Since its creation Going-Natural.com, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has been a great success.
Members not only obtain information on natural hair care, products, events and more, but can share their natural hair stories as well as upload photos and videos, and membership is free.
Liong is a Social Entrepreneur with a Masters Degree in Information Technology, who uses her expertise to improve the health of Black women's hair and scalp all over the world.
Below she shares her natural hair story and the inspiration behind Going-Natural.com.
Her personal hair story ...
I had a nearly bald spot for the third time in a row. I thought I'd done everything to avoid it. After I braided my hair for a year, I relaxed it and retouched it one time, but to no avail.
The hairdresser said she used the mildest relaxer, and then another said I needed to do a touch-up every two weeks. That woke me up.
I hated the process for starters. Just the hours in the salon waiting and then when it's finally your turn the torture; after burning your scalp you also need to blow dry your hair or at least go under the hair dryer.
So I was not going to do this every two weeks. I really didn't want to have straight hair that bad.
When I asked myself why I was putting up with this process that I really didn't like I couldn't come up with a good answer besides, “I don't know what else to do with my hair“.
At that moment, all I wanted was to have my healthy hair back. So I decided that I was just going to braid my hair and see what would happen, but I would never relax again.
Then I had another wake-up call - a braider stood me up. Since I couldn't style my hair to save my life, I called in sick and tried every number I had to get my hair braided but I couldn't find anybody.
Living in Amsterdam - the Netherlands at the time - there wasn't a natural hair salon where I could get my hair done.
So in order not to miss another day at work, I went to the one salon in Amsterdam that was open on a Monday - and yes, it was to relax my hair.
It was then that I had an epiphany. I realized that I could blame the braider or the relaxer, but the truth was that I needed to learn to take care of my hair - at least some basic styling.
I actually felt ashamed that I couldn't take care of my hair in a natural state and thought, “How far away am I from my roots?”
Anyway, while I got a lot of compliments because my hair was full and shoulder length, again I knew it wasn't going to be for long and I prepared to learn to take care of my natural tresses.
Advice to those contemplating wearing their hair in its natural state ...
Do it when you are ready. Give yourself some credit and have a little patience.
Just like you didn't learn to hot comb or blow dry your hair overnight it will take a minute to learn the basics of how to care for your hair, especially if you've been alienated from your natural texture since you were a kid.
If you need a guide check out Going Natural, How to Fall in Love with Natural Hair.
I published it to help exactly those women who are contemplating and women who decide to start the journey of going natural.
Inspiration behind Going-Natural.com ...
I learned that I was by far not the only one who dealt with what professionals call Relaxer-Induced Alopecia, hair loss induced by chemical straighteners.
After I read an article - Relaxers Can Cause African Americans' Hair Loss: An article from: Skin & Allergy News by Damian McNamara - not only did I finally understand what I had been dealing with, I also learned that an overwhelming 73% of African American women were dealing with these same issues.
The numbers stunned me and the fact that no one was talking about it stunned me even more.
This was my inspiration and really got me started. I thought it was essential to change the perception of Black hair to reduce the numbers.
More on Going-Natural.com ...
With over 35,000 members today, it has grown into a social web and networking site that serves a foundation to change the stereotypical perception of natural hair.
To promote the beauty of Natural Hair the site annually hosts America’s Next Natural Model, and recently I started the Going Natural Diaries, a documentary that pictures the Natural Hair Movement in Motion.
All these projects have on common goal in mind - to help change the perception of natural hair with the purpose to reduce the hair and scalp issues and improve the health of Black women's hair and scalp.
On Going-Natural.com's 10th Anniversary ...
I plan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Going-Natural.com with a three week exhibit named BAD Hair Uprooted.
It's not just an exhibition where people can see the hairstyles that I've captured since 2003, it's a whole concept to help get rid of the idea of bad hair.
The environment is perfect for healing. Besides the blown up photos, there is also the screening of the documentary the Going Natural Video Diaries followed by a panel discussion with the New York Association of Black Psychologists and Elected official Robert E. Cornegy who wears dreadlocks himself.
As part of giving back I do a Free photo shoot, there is also an education day and a hair show. See the schedule of the 10th Anniversary celebration of Going-Natural.com.
What the future holds for Going-Natural.com ...
Each project kind of has its own goal. For now I strive to expand the Going Natural Video Diaries to other states and other countries then make it into a documentary.
I am seeking to expand America's Next Natural Model in a way that the winner either gets a contract or becomes the face of a national brand.
I’d like to expand the store so more entrepreneurs and business owners can offer their goods. Then with the photos I like to do more exhibits nationally and internationally.
Purchase the Book: Going Natural; How to Fall in Love with Nappy Hair (Going Natural How to Fall in Love with Nappy Hair Book 1)