In the latest edition of Natural Hair Diary, Afrobella.com's Patrice Grell Yursik profiles LaWanda Amaker, a DC-area marketing manager with an easy-breezy, naturally curly bob.
NATURAL WOMAN: LaWanda Amaker
CITY: Washington, DC
OCCUPATION: Marketing Manager - www.media-mingle.com
HAIR JOURNEY: LaWanda's hair journey began with the memory of burning hair and thick grease as her hair was pressed. "Starting in second or third grade, my grandmother used to press my hair every Saturday for church on Sunday," she says. "I remember the smell of my hair sizzling and the green Ultrasheen grease. And she would make sure to straighten every piece."
In ninth grade, LaWanda's mom allowed her to chemically straighten her hair. "I loved it! I loved to move and shake and flip my hair," she says. "I thought I was free, but I became a prisoner to my straight look. I'd wrap my head so tight I had a mark in the middle of my forehead from tying the scarf there. I would've carried relaxers in my purse to do touch ups if I could."
Over time, LaWanda grew sick of the routine. "My hair didn't want to stay straight. I wound up cutting it really short, in the 'Halle Braxton' style, like Halle Berry and Toni Braxton. It wasn't until my 25th birthday that I was confident enough to do the big chop." It's been almost a decade, and LaWanda isn't looking back. "My hair has become my signature. My friends always look for my hair when they're trying to find me in a crowd. I love that!"
FAVORITE PRODUCTS: Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz ($11.99, target.com), Barry Fletcher Twist Like This ($13.50, houseofbeautyworld.com), Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey and Hair Milk ($10.50 and $9, carolsdaughter.com), Herbal Essences Hello Hydration ($4.97, amazon.com)
HAIR ICONS: Curly Nikki, Esparanza Spalding
ADVICE TO ASPIRING NATURALS: "Pay attention to how your hair reacts to certain products, it will tell you what it likes and what it doesn't. Love and embrace every curl on your head."