I am so excited about bring you another “Feature Friday”. This Friday I have the gorgeous Courtney, also known as, “Curls & Couture”. This gorgeous beauty that has been all over the place on social media has agreed to chit chat and share her natural hair story with us, so without further ado let’s get into it.
Hi Courtney….thanks for taking time out of your schedule to share with us today. I want to start off by allowing you the chance to tell those who have heard about you, a little bit about yourself.
My name is Courtney Stradford also known as “Courtney Dee” from my Youtube Channel “Curls & Couture”. I’m a self proclaimed fashionista from NY and a diva from birth (haha). I’m Christian, a graduate student and a fitness and health nut.
Awesome!!! So, let’s get right into this fabulous hair of yours.
I’ve been fully natural since January 2013.
Wow!!! I cannot believe you have only been completely natural since the start of 2013. I think I know the answer to this question, but did you transition or did you Big Chop?
I chose to transition my hair. Funny thing is my decision to go natural was a bit of an accident. I stopped relaxing my hair December 2011 with the idea of going natural but I was still apprehensive. I ended up putting in a weave for my birthday and when I saw how much new growth I had and that I could still wear my hair straight I decided to go for it. I wasn’t ready to cut off all of my length- that is why I chose to transition. The transitioning was also a learning process for me. When my hair was relaxed I didn’t have to do much, I didn’t moisturize it or wrap it; I just threw it up in a high ponytail, shook it down in the morning and got wash and sets religiously. Natural hair isn’t that simple haha!! I had to learn how to take care of my natural hair and all the ins and outs (moisturizing, protective styling, curl patterns and textures, protein treatments, etc). I made some mistakes during my transition, things that I would never recommend to anyone considering transitioning but it helped me learn and embrace my natural hair even more.
How did you feel after going natural?
I had mixed feelings. I was soooo excited that I completed my transition (I couldn’t stand the stringy relaxed ends haha),but I didn’t love my curls or my length- I straightened right away!! But a few weeks later when I washed it and did my first twist out I started liking a lot more. It was a new experience for me.
Okay….so it took you some time to get used to your natural hair, how did family and friends react to your decision to go natural?
My friends were all for it, I think they were more excited than I was but my family not so much. They did not understand why I wanted to go natural, they didn’t think I would actually do it nor did they think I would like it. Crazy people!! Both the positive and negative responses pushed me even more- it actually pushed me to create my YouTube channel. When I finally cut off all of my relaxed ends my family fell in LOVE! My mom loved my hair so much that she is transitioning now!!
Girl yes….that’s how you do it. Allow other responses and feedback fuel you to keep going instead of making you second guess yourself or cause you to give up. I am so glad you struck it through.
You’ve been natural for over a year now, how would you describe your hair?
Right now my hair is colored blonde. I had it professionally dyed, with highlights and lowlights last June. It is EXTREMELY thick and dense but reasonably manageable. Reasonable to me at least, but I always get a good arm work out on wash day. I have about 3 different textures in my hair. My curls in the front are a 3c, the middle and sides are like a 4a and the back is a 4b. I used to be annoyed that it wasn’t consistent but it gives my hair a nice shape. My hair is also cut in layers.
I consider myself the Queen of mixing products. I am always mixing something to enhance the benefits of that product to meet the needs of my hair.
My routine starts on wash day (Saturday or Sunday)
I pre-poo for 30 minutes with a mix of warm olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil in 4 lightly detangled sections. All of my parting and a majority of my detangling is done with my fingers to avoid pulling and breakage.
Once I rinse the pre-poo, I cleanse with whatever conditioner I am trying at the time and finger detangle each section while the conditioner is it in and the rinse.
I apply my deep conditioner and again finger detangle and allow that to sit for 30min under a heating cap and then rinse with cool water.
Once all of the DC is out, I rinse again with cold aloe vera juice from the refrigerator. This closes the cuticle, locking in the moisture. Aloe vera juice is also moisturizing.
I apply my leave in conditioner while I am in the shower then I style.
I keep my hair divided in 4 sections always. Once I have applied my styling product or butter, I detangle once with my fingers and part into 4-5 smaller sections within the big section. I detangle the smaller sections with a Denman brush.
I seal two ways. Sometimes immediately after I rinse with aloe vera juice and I rinse quickly so my hair isn’t too oily, this is typically done when I am doing a wash and go. If I am styling I will seal while I am twisting my hair. I normally do the latter.
In the morning I take down my twists with coconut oil. I moisturize every other day in the morning with coconut oil and whatever butter I am using at the time. (I have a lot of samples from events so I am trying different butters to see which I like.)
Such great detail…you know us women love DETAILS!!! Thank you!! What are your Holy Grail products?
Shescentit Deshani Scalp Elixir is my favorite thing to moisturize my scalp and I love it for my protective hairstyles. Coconut and Olive oil are my go-to oils for pre-pooing, sealing and moisturizing. Mixed Chicks leave in conditioner and Deep conditioner are absolutely fantastic in my hair. The leave in conditioner gives my hair amazing definition for a wash and go and both are extremely moisturizing. I mix Olive oil and Avocado oil in my DC. I also use Shea Moisture’s Anti-Breakage Masque and Deep Treatment Masque depending on the needs of my hair. I will usually mix the Shea Moisture and Mix Chicks DC. I cannot twist my hair without Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie (great for moisture) and Olive Oil Ecostyler gel. I also really like Camille Rose Natural’s Curl Maker for styling. I have not found a co wash that I love but I am currently using Tresemme Naturals Condition and looking forward to trying Trader Joe’s Nourishing Spa. Can’t live without Lily of the Desert aloe vera juice, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and Aztec Secrets Bentonite Clay
How do you maintain your hair at night?
Very simply- once I have twisted my hair for the week I pineapple it with a satin scarf. This doesn’t leave any dents in my hair and pretty much maintains the curls for the week. I love big frizzy hair so by the end of the week it’s the perfect size for me. I apply a scalp elixir at night and either an oil or butter to the length of my hair.
Thanks again Courtney, for taking time out to share with us. I learned so much about you and your hair today. Before I let you go, can you please tell us what the best thing is about being natural?
The best thing about being natural is the versatility and the women that I have met. I love that I can go from curly to straight, wear braids, twist, weaves and wigs. I also love embracing my natural self. I believe your hair is your crown and you should wear it as such. You should take care of it, invest in it and wear it proudly. It’s a talking point amongst men and women and because of my natural hair I’ve met some amazing, powerful women who have given me advice and compliments and vice versa. I must meet a woman almost every day who is either considering going natural, is already natural and just loves hair- I live for experiences where I can meet and interact with new people.
To see more of Courtney and all of her fabulous hair, check her out by click the below links: