1.Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls?
No, I have not. I can clearly remember the first few times when I wore my hair in a bush, you know, my first experiments with wash and go’s. My curls were so tight and squishy and my hair didn’t frame my face like it did when I wore it straight. I didn’t feel as pretty without my hair draped all over my face, hiding things and shaping things, you know? I had to get used to this new look, and I had to dig deeper to redefine beauty for myself. How long has it taken for your to “master” the care of your your hair? Who/what helped you gain mastery? Every time I think I have become a master, I get bored or lazy with my hair or it gets too long and it annoys me so I neglect it and regress. Or, some lifestyle change happens and I have to make adjustments. What seems to work for me most broadly, no matter what is going on in my life is keeping my regimen simple, with certain core products that I always use, and keeping twist outs and braid outs as the foundation for almost every style. I definitely still experiment with products and new styles from time to time, but nowhere near as much as I did when I was a newbie. For the most part, I know what my hair needs when it acts up. I may need a protein treatment if it’s limp or over moisturized. I may need a trim if my detangling sessions get too wild and my hair is always looking scraggily and my curls and waves lose their spring. I got to this point through a lot of trial and error and communion with other naturals on blogs and in real life.
2. What is your cleansing hair regime (how often do you shampoo, condition, deep condition and with what products)?
I shampoo my hair about once a month, and in between I co wash either every week or every other week, depending on what season it is and what I have going on. I’m all over the place when it comes to shampoo, but my most common staples are Giovanni Deep Moisture, Crème of Nature Argan Oil Moisture, SheaMoisture Moisture Retention, Alba Coconut Milk or Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose. I’ve been wanting to try Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap on my hair, but haven’t tried it yet. Let me pause here and say that I don’t have all of these in my product closet at once. I alternate between them over time, changing things up when the mood strikes me. As far as cowashing and detangling conditioners go, my regulars are Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat, Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture, and Aussie Moist. I experiment the most in this area, because I’ll try almost anything that promises slip and comes in a huge container with a pump. There are three girls in my house and we all have a lot of hair so we go through conditioner like water. For deep conditioning, my faves are Aubrey Organics Protein Balancing, Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, Camille Rose Naturals Algae Deep Conditioning Mask, Pantene Moisture Mask Deep Conditioner, and SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Mask. I experiment with deep conditioners too. If it’s not as heavy as I like, I add EVOO or Castor Oil to it.
3.What is your de-tangling process?
There’s a then and now aspect to this. Here’s what I used to do. On wash day or the night before, I would section my hair and douse it with coconut oil. Then I’d get in the shower and apply conditioner section by section detangling with my fingers as well as a wide toothed comb as I stood in the shower. A few months ago, we started having problems with our water heater, right? And damn if that thing still doesn’t work right, so I can’t take so long in the shower, even on wash day. So, I started doing my detangling before I get in the shower and I love it. I still do the sectioning and coconut oiling, but now I take it section by section and apply the conditioner and detangle before I get in the shower. Revolutionary. For me, anyway. ☺
4. How do you achieve your daily hair style? (try to be detailed being as though others are gaining inspiration and DIRECTION from your process)
My most common daily hairstyle of late is a braid and curl. After a wash or cowash, I section my hair into about eight sections and stretch it by blowdrying. I always prefer to stretch my hair because the breakage, knots and aggravation I experience when my hair is not stretched is not worth it to me. I don’t have the patience. So I apply Barry Fletcher’s Grease and I blow dry it just enough so that it’s stretched but not completely dry. Once each section is semi-dry, I apply a moisturizing styling cream like SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Cream, Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter or their Moisture Butter and then I corn row it, leaving about 2 -3 inches at the bottom unbraided. I then spray the ends thoroughly with my aloe vera/grapeseed oil/rose water mix, and seal with something thick like Barry Fletcher’s Grease or Koils by Nature Hair and Body Butter and I put an end paper and sponge roller on the end. I do this for each section and let it dry/set overnight. To maintain the style, at night I section it into about 4 – 5 pieces and put chunky two strand twists in it, sealing the ends with more grease each night. There are some nights where this does not happen, of course. I have three kids under the age of 11 so needless to say, I am not able to twist my hair every night. I often just put it in a ponytail on top of my head, pineapple style, and pray it doesn’t get too crazy. In the morning, I’ll apply a curl refresher like Jane Carter’s Hydrate Quench followed by their Creamy Leave In Styling Smoother or Camille Rose Hair Milk or Camille Rose Moisture Butter. Whatever I have on deck.
5. How do you perceive relaxed/straight/weaved hair? Be honest.
I’ve always loved healthy, vibrant hair whether it was relaxed, textured, curly, straight, whatever. I just love beautiful hair. I have no problem with relaxed hair. But unhealthy, damaged hair? Ew. I do judge. I wish I didn’t, but I do. If I see dry, damaged looking hair or an unflattering haircut, I feel like the person is misguided and I wonder what their natural hair in a healthy state would look like. You know that unfortunate look when it’s all damaged and broken off and there is one piece of hair that is hanging on, long enough to touch their upper back, but the rest is a broken mess, and the person is telling everyone that they have long hair because they are hanging on to that one piece of lonely hair. Yeah. I don’t like to see that. When I look at photos of my relaxed hair, even when it was healthy, I still feel like a watered down version of myself. My natural texture is so special to me now, and so reflective of who I am, that I can’t imagine not having it as a statement, showing the world who I am.
6. How did/do battle the internal voice that may speak words of doubt about the beauty and worthiness of your natural beauty?
I’m at a point in my life where I’m constantly repeating affirmations to myself to counteract my inner critic. For many years, I felt very insecure in my skin and in my personality, and I relied almost solely on the approval of others, men and women alike, to feel beautiful. Beginning with my natural hair transition, I began appreciating all the things I used to hide. My hair is big and poofy and I like it. I used to hide that. I am very creative and sensitive and awkward and I used to feel completely embarrassed by that. I have dreams of living a completely different lifestyle and having a very different career than what was expected of me, and somewhere inside I had to find the courage to pursue my dreams, regardless of what anyone thinks, even if no one understands right away. In order to do that, I have had to learn to work with that inner voice and find out where my insecurities come from. I highly recommend finding a creative outlet. This is what saved me. When you have a way to express everything that’s going on inside of you in a creative way, to make sense of yourself and the world, then you will start to value and appreciate the outside more as well. Everything outside is an extension of what flows on the inside. So that’s a long winded way of saying that I beat my inner critic daily by doing the following: 1) I don’t say negative things to myself and when those old thoughts come up, I ignore them or redirect them. 2) I change how I think about my insecurities by exploiting them and talking about them, taking their power away. 3) I remind myself that the more authentic I am, inside and out, the closer I will get to fulfilling my dreams.
7. What hair product can’t you live without?
I can’t live without Barry Fletcher’s Grease. It’s got all natural ingredients and hands down it moisturizes my hair the best out of anything I’ve tried whether I apply to wet hair, dry hair, curly or straight. It reminds me of the Blue Magic Coconut Oil that my mom used to use on my hair as a child but without the mineral oil and petroleum. 8. Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses about natural hair? My advice would be that natural hair, by itself, is just a grooming/styling choice. It’s just hair. Not a big deal. But the meaning you assign to it is everything. If it causes you to reconsider other things that you’ve been taught that no longer feel right for you, then take that empowerment you feel from your hair and apply it to your whole life. Your hair, your beauty, your life, your way. That is all.☺
Thank you Shanti and Antoinette for having me! Your readers can find me on Instagram and Twitter @ggreneewrites and I write about inner and outer beauty on my blog AlltheManyLayers.com.