August 2014 ~ Natural of the Month: Sumetra

Sumetra Reed

My name is Sumetra but I also go by Metra, Natural Metra and some even call me MeMe.  I was born and raised in Dallas which is where I currently reside. Hubby says he’s not looking to move out of Dallas…EVER lol.  Speaking of hubby, I am married to my best friend, my protector, my financial adviser, my business partner, my pastor and my boo thang Mike!  We've been married 11 years now and we’re still going strong (praise God).  No children yet but I am believing God for a son or daughter; a healthy child (who has my hair LOL).  I love to sing, praise dance, DIY products, decorate and I’m all about natural hair and inspiring women to embrace their natural beauty.

LEI: What made you decide to go natural?

Sumetra: I was honestly curious to see how long I could go without a relaxer.  Because of a few health issues, I noticed my hair was thinning and my hairline was receding. Knowing that the harsh chemicals of a relaxer couldn't be good for my hair, I just went for it!

LEI: Did you transition or  "Big Chop"? What was that process like for you?

Sumetra:  I transitioned.  My last relaxer was October 2009 and I chopped my relaxed ends off in August 2010 and had me a TWA.  It wasn't bad at all.  I would do something differently though.  See, I was new to the whole “back to natural” so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. While I was transitioning, I got my hair straightened ALL THE TIME.  This impacted my new growth/curl pattern. So when I chopped my relaxed ends off, my hair wouldn't curl or wave up at all no matter what I put on it.  I wouldn't recommend using heat while transitioning back to natural.  Knowing what I know now, I would have done roller sets or protective styles.

LEI: Did you have any fears or were you fearless? If apprehensive, how did you overcome your fears?

Sumetra:  I can’t say I had any fears.  It was more of curiosity of what my hair would look like without a relaxer.  I didn't get relaxers until I was well into my teens so I knew my natural hair would be healthy.  I wasn’t sure how family, friends and co-workers would respond.  To my surprise, everyone loved my natural hair (my brother wasn't too fond of it at first but it grew on him LOL).

LEI:  Name some reasons why you are happy about your decision?

Sumetra: There are several reasons why I say this is the best decision I could have made about my hair. For starters, my hair is so much healthier.  No more thinning and it’s super thick. Also, it really brings out my personality.  I've always been outgoing, bubbly and upbeat; now my hair really matches that.  It’s unique like me and it’s just fun!

LEI: What do you love most about your hair?

Sumetra: I think what I love most is that it’s me! I’m not trying to fit into a shell or make it look like someone else in order to fit in.  I have fun and create styles that fit me and my personality.

LEI: What are some of your favorite hair products?

Sumetra:  I've been natural for a while and I’m not much of a product junkie.  Once I find something that works, I pretty much stick to it and may tweak some things here and there.  That being said, many already know that I am a Cantu girl all the way. Their Cantu Leave In conditioner was one of the first products that really worked for my hair.  I love Shea Moisture’s moisture retention shampoo and there deep treatment masque.  Giovani Smooth as Silk conditioner is great and I use that for deep conditioning treatments.  I also like the products from Entwine Couture. Their Crème Jelly Styler is my fave.

LEI: What is your hair routine?

Sumetra:  My routine is pretty simple.  I wash and condition my hair every 10 days or so.  One of those wash days is when I would do a deep conditioning treatment which I like to do once a month or whenever I since my hair needs some extra moisture.  Throughout the week I normally twist my hair just to keep it tucked away and rock twist outs and stuff like that during the weekend.

LEI: What advice would you give someone considering going natural or who is new to being a natural?

Sumetra: For someone looking to go natural or newly natural I would say embrace your hair. Don’t look at other people’s hair hoping and wishing you could have their hair.  It’s good to have hair crushes and admire other’s styles but I've seen so many go back to a relaxer because their curls or kinks didn't look like someone else’s.  Also, don’t focus so much on hair typing.  Majority of naturals don’t have one type of curl pattern anyway.  Lastly, find what works for you.  It’s good to get advice and ask questions from those who are professional stylist or been natural for a while but you can go broke trying to get all these products just because someone else that is natural uses them.  It is trial and error but try to get samples of products to see how your hair will respond vs. buying a ton of expensive products that may not even work for you. Most of all just have fun. DON'T GIVE UP on your journey!

LEI:  List your social networking sites so we can connect with you further.


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