Tell us a little about yourself and your hair journey.
Hola, my name is Michelle and I am a newlywed living in Houston, Texas. I just graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. My father is Liberian and my mother is half Mexican and half Chinese, so I am multiracial and I am fluent in Spanish. I recently started a YouTube channel (NaturallyChea) where I will be spilling all of my hair secrets and tips, and try to inspire other naturally curly girls to embrace their manes.
How long have you been natural? Have you always embraced your curls?
I’ve never permed my hair, but I did suffer from extreme heat damage from straightening my hair everyday during high school. I always loved my curly hair, but I didn’t know how to deal with it. As I mentioned above, my mother is not black so she didn’t really know how to care for or style my hair. I didn’t embrace my natural hair texture until I got to college. That’s where I learned how to manage and care for my hair properly by watching YouTube videos.
What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why?
I was motivated to put away the flat iron once I noticed my hair started breaking off and thinning. I remember one moment when I went to the salon to get my hair cut and the stylist asked me if I wanted to keep it in layers. I told her I had never cut my hair in layers before, so she picked up a section on the back of my hair that was shorter than the rest. My hair was so fried it began creating its own layers from all the breakage I was experiencing. I told her to chop off all the damaged ends and make my hair even, making it my second Big Chop. After that day, I decided to wear my hair curly and would wear it in a bun the majority of the time and rocked a ponytail piece for over a year.
How would you describe your hair?
I would say that my hair is thick and long with a wavy curl pattern. It can be unruly at times and gets tangled pretty easily.
What do you love most about your hair?
I love the versatility of my hair! I’m always fascinated by all the different forms and patterns it can take if I brush it one way or style it another way. I also love the thickness of it and how healthy and long it has gotten.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey has been learning to control, manage, and properly care for my hair. It has not always been easy, especially dealing with the amount of hair and trying to fight against the terrible Houston humidity. I have enjoyed the process of learning what works best for my hair type. Like I mentioned above, YouTube has pretty much been my savior during my natural hair journey. I learned and grew so much from watching YouTube videos that I wanted to repay it back and share my knowledge with other struggling naturals in hopes that they could learn proper hair care as well.
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos’?
My favorite transitioning styles are pretty simple. I feel braids and buns work best when it comes to giving your hair a break. I would say that my favorite style is probably a flat twist out. Who doesn’t love a good, defined twist out?!? I’ve recently become addicted to the curling wand, but of course I always remember to use a heat protectant and try to minimize the usage to keep my hair healthy.
What have your experiences been as a ‘natural.’ Any memorable reactions from family or others?
I always remember how I would take off my fake ponytail right before the basketball games during high school so that it wouldn’t go flying off in the middle of the game! My teammates and I would always crack jokes in the locker room as I would take it off and put my hair in a bun or side ponytail for the games. My hair is now the same length as that ponytail I would wear! I would say the most memorable reaction I had was when I visiting home from college and my hair was straight and my own mother swore up and down that I had extensions in. She even ran her fingers through my head to make sure I didn’t have on a ‘peluca’ (wig) as she called it!
What is your hair regimen (including fav products)?
I normally cowash my hair 2-3 times a week and shampoo once a week with sulfate free products because my head tends to sweat a lot when I work out. I love the shampoo and conditioner from L’Oreal’s EverCurl sulfate-free line. I also love the new JBCO line from Shea Moisture, the apple cider vinegar shampoo and leave-in conditioner have been working wonders on my hair! My go to product for twist outs is the Curl Enhancing Smoothie by Shea Moisture. I keep my hair braided or in a bun the majority of the time.
What are some of your favorite natural hair websites,YouTuber’s, or blogs?
I learned a lot from YouTubers AndreasChoice and SunKissAlba. I also enjoy watching LipsticknCurls and Naptural85 and of course globalcouture.net has tons of natural hair inspiration and clothes for the stylish naturalista.
Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words?
Enjoy the process and have fun during your natural hair journey. There are tons of hairstyles that will keep you looking fly during your journey. Always remember that PATIENCE is the key because your hair won’t grow overnight. Switching up your styles will make you have a great experience in learning about what works best for your hair texture, and before you know it, you’ll have reached your hair goal. Learn, grow, and share the knowledge!
Where can people find you for more information?
You can follow my natural hair page on Instagram @naturallychea and make sure you subscribe to my new YouTube channel (NaturallyChea)