How long have you been natural and when did you BC?
I’ve been natural all of my life, 42 years. My hair was always straightened with a hot comb, but I’d wear it in its natural in the summer. But, I did have a three-month stint with a Jherri Curl when I was around 10. I hated it so my hairdresser at the time let me transition by growing it out. I’ve never done a big chop, unless you count the time when I accidentally grew dreadlocks and let my daughter cut them out when I got tired of having them. Back then, there wasn’t any information on how to maintain natural hair, so my wash and go (which I let go a little too long) turned into dreadlocks.
What are your staple products and hairstyles?
If my hair is in it’s natural state, I prefer to use my own products, Wash Day, and LeKair or Queen Helene Cholesterol and Giovanni Direct Leave-In. I find using five simple products is enough to achieve the feel, look and hair health that I want. If I straighten my hair, I use a lot of products which include Herbal Essence Hello Hydration shampoo and conditioner, Chi Silk Infusion, Carol’s Daughter’s Macadamia Nut Oil (when it’s all gone I’ll just use regular macadamia nut oil), Frederick Fekkai Glossing Cream, Fermodyl 619, Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade. LOL, I think that’s most of it.
If my hair isn’t straightened, which I only do twice a year, I wear it in twist-outs and bantu knot-outs during warm weather season, and keep it in twists in cold weather season.
What is your regimen?
My regimen is really simple and easy since I believe in low-manipulation. Every week, unless my hair’s straightened, I section my hair, spritz a section to detangle with a detangling shower comb, apply a deep conditioner (cholesterol conditioner and Vatika deep conditioners are my fave), loosely twist all of my hair into 4-6 sections and hop under my steamer. Then, with my hair twisted, I wash it twice-once to remove build-up and again for cleansing, and condition with my own shampoos and conditioner. Working one section at a time, I apply Giovanni Direct Leave-In and use my own hair butter. When done, I apply my hair oil and let it all air dry over night. I sleep in a Sue Maesta hooded headband. I remove my twists or knots in the morning, separate and fluff. My curls/waves stay in place without any touch ups for the entire week. In a nutshell, I deep condition, wash, condition, detangle and style my hair once a week.
What are your natural hair goals?
My goal is to maintain strong healthy hair and to let it keep growing until it’s mid-back length. If I stretch it, it’s at that length, but I want it to hit that length without stretching it within an inch of its dear life. When I’m older, I probably let all my silver come in and go back to dreadlocks.
How do you keep your hair intact overnight?
I like to pineapple at night. I bunch my hair into a Sue Maesta hooded headband. If my curls are too tight, I put on a scrunchie before pineappling. Heaven forbid I can’t find my headband at night, I just lay a satin scarf on my pillow. It’s big enough so I can tuck the corners and edges under my pillow and stays in place all night. It just feels weird going to sleep without my headband.
How do you maintain length?
I maintain my length by following what dreadheads (people who allow their hair to naturally lock) and brothers growing afros do-I leave my hair alone. They’re not product or style junkies, nor do they trim their hair. They just leave it alone and let it grow, and it does. I just keep it clean, set it for the week and let it do its thing.
Name 1 reason you went natural and why you love being natural.
The one and only reason I stopped straightening my hair every week was the condition my hair was in. It’d grow to shoulder-length, but would break and shed like crazy. I also got sick of fighting the humidity and freaking out on rainy and humid days. I love not being a slave to straight hair! I’m not afraid of water or humidity anymore, and I love not having to do my hair every day. Being able to just fluff and go in the mornings, and not being afraid of bad weather is such an amazing feeling of freedom.
The pictures below are of a 3 year progression