I had the pleasure of meeting this beauty on the red carpet of the second annual Natural Aristocratic Tea last month. Today, she shares her story with us. Say hello to our August Natural Fashionista, Yana of Style Stamped!
How long have you been rocking your natural hair and what made you take that step?
I’ve been natural for 5 years now, and I’ve been rocking it natural (without a full time weave) for the past 3 years. I stopped getting relaxers because I had a bad reaction to the chemical mixed with hair color so I knew I had to pick one or the other. I decided that I loved hair color more than I loved having a relaxer, and that’s essentially how I became natural. I wasn’t comfortable with my length or texture for the first 2 years so I wore weaves non-stop until my hair got longer and I became more comfortable with the texture.
What’s the best part about being natural? Did you face any challenges along the way?
For me the best part about being natural is knowing that the chances of me looking like someone else when I go out is slim to none. Natural hair is so unique and original, no two heads of hair look the same. I love that about being natural. I’ve faced challenges along the way, primarily with working in a corporate atmosphere. I love big hair, so I’ll often have an afro on the weekends and then I feel the need to pin it up for the corporate world on Monday. To me that’s a challenge because it’s easier for my hair to just be out and free and doing whatever it wants to do!
Briefly describe your hair care routine and fill us in on your go-to hair styles.
When I need to wash my hair with shampoo, which isn’t very often, I use the shea moisture Jamaican black castor oil shampoo. I wash my hair at the most twice a month. When I wash it, I let the conditioner sit on it for a long time (Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil hair masque) and I detangle it with a wide tooth comb. I section my hair into 4 and braid each section, rinse out the conditioner, and then I spray my hair with a solution of coconut oil, aloe vera water, and a little bit of tea tree oil. Then I spray my hair with a heat protective spray and blow dry each section. It’s a lot of work and not a very quick process! My go-to styles are bantu knot outs and fro-hawks.
Do you feel that wearing your hair in its natural state somehow affects your overall style?
I used to feel that wearing my hair natural did not fit me. I’ve always been a total fashionista and didn’t want to get characterized as a “natural hair” girl. Now that I’ve accepted and grown into my hair, I feel that my hair in its natural state enhances my overall style that is original, classic, sometimes edgy but always organic. I love it now!
How would you describe your personal style? Any inspirations?
My personal style is fun, classy, edgy, and unique. I’m totally comfortable in my skin and I love creating stylish looks that compliment my attitude and personality.
An out-of-state girlfriend once said that NY’ers are stylish because they live in NY and that she’d feel pressure to always look a certain way if she lived here. Do you find that one’s surroundings can affect their style or even invoke a need to always be “on”?
I think that one’s style could be affected by where they live, but I don’t feel that I’m one of those people. I live in Washington, DC right now, and I was born and raised in NY. Sometimes people who first meet me say “I can tell you’re not from here by the way you dress”. I don’t really know what that means because I think a lot of my looks can be universal, and not tied to a geographical location. I think New Yorkers may be a little more stylish than others because we tend to have a more open mind about things, are influenced by art, and have a bolder attitude that forces you to be unique. A need to always be “on” is interpreted to me as if one is dressing for their surroundings, or others, instead of themselves. I don’t carry the notion that we should be dressing for anyone else but ourselves. My quote is “Decide who you are and dress the way you want to live!”
What’s one piece in your closet you just couldn’t live without?
I can’t live without my old dirty white leather converse sneakers. I love them!
In addition to Style Stamped, is there anything else you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
I’m working on a fashion week in DC that will launch in September. Stay tuned!
Any fashion tips or advice for those who are newly natural?
Stay the course! Gradually fall in love with your hair, it’s ok to take it in stride. I was relaxed for over 20+ years so its fair to say that it took me a little time to get used to my hair’s natural state. Also, don’t listen to all the hype about hair growth, and do’s and don’ts. You’ll eventually find out what works best for you and your hair. God gave it to you so it’s perfect! It just takes some time to get used to and know, just like a new friend.
Totally agree, Yana. Very true! Thank you so much for sharing your hair story with the ToBNatural audience! 😉
If you wanna keep up with Yana, check out her blog and social media channels below.