Naturalista Shivawn Mitchell shares her night time regimen, must have products & how being natural impacted her self-esteem in today’s hair feature.
Name and where are you from?
Shivawn Mitchell. I’m from Chesterfield, Virginia but I currently reside in Norfolk, Va (close to Virginia Beach).
When did you go Natural? Did you transition or did you big chop?
Just had my two year anniversary in March. Initially I was transitioning, but eventually just went ahead and did the big chop.
What prompted you to go natural?
I was tired of relaxers burning my scalp.
What is your favorite thing about being natural?
The diversity of my hair. I love that I can have straight hair on a Monday and then on a Tuesday have a big curly fro. I like that I can change my hair as often as I want and can try so many styles.
What is your least favorite thing about being natural?
How my hair responds to humid weather.
Did you receive any criticism regarding going natural?
Yes, especially when I cut it short. I recall a co-worker coming up to me saying “What’s going on with your hair? It used to be so pretty.”
What is your nighttime routine?
With Twist Outs: If I’m not being lazy: I section my hair into 4 big parts, then I use olive oil — a dime size — and some of my custard mixed together and run through the sectioned off parts. I then twist my hair in each section. Once done twisting, I throw my bonnet or scarf on.
Has your journey inspired your friends or family to go natural?
Yes, actually one of my really good friends started the journey a few months after I did. I think I freaked her out several times because I was stressing out with the grow out process. But she stuck with it.
How has being natural shaped your self-esteem?
Initially, I HATED when I did the big chop. Some of my family members would make the comment when was I getting my hair done (lol). A huge blow to my self-esteem and I like to think I have high self-esteem. That kind of made me question my decision and even to go natural. But I gave myself a pep talk and just owned my hair. I had to realize that with short or long hair I was still beautiful and not allow others to define my beauty.
How do you respond when strangers ask to touch your hair?
One — I’ve never really cared for people touching my hair. It’s kind of invasive to your personal space. Now I try to roll with it because I know people are curious. But I still have a 1.5 second rule after that I kind of create space between us (lol).
Knowing what you know now, is there anything about being natural that you wished you’d know before you started your journey?
Please make sure you have a stylist (if using one) that is educated about natural hair. When I initially started transitioning, the person I was using was putting too much heat on my hair and my hair was breaking off pretty bad. Now the stylist I have pays attention to my hair and uses products that are natural hair friendly. Make sure you get your ends trimmed on a regular. Keep a hair journal and pay attention to your hair. What works for someone else may not work for you.
Who are your favorite Bloggers/vloggers?
Naturally Zeze, Around The Way, Sadora Paris, MahoganyCurls, Hey Fran Hey, MissKenK, Ebony Clark.
What is your regimen?
During the winter and fall I wear my hair straight more. So I wash/co- wash and condition. But I also get protein treatments. I also do a hot oil treatment prior to help with my scalp (I have a very dry scalp.) A great DIY hot oil treatment that I found from Naturally Zeze includes:
1 tablespoon of each of the following oils: Coconut oil, Olive oil, Castor oil
What are your favorite products?
I have really soft hair and can’t use products that are too heavy. Pantene (natural) I use their co-wash, Defining Curls Styling Custard, Clarifying Shampoo and Deep Conditioner. Also Shea moisture coconut and hibiscus shampoo, along with the conditioner.
What is your go to hair style?
Twist Out. Or Wash and Go.
Who is your celebrity hair crush?
Tracee Ellis Ross. Her hair is amazing. And I respect that even when “natural hair” wasn’t popular she owned hers.
Who is your regular hair crush?
Zeinab: @NaturallyZeze & @Africa360.
Where can you be found on social media?
Any big plans for 2015?
Yes! I’m getting married in October and starting to work on a documentary for my Master’s Program.
Thank you for sharing your story, Shivawn!
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