We’re getting ready to embark on a wild journey through hair changes, challenges and growth with the very special, very eclectic, the Iyanla Vanzant of hair care – Nadirah Tucker.
“I’ve always been natural. Well the majority of my life. I’ve had everything from a puffball to box braids. I’ve had a brush cut. I went through my Rockstar hairstyle phase with crazy designs and all of that. So, I’ve just been all over the place but I started over and I’ve been loc’d for the last three years. “
When I first met Nadirah, she wore a black flight coat, bootcut jeans and a pair of timbs. She was bright-eyed and smiling big. Curious about everything and everyone around her. Her big natural black – maybe dark brown- puffball sat on top of her head. Some days she wore a scarf – other days, she didn’t. Nadirah was pretty rebellious, but I’ll let her tell you that story. Either way, the edges were slicked to perfection with waves on a solid 360. I was natural then, too, but I was over it. The smell of a hot comb on the stove caused the ultimate annoyance. I didn’t know my hair could curl like hers because I didn’t see many girls that looked like her. Even then, she was in tune with her crown, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw her flourish as a natural hair care expert. By then, my hair was loc’d and because I’d relocated – I was on the treacherous hunt for a new stylist, and I’m not down with letting just anyone play in my head. What better person than my middle school friend. My STISTA (we made that up in the 6th grade, and that’s all you need to know). From then, every time I sit in her chair, I learn something new. Whether it’s about myself or my hair, it’s always a positive experience. Do I always listen? Nope. But is she always there? Yep! Is she gonna love on me and talk shit? Yes, she is.
She started with her little sister, Jahara. According to Nadirah, Jahara was her “inspiration nerd.” Her hair was long and thick, and at the time, their parents couldn’t afford the cost of routine hair care. So in true Nadirah fashion, she figured it out and got it done. It was a battle between her and the hair, and Nadirah was in control. Her goal was to take away the pain and make it a joyful experience. She mastered the art of detangling, loved her sister through the process and continuously carried those lessons throughout her life- in and out of the salon.
This journey has taught me a lot. Patience, how to stay grounded, transformation. I feel as though my age and my maturity came along with it. I can’t say that I like this journey better than the others. I appreciate all of it. I can talk about any kind of hair, but this one – I did a lot of self-reflecting. I saw myself grow along with my locs. I look back at pictures and at different phases, and I’m like, “Oh God, she was such a baby!”
I can’t say that [my growth] is because of the locs, but I can say that I feel freer whether my edges are laid, or I’m rocking nappy roots. You know, in the beginning, the “ugly phase,” that phase taught me to be patient. That phase taught me to be comfortable in my skin. I was in a very vulnerable place. I had to be comfortable with myself. Being natural and in my natural state and accepting myself. So over time, that confidence built.
The LOC Method! That is liquid, oils and cream. That is nourishing to my locs. Vitamins! Hair, skin and nail vitamins. I’ve been taking Nature’s Bounty for the last three years. They go down lovely, and I definitely can tell the difference. A loc sock and a satin bonnet or a satin scarf. My favorite oils are Taliah Waajid’s healing oils. Fish oil pills. Avocado. Aloe Vera plants. Whatever works for you personally. Me personally, I don’t have time to open an aloe vera plant every other day, so I experiment with works for me. Rosewater. Nature’s Blessings grease. Dr. Teal’s soap.
For natural hair in general, you need to set up a routine. So that way, you are touching your hair every single day. You’re not letting a day go past that you have not run your fingers, separated your parting, or you know – massaged your temples. It needs to be a part of your self-care. I don’t care what curl pattern you have – the more time you spend grooming it – it’s going to train. So find a routine that works for you. It’s going to tell that you’re loving on yourself. It’s going to show.
When Nadirah started cosmetology school, she was a mother of three working at Wendy’s, so wasting time wasn’t an option. So instead, she went right in educating on the needs of people of color. She sat with the director and let her know the necessary products for black women, along with the price list and reasons why they were cost-effective. The director was receptive, and Nadirah was able to get things done.
Nadirah is currently in the Atlanta, GA area – flourishing as bright and as strong as ever as a mother, significant other, stylist/therapist and most importantly, as a person. Is she taking clients? You’ll have to ask her. But I can tell you that she has dreams. At this interview, Nadirah had goals of owning her own school, being an instructor, and holding her own workshops. There is not a doubt in my mind that all of these things are on the way. I can say that she most definitely has the experience and is putting in the work. 10/10 – 100%- I’d for sure recommend.