-How long have you been natural?
I did the BC in April 2005. So I’m heading into my fourth year of being natural now. My last relaxer was in July 2004 and I transitioned for about 8-9 months.
-What is your regimen?
I wash my hair once a week using Elucence MB Shampoo. After shampooing I detangle my hair using Elucence MBC. While still in the shower I apply a generous amount of the conditioner to my hair working it through from root to tip. I part my hair in half and use my Goody Styling Add+Shine Therapy Brush to gently work through the tangles. Once I’m done detangling I clip my hair up while I take care of the rest of my shower business. At the end I rinse the conditioner out finger coming as the water hits my hair to make sure that all the tangles are gone. Sometimes after this is done I’ll do an ACV rinse to restore the PH balance to my hair. I’ll usually do this every other week or so.
I never used to DT my hair but I realized that for optimum hair health and moisture it was vital for me to begin doing this once a week. Once I’m out of the shower I apply either Elasta QP’s DPR-11 DC and honey or Redken’s Extreme Rescue Force DC. If I feel that my hair needs a DT with protein I’ll use the Redken but if I just want pure moisture without proteins I use the Elasta with honey melted in. I use a conditioning cap and let sit for an hour. Every now and then I’ll leave conditioner in my hair overnight when I’m too lazy to wash it out. My hair is super soft the next day though!
I co-wash maybe 2 or 3 times a week. I used to co-wash everyday so this has been the biggest change to my routine. To co-wash I use either Suave Tropical Coconut or Trader Joes Nourish Spa. During my co-wash sessions I only use my fingers to detangle my hair. I used to use a wide tooth comb or my goody brush everytime I co-washed but have found that its really not necessary and I was just clinging to habit as opposed to what was better for my hair.
Also, thanks to Curlynikki ( :D) a few months ago I started doing Henna treatments which I love! I use Jamila Henna which I order online from www.mehandi.com or www.mehndiskinart.com. I do these treatments once a month. Once the Henna is applied I let it sit in my hair for 4 to 5 hours, rinse it out and then follow up with a moisturizing DT using my Elasta QP DPR-11.
I am not one for protective styles as I am just too lazy and challenged in the styling department so my hair is usually worn loose or in a bun. I use Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair Milk as my leave-in and for styling I like gel’s. I use Fantasia IC gel for slicked back buns and Softee Curl Activator gel for wash n’ go’s.
-What is the one thing you’d tell a newbie to help her on her journey?
Try not to place unrealistic expectations on your hair. It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of wanting to have the hair that somebody else has. It’s important to learn to love and nurture the hair that God gave you regardless of its texture or quirky characteristics. Be open to accepting that frizz and shrinkage comes with the territory of natural afro-textured hair. These characteristics are what make our hair unique and wonderful despite with societal norms would have us believe.
-How do you maintain length?
Honestly I don’t have a particular method and in fact I am just now starting to be nicer to my hair. However, I have never really had a problem with growing my hair. I think it’s partially genetic but I think what has also worked for me is not obsessing over length. I just let my hair do its thing and try and enjoy my hair as much as possible in the moment as opposed to focusing on all the things about it that bother me.
What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?!
The best thing about being naturally glamorous is knowing that I am presenting my authentic self to the world. It takes a lot of mental de-programming to learn to see the beauty in what society deems as “The Before Picture” when it comes to our hair. I feel like a free-er woman knowing that I am no longer chained by Eurocentric standards of beauty as it relates to my hair. Some people call this militant. I call it liberated!