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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Coily Girl of the Week: Meet Royal Empress!

Her hair is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!! Length, texture, color.... just beautiful! I'm sure you will agree.Royal Empress is in college in Houston, and a Spanish Major. Wow... when I think of the money I could have saved in college if MY hair had been natural. (SMH)

I think most of my work-study checks probably went to RELAXERS!!! LOL ! Anyway, Royal Empress was kind enough to give me an IN-DEPTH interview on how she maintains her gorgeous coils! I know you'll enjoy her story.Thank you, Royal Empress!

** To see more of Royal Empress, check out her Fotki page ( and her videos at

Q: Why did you decide to go natural?

I never decided to ‘go natural’ because I was really unaware that there was a process to it. To me I was just growing my relaxer out. I couldn’t afford to get relaxers on a regular basis. I’ve always had thick, dense hair so I would always go to the salon to get it relaxed & the least I’ve had to pay was $65; the most was $108. It would be sometimes 3 to 4 months before I would get it touched up and it was hard always dealing with the two textures, but I loved the feel of my new growth. Before my last relaxer I had waited 7 months & I only went back because of prom.

I didn’t know how to do anything with my relaxed hair besides put it in a ponytail or a sloppy bun & it always looked crazy because I never owned a flat iron so it was big. Wearing it in a pony tail all the time caused breakage & there would always be hair on the floor at my house & everybody would complain. I thought that my hair was healthy because it was long, waist length at it it’s longest, but from the back the end was shaped like a ‘V’ and the hairdressers at the salon would always cut it.

Besides all that, I was tired of depending on other people to do my hair, being in salons for hours, & having my scalp & face (on one occasion) being chemically burned .[she went too far in her attempts to relax my sideburns, smh]

Q: What are the best and worst things about having natural hair?

Best: We are still a minority, so you always stand out. It’s healthy, I don’t mind a few raindrops, I really NEVER have to go to a salon so I’m saving tons of money. Also it is EXTREMELY versatile…if I want the relaxed look I can flat iron it. If I want a fro …let my shrinkage do its thing. Big wavy/curly hair…twist out. I can do anything!!! Also you learn to love yourself ‘raw’!

Worst: At times it is harder to deal with and takes more time to style as it grows longer, Tangles can get pretty serious sometimes, some people become product junkies. Also it sucks to have to purchase products that are only available online; they’re already expensive as it is and then you have to pay for shipping and then wait for your package to arrive. There are not as many natural hair salons and the ones that are available are pretty expensive. Stereotypes and assumptions can be annoying too, but they don’t actually bother me.
Q: Do you straighten your hair? What precautionary measures do you take?

I straighten my hair maybe once or twice a year. I think I’m going to stick with once because I hate heat damage and I feel that it can’t be avoided 100 percent.
To straighten my hair I flat iron it.

I shampoo and condition my hair in sections, detangle while it’s wet in sections, towel dry about 80% dry, then apply heat protectant product liberally from roots to ends, blow dry in sections, then I may or may not add more heat protectant before I flat iron in smaller sections. Then trim the ends.

Q: What are your current products/ routine?

I wash my hair in sections once a week.I shampoo with Suave Clarifying Shampoo.
I condition and sometimes co-wash with Suave Humectant Conditioner or VO5 Tea Therapy, but my favorite is Herbal Essences Hello Hydration.

Detangle in sections in the shower with my showercomb and my denman brush.
I just started deep conditioning again, I will try to do it once a week. I’ve tried Elasta QP, and Lustrasilk Cholesterol. I don’t really have a preference so I will continue to try new brands when I finish what I already have. I deep condition under a hooded dryer.
I always style my hair fresh out of the shower so I use products that feel good on wet hair.

I usually do two-strand twists or a combo of twists and cornrows nowadays.
I have tons of products so I never use one specific thing for styling my hair, but this is one that I’ve used tons of times to twist with on wet hair: Africa’s Best Organics Leave-In Liquid Hair Mayonnaise.

Other products:
On dry hair I like QB AOHC, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Unrefined Shea Butter, and Coconut Oil.
I recently got Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair Milk and Qhemet Biologics Olive&Honey Hydrating Balm and Burdock Root Butter Cream. I’m not too impressed with Karen’s yet, but I still have to give it another try..smells awesome though. I will update my fotki on my Karen’s and my new QB products.

Q: Do you have any color in your hair? If so, what kind?

No hair color. I want to go red, but I’m scared I might damage it and make it even dryer than it already gets.Your hair type: I have some 3c, but the majority of my hair is 4a and 2 sections of 4b at my temples.

Q: Has reaction from family/friends/opposite sex been positive or negative?

My sister and I have the same mother but different fathers, her father was Chinese and our mother is black and white so my sister’s hair is pretty much straight/wavy naturally and she still thinks I should get it relaxed and cut, BUT she does compliment my hair sometimes so I think she would support me either way. My father(black) used to put his 2 cents in all the time years after I grew out my relaxer he would say “you know…every now and then you need to put a perm on the edges” [what the hell? Just on the edges, huh?]

Most of my family has natural hair, but they have looser textures or straighten their hair primarily.As far as my friends…I swear I never advised them to go natural unless they state some interest to me and I have inspired 3 of them to go natural, one still rocks sew-ins 100% of the time, one is a natural NAZI lol (, and the other is my sidekick/mannequin head ( ;and now my sis-in-law wants to give it a go too.

Q: What are your favorite hair accessories?

Comb clips, my 6 foot scarf from H&M ($10), the cute knit hats for colder weather, and I like those cloth flower head bands @ forever21,my 6 foot scarf that I bought from H&M for 10 bucks to wrap my head and I love these thingys from Claire’s ($8):

Q: Your hair length goal?

I don’t really have a hair length goal, I guess I’ve reached it and I have cut my hair a few times in the recent past, so I just have a health goal. I have some sections of my hair that are just always dry no matter what so I’m seeking soft hair all over and to maintain my shrinkage by avoiding heat damage.Your hair idols: I love Sabina Karlsson’s hair and I am a huge fan of shrinkage so I love Mwedzi ( and RusticBeauty’s ( hair because it’s just so elastic and to me that screams HEALTHY!!!

What advice would you give to transitioners?

Don’t transition for too long like I did, appreciate and take advantage of your hair and learn to deal with it at every length!!! As it grows longer and longer you will miss your shorter length at times.

Try to avoid straightening too often; you’ll regret it when you’re completely natural with heat damage!

Also to me it seems silly to spend money on expensive hair products and use it on your relaxed hair during transition [I’ve seen this]. You’re just going to chop it off so I would say just use it on your new growth.

And for those who will wear braids during transition, please be gentle with your edges and take special care of them to prevent traction alopecia!!!

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