What is the meaning of life?
It’s the most fundamental philosophical question to ever be posed, and one that can not only invoke several different answers, but even twice as many questions. We spend a large bulk of our existence trying to decipher and make sense of our behaviors, beliefs and principles.
For Jennifer, taking up the practice of yoga opened her eyes to a new way of looking at herself and the world around her. Like many others, she took her first yoga lesson under the auspice of simply needing a way to decompress and relieve stress. Instead she found a Baptiste power yoga — a more intense form of the practice that enthralled and invigorated her in a way she had not been before. She fell in love with the practice — so much so that she decided to get her teacher’s certification and become a licensed yoga instructor.
There was only one problem. Baptiste power yoga features a heated studio. While her body was thriving and her mind relished the challenge, the hair on top of it was not so excited.
“I literally had to find a very carefree way to get through a weekend’s worth of yoga, and still look presentable when I walked out of the door,” Jennifer explained.
She had only known her hair in a relaxed state. She was quickly realizing, however, that a change needed to be made.
“I got my first perm when I was eight or nine years old. I’d been living in the ‘relaxed’ world for most of my childhood, and the majority of my adult life,” she recalled. “But having a very challenging work schedule and trying to find the time to get to the hair salon, I just felt very tied in having relaxed hair. And so I transitioned into a braided style.”
Wearing braids afforded Jennifer another level of flexibility. Even outside of yoga, she enjoys outdoor activities like camping, and protective styling relieved any proclivities she had about avoiding those pastimes for the sake of her hair. She also began to discover the look and feel of her natural curls — and she was more than pleased with what she saw.
“I wore braids for about two years once I started. Every time I took them out and was getting ready to put them back in, I said ‘you know, I don’t think I want to relax my hair again’,” Jennifer recounted. “So I kind of fell into it, where I just decided to keep wearing braids until I had enough new growth that I felt like I could give it a whirl without them.”
“So at the two-year mark [since her last relaxer] in February of 2016, I had just come back from vacation and it was time to take them out, and I was like ‘Ok — do or die. Let’s leave them out’.”
Now both relaxer and braid-free, Jennifer was fully committing to the idea of a curly-girl lifestyle. This meant she needed to find a go-to product to keep in her arsenal.
“I did a lot of research,” Jennifer admitted. “I watched a lot of YouTube videos. I played around with some products, and went through a few different ones in the early months.”
Thankfully, the course of her online research brought her to Uncle Funky’s Daughter.
“The name is catchy, so I was like ‘What is this about?'”, Jennifer laughed. “And then I started reading reviews, and I went to the website. And I decided to give it a try.”
Jennifer knew she needed a product that could keep her hair soft and moisture-rich against the extreme elements of her active routine. And so, she ordered her first jar of Extra Butter Brilliant Shine Creme — and immediately felt the difference.
“I got this product and tried it with a twist-out. And I was like ‘Oh my God, my hair feels amazing!’,” she recalled.
From there, Jennifer delved deep into the Funky Junky rabbit hole. Her list of favorite products now includes Supercurl Miracle Moisture Cream, Rich & Funky Moisturizing Cleanser, Midnite Train Leave-In Conditioner, and Thirsty Curls Leave-In Curl Revitalizer.
“I use Thirsty Curls normally when I’m camping because I have it in an afro puff. It helps in the morning to retain the moisture throughout the day. So I can just pull it back, and four days later, it still feels like I just stepped out of the shower.”
As she’s still very early on into her natural hair journey, Jennifer is still in the process of experimenting with different styles and learning what looks she likes and doesn’t like with her hair. For fellow new naturalistas like herself, her advice is simple: don’t be too hard on yourself.
“Cut yourself some slack, cut your friends some slack, and just goes with it. There’s nothing more true than your natural hair. You’ll have bad hair days just like you have bad hair days now, but you’ll feel so much more free, and so much more in control. My natural hair has changed so much since the first time I took the braids out and left them out. So be patient — your hair has a memory, so give it a chance and just have fun with it!”