Name: Olivia “Livey J” Johnson
Occupation: Founder/CEO of Shades of Brown and Kinky Crowns, LLC
From: Detroit, MI
Natural Since: September, 2012
KiK: When and why did you go natural?
Olivia: I went natural because I was tired of living up to other people’s expectations. I wanted to love all of me, and I couldn’t say I loved myself while hating my hair. I embraced my natural hair in 2010, but I was talked out of going natural and became discouraged. Two years later I had viewed a video by Chime aka Myhaircrush and Whitney aka Naptural85, and decided that I was going to embrace who I was.
KiK: How did you go from relaxed to natural hair?
Olivia: I have never had a relaxer, although it did look that way because I had very bad heat damage. I flat-ironed my hair every week for 6 years, and before that from 13-16 I got my hair done professionally every 2 weeks.
My hair never got a break so it was severely damaged. I had forgotten what my hair looked like, and thought that my hair had just changed textures as I’ve gotten older, but in the beginning of my journey I realized that I had heat damage. I decided to transition instead of big chop and cut off 5 inches of my hair after 3 months. I then did 2 more chops after that because I was tired of dealing with 2 textures and tons of breakage.
KiK: What is your current hair regimen?
Olivia: On most wash days I start by pre-pooing: I part my hair in 4 sections, spray water on each section, detangle (with wide tooth comb or Denman brush), add coconut oil and twist each section in jumbo two-strand twists. (Each section is about 5-6 twists.) I let my hair sit in the twists for 30 minutes (pre-pooing helps make washing easier as well as detangling and styling after a wash), and then I wash. I use all natural shampoo if I have a lot of product in my hair, the brand of shampoo doesn’t really matter to me as long as it is natural. If I do not have much product in my hair then I co-wash with Shea Moistures Cowash Conditioning Cleanser and cleanse my scalp with apple cider vinegar and water. My hair is really thick so I wash by section, taking down twists as I go. After each section is washed I apply conditioner and let that sit for about 5 minutes then I rinse. I towel dry my hair and let the rest air dry about 98-99% of the time, or I will blow dry my hair if I want a certain look. Most of the time I will 2-strand twist my hair and moisturize by using the LCO method. (Leave in/liquid , creme, oil) and I moisturize throughout the week. I trim my own hair when it is necessary.
KiK: What are your hair favourite products to use?
Olivia: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, I love it!
KiK: What is your favourite natural hairstyle and how do you achieve and maintain it?
Olivia: My favorite style is my fro. Sometimes I wear a wash and go fro – which has a ton of shrinkage, but my partially blow dried fro is my favorite because it’s so huge. I don’t like using much heat on my hair so I don’t blow dry my hair all of the way. After a wash I detangle, part my hair into sections, moisturize, and blow dry my hair to achieve my huge fro. My go-to hair style is the high-puff of course. Again, sometimes I wear my wash and go puff, and other days I blow dry my hair to achieve the huge puff. I use a stocking to achieve my high-puff because it works so much better than the elastic headbands. To maintain my hair throughout the week I keep my hair moisturized and I wear a satin scarf at night.
KiK: What is your biggest hair mistake?
Olivia: I really regret not big chopping. I was so scared of losing length and missed out on rocking a fierce twa. I’ve always had long hair and wearing a TWA would have been a nice change, I think it would have been fun to learn my hair in that way.
KiK: What advice do you have for others who are newly natural or struggling to stay natural?
Olivia: I always tell women to stay encouraged, the journey is so worth it because the journey is not only about hair. I am so confident now and I love every thing about me that makes me, me! My hair is longer, thicker and healthier and I am so glad I made the decision to go natural. It makes me happy that so many women are embracing who they are because young girls are watching and it is so important that they learn at a young age to love who they are! Society has been telling us for years what we could and couldn’t do and how we should look, we need to rock with what we were born with without feeling ashamed!
KiK: Thanks for doing this feature and all the best on your hair journey. Where can we keep up with you or your hair journey online?
Olivia: Thank you so much for the consideration! My Instagram is @livey_j and check out my website as well where you can find inspirational t-shirts for naturals, jewelry and more! You can also contact me there in the “talk to us” tab. www.sbkinkycrowns.com.
Olivia’s Favourite Natural Hair Products
Click on the products below to buy Olivia’s favourite natural hair products