My name is Leah Renee Greenberg: I’m 25, black, Cherokee and Jewish, originally from Northern California. I moved to Colorado October of 2010; I now live outside of Denver with my boyfriend and our two dogs. I decided to quit my 9-5 job (doing administrative work for a legal marijuana grow) in May of 2014, and have been living the life I love and loving the life I live since then: traveling, concerts, camping, music festivals, crafting, relaxing, living free. Doing the things that feed my soul pushes me to not only manifest my own destiny, but be an aid in helping those around me find their callings and their own peace of mind. There’s so much more to happiness than just having a stable job and steady paycheck, and I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who have chosen freedom over mental slavery. I’ve been all natural since 2003 and began my dreadlock journey in 2009.
What or Who inspired you to go natural? Did you bc or transition?
My own strife pushed me into going all natural. I got made fun of throughout my adolescence for using chemicals to try and make my hair “look white,” made fun of if I DIDN’T use those chemicals and it got unkempt and out of control…I felt defeated: constantly taking one step forward and three steps back in self confidence. In 2003 after seven years of chemically straightening my hair, I decided to cut off what remained of my relaxer. In 2004, as I concluded my freshman year of high school, I decided to shave off all my hair. My mom, surprisingly, was my biggest adversary; she pleaded fiercely for me to rethink my decision. If my mom didn’t think I would still be beautiful with short hair, who would? Turns out, I did. And that’s what truly mattered. I shaved my head with a #2 guarded razor every other week for two years, then began growing it out in May of 2006. After three years of transitioning from bald, to an afro, to an unmanageably large afro, I decided to commit to dreadlocks on May 6, 2009.
What are your current hair goals?
I plan on growing my locks until…well…life tells me it’s time for them to go. I recognize and appreciate my locks as my crown: as a tangible product of my journey, but my hair does not define me. Spending two years buzzed during such a sensitive, developmental age showed me how to face the world as ME — just my face — with nothing to hide behind. You don’t realize what a social crutch your hair is: being able to twirl it as a nervous tick, or disappear behind bangs. As females, we especially depend on it to accentuate our femininity. It was a gift to learn my true power as a woman without sassy swoops or a flirty frock. When it’s time, I will kiss my dreads goodbye, chop them off, and continue to live as the strong, confident woman I know I am. My only real hair goal is to go shiny bald for a while once I’m done with my locks.
Top 3 products and prices.
Dreadlocks are relatively low maintenance, for the most part. Once every couple months, I wash my hair with regular shampoo (right now I’m using TRESemme Luxurious Moisture), then retwist my new growth with Organic Root Stimulator’s Lock and Twist Gel and Pump It Up Gold’s Super Hold Hairspray.
TRESemme Luxurious Moisture – $3.99 from Walgreens
ORS Lock and Twist Gel – $3.99 from Sally’s Beauty Supply
Pump It Up Gold’s Super Hold – $3.99 from Walgreens
Is there a product you have used that you would NEVER use again? Why?
I would never use relaxer on my hair again. Ever. Why spend $80-$120 every six weeks to attempt to imitate a texture that isn’t naturally mine? Especially when I can love and embrace my kinks and curls that I was blessed with at birth. Just another step in self love and acceptance.
Do you have a favorite go to hairstyle?
My “go to” hairstyle is pretty boring, but suits me on the daily for something that’s casual yet pulled together. I start with a side part (having more hair on the left side of my head), and loosely twist both sides back and together into half up/half down look, secure it with a claw, and leave the dreads that frame my face to hang free. I’ll then tie the bulk of my hair into a loose “low pony tail,” collected at the bottom, and the ends flipped up into a “messy bun.” Badda bing, badda boom.
How do you protect you hair at night?
When my dreads were mere babies, still trying to establish a true “lock,” I would sleep in a satin nightcap. After about two years, when I was certain my dreads wouldn’t nap together into one mega-lock, I began sleeping unprotected.
Do you have a name for your hair or If you had to give your hair a name what would it be?
Hm..such an interesting question. I don’t currently have a name for my hair but if I had to, I’d probably call it The Shape Shifter. I’ve done it all! Curly perm, cornrows, extensions, straight relaxer, single braids, bald, afro, dreads…presto change-o! Haha
If your hair is colored what do you use to do so?
One of my amateur hairstylist friends dyed my hair twice. The first time was a bit of a disaster: I ended up looking like patriotic Spice Girl with bright red, blue and blond locks. After that *finally* faded, we put in a natural dark auburn to try and get it to match my original color. I don’t know the exact names of the products he used. My hair has since settled into a natural looking ombre.
Sum up your natural hair journey in three words.
Courage. Truth. Beauty.
Any advice to the natural newbies?
Start bald! Discover your you-est you without anything to hide behind or fall back on. Your self worth will grow WITH your hair..with your daily trials..with each compliment..with each insult. Cherish every hardship as much as every triumph because you are a whole sum of your parts.
What is your favorite compliment you have ever been given on your hair?
It wasn’t specifically directed toward my hair, but recently a stranger walked past me, doubled back, stopped me in my tracks and just gazed in shock. After a silent, stunned moment, she said, “You are what God imagined.” I’ve received lots of random comments and compliments regarding my hair or appearance, but I’ll never forget the look in her eyes when she spoke those words to me. I’ve never felt such deliberate honesty and intention.
If you could tell your younger self NOW something about your natural hair THEN what would that be?
Hang in there, every tear is shed for a reason. Each one makes you stronger and smarter, and writes another chapter of your life’s unique story.
Do you have a favorite YouTube Vlogger?
I’ll hop on YouTube to find easy hair styling tutorials. The vlogger I’ve found most useful and versatile is chescalocs
Finish this sentence:
I Rock My Natural because
this is me, what I’m destined to cherish, honor, and hold tall.
Keep Rockin Leah!!