Natural Hair Diary: Jenna Marie Christian, Author

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In the latest installment of our weekly 'Natural Hair Diary,' Afrobella.com's Patrice Grell Yursik profiles an author/philanthropist with a sexy, shoulder-length tumble of chemical-free tresses.

Natural Woman: Jenna Marie Christian

Age: 28

City: Chicago   

Occupation: Author and Philanthropist

Hair Journey: Around age 9, Jenna started putting pressure on her mom to relax her long, thick hair. "I wanted my hair to flow like the girls in the Just For Me perm commercials," she says. Her mom finally gave in, and Jenna got the swingy hair she yearned for. But soon, the upkeep took its toll. "My hair grew so quickly that we'd relax it more often than the suggested six weeks," she says. "Soon, we upgraded from kiddie perms to super strength adult relaxers, and my hair began thinning and breaking off."

By the time Jenna was 18, her hair couldn't grow past her ears! Her damaged tresses led her to experiment with sew-in weaves and microbraids. "One night in 2005, I was so fed up with trying to remove the microbraids, I grabbed some scissors and cut off the braids and my hair," she says. "The next day I had my friend cut off all my relaxed hair into a tiny afro." Jenna never looked back.
 
Even though she loves her natural hair, she admits that there's been a learning curve. "I'm still learning how to care for my natural hair," she admits. "Over the past year, I've finally created a solid haircare regimen, and I even started mixing a few of my own conditioning treatments. My natural hair journey has had some ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade it at all. I love being natural!"

Favorite Products: extra virgin olive oil, shea butter, Aussie Moist Conditioner ($6.50, Walgreens.com), and Suave Almond Shea Conditioner ($2.84, amazon.com)

Hair Icons: MlleCafeAuLait, Afrobella, Mop Top Maven, Taren916, and Curly Nikki

Advice to Aspiring Naturals:  "Make healthy hair your ultimate goal and don't become too obsessed with length and expensive products."