CN: How long have you been natural?
GG: I have been natural for about 10 years now, 10 years ago, I had a relaxer because I thought it would make my hair more manageable. It was definitely more manageable than my press, but my texture completely changed, it was dry, and lacked the sheen it had prior to the application. It was after that point that I decided relaxers weren't for me.
CN: What is your regimen?
GG: My regimen has completely changed since starting my hair journey! It now consists of poo'ing on Wed (With Kalpi Tone) + a light condish (usually something I have whipped up, my fave mix is Distilled Water, infused with Irish Moss, Oat Straw, Horsetail, and Hibiscus with a little Panthenol, and Manuka Honey for good measure) This mix changes according to the needs of my hair.
I always, always follow up with a ACV rinse. It helps close the cuticles (making combing a breeze, all while imparting shine), as well as maintain the natural PH balance of my hair. I have EXTREMELY hard water, and I have noticed a big difference after incorporating this in my regimen.
On Sunday, I pre-poo with a mix of Indian Powders (Maka, Kalpi Tone, and Brahmi), some Indian Oils (Brahmi, Shikakai, Amla, and Bhringraj) + honey. Then I poo with a Shampoo Bar, these are fairly easy to make if you are a mixtress, otherwise they are available at various online retailers (Etsy is a great place to find handmade poo bars!), it takes the guilt out of shampooing my hair because they are SLS free! Again, I follow up with a light condish, or if it is deep conditioning day, something a little heavier, (my fav deep condish is made by combining Murmuru Butter, Bentonite clay, Olive oil, Honey, MSM, and water, I add Coconut Milk if I want a little protein)
I do not comb my hair, except for Wednesdays & Sundays! Those days are when I do my braid-outs/twist-outs. I am itching to try your Twist-N-Curl technique, I think I will do this tonight :D Your hair is amazing!
I moisturize during the week as needed with my light condish & seal with Coconut Oil, or Monoi De Tahiti
As a styling agent for my twist-outs/braid-outs, I have a mix of butters, Mango, Shea, and Mowrah + Silk Protein, and a little Cornstarch to cut greasiness. (I play around with this mix too, as I like to try different butters!)
I have an oil mix that I use sparingly about 2x a week (Wheat Germ, Jojoba, Camellia, Amla, Castor), I seal with this if I am not using Coconut or Monoi De Tahiti.
I do have some commercial hair products that I love, most notably, Keracare Hydrating Shampoo, KeraCare Humecto, and Giovanni Direct. I keep them around just in case :)
CN: What are the benefits of using such natural products?
GG: Wow, there are sooo many! By eliminating the synthetic ingredients that aren't necessarily good for my hair, I have found that I have more body, shine, softness, and more manageability. Something that it truly lacked before making the switch to natural products. I have also noticed I have less issues with product build-up, and lackluster hair. Everyday can be a good hair day, and I can definitely attribute that to natural products, as well as maintaining a regimen! If I purchase ready-made products, I am an avid label-reader, I want to know exactly what are in the products I use, and rightfully so!
CN: What is the one thing you'd tell a newbie to help her on her journey?
GG: I would definitely tell her to have patience! Finding "your groove" doesn't happen overnight, you may have to go through several poo's , condishes etc to find your staple product! For me, it was definitely trial and error, I started with a regimen that I have completely deviated from, because now I know what my hair likes. With that knowledge, I was able to make changes to my regimen, some subtle, and some drastic. It is only through these trials of hits and misses that you can really learn you hair! Don't be discouraged when you have a set back, make a mental note, and try a new avenue!
If I could offer an additional piece of advice :) that I feel is just as important, it would be learning YOUR hair. During the beginning of my hair journey, I thought that if I used a lot of the same products/techniques as some of my hair heroines, that my hair would thrive like theirs. Some of the products and techniques worked, some of them didn't, everyone's hair is different, and thrives under different circumstances. For instance, I had more hair shedding, breakage, and thinning from excessive bunning, yet others can bun for 12 months straight, and have the most beautiful head of hair I have ever seen! So to sum it up, it is about realizing that you must listen to your hair, note texture changes, excess shedding, breakage, dryness etc, realize that what may be good for some, may not be good for all, and most importantly have patience during your hair journey!
CN: How do you maintain length?
GG: I maintain length primarily by using heat sparingly! I haven't used heat in about 2 months, and I can definitely notice some significant hair growth there, more so, than if I were straightening on a regular basis. Other significant tips would include keeping my hair tied up in a silk scarf at night, making sure my hair is moisturized, keeping my scalp clean, and limiting the amount of stress I put on my hair. For the most part, I wear twist-outs/braid-outs, only comb my hair on wash days, and when I do wear a pony, it is a fairly loose one. Another important aspect of maintaining length for me would be paying attention to my ends, if I need a trim, I get one, I have noticed though, that by taking better care of my hair, my trims are starting to get few and far between, but I still get them if needed.
CN: How do you preserve your curls at night?
GG: I preserve them by tying my hair in a scarf, I tie it like you would a bandanna. I have tried wearing a bonnet, yet I haven' t mastered the technique of keeping it on through the night! When I wake up in the morning, I put a little oil on it, fluff it out a little bit, and go!
CN: What's the best thing about being naturally glamorous?!
GG: The best thing about being naturally glamorous is being comfortable in your own skin! I hated begrudgingly having to rely on my pressing comb, flat iron, and curling iron to make me "beautiful". They, along with my weaves were becoming a crutch, I couldn't go anywhere special unless my hair was pressed bone straight, not to mention water, and humidity were my nemesis. An added benefit would be the styling time, which is next to nothing since I wake up, fluff and go. Of course I will straighten my hair again, as it is fun to have a little variety, but it feels different when you don't have to. I have a better appreciation for my hair, I understand it now, I know that it IS beautiful, it just needs lots of love, and patience :)
CN: How long have you been natural?