Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Natural Spotlight: Charlotte Bramble

Hey guys, had a little hiatus....the lovely Charlotte agreed to do a natural spotlight for me, she has some great advice, so enjoy :-)

Hi Charlotte! Thanks for agreeing to do this, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hey Shade Great to be on your amazing blog! Ok, so a lil about myself… well first and foremost I am a child of the loving living creator God! (Just like you :D) I’m 22 years old and I’ve just finished my second year of a Psychology and Education degree at the University of Northampton. I really enjoy singing, reading (though I’m rubbish at finishing books :/), playing the guitar, psychology, being with my family and friends and in nature I also have a random love for Volkswagen camper vans! Lol. They are just the coolest looking vehicles ever! Add to that that the fact that that you can travel and sleep in them too! Just amazing 

How long have you been natural for?
Hmmm… well I think I’ve been natural for about 9 months (since Sept 2010). Technically that’s how long it’s been since I cut my texturised ends off, however it’s been longer than that since I had my last texturiser. I stopped texturising about a year and a half ago I think… Those who know me will have seen my natural hair since January of this year (2011) 

Why did you decide to go natural or what inspired you?
Since about 2006/7 I had been texturising and straightening my hair probably every 3 months or so. It started off looking and feeling really nice and I was looking after it (the best way I knew how). Eventually however it began to break a lot. It became very thin and lifeless and wouldn’t grow longer than about the bottom of my neck before it broke off. I just knew something had to be done… My best friend (Leah Sweeney ) sent me someone’s YouTube video tutorial for crochet braiding and by mistake I fell upon a few natural hair videos. Some of these girls had longer and healthier hair than I had seen before in afro textured hair! I began to realise that it is possible for me to have longer, stronger, beautiful and healthy hair and that this was the way that God had designed for my hair to be I actually became a bit of a natural hair YouTube addict during that time. No joke.
I also went to Willesden church towards the end of last year and was shown a presentation by Natasha Briscoe about the health risks of using relaxers and other chemical treatments! I was further convinced that natural really was the way forward for me!  

How long did it take you to transition? What were the main problems you found while transitioning?

It was about 2/3 months transitioning from my last texturiser to when I cut my straight ends off. I then put in extensions and crochet braids so my FULL transition from last texturiser to exposed natural hair (no extensions or crochet braids) took 7 months. Because I used extensions or crochet braids for most of my transition it wasn’t too traumatic or frustrating. The only frustrating thing was being patient. I was so excited to be natural 

What styles did you use to transition with?
Whilst I did contemplate doing the famous Big Chop aka the BC, I then decided to go for the less TRAUMATIC option (lol) of transitioning using extensions and crochet braids. There are some people who look great with a TWA (Teeny Weenie Afro) but I was pretty sure I was not going to be one of them. Using braids to transition was ok for my hair but was not nice to my fine edges. Once my natural hair had grown out about two inches I then cut off my straight ends and…. Put them in crochet braids. Yeh, I still wasn’t quite brave enough to rock a TWA. So I wore them for about 4 months (one month at a time). In January I finally decided that my hair had grown long enough for me to be seen outside the house. Lol. It was so exciting styling it!

What were your favourite products while transitioning?
Water and glycerine all the way! I kept my hair and scalp hydrated with this combo in a spray bottle. I washed my hair with shampoo and deep conditioned in between crochet braid applications but not while I had them in… this worked for me and I got about 2 inches of growth during that 4 months
What are your favourite products now?
Shea butter! Yes my hair loves it! Also water (economically friendly lol) and glycerine (vegetable I’ve been told is the best), olive oil… anything natural and cheap to purchase. I’m still trying to find a leave-in that I love. Using At One with Nature at the mo… it’s ok.  

How have people responded to your new look?

You know what… I’ve received nothing but compliments since I went natural. It actually really surprised me. I mean I did hope people would appreciate it as I was growing to appreciate it, but I wasn’t expecting such rave reviews. Seriously I haven’t heard one bad word. Praise the Lord for that but honestly others opinions really shouldn’t be the basis upon which you should decide to go natural. Compliments are a bonus though (Just don’t let it big up your head and remember who made you!)
Have you got any advice or words of wisdom for other new naturals or transitioners?
Yes I have! Ladies… ever heard the phrase love the skin you’re in? Well…
  1. LOVE THE HAIR YOU GOT!  Seriously, learning to love the hair you were made with is sooo liberating! I always felt a lil uncomfortable with feeling ‘prettier’ with hair that was not mine (although yes I did buy it lol) or that was not my natural texture. Whilst I understand that there are a number of legitimate reasons why we decide to relax or do other things with our hair, my reasons were not legitimate and actually held me hostage to destructive, false thinking and ended up damaging the hair I had!  So for those who are en route to naturaliciousness (yes I did just make up that word) don’t let anyone discourage you and keep your head high.  
  2. Don’t mess in your hair too much. I’m learning that hair really does thrive when it is resting so give it a break once in a while and put it in a protective style (I’ve got mine in crochet braids at the moment). If you don’t give it a break it will give itself a break… by that I mean it will come out in your hands. Not cool
  3. Last thing… YOU ARE NOT YOUR HAIR! Don’t let it take over your life (trust me it so easily can if you let it). God cares about your hair but He cares much more about your heart! Keep that balance yourself and you’ll do great.



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