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From Kinks to Curls
By Rashida A. Marshall
As busy fitness instructors, Alexis Perkins and Tyshawna Witherspoon struggled with the care and maintenance of their natural hair. Knowing that they wanted to allow their hair to flow freely without restrictive hairstyles, they teamed up to develop a hair care process which allowed for easy styling and maintenance of natural hair without the use of harsh chemicals.
In their new book ‘Kinks to Curls‘, Alexis and Tyshawna share more about this process while educating readers on the joy of rocking their natural hair with confidence and style. They sat down with AFIYA Magazine to share about their book, their natural hair journeys, and why they want more of us to embrace our natural manes.
Rashida: We’d love to know more about your fitness background and what led you all to write Kinks to Curls! Please share.
Tyshawna: I’m a fitness instructor. I started out by taking Alexis’ Zumba classes. Afterward, I also became a Zumba instructor and received AFAA and Mixed Fit certifications. Because the classes were so frequent, we were always trying to figure out how to deal with our hair night after night. At the time, I was wearing a sew-in and my hair was growing tremendously—to the point where there was too much under the weave, and the sweat and oils were holding. It got to a point where I had to figure out how to style my natural hair. I started doing more research on how to care for it, and eventually Alexis and I got together and began working on a regimen with others.
Alexis: My fitness background is similar. I’m a certified fitness instructor, Zumba instructor and Mix Fit instructor. I’m also the co-producer of Fusion, a television fitness channel. When I would travel overseas to lead classes, interviews would typically be held after the workout was done, but by the end of the workouts, my hair would not be maintained the way I’d like. Like Tyshawana, I also wore weaves, but my hair was growing very quickly underneath.
Rashida: As you all began your research, what did you discover, and how did you decide what aspects to include in the book?
Alexis: We focused on a specific combination of natural hair products, how much of each one to use and what order to use them. The two of us went through a lot of mistakes trying the different products and combinations on our own hair so it was great deal of trial and error. We eventually figured out what combination would create the desired look that would allow ladies to wear their natural out in various styles.
Rashida: How do you respond to statements such as “natural hair looks good on you” or “I could never go natural. It’s not for me.”?
Alexis: It’s funny you ask that because Tyshawna and I were recently speaking at an event and prior to it, I had just taken out my weave. For some reason, I felt like I needed more time to adjust to my hair. I wasn’t fully comfortable with it, and I think it’s the psychology of how you view yourself. You become so used to seeing yourself one way that mirrors the majority so you begin to think that your natural hair isn’t right because it’s so different from what you’ve become accustomed to. I believe it’s more about the adjustment process.
Tyshawna: I think it’s also a learned behavior of what’s supposed to look nice versus what doesn’t. People try to tell you what is and is not nice, what your hair should and should not do. It’s time to be more bold and confident regarding our hair so that we can see all the things that we can do with it….
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