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Any naturalista who's gone for the big chop knows the exciting — and terrifying — feeling of starting from scratch... and then the inevitable grow-out phase that comes after. That's what Ryen Williams, a producer at Refinery29, is going through right now. "I've been cutting my hair since 2006, and even then, I still had a relaxer," Williams says. "Finally, I decided to go natural in 2010 and start fresh with a chop. Now, I just struggle with the middle stage. Instead of allowing it to grow, I would just go to my barber and have him cut it super short, then color it blonde."
Though she's giving the scissors a break right now, Williams still finds comfort and inspiration in the stylist's chair. "I started going to the salon on Easter Sundays as a child because my mom wanted my hair to be laid," she recalls. "Other than that, I got my hair done right in the kitchen by my mom and had to hold my ears down. I didn't start going to a stylist on a regular basis until I was in middle school, because at that point, I didn't feel like the styles my mom did were cool anymore."
Now, Williams gets to pick her own 'dos... and this time, she took inspiration from the '90s. Williams stumbled across the Instagram feed of Nigella Williams, a Brooklyn-based hairstylist who works with Chloe x Halle, and was decided. Some might think that her wavy braided bob is old-school, but that's exactly why Williams went with it. It fits her vibe, it frames her face, and it makes her feel confident. "My hairstyles are expressive of who I am," she says. Watch her story above.