Tell me about yourself!
My name is Kena. I'm a mother of three. I'm also helping to raise my sister's three boys, after she suddenly passed away in June 2013 from an asthma attack. I live in South Carolina. I was born in Brooklyn, New York. I'm a southern girl at heart with deep Southern roots. I'm very family oriented. I love my family and very I'm thankful for the way our mom raised us to always have each other's backs and love each other no matter what. I love helping others. I'm known to reach out, especially to women and children. I love giving advice, which comes from years of first hand experience. I try to put God first in all things. Although I'm a work in progress, I'm humble enough to know that nothing is possible without God. That's my belief and it's how I've managed to get through many trying times in my life
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I big chopped on June 29, 2013. It was two weeks after my sister passed away. I was already tired of relaxers by this time. My sister and I had many conversations about natural hair before we lost her. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I took the plunge and join #teamnatural. My sister, Madeline, was the one who helped me make the final decision to do the BC and rock my natural hair.
My natural hair journey been lots of fun, filled with trial and error. I've watched many tutorials and read so many blogs trying to learn as much as possible about natural hair, curls, moisture, porosity, dos, dont's, etc. I look forward to every stage of the natural hair journey!
Had you always embraced your texture?
I hadn't really been able to embrace my texture until I finally allowed my hair to return to its natural state. When I was very young, I remember our mom would spend hours washing, braiding, using a hot comb to straighten my three sisters and my hair. We all had really long hair, so I look back and truly appreciate her even more for the time and care she put into maintaining our hair. After a while, she got tired of all the hair and the routine and decided we would get Vigorols (a relaxer) instead. I knew I had good hair, but it was hidden behind 30+ years of relaxers! I finally got tired of the relaxer routine, went to my stylist and got her to cut my hair to the point of no relaxer, which resulted in a really short, boy cut. I loved it instantly.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
My family and friends were used to me cutting my hair off every time it grew back so they weren't surprised that I cut it, except that it was shorter than usual.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
I have coarse, thick hair that's a mixture of 3a and 3b. It's low porosity. I had no idea about porosity in the first year after my BC. I stumbled across the meaning. I found the answers I needed when I Google'd the reason why my hair products made my hair white or didn't saturate properly, and why it always took forever to dry. I had become a product junkie and was convinced that my products weren't working but costing me a small fortune. When I realized my hair is low porosity, my hair care regimen changed and my curls stayed moisturized and beautiful longer much longer.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
The craziest thing I can remember doing to my hair is using red Kool-Aid packs while I was in high school to "dye" my hair. Hilarious and so messy.
What’s your biggest hair related regret?
My biggest hair related regret is not deciding to embrace my natural hair much sooner!
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
My current hair routine is washing, clarifying and deep conditioning once a week. I use Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo. I clarify with one part Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar and two parts water in a spray bottle. I massage my scalp in circular motions after clarifying and wait 30 minutes before rinsing out and applying my homemade deep conditioner. I detangle my hair as I'm applying my deep conditioner. Once I've detangled all my hair, I use two shower caps to cover and protect my hair and I sit under a hooded dryer for 45 minutes to an hour. I rinse with cold water to seal my cuticles and lock in the moisture from my deep conditioner. My style depends on the weather at the time. If I choose to do a wash n go, I use a diffuser instead of air drying. I've stuck to a Wash N' Go routine since my big chop, but I love how the twist outs give me more length and less shrinkage. My favorite products are Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie(I didn't like it until I understood what low porosity hair was and what it required), Olive oil, Coconut oil, Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, and Tresemme' Naturals conditioner to name a few.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
My favorite hairstyle is big, bouncy, curls that pop! Usually from a successful Wash N' Go. Since being natural, my hairstyle inspirations have been Mahoganycurls, MoKnowsHair, Naptural85, Mini Marley, NaturallyNeiicey and CurlyNikki. There are others, but these are the ones I've followed from almost the beginning of my natural hair journey.
Who is your curl crush?
My curl crush is Mahoganycurls without a doubt!
How do you maintain your hair at night?
I hate wearing scarves, so I use a really big silk scarf draped over my pillow. My hair isn't quite long enough for the pineapple yet, but it's coming! One of the goals I'll achieve before summer.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I maintain healthy length by sticking to a regimen that works for me. Besides having a regimen that works, I also drink lots of water and try my best to always eat things that are healthy. I clip my ends every 6-8 months or as needed.
What's the best thing about being natural?
Honestly, the best thing about being natural is the freedom. Everyone, depending on their jobs, can't express that freedom all the time. I also love the versatility that comes with natural hair. I can wear my hair naturally curly as much as I want, but if I ever decide to wear it straight, I can also achieve that look as well. I haven't been in a rush to wear it straight since my BC though. I attempted once, about a month ago, to straighten my hair and it only took me about one small section of using the flat iron, to miss my curls. I washed my hair and keep my natural curls. Maybe on my 2 year "naturalversary" I'll wear it straight. Maybe not.
Where can folks find you on the web?
You can find me on my IG page I just started, keknowscurls (a name my sister Madeline came up with for me). My email KeKnowsCurls@yahoo.com. I'm in the process of getting my YouTube channel up after being coaxed by my family and friends endlessly to get it done. I'm going to take the love and positive feedback I've received from them and use it for good. I'm fairly new to the natural hair journey but my goal is to one day be a natural hair guru too!