Featured Naturalista: Nicole' Thompson

Featured Naturalista: Nicole' Thompson  

Introduce yourself. Let us know your name, where are you from and anything else about yourself that you would like to share.
My name is Nicolé (pronounced Ni-co-lay) Thompson.  I'm originally from Kingston, Jamaica but now living in South Florida.  I'm a creative personality - singer, songwriter, voice teacher, and my latest passion is working with plant oils and essential oils to come up with yummy bath and body products!

How long have you been natural?
Wow.  Hmmm... I've been natural since about 2003.  So that's... what, 10 years?

Did you Big Chop or did you Transition to natural hair and When?
BOTH!!!  I big-chopped in 1999, but then I started using a texturizer thingy in my hair for about 2 years, I think.  Then I realized that that was thinning out my hair so I stopped using any chemicals and started doing 2-strand twists for a while.  Then I started locking in January 2004.

What made you decide to go natural?
Ever since I was a little girl, my hair has always been altered by heat (hot comb) and then by chemical (relaxers etc) processes.  After a while my hair just became lifeless and the hair from the middle of my head down to the name of my neck just NEVER grew beyond a certain point.  I learnt that processing my hair always involves some type of damage, and I decided I really wanted to get in touch with my natural hair.  Living in Jamaica, I used to see women with beautifully-groomed locs, so I researched locking for about 5 years, then made the decision and took the plunge.

Did you have a support team? Explain the level of support that you had.
My friends and family were taken aback when I did the big chop, because I did it so suddenly and completely without warning.  As in, I'd had mid-back length braids, left the house one morning, removed the braids, then completely cut off ALL my hair.  I returned home almost bald.  It took some people MONTHS to get over it!  My parents were kinda neutral about going natural but were completely against my growing locs.  My husband LOVES my locs and supports my desire to live a life that's as chemical-free as possible.  I get a lot of compliments about my hair from my friends.

Do you have hair length goals or is hair health is more important to you? Elaborate if you like.
Hair health is DEFINITELY wayyyyyyy more important to me, but that was not always the case.  I was very concerned about growth and length when I had relaxed and leisure-curled hair, but that was because my hair just wouldn't grow beyond a certain point.  When I went completely natural, my hair started to grow like CRAZY, and that's when I realized that black nappy hair really just wants to be left alone.  My locs are really long now, and I'm longing to cut them but I'm trying to gently coax the hubby into warming to that idea LOL!  My priority is the health of my hair and scalp. As far as I'm concerned, if my body is healthy and my skin is healthy, and I learn to treat my hair properly, my hair will grow.

What are your favorite hair products and Regimen?
I've recently started using sulfate-free shampoos in my hair.  Right now I use the Organix Coconut shampoo, and I OCCASIONALLY use the matching conditioner.  For regular maintenance, I spritz my hair with distilled water DAILY and I use my own product which I formulated and is now my company's flagship product: the Irie Essentialz Hair & Scalp Oil.  It's a blend of coconut, jojoba and sweet almond oils, along with carrot root CO2 extract and the essential oils of lavender, sandalwood and ylang ylang.  I use the oil once or twice per week after I've spritzed my hair, and I drench my damp hair with the oil after every shampoo.  Right now this very simple regimen works for me.  My scalp is usually flake-free (I usually suffer from dry scalp) and my locs are lustrous and strong.  Whenever I slack off from the spritzing or if I go over 2 weeks without using the oil, the flakes reappear.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering to go natural or a newly natural sista?
My advice:
  • Be PATIENT with yourself and with your hair!  Nothing happens in a hurry.  
  • Focus on healthy hair: healthy hair grows.  Don't go out trying to find the latest 'quick-grow' product.  Instead, take care of your body, drink lots of water, and try to find a simple regimen with products that can support your healthy natural hair.
  • Be prepared to learn about yourself and human nature!  For me and for my friends who have also gone natural, the process has been almost like a spiritual experience.  Going natural gives you the opportunity to get to know the REAL external you without the props of chemical processing or sometimes even added hair from weaves etc.  It's an opportunity to learn to love yourself the way you are, if that's an issue for you.  And you get to see what your family and friends value about you and how they perceive you.  It's quite an education if you open your eyes!
  • ENJOY the process!  I love feeling my hair, learning about it, watching how it grows and how it responds to various situations.  I love the freedom of not caring whether I get wet in the rain, or sweaty in the gym.  And because I'm not a high-maintenance styling kinda girl, I love being able to just tie my hair back or put it in a low ponytail at the nape of my neck, put on a pair of large hoops, and look fabulous, whether I'm in jeans and a tee or wearing a cocktail dress.

Where can we find you?
I need to be more active, but: look for me on Twitter and Facebook under the handle IrieEssentialz.
My website for my natural soaps and products is:http://www.irieessentialz.com

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