1 of 20 LaVan Anderson
4th Year Medical Student | Dancer | Choreographer | YouTuber
On November 1, 2011, I scanned my invisible edges, tired tresses, and forgone fringes, and threw that (relaxed hair) rubbish to Jesus. Being in Washington, DC (AKA the hair capital of America) made my 2 year and 3 month transition a bit easier, seeing as how big fros were to my left and long locks conquered my vision on the right.
2 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Aspiring Fashion Designer
My Journey began with a simple YouTube channel. I can't remember the You Tuber, but the video was called black natural hair inspirations which showcased black women with long natural hair down to their butts. I couldn’t believe it! There were black women with long thick natural hair! From there I fell in love with gurus like Taren Guy, and the most inspiring, the late Ms. Dominique Banks. The natural hair community on YouTube became my life and it drove my boyfriend crazy. I slept ate and breathed this natural world which was so new for me even as a young 25 year old black women whom nobody ever taught that I should rock my natural curls.
3 of 20 LaVan Anderson
My natural hair journey began with the big chop. I decided to shave my head and never looked back. Its been about two years now and I've really never felt more naturally beautiful. I've always worn my hair in a sleek cropped cut so the lack of length was nothing to fear. I was however nervous about about my texture. I didn't really know what to expect but I was ready for new energy surrounding my hair. I decided to keep it short so I've continued to get haircuts every few months since the beginning of my journey. Keeping the sides and back tapered while allowing the top to be untamed was exactly the look I was gong for.
4 of 20 LaVan Anderson
My Journey: I transitioned back to being natural in 2004. After a year of wearing my loose natural tresses, I decided to begin my loc journey in 2005 with two-strand twists. It has been almost ten years and loc-ing my hair is still one of my best hair decisions. My loc journey has been beautiful; it has taught me strength, wisdom, patience and self-love. I embraced and enjoyed every stage of my loc journey.
My regimen is pretty simplistic—my hair is maintained once a month by my loctician. After two weeks, I typically change up the style. Throughout the month I oil my scalp with an oil mixture and apply coconut oil to the locs itself. Locs are extremely versatile contrary to what some people believe. Some of my favorite styles include curls, braids/braid-outs and loc knots.
5 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Owner of Candice Nicole Public Relations
I decided to go natural about 3 years ago. My immediate circle of ladies started to have discussions about natural hair and that is when I started to see more information about natural hair. I didn't realize all of the dangerous chemicals I was using in my hair when I used to get a perm and just other ingredients in shampoos.
It's been a wonderful journey and it makes my heart smile when I see so many African American women go natural! It's just very exciting because growing up all we wanted (most of us) was straight hair. We didn't want to see any kind of curl, bush, tangle and now I get excited at how BIG my hair can get! Everyday is a different day for my curls, as they are never the same and have a mind of their own.
6 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Makeup Artist | Photographer
I began my quest to be relaxer-free in 2001. My African American studies teacher spoke about the negative way that black women viewed themselves. After research and a craving to spark change in myself as a black woman, I began my journey. In the beginning my family, specifically my mom, was not very supportive of this decision. The funny thing is that after a few years of not being supportive, she has joined the natural hair revolution!
7 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Program and Project Manager
June 2015 will mark my 10-year "Nappy-versary", as folks call it. I originally went natural because I wanted something different. Something different from the long visits at the salon to get relaxers and sit under the hair dryer forever because my hair holds onto water so tightly. My stylist at the time asked if I had ever seen my hair when it's wet without relaxer, and I hadn't. So the next time I washed my hair (at the time I had cut off my chest length hair for a pixie cut), I took a look in the shower and LOVED what I saw. So she cut out the remaining touch relaxer and I decided to go natural. I am the girl who could never rob a bank because my fro is huge! I finally feel like I have grown into myself, and as long as it's happy, I'm happy.
8 of 20 LaVan Anderson
I started wearing my natural hair originally to restore it's health after years of chemical and heat damage. Keeping my tresses hydrated is the most important rule. I wash and go using paraben and silicone free products to maintain moisture and enhance my natural curl pattern. Now, I have the freedom to mix it up with different styles. The bigger the better!
9 of 20 LaVan Anderson
My hair is complex, I have looser curls on the left side, and the right side ALWAYS outgrows the left side despite me cutting it even. It is soft, unruly at times, thick, and beautiful. At times I have to sit on my hands in order to stop playing in it, but I embrace it all!
Natural hair is beautiful!
10 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Mental Health Clinician
In the spring of 2014, I chopped my relaxed ends off and began my natural hair journey—again. Box relaxers destroyed my hair and I didn't know what else to do with it. Chopping it off was the next step, and, unlike other ladies, I didn't think it was a big deal. I wore a hat the first few weeks of being natural because I thought I looked like a boy. I still loved it though. My hair was soft again, it felt healthy, and it required a lot of patience.
The reactions varied, men saw me as the Jill Scott / Lauryn Hill / Erykah Badu 'sista’ and women had questions. Although I take breaks (read: kinky twists or crochet braids), I wouldn't change a thing about it.
11 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Growing up, I was always told, “you have pretty hair”. I never understood the phrase or did it affect me positively or adversely. In my opinion, both of my parents had manageable hair so having “some pretty hair” did not resonate with me.
My natural hair journey started six years ago when I first moved to southern Maryland. I was in search of a hair stylist who was convenient and reasonable in price. In meeting that particular stylist, she asked the history of my hair care and my goal in obtaining natural healthy hair. Upon our initial meeting, she asked me very sternly, “why are you still getting perms?” She then introduced to me to a milder form of manageability, called a texturizer. After having my hair “trained and transitioned” I was then able to see my natural curl and how confident my curl made me feel. I would get very frustrated with the process, but I refuse to be defeated.
12 of 20 LaVan Anderson
In the summer of 2008, after years of wasting money on expensive salon visits to get relaxers and noticing how incredibly thin my hairwas looking, I decided to go natural. I cut off all of my chemically treated hair and rocked a tiny afro. Around the same time, my youngest daughters hair made a growth spurt of sorts, her scalp was sprouting soft, fine, coily hair. It was all the perfect reason for me to learn how to take care of both of our natural hair.
I’m currently on a quest to grow it back to bra strap length.
13 of 20 LaVan Anderson
PR & Social Media Consultant
My locs are important to me because they represent a decision I made for myself, that I actually stuck with. Because of patience and positive reinforcement from my loved ones, (despite the fact they asked when my hair would break) I've watched my locs grow and prosper over the years. Now I experiment with all kinds of styles and color, and when I'm feeling fancy I go to Loc Lov Styles in Silver Spring, Maryland.
14 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Attorney | Journalist
My natural hair journey began over 15 years ago. Initially, my decision to go natural was purely rebellious and aesthetic in nature; I didn't want to look like all the other girls. While at Howard University I became a part of the majority, and began to appreciate natural hair for its versatility, beauty, health, and purity.
Once I began to genuinely appreciate what it meant to be natural, I became as educated as I could on the how to properly care for my hair and encourage others to embrace their natural hair and care for theirs as well. The journey has been coincided with my life in a way that's both humbling and liberating. I love my hair!
15 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Hair & Beauty Vlogger
I decided to go natural because I grew tired of my straight hair and it would never seem to grow past a certain length. I rarely experimented with my relaxed hair and always wore it in the same, boring styles. I was fed up and needed a change, so I decided one day to free myself of the lye.
About a year ago, I decided to start vlogging my hair experiences more regularly on YouTube to hopefully help other ladies who were thinking about going natural or currently on their own hair journeys. Now that I am fully natural, my goal has now expanded and it is my desire to share hair tips, help women learn how to better care for their hair, and show them that natural hair can be versatile and FUN!
16 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Before going natural I was like every other black woman—carelessly following the regimen my parents subconsciously instilled in me. I slapped a relaxer in my hair every month not realizing what it was doing to my strands.
In November 2011 I decided to stop relaxing my hair. Once I stopped relaxing my hair it started to grow like wildfire and became thicker. I believe the natural hair community is the blueprint to building up the black community. Through hair we have connected with women all over the world, created businesses, change the beauty business and shifted the focus on our beautiful tresses, and we are making people's wildest dreams come true.
17 of 20 LaVan Anderson
Health + Beauty Director of neonV Magazine | Beauty Curator | Creative
My decision to go natural was solely based on aesthetics. I had length with relaxers, but it was the height I yearned for. I love big hair!
Like everything else in this world, the only thing constant is change, fashion changes, aesthetics change, and decisions change. Do what makes you feel best, even at the expense of societal shaming and #tbt pictures that you will undoubtedly regret. The point is to journey daringly.
18 of 20
I've been natural my whole life, so I'm very happy to see Black women embracing their hair more and I hope it's more than just a fad or trend. While I appreciate the growing diversity in hair products, I would encourage newly natural women to not get caught up in buying a bunch of products. There's no witch's brew or magic formula. Just cleanse, condition and moisturize.
19 of 20 LaVan Anderson
I can't really recall why I started my natural hair journey. I suppose it was for the typical reasons, healthier hair and to rehab from the addiction of creamy crack. I've been natural for over 10 years and wouldn't dream of reverting back. My natural hair offers me so much versatility. I think I consider it more of an accessory than actual hair. I've gone through so many phases and styles with my hair. I've dyed it, had it boy short, grown it long, locked it, worn protective styles and still have endless possibilities. Recently, I try not to fuss with my hair. I may do a two strand twist and Bantu knot set and unravel it after a day or two then just let it do it's own thing.
20 of 20
A group photo of Washington's leading ladies.
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