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Jamaican Naturalista: Monique the Paper Maid

When I first met her, I fell in love with her hair and we chit-chatted like old friends. Natural hair does that to us, doesn’t it ladies? We spring into long conversations about products and styles and regimen and we can talk about this stuff all day! I ran into her again at Wedding Spectacular and she showed me some pictures of her hair at a recent hair event here in Jamaica and wow… I just had to feature her. I hope you enjoy, she certainly gives me inspiration as I dream longingly about length and big hair!

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How long have you been natural? Did you transition or big chop?
I have been natural for 2 years and 4 months. I transitioned for 4 months before buzzing it.

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What has your journey been like so far? Has it changed you, your style, your personality in any way?
My journey has been excellent. I always tell transitioners that chopping is the way to go, as you learn your hair from the roots (bad pun). It gives you a chance to grow with your hair. As was the case for me, I’ve grown a lot over the passed 2 years. I’m more comfortable in my skin/hair. I didn’t have hang ups before about my relaxed hair but it was like a dress that didn’t fit quite right. Now I am more self aware and more approachable.

How did friends and family react to your decision to go natural and what types of hair comments do you get these days?
When I decided to go natural, only my girlfriends were encouraging. My family thought I was crazy or under the influence of something… But I knew it was the right decision for me. I had big chopped once before in 2007 and due to unfavourable reactions, and extreme dryness, I went back to what I considered the safe zone of a relaxer. I actually grew back a full head of relaxed hair before the natural life called me again. This time for good.
I get tons of compliments these days, from friends, family and strangers. People always ask what do I do with it and I am happy to tell them because it was hard figuring it out on my own.

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Do you think there’s an “unpretty” stigma attached to natural hair? In your work environment have you ever come across any kind of discrimination towards your hair?
I definitely think so. It was because of that why I returned to the relaxer. I used to over hear people say “she was so pretty before she cut all her hair off”. That can mess with anyone. I have never come across discrimination in terms of being at a disadvantage because of it. But there have been more than enough cases of the wandering eye and puzzled looks. Doesn’t bother me much.

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What is a typical wash day like for you?
I wash weekly, unless something gets in the way. On a typical wash day, I pree poo with extra virgin olive oil or deep condition  with Jessicurls deep treatment (i alternate weeks). Then I detangle under running water, shampoo with Jane Carter Solutions Hydrating Shampoo in 4 sections. Now I detangle before iI shampoo because it makes the process easier and I lose a LOT LESS hair. I rinse with apple cider vinegar and then condition with either Tresseme Naturals or Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. Once that’s done I spray aloe vera juice and seal with an oil blend that I make. Then I let it dry in twists that i do with shea butter. I never ever use a towel to dry.

What’s your regimen? How do you style your hair over the course of a week?
My regimen is very basic. I pretty much only switch it up for a special occasion/event. The twists I make on wash day, I take them down and wear it out. Its usually looks better as the week progresses.

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Any favourite products? How do you find product availability in Jamaica?
All my favourite products are natural ones, extra virgin olive and coconut oils, shea butter, aloe vera. I do have a soft spot for the kinky curly line though. Guaranteed results every time.
I don’t have a problem with product availability now that my product junkie-ism is in remission (due to my wallet). When I had just gone natural it would drive me crazy as I wanted to try every and any thing. But now that my routine is simplified I’m working with it.  People ask me to try products and tell them what I think, this is the only time that I venture out of what i’m currently using.

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Any advice to those out there who are thinking of becoming natural?
Forgive me for sounding cheesy but becoming natural is a very personal decision, much like choosing your wardrobe. Wear what makes you feel good. If you think you might be inclined to making the step, I would say jump right in! Embrace your gift.

Any other thoughts? And where on the web can we find you?
Thanks for the opportunity to share about my hair with you and your readers Ms IrieDiva!
You can find me on
facebook: www.facebook.com/papermaid
twitter: @paper_maid
instagram : @papermaid
Love it! Check out other Jamaican Naturalistas here and if you’d like to be featured, just holla!

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