The Natural Hair movement has been a source of controversy in numerous topic discussions over the last few years. Women all around the world, are embracing their natural roots, and leaving the relaxer alone, so that they can grow out the natural pattern of their hair. After having relaxed hair for almost 13 years, I now embrace my natural roots, and it is refreshing to see the curl patterns in my hair. I know so many women who are natural, or thinking about being natural, so I wanted to bring in an expert, who can give women advice and tips on how to LOVE & CARE for their natural hair.
Nothing is more appealing than surrounding yourself around a woman who is educated, cultured, attractive, and multifaceted. Ijeoma Eboh also known as ‘Klassy Kinks’ has managed to graduate from an Ivy League School, promote her business, make YouTube tutorials, and accumulate stamps in her passport while traveling all around the world. Since 2010, Ijeoma has been helping women of different backgrounds, learn to love their hair. She has created videos on how to style and keep up with natural hair throughout different seasons, and/or events. Check out my interview with Ijeoma below!
Q. Tell me about your background. Education & Experience?
A. If you can’t tell, I’m Nigerian, and was born there but grew up in New Jersey. I went to Harvard University for my undergraduate degree and majored in History of Science. I’m now three years into a PhD program in History of Public Health at Columbia University where I’m researching this history of asthma in African Americans. Broadly, I’m interested in the history of health disparities of various chronic diseases.
I have a whole other life where I run a natural hair blog, KlassyKinks.com, where my mission is to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. There are a few contributing writers who write about everything from hair to beauty to fashion to fitness, and I also produce video content on YouTube.
Q. How did the name ‘Klassy Kinks’ come about?
A. A guy I once talked to actually gave me the name idea of Klassy Kinks. He said I was classy and elegant, and I thought – people don’t usually think natural hair can be classy – so it stuck. And thank goodness, because my previous name was something like My Tangled Thoughts.
Q. How long have you been natural and why did you choose to go natural?
A. I’ve been natural since May 2010, the end of my sophomore year of college, and I went natural because I wanted to see what my hair looked like. I’d had a relaxer since I was 3 so really just never knew.
Q.Did you Transition or do the big Chop?
A. I transitioned for a year. It started off accidentally; I had a friend out in some kinky twists and I just kept getting them redone and reinstalled for six months. Then I realized I was committed to the transition and wore a wet and wavy weave with my hair in small cornrows in the front .
Q. How did you get your hair to grow after becoming natural? Do you recommend any vitamins or any type of supplements?
A. I wasn’t focused on having my hair grow, I really just wanted to play with it and keep it moisturized. I did a lot of protective styles using my hair – updos, flat twists, mini twists etc, because it would allow me to go two or three weeks without worrying about my hair so I could focus on my schoolwork.
Q. How did people around you initially react to your decision to go natural? Has it impacted other areas in your life ( ex. school, job, relationships, fitness)?
A. My family was shocked and appalled at first, and my mom thought I was about to join some Black Panther wannabe group. None of my friends cared either way, but people at school did judge me at first when I was making videos, but that was back in 2010 before dogs and 10 year olds all had their own YouTube channels. I embraced my natural hair in a season of general self-awareness and self-love, so it helped make me more confident which may or may not have had anything to do with a new, healthier relationship that I attracted. My hair didn’t affect any other aspects of my life – the time I spent styling it instead of writing papers would have probably been wasted anyway.
Q. What do you love the most about being natural?
A. I LOVE the versatility of my hair. When I was relaxed, I had about 3 looks – a fresh, swinging relaxer, a struggling straight style, and a ponytail. With my hair now I can have three looks in one day with the help of a few twists, bobby pins, and Mother Nature.
Q. What is your current regimen for your hair? And what products are a must have when dealing with natural hair?
A. I just cut my hair into a tapered Fro so I’m sorting out a new regimen. However I believe in the fundamental LOC method – liquid, oil, cream, for maximum moisture. I don’t really have product staples anymore because I review so many, but my hair like anything with Shea butter, aloe Vera, and/or Castor oil in the ingredients.
Q. How do you handle being a PHD student, and also maintaining your business and website.
A. Every week, my plan is to be a student by day and a blogger by night. That never happens, because I’m so passionate about my blog and not as excited to read random books for school. But I’ve gotten some help on the blog with an intern and a few writers so if I need to take a week off from writing articles, I can do that. I never take off marketing, promoting, or identifying new opportunities for my blog and brand.
Q. With Spring & Summer quickly approaching what are some cute hair styles for women to try? Do you have any tutorial links on that?
A. While crochet braids were hot this winter, I think they will phase out for spring as people miss their hair. A lot of naturals don’t realize that the foundation to a great twist-out, braid out, or rod set is well-shaped hair, so start your spring off with a professional trim and shape. A favorite of mine for volume is a Bantu knot out on dry hair, but you can also achieve big hair with a flat twist out.
Q. What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
A. I always give the same advice – don’t go natural because you want your hair to look like someone else’s. I can guarantee you that no matter how much money you spend on products and hours you spend perfecting your technique, it won’t look like that of your favorite blogger. The moment you embrace YOUR hair, is the moment your journey truly begins.
Q.What social media outlets can readers find and follow you on?
Style Seat: https://www.styleseat.com/klassykinks
Q. Do you have any events coming up for readers to know about? Or natural hair conferences that you will be attending?
A. I’ll be at Kinky Hair Unlocked in Atlanta at the end of April so if you’re in Georgia I’d love to see you there! I also might pop into the Taliah Waajid World Natural Hair Show that same weekend.
In mid-May, I’m going to Nigeria for a hair event with Felicia Leatherwood and a bunch of other Nigerian leaders in the natural hair industry so I’m super excited for that too!
Q. Any last words or thoughts that you would like to inform readers on?
A. Stay classy!
Thanks for reading!