CN: How long have you been natural?
Gisele: I have been natural for almost 3 years. I cut off my relaxed hair in July 2007, 2 months after my last relaxer.
CN: What is your current regimen?
Gisele: Since mid-December, I have been wearing my hair in plaits or twists (without any hair extensions) for up to four weeks at a time before re-doing them. When I have my hair in these styles, I try to keep the maintenance as simple as possible since I have very little time to fuss with my hair. I usually wear the plaits/twists pulled away from my face in various updos for a more polished look. Every 4-6 weeks, I do a henna treatment and I deep condition each time I shampoo my hair.
CN: How do you maintain length? Moisture?
Gisele: I focus mainly on keeping my scalp healthy. I believe once my scalp is healthy, my hair will grow well. I have been using ayurvedic herbs to clean and condition my hair. They seem to allow my hair to hold moisture really well. If I am not washing my hair weekly, I keep my scalp moisturized and clean daily with cotton swabs and herbal infusions until I am ready to shampoo my hair and I use coconut oil on the length of my hair to keep it moisturized. I pamper my hair ends with my homemade mix of castor oil and with unrefined shea butter. Additionally, I use water to dampen my hair as needed.
CN: How do you protect your curls at night?
Gisele: I oil my hair and put it in a single french braid, tucking away the ends. I then cover my hair with in a silk scarf or satin doo rag.
CN: What would you tell a new natural, or transitioning diva?
Gisele: Don’t get discouraged if you feel you are doing everything right and your hair is still not responding as you would wish. It sometimes take some trial and error before you figure out what your hair thrives on.
CN: What’s the best thing about being naturally glamorous?
Gisele: Once my shampoo day is behind me, I have very low maintenance hair. I love the freedom of just removing my scarf in the morning, and heading out the door.
CN: Anything else you want to add?
Gisele: It is possible to grow your hair even if you do not have access to a lot of products specifically developed for our hair. You might have to be a bit more creative in using what you can find easily, but it is possible.