Featured Maven :: Understanding Maven
Name: Angela Saxton
Location: Madison, Alabama
Occupation: Technical Writer, Entrepreneur
How long have you been natural?
In adulthood, I have been natural for 12 years (I experienced a brief lapse between 2002-2003 because I wanted a change, but within 1-2 months my scalp issues and health lead me back to being natural ).
Did you big chop or transition and how did you make that decision?
I chose to transition by protecting my hair in braid and weave styles while growing a mini Afro. In 1999, I visited a salon for my big chop. I have also had several drastic hair cuts over the years.
What made you decide to go natural?
During college, I had major scalp issues and eventually decided that my scalp was not healthy enough to withstand chemical relaxers. Also, a friend encouraged me to embrace my God given hair and natural beauty. I was eventually diagnosed with Seborrhea and Eczema.
How did your family and friends react to your decision to go natural?
At the time, women wearing naturals were scarce. Some of my family did not understand my decision, but overall they grew to be supportive. I like the texture and body when I would have it professionally pressed & curled. My friend thought that is was hilarious because I would attempt to wear wigs when I didn’t have the time to style it. Eventually, they all grew to like my natural hair. I’ve even unknowingly inspired many to go natural. Recently, I ran into a college acquaintance in the grocery store with a kinky twist-out. She told me the last time we met, she had consciously decided to transition to a naturalista.
How has going natural affected your life, way of thinking, etc if at all?
I often smile when faced with this question. I think a hairstyle should not define who you are, but like all appearances, natural hair carries perceptions. I think being natural inspires other women of color to feel encouraged and freedom to totally be themselves. I am still amazed when I hear friends tell me they’ve decided to go natural after seeing my hair style(s). Being natural has also made me more aware and eager to pursue other natural health benefits. As of late, I started an all natural hair care product line, Natural Beauty (my hopes are to grow and offer more handmade health and beauty products).
From a professional standpoint, have you ever had any problems in your career or workplace because of your natural hair?
Perhaps. Being natural in an environment were you are an extreme minority can pique people’s curiosity. In a corporate environment, attitudes can be loosely based on the culture of your employer and peers. Once, a teammate was honest enough to admit that they had discussions about my hair. She wanted to know the “truth“ which gave me a chance to dispel many myths. I explained that African American hair types and textures are different. She wanted to know if she could touch it, I said “sure,” she replied, “Wow! It feels just like black cotton.”
What is the best/worst compliment you have received since going natural?
The best compliment is actual encouragement from relaxed friends or stylists to stay natural because my hair is soft and manageable.
The worst compliant is the smell after getting my hair professionally straightened (pressed or flat ironed).
What is the best and worst thing you have done since going natural?
The worst thing I have done to my hair has been trying to dye it before getting proper instructions on how to do it on a huge afro.
Do you have any hobbies or passions that you would like to share with us?
I often feel old school when it comes to my current hobbies. I am currently working on my first quilting project. It is handmade and patterned.
I am also passionate about finding my place by the grace of God. I like to explore praise and worship artistic forms.
How did you get interested in these activities?
While exploring my options, I often reflect on my upbringing and the things I enjoyed watching or helping my grandparents and elders do.
From a career standpoint, what are your interests and are you currently pursuing them?
With the start-up of Natural Beauty Mart, I am pursuing a business place that features a product that I am ecstatic about. It is not only for natural hair, but for people looking for an alternative to successfully treat dandruff, cradle cap, eczema, fungus, and parasites. I have endured bouts of seborrheic dermatitis and eczema on my face and scalp and like sharing my advice and remedies with others.
Did you meet your other half while you were natural? If not, how did they react to your decision?
I met my spouse in 2001, two years after becoming natural. After dating for a while, he confessed that he was attracted to my high afro puff.
How has their reaction/attitude changed, if at all, from then until now?
Currently, he prefers my hair straighter. His attitude is still about the same, very casual when it comes to the style of my hair.
How do you balance being a mother, life and hair?
I am not a mother, but I am a believer in it taking a village to raise a child. As a result, my nieces and nephews view different lifestyles as opportunities to learn about the balance of life and trends. I try to eliminate the stereotypes about black beauty and impart a balance of curiosity, tolerance, and acceptance.
By going natural, do you find yourself trying to shape your children with a wider view on beauty standards? If so, how do you accomplish this?
Yes. I am an example to my babies that beauty is more that skin deep. They know the difference between outer and inner beauty. I have a significant amount of scaring and blemishes on my face from eczema and dermatitis and at times they think I am more beautiful without makeup.
Is there any advice that you would like to give to other naturals regarding hair, life, career or motherhood?
Embrace who you are, continue to hope in all things God given.
Do you blog, socialize online, etc? If so, where can we find you?
Online Store: www.etsy.com/shop/naturalbeautymart
Natural Beauty Mart’s Overview
The mission of the company’s hair care line for our clients is to increases hair growth by treating the scalp, thicken edges, decrease damage and dryness to the natural hair by sharing knowledge, experiences, and great products.
Natural Beauty Mart’s exclusive line of medicated hair growth products are designed to seal in moisture while providing a soothing medicinal touch to heal and prevent scalp issues. Our goal is to provide products that are naturally suited for all hair types with soothing medicinal touches for the hair and scalp. Natural Beauty focuses on treating scalp aliments such as dermatitis, eczema, fungus, and parasites. The results are superior moisture retention, increased elasticity to combat breakage, healthier scalp by stopping itchy dryness with pH Balanced hair growth and strengthening all natural products.
Natural Beauty Mart began launching the Natural Beauty all natural medicinal hair care line in mid 2011.