Black Blogger Month: Curly Nikki, The Hair Apparent

Women in search for advice on natural hair care need look no further than Nikki Walton's CurlyNikki.com

Nikki Walton, founder of CurlyNikki.com (Image: Dr. Eugene Walton II)

While European standards of beauty tend to dominate the scalps of many women of color, there are just as many who embrace their natural tresses. That’s where St. Louis native Nikki Walton comes in. Three years ago the licensed psychotherapist launched CurlyNikki.com, one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources for all things related to natural hair care and maintenance. Over the years, the site has built a loyal and massive fan base that includes millions of women who rely on Walton’s personal journey, advice and perspective.

It’s not just everyday women who have taken note of Curly Nikki as Walton has been featured on The Tyra Banks Show and its website, as well as national media outlets ranging from The New York Times, USA Today and Huffington Post to Ebony, Essence, and Black Hair Magazine. Expanding her brand even further, the 28-year-old hair guru signed a deal with Harper Collins to co-author a definitive natural hair care guide with Ernessa Carter that’s due out in early 2013. As part of Black Blogger Month, BlackEnterprise.com catches up with Curly Nikki to untangle the secrets of her digital success.

I started blogging because…

Natural hair became a passion. I was spending more time researching hair than I was studying for grad school. I also became intrigued by the reaction I received from family and friends when I first stopped straightening. It was hard enough mentally transitioning on my own, let alone dealing with the hang ups of those around me.

I realized that for most newly natural women, the only safe haven and source of support was online. I frequented forums such as NaturallyCurly.  I loved the friendly atmosphere and thorough info. The women there quickly embraced me, taught me lots, and soon came to anticipate and respect my advice and reviews. I was asked by many to start a blog, and after initial reservations, I took the plunge.  As they say, “If you build it, they will come.” Three years later, what started off as a $10 investment in a hobby, has blossomed into a profitable career.

CurlyNikki.com is unique because…

It’s an online hair therapy session. It goes beyond natural hair care information and takes the next step to help women examine the psychology behind what most assume is just a physical transition.  It acts as a platform for community members and my fellow bloggers to share their thoughts and opinions. We discuss everything from Kanye West to baby poop. My daughter, Gia, aka Boogie, has become a mainstay on the site as well. No other natural hair blog has Boogie! [Laughs].

Some of the more popular features have been the frequent giveaways, the free mobile app, the Curly Caregivers Book Scholarship and my musings. My voice is unique and I share a lot about my life—and not just the good. Also, I’ve conducted approximately 80 interviews with what I call natural hair celebrities. The reality is that nowhere else on the internet, in a magazine, or on TV, can you get that many real sisters sharing their real hair stories. With that said, it also happens to be the most comprehensive source for natural hair care information on the Web.

People trust my brand because…

Although there is ad space for sale, my endorsement is not.  I give real, unbiased reviews of products and hair practices. I’ve been doing this for three years and my readers have come to expect a certain quality of content and service and I make it my top priority to provide just that.  Also, the brand is not some anonymous drone. It’s me—my face, my experiences, my voice.

The biggest misconception about Black hair is it’s…

“…tougher than Nigerian hair.” [That’s] a line made famous by Young Money philosopher [Lil Wayne]. I love Wayne as much as the next person but in this case, nothing could be further from the truth. People believe that due to its appearance, our hair is rough, hard and invincible. Sadly, this belief leads some to handle their hair in a less than gentle manner, which leads to yet another common misconception… that our hair doesn’t grow. Yes, our natural hair can be stingy when it comes to showing length, but it does grow .5 inches a month just like everybody else. All it takes is TLC and a little patience.

The one hairstyle I regretted was…

Wash and gos. For me, they caused excessive tangling and single strand knots. Today, I opt for stretched styles like twist-n-curls and twist-outs.

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