Nearly Hair
“Nothing, is what it appears to be, when it's only with your eyes you see.”
― N'Zuri Za Austin

Tales From the Kinks: Lalisse Edition

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I first noticed Lalisse on a featured instagram post for her “How to wrap a scarf” post (will be posted soon). From there I did a little insta-stalking on her page and realized that her personality is beautiful! With that being said, Lalisse is my Tales from the Kinks feature this week!

Natural hair interview

Hi! My name is Lalisse (leh-LEE-say). I’m South African and Ethiopian, though I was born in the states and have lived most of my life in Maryland. I loveeee God. I love music—all things neo-soul and acoustic. I love natural hair—all things kinky, curly, and nappy. And I love food—all things edible. Lol. I am also big into traveling and plan to live abroad as SOON as I finish grad school.

When and why did you decide to get rid of the creamy crack if you did?
The creamy crack and I parted ways around winter of 2006. At that point I was 16 years old and had been getting perms since I was 5 or 6.  I started to notice that my hair was thinning and more prone to breakage than it had been in the past. After several failed attempts at restoring my hair, I decided that perms were the source of my problems and I wanted to see what would happen if I stopped relaxing my hair.

What was your support system like after you made your decision to go natural?
I didn’t really have a support system of any sorts. I didn’t know anything about being natural and I didn’t consider it to be a big deal. I told my mom that I was going to stop getting perms and she didn’t seem to think anything of it. But once I started mentioning it to others, I surprisingly received opposition. My hair stylist at the time was completely against it. She told me that she would no longer do my hair if I went natural and that my only choice was to “chop your hair off or keep it braided and never look at it again.” Sooo…I found a new hairstylist, needless to say.

My new hairstylist really didn’t know much about maintaining natural hair, but she was willing to do my hair nonetheless. I transitioned by keeping my hair straightened (every two weeks…that’s a lot of heat) and I would get braids/twists on occasion. After I had been transitioning for about 8 or 9 months, I told a couple friends. I received responses like “ew”, “your hair is gonna break off”, and “it’s gonna look nappy”. Little did they know, I was already pretty much natural and my hair hadn’t broken off at all (whether or not it was “nappy” is another story, lol). When I popped up at school a month later with my new afro puff, those same friends were the ones who were in love with my hair.

It is true that we are not our hair, or anyone else's, but do you have any natural hair crushes?
We are definitely not our hair. I do think it’s extremely important that we value our hair in its natural state. By no means does that mean we should equate our worth and sense of self with what our hair looks like though. I think what matters is that we become comfortable with ourselves in our most stripped down state—no make-up, no weaves/extensions, heck, even no clothes (in the privacy of your home, of course). It’s important to be confident in the woman that you see looking back at you in the mirror. If you truly love yourself, that confidence will shine through any hairstyle, any layer of makeup, and any style of dress.

My natural hair celebrity crushes would be Erykah Badu, Yaya DaCosta and Solange. My Instagram natural hair crushes would be @simplycyn and @xodvf.
What are your inspirations in life and inspiration for your hair?
My inspirations in life often come from music, poetry, and sermons. The messages I hear through them often push me to grow in all facets of my life--creatively, emotionally, and spiritually. My inspiration for my hair is boldness. I love the boldness of a close cut, of a huge fro, and of long dreadlocks.

When you are going through your daily regimen what products do you reach for first and why?
I’m all about pure oils and have castor oil or coconut oil in reach at all times. I make concoctions on a regular basis and will moisturize my hair with a mix of water, aloe vera juice, olive oil, and tea tree oil. After wetting my hair with that, I will seal with a small amount of castor oil.

For as long as I’ve been natural, you would think I’ve found a brand that I stand by…but I do a little too much product hopping. A few brands that I do support are Kinky Curly, Tropical Isle, Belle Butters and Qhemet Biologics.

What is your go to style in the winter and the summer?
Last year I chopped my hair off, so the close cut and TWA had been my only style for awhile. I recently got some Marley braids installed and I love them (but I secretly want my TWA back).

With my fro, I generally tend to have braided or twisted extensions throughout the colder months and my natural hair through the summer. I’m a bantu knot-out fanatic. And through all seasons, I’m avid head-wrap wearer regardless of if I’m wearing weaves, braids, or my natural hair.

What is the most important thing you have learned on your natural hair journey?
The most important thing I have learned is to embrace myself and my hair every stage. It took a while for me to stop lusting after other people’s hair. I had to learn to accept my curl pattern and my length and to just be patient.
I’ve also learned to stop fighting shrinkage! I used to put so much effort into stretching my hair out and would feel insecure with how my hair looked in its shrunken state. I’ve learned to let my hair just be. It has a personality of its own and I no longer try to force it to take on the personality of other people’s afros.
Where can we find you on the net?
I have a blog that can be found at I plan on revamping it sometime soon, but feel free to look around in the meantime!
You can also find me on Instagram at @lali_belle
Any advice for your fellow natural hair folks? 
Embrace ALL of you! Being natural [for me] is more about self-love than it is about hair. So…my advice is that you should treat your hair in the same loving manner that you should treat yourself:
Be patient with it—growth takes time.
Be gentle to it—detangling kinks is a delicate process.
Be proud of it—it’s beautiful. 

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