January 2014 - Natural of the Month: Mary


Mary Taylor

"MsNaturallyMary"


LEI: Tell us about yourself.
Mary: I am a 28 yrs. old, small town girl that was taught at an early age not to despise humble beginnings. I have a twin sister, who is also natural and my best friend. We are singers, who have been singing since the age of 4. We are both elementary school teachers. However, although we have been joined at the hip since we were little, it is my dream to move to a big city, switch career fields, maybe do something in fashion, be a worship leader at a church and potentially be a representative for natural hair; possibly a natural hair model.



LEI: What made you decide to go natural?
Mary:  Before I went natural my hair was extremely damaged. Growing up my father urged my mom not to relax our hair, however we grew up as most girls do, in a society that promotes long straight hair. We also got tired of our mom braiding our hair and all the pain that came with it. So we begged our parents to let us get a relaxer. In getting a relaxer we eventually craved them more than needed.. We yearned for bone straight hair. So every time that we notice the slightest frizz or naps lol, we wanted to get our hair relaxed.. In doing that our hair became pretty brittle, broken off and began thinning. However, not extremely at first

The most significant change that took place was deciding to get a relaxer and highlights in the same day while in college. We spoke with a female who attended our church about our desire to get highlights, but also needing a relaxer. This individual shared with us that we could do both at same time. Not really knowing any better we listened to her because she worked in a salon.. That turned out to be the worst hair related decision we ever made! We did such a disservice to our hair. It began falling out every time we washed it; became even more broken off and thin. It never reverted back no matter how much we tried.. We tried Dr. Miracle, hot oil treatments. Anything possible to grow our hair, but it all failed.. Eventually we resorted to a nice sleek hair cut. Later the natural revolution began to evolve and I began watching the hair journeys of many YouTube vloggers. I saw the growth potential and the versatilty of natural hair. So I thought why not.. I'm going to go for it.

Ultimately, I went natural because I realized that the way I was going about managing my hair was highly damaging. Really and truly, I wanted to see the growth potential that my hair could have organically. I learned through research that many of my beliefs about my hair texture was all wrong.. I didn't believe that any hair type could have the potential to have long hair, I didn't believe that all hair was good hair if properly maintained. I learned that I was ignorant to a lot as relates to my hair and through this process I was empowered to give it a shot.
LEI: Did you transition or BC "Big Chop"?
Mary: I transitioned for 6 months. I actually didn't even realize that's what I was doing at first. Shortly after my hair started growing back after I went for a really short hair cut while relaxed, I decided I didn't want to keep relaxing my hair. I decided that I would do something different. I eventually began watching YouTube videos that informed me that it was actually called transitioning to natural and ways to do that! Initially I had determined that I wouldn’t big chop, but simply cut my hair inch by inch as it grew. However, after a certain amount of time I got tired of the 2 different hair textures and decided to go the big chop. I big chopped on April 14, 2012.


LEI: What were your fears going in and how did you overcome them??
Mary:  My biggest fear when going natural was the big chop. I've never had extremely short hair so that was new to me. I was self- conscious about my short hair when I first cut it. I felt as though I looked like a boy and would possibly be mistaken for a lesbian. lol I was able to overcome my fears because I have great friends (guy friends). They encouraged and motivated me throughout the process. My brother in law was the first to sit down with me and my sister about going natural. He gave his thoughts and expressed how it would be a good move for us. 2 of my other male friends, which I’ve known since college, also let me know know that I am beautiful in any form, and that I could definitely Rock the natural hair in whatever stage. So eventually I began to embrace it. Soon after I big chopped, I began to notice many others in my small town also having the motivation to do it.

                       

LEI: Name some reasons why you are happy with your decision.
Mary: Going natural has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am more than happy I went natural mostly because it taught me to love myself for who God made me naturally. I’ve learned during this process from my twa stage to now, that I can no longer hide behind my hair to feel beautiful, but rather that my hair is merely an incentive. I was born perfectly imperfect, peculiar, beautiful in my own right because everything God made he looked upon it and declared it good. So with that being said, I had to believe beyond what I saw as a flaw and in the past, had low self esteem about; to r be just as beautiful as God created it to be. Me! I discover me in this process. That was my greatest success in going natural.


LEI: What are some of your favorite hair products? 
Mary: Some of my favorite products are as follows: Favorite oils: Olive oil, Grapeseed oil, and castor oil. Conditioners: Tresemme naturals conditioner because it doesn’t have silicones and Hello Hydration by Herbal Essence. Leave in conditioners: Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioner and Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Leave in. Styling products for twist outs and braid outs: Beautiful textures curl control defining pudding and Cantu Shea Butter Coconut curling cream.

LEI: What is your hair routine?
Mary: I have done protective styling maybe 75 to 80 % of the time that I have been natural, which is what I attribute most of my growth to. From braids, to making my own ¾’s wig, to learning to do my own Havanah twists and crochet braids, I have learned to be creative and the significance of DIY. When my hair is free I mostly wear twist outs or braid outs. When I’m not wearing those particular styles, I resort to pin up styles. I usually wash or rather cowash my hair every Sunday. Sunday after church is usually my day to treat my hair. Following my wash, I deep condition for an hr or more. After this process I generally detangle, apply my leave in of choice, apply my styling product, and proceed to twist or braid my hair up. When I’m lazy or want a more stretched look I may blow dry; being sure to apply a heat protectant.



LEI: What advice would you give someone going natural?
Mary: To anyone that is considering going natural or is a newly natural, I’d say “You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Embrace your natural texture no matter how loose or coiled your curls may be; or even how straight or coarse your texture. Good hair is hair that is healthy. Eliminate the societal ideals of what good hair is, or even what beauty is for that matter. Let your perspective be based on what your creator says about you rather than the opinions of others. During this process, be patient. Rome was not built over night. With that in mind, your hair also needs time to produce the desired results, whatever they may be. Give your hair the time and attention it needs and it will grow healthy. It will also surprise you in its length potential.”

LEI: How can we find more about you? 
Summer: I can be found on;

Facebook: Mary Taylor
YouTube: Msnaturallymary
Twitter: @marytaylor7
Pinterest: @msnaturallymary
Instagram: @msnaturallymary

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