“I?m an Aquarian woman to the T and my favorite color is leopard print…yes leopard print. During the day I work in corporate marketing. After hours I am a dancing machine, afro maniac, eccentric dreamer, peach ring addict. I enjoy laughter, tea, walking, everything vintage and Martin re-runs. I have an unnatural love for Blade – don?t judge me – and Jeffrey Campbell shoes. I?ll instantly love anything cooked with/in honey and ginger, and I always have a bottle of Jack Honey in my freezer. brownbelle is the name of my accessories brand and you can find it on Etsy.

I have a several textures in my hair, but it has definitely changed over time. I’ve been natural since 2009 and I really just didn’t want to relax my hair anymore. My edges were getting worse and worse so I just stopped. I love Dr. Bronner?s Peppermint Castile Soap to clarify. Year round if I?m not clarifying I like Shea n? Honey Shampoo from Butters and Bars and Giovanni Deep Moisture Shampoo. Since my hair is on the thinner side, I find that washing once a week especially in the summer time is a necessity.

I try to deep condition my natural hair every week with Natural Girls Rock Deep SOULutions Deep Conditioner or a mixture of BASK Y.A.M. Nectar Intense Honey Hair Nourisher and Cacao Bark Deep Conditioning Hair Treat. When I don?t deep condition my two favorite conditioners at the moment are TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner and L?Oreal Ever Cr?me Conditioner. After conditioning I use Giovanni Direct Leave-in, Kinky Curly Knot Today or sometimes I use TRESemme Naturals as a leave-in and seal with olive oil or Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade. I then twist out or braid out with Eco Styler Gel.

My everyday hair style is a fro. I don’t do too many styles since I don’t have patience, but recently Ive been doing more updos in lieu of loose hair. I wear high buns or retro inspired updos. I rarely go to the salon, since I keep my routine so simple and I’ve mastered how to get the looks that I like. I will go when I feel that I need more than a trim, which I do myself every blue moon.

I straighten my natural hair about three times a year. I wash and deep condition and use a variety of heat protectants. I blow dry with a comb attachment and then flat iron. I find that not blow drying my hair bone straight leave my hair with so much more body and looks much better once its complete. I also try to let my hair air dry in big twist before blow drying.

As far as my skin care routine, I’ve tried many things, but I always end up going back to Neutrogena. I use the purifying face cleanser and Trader Joe’s oil free moisturizer in the summer. In the colder months I use the oil cleansing method when my skin feels a little dry and vitamin E oil on dry spots. I feel like my face is the two extremes either really dry (corners of my nose, around my mouth) and my T-zone is oily.

I love makeup! I am not a retoucher, so I usually don’t keep powder in my bag. I prefer to blot with a tissue, but I like to keep my lip stick/gloss and then a second option. I don’t know why but I seldom wear the same color all night. Don’t know if i can pick just one lipstick! I would definitely choose red over pink, a good red lip is like a statement necklace or shoe, it can transform and outfit. That being said I absolutely love Sephora’s lip stain in red. The pigment is unreal and it lasts forever.

I am inspired a lot by men’s style. I love a tailored look, but I also like pretty fabrics with movement and lots-o-leopard print. So I often say my style is afro-prep. I would love to have much more everyday vintage pieces. I have also been trying to wear dresses more often, I’ve been a pants gal for so many years, plus dressed are kind of like an instant outfit. My jewelry is also something that I’ve been carefully curating for a while now, I’d like more statement pieces.

I always tell people considering going natural to not have any expectations. You’ve got to be open to all textures and accept that everyone’s hair grows at different speeds. If you don’t have expectations its easier to not get caught up in length and hair texture. To me that is the only way to truly accept and enjoy the process.” – Mariama

Shop Mariam’s store, brownbelle, and follow her on facebook.

More personal stories, feminism, politics, culture and #blackgirlmagic curated just for you.