Tell me about yourself!
Hey! My name is Chelsea Bumford and I am from Freeport, New York. I’m a college student majoring in Elementary education and living on campus. Being natural in college can be a struggle what with limited space and time, but as you can see, I make it work!
Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I have been natural for most of my life and my hair has always been difficult to manage. As a young child I wore it either braided with extensions or flat ironed for easy styling. The one break in my lifelong natural streak was in middle school when I got a texturizer. However, that did not last long because my hair immediately began showing signs of damage and breakage from the chemical. Little by little the texturized hair was trimmed away as my natural hair grew in once again and I started wearing my hair mostly in braids. By the time I graduated high school, I was all natural again.
Had you always embraced your texture?
Throughout my life, I have had mixed feelings about my hair. Despite receiving compliments from family and friends on the length and texture, I was often frustrated because my hair would never lay flat even after having it flat ironed on high heat. It took me some time to accept that the volume of my hair would not allow it to lay the way I wanted it to.
How did family and friends react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them?
I am fortunate enough to live in a family of natural hair advocates and I am happy to say that my family and friends have always embraced the texture of my hair.
Describe your hair (fine or coarse, thin or thick, highly porous, low, etc.)
My natural hair is coily (I would say a mix of type 4a and 4b), very thick, and has low porosity.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
Last December I used a permanent red color-lifting dye to color the perimeter of my hair red. I was satisfied with the way it turned out, so this past summer I dyed it again but only my roots where my natural color had grown in. Either from constantly being exposed to sunlight or from the chlorine in the pool, small portions of my red-dyed edges had turned blonde!
What’s your biggest hair related regret?
I think my biggest hair related regret is the texturizer I got in middle school. It was a brief setback; luckily I was able to recover before too much damage had been done.
What's your current hair routine? How often do you wash, condition, and style? Favorite products! Deets!
Wash day for me is usually every two weeks–occasionally three weeks depending on my schedule. I work through the entire process with my hair in six sections to ensure that I get to all parts of my hair and to minimize tangling. I begin by saturating each section with coconut oil and finger detangling. I then work in Aubrey Organics GPB protein conditioner, focusing on my ends. After letting this sit on my hair for about 15 minutes, I go to begin washing. I rinse the coconut oil and protein conditioner from my hair and wash with a combination of Alikay Naturals Coconut Milk Shampoo and Aussie Moist Conditioner, further detangling as I go. When I finish I squeeze the excess water from my hair then apply Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque to deep condition. I let this sit under a shower cap (each section bantu knotted) for about 40 minutes or so then rinse. Since I have so much hair that would ordinarily take days to dry completely, I blow out my hair on low heat using the tension method after first adding a moisturizing heat protectant and light oil, combing through each section with a seamless wide tooth comb, and letting my hair air dry a bit for a few hours. After my hair is blown out, I begin twisting (each of the six sections in three or four twists–detangled with a Denman brush) using Eden BodyWorks All Natural Coconut Shea Pudding Soufflé. I then slip on my satin scarf and go to bed. In the morning my hair is dry and ready to style. I untwist, separate the clumps, shake it out, and I’m ready to go! I repeat the twisting process the following week.
What’s your favorite hairstyle? Where do you get hairstyle inspiration?
My signature hairstyle is taking a section of hair at the front, rolling it backwards, and pinning it back to the side while leaving the rest out. Few day old twist outs are my favorite because even though I lose curl definition, I love the extra volume that I get from putting my hair up at night. I also enjoy high, fluffy updo styles.
Who is your curl crush?
Some of my curl crushes are Tracee Ellis Ross, Elle Varner, Taren Guy, and Naptural85.
How do you maintain your hair at night?
At night, I pineapple my hair and wrap it in a large satin scarf. I always sleep with a satin pillowcase in case my scarf comes off.
How do you maintain healthy length?
I maintain my length by doing low manipulation styles. I only run a comb or brush through it once a week, before I re-twist, and I keep my hair moisturized by scrunching in Oyin Handmade Hair Dew moisturizer whenever it feels dry. I handle the ends of my hair as little as possible because they are the most delicate and prone to breakage. The most important thing is to keep the ends moisturized and to trim whenever necessary.
What's the best thing about being natural?
One of the best things about being natural is inspiring others to embrace their natural texture as well. I’m always getting questions about what I do to my hair or what products I use. It gives me a feeling of fulfillment knowing that I give hope to those who are transitioning, have just big chopped, or who are relaxed and planning on going natural. Another great thing about being natural is knowing that I don’t have to rely on a chemical to “tame” my hair or to make it “presentable.” My hair is beautiful the way it is!
Where can folks find you on the web?
You can follow my Instagram– @miss_chel602 or Facebook under my full name.