Name: Leslie Hughes

Age: 26

City: Los Angeles, California

Occupation: Marketing/ Ecommerce for a women’s shoe brand

EBONY: How long have you been natural?

LH: I’ve been completely natural for almost two years. It will be two years on December 10 since I cut all my relaxed ends off.

EBONY: What made you go natural?

LH: In the summertime, I wouldn’t straighten my hair as often because of the humidity. When I graduated from college, my beautician ended up cutting about five inches off my hair, and I was also able to see my natural curl pattern. After that, I let it grow out a few more months and then cut off [the relaxed hair] because my hair was starting to look awkward with most of it natural and some relaxed.

EBONY: How does your hair make you feel?

LH: Unique, proud, and strong. I love my natural hair because I feel more like myself. I wish I would have done it a long time ago.

EBONY: Are there any challenges you faced because of your hair?

LH: Before I moved to LA, I worked in a predominately White retail store as a manager. I never had anyone say anything to me, but it was more about me feeling uncomfortable. I never wore my hair down, I always wore it up. It was more of an internal challenge feeling comfortable with myself.

EBONY: What are your go-to products for maintaining your hair?

LH: Shea Moisture is definitely my go-to brand. They have an entire line of shampoo that I love! My favorite is their Organic Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner. I love that all of the ingredients are natural so there isn’t a lot of added alcohol and sulfates.

EBONY: What advice would you give to someone looking to return natural?

LH: Just do it! If you’re even thinking about it, try it out and embrace it. I know a lot of people who say that they really want to go natural but they’re scared of what people may think or how others may perceive them, but it’s all about what you want to do.

-LaParis Hawkins