuperNatural UIUC Editor of SuperNatural UIUC Blog

Major Creative Writing

Why did you go natural? Perms broke my hair off, so I figured going natural would solve that problem.

What is your favorite attribute of your natural hair? Its versatility.

Describe your hair. My hair is something like a 4c. Most hair systems would describe it as kinky and unmanageable. I say its full of personality. It’s able to imitate almost any hairtype. It’s coily, spongelike, soft, funky, original, fluffy, and most of all manageable to all those non-believers!

What have been people’s reactions to your hair? I’ve gotten both positive and negative. It ranges from “oh… why is your hair like that?” and “here is my card, I’ll fix you up when your arms get tired” to “I absolutely love your hair” and “I love your natural hair, its beautiful”. Each comment is different but I appreciate them all because either way I know what I like. If you hate it I have more reason to love it. If you love it that’s fine too because I already do.

How would you describe the natural hair movement on UIUC and the general population? Is there even a natural hair movement to speak of? I don’t know about a natural hair movement per say, I just think that the idea of understanding and being able to take of your hair the way that it naturally grows out of your head it becoming more popular. I think that women are beginning to realize that you can be beautiful natural. But once we realize that beauty shouldn’t be defined, we won’t even want a movement. That’s what I am waiting for.

Fun random fact about yourself! I really want to be a jazz singer!

Where can we reach you? Facebook search Bianca Maria… I don’t know a thing about twitter and I have a fashion blog in the works that I can tell you about when its up and running!

Meet a SuperNatural-Raquel L.

How long have you been natural? I’ve been technically natural my whole life, but always wore my hair straightened. I slowly got rid of the heat trained/damaged hair, and I’ve been wearing it in natural styles for about 4 years now.

Position in SuperNatural UIUC: I’m the SuperNatural UIUC Blog Chair.

Major: I’m an English and Secondary Education Major

Why did you go natural? I started wearing my hair in natural styles because I grew quite bored with the straight hair. I was tired of looking like everybody else.

What is your favorite attribute of your natural hair? The multitude of different ways it can be styled will never stop amazing me. Literally, the sky is the limit.

Describe your hair. I have fine, relatively fragile strands easily damaged, but admittedly, that doesn’t stop me from being a bit rough at times. It’s not thick, which I mourn about daily. It’s kinky, with a tight coil pattern.

A puff is one of the quickest natural hairstyles. Dress it up or down.

What have been people’s reactions to your hair? I’ve heard it all. It ranges from an admiring, “Your hair is sexy,” to a disdainful, sneering, “Do you ever straighten your hair?”  At the end of the day, none of that matters-I’m perfectly happy with my hair and this love affair isn’t going to end any time soon.

How would you describe the natural hair movement on UIUC and the general population? Is there even a natural hair movement to speak of? I’ve noticed it becoming far more common for black women to wear their hair naturally. There is a plethora of information online through blogs like this one, websites, forums, etc. and so it is becoming easier than ever to go natural-there are more than enough resources to take advantage of. It doesn’t seem quite so intimidating when we’re all in this thing together.

Fun random fact about yourself! I’m a pescetarian, meaning I’m primarily vegetarian, but I do indulge in the occasional fish.

Where can we reach you? I’m on Twitter: @RockaWakaFlocka. You can also email me at supernaturaluiuc@gmail.com.

 

Trial and (NO) error Transition

Kim J.

A relaxer once seemed so much more manageable than my curls. However, the last time I actually saw my natural hair, I was in pigtails, barrettes and playing in my mother’s make-up.  My truth was that my hair in any form would always scream at me in the morning or lay the right way with a product. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this truth until now. With every relaxer, my glory locks of love began to get shorter…… and shorter… and shorter. My ends began breaking so much that they looked like loose string hanging from the trim of an old tattered dress.

At that moment, I began imagining my future FRO ….but “how am I supposed to get there? Not the big chop!” at least for the moment. On the day of my last relaxer I had done everything I could have possibly done wrong before application of the creamy stuff. I wore a head wrap for a week, I scratched, rubbed and the night before I even conditioned my hair. FOOLISH! I know that now but I had an interview the next day and this was an emergency (May 12, 2010). So I sat through the burn and at that point I remembered something my beautician once told me “relaxers aren’t supposed to burn” but I knew that it did EVERY time so I knew that this product wasn’t meant for me. I began my “trial and transition”. My beautician cut my hair really low in the back, gave me bangs and shaped it in a bowl-cut. My hair was fine until those six weeks crept up on me and at that point I became really handy with a flat iron but only every once 2 weeks). I tried flattening the back and only a light bumping in the morning or wearing rollers but I honestly hated wrapping my hair, putting in rollers or anything that I was supposed to do right before bed. I also wore head wraps with a big knot to the lower right/left side, and braids. After I grew tiresome of the creative ways to hide my two-textured hair I cut off all my hair except for ½ and inch in late August. It was exhilarating and I was filled with a new excitement but it took a full 24 hours before I was comfortable wearing it openly in the public or at work. The fact that my boyfriend’s TWA was longer than mine left me a bit self-conscience but I realized that it’s mine and it GROWS! So I strutted my hair proudly. I went through several products and found that thicker products work well with my hair texture because it gives it more waves and it also locks in moisture for days. I then realized that as long as I clean my hair and moisturize it, it will grow until my heart’s content. I also read a study that on average, hair grows about an inch every 1-2months. Thus, it’ll be back before you know it!

My Suggestions:

–           If you are transitioning with a large amount of relaxed hair and some natural, stay away from flat ironing because it changes the curl pattern of your texture.

–          Don’t spend so much on products, do your research before purchasing anything . Watch product reviews on YouTube and try to find someone with a similar hair type to receive suggestions.

–          Don’t envy someone else’s hair, your hair is lovely as well!

Here is a picture timeline of my journey:

 

January 2010

 

May 2010

August 2010

October 2010

 

November/December 2010

February 2011

Meet A SuperNatural-Nicole O.



A simple, elegant bun-excellent transitioning style

How long have you been natural? Currently I am transitioning.  I have not had a relaxer since August 2010

Position in SuperNatural UIUC? Photographer on the SuperNatural UIUC Blog Team

Major Painting in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Minor: English. Also Pre-Law.

Why did you go natural? I decided to go natural because I want more volume and desire to have my hair in a healthier state.

What is your favorite attribute of your natural hair? I love the fact that I can wear it curly and I can also wear it straight by simply using a flat-iron.

Describe your hair. I have really thick, coarse hair

What have been people’s reactions to your hair? So far, I have not had any negative reactions, because I have not been transitioning for that long.

Kinky straight weave used as a protective style

How would you describe the natural hair movement on UIUC and in the general population? Is there even a natural hair movement to speak of? I believe that there is a natural hair movement.  This natural hair movement has created some controversy as to why women want to go natural, but overall I see it as a positive attribute to UIUC, because I have realized a lot of women further embracing themselves through natural hair.

Fun random fact about yourself! I speak 3.5 languages (Twi, Ga, English, and a little bit of French.

Where can we reach you? By email: otchere1@illinois.edu

The Birth of SuperNatural and Sydney’s Personal Hair Story

Syndey S.

My name is Sydney Stoudmire, and I am the President and Founder of SuperNatural. I’m often asked what the purpose of this group is, and what motivated me to create it. The answer isn’t too complicated, but it does require a bit of my personal history.

Hair Story

My relationship with my hair has always been a difficult one. I had my first relaxer at the age of three because my hair was coarse and kinky, which is synonymous with “hard to manage.” I started experiencing breakage by the time I was 12. It was only made worse by the fact that I was a very experimental child who loved dyeing my hair. By the time I graduated from 8th grade. I had the Nia Long circa Fresh Prince of Bel-Air hair cut because it had broken to the point where that was the only style I could pull off.

Once I started high school, I thought I was grown enough to start doing my own relaxers. My hair definitely paid the price. My ends were split beyond repair, and continued to break. It was the hair color I did just before starting college—reddish highlights—that made my hair scream, “Enough!”

I started wearing weaves my freshmen year of college. I felt like I had finally found the solution to all my hair problems, but the weave eventually started to take a toll. My hairline began to get thinner and thinner, until I had literally created a new one that started about an inch farther back than it was supposed to. By then, I became dependent on the weaves, because underneath, my hair was jacked up! It took me another year or so of abusing my hair before I finally decided it was time for another approach.

In June 2009, I decided to start wearing my natural hair out.  Underneath all of the weave was two years worth of virgin hair. My hair was as kinky as it was the day I got my first relaxer, if not kinkier. I wasn’t used to (or comfortable with) handling hair of my texture and I had no idea where to start. I took to the internet and began research natural hair. I found several blogs and YouTube “Gurus” who offered advice on how to care for afro-textured hair. These resources were a godsend, but there was a certain real world element that was missing for me.

SuperNatural

Around this time, I began to notice that there was a staggering increase in black women on campus were cutting off their relaxed hair and rocking cute little afros. I secretly wished I could approach them and ask what they did to care for their hair, or how they achieved certain styles. I fantasized about an organization where women who, like me, had recently began wearing their natural hair, could come together for support, motivation, and inspiration.

It took me a lot of courage to make the decision to create this organization for obvious reasons; I was worried that people would think it was frivolous, unnecessary, and stupid. And worse, I worried that we’d encounter objections to the organization about it being an “anti-straight hair” cult. Eventually my concerns were put to rest because, when I solicited the opinions of my peers, the overwhelming response was that this campus wanted an organization like this. By May of 2010, I began taking the steps toward making this organization come into fruition, and we made our campus debut in August 2010.

As I said earlier, my personal history (and hairstory) is closely tied into what motivated me to start SuperNatural.  I was certain that I wasn’t the only black woman who had received a relaxer at an early age, and had no idea what her natural texture looked like; that I wasn’t the only woman who was at a loss on how to style, maintain, and nurture her kinky tresses; that I wasn’t the only one who secretly didn’t feel as confident with my fro, as I did with my straight hair or flowing weaves; that I wasn’t alone in wanting to go back to relaxers because my natural hair was just “too hard to manage.”

This organization was started to serve as a support group for black women who are struggling with these same issues. So far, SuperNatural has served its purpose and I have very high hopes that we will grow to be much more than “just” a hair group.

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