Afrobella’s Big Reveal! Healthy Ways to Straighten Natural Hair

 

In the past ten years, I can remember having my hair blown straight exactly once. It was in Trinidad at my mom’s hairstylist. He said he needed to blow my hair straight to apply highlights. When my hair was straight, my mom took her one and only camera phone photo – she was THAT excited about it. And after that, I never did it again. Until now.

 

Why did I decide to blow my hair straight?

Months ago, I met with my friends at EDEN BodyWorks and discussed the idea of a before and after photo shoot, to prove that natural hair truly IS versatile. For years I’ve talked big talk about the strength and capabilities of our natural hair, meanwhile I stay rocking a wash and go style. I have never felt bored of my hairstyle, it does what it does and I love that about it! But I wanted to show the world – and myself – that change doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I am not a hair stylist, and I haven’t studied hair professionally. When it comes to hair care, I know what works for me in terms of products but that’s about it. I’ve read TOO many natural hair blogs where women have complained about losing their natural curl pattern or burning their hair when going from curly to straight. My goal with all of this was to prove that it can be done safely and carefully, with the guidance of a professional – and it is absolutely possible to go from curly to straight and back to curly again, all while preserving and appreciating your natural texture.

This project brought together a trifecta of hair awesomeness. Everything was done at Dr. Kari Williams’ salon, Mahogany Hair Revolution. Felicia Leatherwood of Loving Your Hair With Natural Care worked her magic on my mane. And the crew of EDEN BodyWorks were on hand – with all of their amazing products being used in the process!

Here’s my before photo.

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The usual wash n’ go. My makeup is by my favorite Los Angeles makeup artist Nicole Evans (@NicoleEvansMUA on Twitter)! LOVE working with her!

Here I’m all smiles, because I KNOW I’m in good hands. There’s something so reassuring about working with a true hair professional. Felicia is all that and then some!

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When she started washing my hair I will admit, I started feeling some apprehension. Felicia took the time to explain everything she was doing to my hair, including which EDEN BodyWorks products she was using. She also used her amazing detangling brush, which as you can see hardly pulled out any hair at all! I was beyond impressed by Felicia’s brush (and you can click here to get one)!

 

Hair Collage 1

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The whole time she styled my hair, Felicia talked me through the process and let me know it was going to be OK. She used a blow dryer,  nearly separated my hair into sections, and then used professional Marcel irons to get it all absolutely straight. And to protect my hair from heat, she made sure to use EDEN BodyWorks hair oil every step of the way.

 

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While styling my hair, she pinned the curls up so they wouldn’t drop too much.

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Eeeeeeee!

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And TA-DA!

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I hadn’t seen myself with straight hair in SO long, it didn’t even really look like me somehow.


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WOW, right? I look so different! And that was one of the things I learned from the process. My hair looked beautiful, and it felt silky and strong…but I didn’t look like me. I can see the appeal of doing this maybe once or twice a year…but I’m a natural girl who loves her wash n’ go curls! So immediately after all of this styling, we went right back to curly.

 

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THAT’s better! This FEELS like me. It’s my preference to wear my hair in its unaltered natural texture. But so often we want what we don’t have, or judge others who choose to wear their hair differently than we do. When in fact it should be ALL love.

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My Big Reveal photo shoot was a true effort of love and the whole point was to celebrate our ability to change, to make decisions, to be beautiful on our own terms without judgment or fear, and to maintain the health of our hair above all else. If you’re a natural woman who’s wondered about wearing your hair straight, please know it CAN be done the healthy and right way. And please know you are beautiful, no matter what!

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I would like to thank EVERYONE who made this all come to life! From left to right in the photo above — Renae Bluitt of Crush Media and In Her Shoes, Dr. Kari Williams of Mahogany Hair Revolution, me, Felicia Leatherwood of Loving Your Hair With Natural Care, and Ylorie Anderson of EDEN BodyWorks. Thank you ManeMoves for the amazing video, and Nicole Evans for the fabulous makeup. Also BIG respect and love to Chuck Olu-Alabi for being the absolute best photographer! LOVE working with him.

Thank you, EDEN BodyWorks – this was an amazing experience! I am so happy to share with everyone, and here’s hoping this helps you make informed hair decisions if you choose to go between naturally curly and naturally straight.

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SO….what do you think of my BIG reveal? Also, do you wear your natural hair straight sometimes? Let me know your thoughts, bellas!

And tonight!! Join @afrobella & @LovingYourHair for #EDENStraightTalk - we’re having a Twitter chat from 7-8 PM EST to answer all of your hair questions! Don’t forget to follow @EDENBodyWorks for more!!

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Comments

  1. LOVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and i so love that you went right back as it was your prerogative and you looked fly wither way!

  2. Felicia Yvette says:

    Gorgeous! I’m with you, though. I decided to do some protective styling this winter and got a weave 3-4 weeks ago. I miss my hair so much already, but I’m trying to tough it out until mid-December.

  3. You look great no matter if your hair was curly, straight or Katy Perry coloured :)But sometimes a girl needs a change.

    Thanks for this!

  4. The smile in the blown out shots isn’t a confident or bright. You’re right, it wasn’t right…for YOU. That’s the best natural (or any hair) advice you can give. Do what works for you. BTW, I think you looked fabulous both ways.

    • I was thinking the same thing – you looked a bit concerned. ;-)
      I’m with you – natural hair is truly versatile, but I prefer the natural me. Cheers to you for being brave, though!

  5. I too love that there are so many ways to wear our hair. Thank you for showing that straightening without chemicals is also natural, something we don’t generally consider with wearing our hair without chemical alterations.

  6. Patriiiiiiiiiiiiiiice! OMG! You look so beautiful! I had a little tear come to my eye when I saw the final picture. Either style you just radiate with so much grace and beauty. I do love that you went right back to “you”, your curly style. And I just love that you know who you are and what you like. It’s so inspiring. Love you!

  7. You look beautiful both ways! I sometimes want to try having my hair straight for a day, (no longer, it’s too hard to maintain)but do worry about the stress on the hair or somehow “messing it up” Can you ask the stylist to list the precautions she took in protecting the hair and why and contrast those steps with the mistakes or risks that can damage hair listing the possible consequences of each? How often can this safely be done? I think that would be very helpful.

  8. Come on People says:

    I totally understand going back to your natural hair. you looked lovely with your hair straight, but your a curly girl at heart. I straighten my hair every 3 months for a good trim, my hair does not know how to act otherwise. but the staight locs never last more than 3 or 4 days without me missing my curls and going back to my old curly girl self. :)

  9. I love this. Like LOVE LOVE LOVE. I love my straight styles as much as my curly styles and this reminds me that it’s okay. It doesn’t make me any less of a naturalista. As long as I feel great and my hair doesn’t get damaged, then it’s all good.

    P.S. You look GORGE both ways! So purty :-)

  10. Love!!!!!

  11. Look at straight haired Bella! Of course you’re gorgeous no matter what you rock, but the curls are just so YOU. I’d be nervous too good ole’ Felicia knows what she’s doing. Loves her and loves you!

  12. Very beautiful and great example of versatility.

  13. You look gorgeous with straight and curly hair!

  14. Different but still beautiful. I truly love the versatility of our hair!

  15. Your hair looked great either way! But I also love your curls. Thanks for showing us the transition.

  16. WOW!!! The straight look was beautiful, but I agree…the curls are just so you. I do love that after Felicia took your hair back to curly, that the Eden products made your curls look REALLY defined and super pretty!!

  17. “But so often we want what we don’t have, or judge others who choose to wear their hair differently than we do. When in fact it should be ALL love.”

    THIS. THIS. ALL. OF. THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. YAY for versatility but your curly haired smile says it all! That’s YOU!!

  19. You’re a gorgeous gal, Patrice. Straight OR curly. :)

  20. Lovely Bella, just lovely! And the fact that you went right back to your curls speaks volumes!

  21. Your hair is gorgeous either way! I just straightened mine for the first time in years! And I can’t wait to go back to it’s naturally wavy look! Thanks for sharing and reminding that we can choose to do what ever we want and still look good!

  22. heavenleiblu says:

    I definitely preger your curls as well, but the (brief) change was cute! I’m still quite afraid of heat on my strands, so I just rock a wig when I get the itch, LOL

  23. man I last straighented my hair in 2009, but when I DO flat iron my hair, it’s staying that way for at least a week! I liked your hair BOTH ways, but it is YOUR hair so do you Bella!

  24. I love this post!!! I’m not even natural, yet I was so excited about the entire process! Wish you had rocked the straight-do for longer though, but this was fantastic demonstration that your hair texture wasn’t damaged in the process of straightening and that you were still able to revert right back. The stylist rocked! You look beautiful in both dos, but I can’t deny that the curls are so you :)

  25. I love this. Thanks. you look great either way.

  26. I. LOVE. THIS. I’ve been rocking mine “snatched back” until it recovers from the straightening, but THIS? THIS is something I can get behind! Lovely!

  27. Patrice!!!! I’m having a “hair hater” moment right now. Oh how I love your hair!!!! You have just made my hair crush list. :)

  28. You look so different with it straight! I love your natural curls.

  29. You looked amazing! I had natural hair, and in July I decided to blow dry it straight for my birthday, just to do something different. It looked ok for all of a day, and when I washed it out, to my horror, the bottom left part by my neck refused to get back curly! :-O I washed and washed for days and looked like I had a mullet of sorts :( Finally I went to the hairdresser to have her do…anything, and we resorted to cutting the back really short, and texturzing it so that the rest of the hair would look slightly like the back. Sigh…
    Nonetheless, I’m loving my hair now, the shape and slightly texturized look. My curls are quite tight, and I also love being able to wash and go! I plan to do a straight look for a wedding in a couple weeks, but was told blow drying texturized hair should not be as risky as doing it to natural hair. Hope it works!
    Thanks for sharing Afrobella, and looking forward to meeting you in Trinidad!

  30. As others have said, straight or unaltered your hair is gorgeous – and so are you! :) !

    I have not straightened my hair, since going natural. I’m thinking for my 2-year natural/BC anniversary (Feb. ’13), I’m going to blow it out, though. Then I absolutely intend on heading back to my beloved kinks, lol.

  31. lovely with straight hair…I LOVE your curls..you looked more comfortable with curls…When I feel like straight hair, I put on a wig…I’m afraid of the heat,lol

  32. Ann Tillage says:

    Love this! I went natural 3 years ago, but still prefer my straight styles. I enjoy the idea of having options and healthy hair. :)

  33. Hey Patrice – what an awesome idea. Love this whole experiment and the fact that you blogged it.

    I like both looks but the curly really is “you”. Curious to know what products were used to shampoo, condition and straighten. And what products were used afterward on your curls?

  34. I would love to check out this salon when I travel out to LA in December

  35. She did a fantastic job in protecting your hair.
    Your beauty is always there no matter the texture.
    I thought you looked good both ways;
    But…I see more of a curly girl with your spirit.
    I also think after seeing curls for a while that straight
    hair makes you look more mature than your age. Curly seems
    more youthful looking.

    In any case good to see you are beautiful no matter the style.
    I would be hard pressed to trust most beauticians with straightening
    natural hair; they may over press. (purposely…maybe..smile) But you had a wonderful person you can trust. I love Felicia’s work.

  36. Like the other comments said, you looked beautiful with either style!

    Just a few weeks ago I had my hair blown out for the first time in years. It was weird. I didn’t feel like me.

    Now I have braids (I needed to give my hair a break). Usually I have a TWA and after a few days I’m finally used to having all this hair on my head.

  37. GAWWWWgeeeeous, no matter how you rock it! Your Curls are my fav toooo!

    Felicia did a GREAT job!
    xoxoxo

  38. You look beautiful with both styles but I have to agree that natural suits you best!
    But I have to ask, what purple lipstick are you wearing in the after shots? I HAVE to have it. Please tell! Thanks

    AnA

  39. “I’m a natural girl who loves her wash n’ go curls!” So true! Both looks are awesome. But like you, I like my curls so much better. I’ve been rocking them for over 40 years. I’ll switch up every now and then. But most people know me by the “dandelion” look (my god sister pinned that term on me when I was a teen)
    My big question is – What line of makeup did they use? That deep purple lipstain is lovely!

  40. Donnetta Daniels says:

    YOU LOOK GREAT EITHER WAY!!! ENJOY TRINIDAD!!

  41. I like your after-after picture, when they did your curls for you. They look so healthy and moisturized. I try going straight every once in a while, but I don’t think it works well with my face. But if you remember, my curls are very different from yours. They are about 1″ wide and pull out if I wear a ponytail for an hour.

  42. LOVE THE HAIR <THE BACK LOOKS AWESOME!!!!!!

  43. I straighten my hair. I’m natural and enjoy wearing the twist outs, puffs etc… but about every eight weeks I straighten (if I’m not in braids or a weave). I happen to be one of those that can’t stand the same hairstyle too long. Through the many natural hair blogs I’ve learned to use heat protectors and I just go for it. I love the versatility. At first, I was hesitant; you know all the “your hair is not going to revert back.” Not true for me. I’ve had no problems with my hair reverting back. Sometimes I do it myself and sometimes I go to my hairdresser.

  44. You’re beautiful no matter your hair texture. The stylist doing your hair ROCKED hers too!!!

  45. Very nice! I wish this salon was in Chicago? Can you profile a natural salon in Chicago that is good with straightening hair without chemicals?

  46. wow you hair looks fabulous, in both does. I’ve been wondering about purchasing a defusing for some time now, and your results have shown I should invest in one for the new year :0)

  47. Great styles. I just found you on FB and had to check this out. It’s a scary thing to do when you haven’t done it — I’m in the process of trying to find a stylist to do it here in STLouis. Thanks for sharing — you look fabulous.

  48. Either way, I say — absolutely gorgeous, sis!!

  49. Your hair is gorg love it straight! My hair is natural as well but it doesnt stand up like yours too soft! Great job!

  50. I ma so afraid to straighten my hair! And I badly need a haircut! But I do agree that natural hair is quite versatile! Thanks for the photos!

    The Trini

  51. gorgeous!

  52. I truly enjoyed this post and video. You and the team executed this fabulous idea so well!

  53. Even if you did choose to wear it straight, I think a side part and a little more body at the crown would be flattering.

  54. Oh wow. That looked so cute and it came out so straight. I gotta take the tips when I flat iron at the end of the month. My hair usually starts reverting while I’m still flat ironing it.

  55. Lovely styles, thanks for sharing your experience.

  56. lightning1 says:

    i like wearing my hair in it’s original(natural/kinky)state. i wash it , then use mane &tale conditioner on the hair . put on wet hair and leave it in. because of my creole and cheerokee indian heritage, my hair will develop waves and curls naturally. i’m often asked what type of curl am i rocn’. i love to use coconut hair oil conditioner, smells good and makes the hair look great.

  57. The Curly Oenophile says:

    I’ve only been completely natural for 8 mos and so far have had NO desire to straighten my hair. I plan to do so at the 1 year mark. Even though that is 4 mos away I’m a little terrified, if you can imagine that. I know that I would do the same as you and go back to curly, immediately. You look beautiful either way. Thanks for sharing!

  58. I LOVE that you went right back to your curls! I’m new to your blog but having curly/wavy hair and growing up during the “stick straight” trend, I’m very enthusiastic about women who embrace their natural hair texture. But it’s always fun to mix it up sometimes, and you look beautiful either way!!

  59. Hair looks amazing either way!!

  60. Kudos to you!! You look beautiful, as always.. but I love that lipstick shade! Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!! (What shade are you wearing and where can I get that at?)

  61. I like your Hair,both straight ,curly…cute ;-)

  62. Wow, your hair was beautiful! Thanks for the information. I have wore mine straight, but was scared because of the information, that I read online at natural hair forums. It was great to see how it could be done safely and how you could go from curly to straight without damaging your hair.

  63. I have naturally curly hair that I love to straighten. You should use the shielo smoothing conditioner, since it has amazon oil in it. It’s a perfect balance of clean and leaves my hair soft and moisturized. I’ve even worn it curly around the house without putting mouse in my hair to keep it tame.

  64. I think your hair looks good also both styles. What color lipstick are your wearing?

  65. Thought both styles looked great on you. I’m torn between keeping my natural curly hair & getting it pressed. I’ve been natural 2 years now without applying heat at all. Will most likely do like you (press once or twice a year).

    Why do I feel so guilty about pressing my natural curls? I think it’s because you work so hard to go natural.

  66. Sherry Blossom says:

    Can we say FABULOUS! My favorite part (beyond your 1 million watt smile) was the reversal BACK to your curl tresses like “excuse me and thank you”… ALL OF IT!!! LOVE!!!!

  67. Actually when someone doesn’t understand after
    that its up to other viewers that thyey will assist, so here it occurs.

  68. Can you tell me what’s the name of the detangling brush that was used?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] All photos in this post were by Chuck Olu-Alabi, from our EDEN BodyWorks Big Reveal photo shoot!  [...]

  2. […] By straightening her hair Yursik said she wanted to “prove that natural hair truly IS versatile.” On her site she said: […]

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