R: I live in Philly where I’m a Biostatistician at the University of Pennsylvania.
Why did you go natural?
R: I made the decision to go natural while I was in college and playing rugby (13 years ago). It started to become WAY too hard to blow-dry and flat-iron my hair after every practice, workout, and game. On top of that, all of the heat started to take a toll on my hair (split ends, lots of damage, etc).
At some point during college after playing rugby for a year or 2, I decided I wasn’t going to blow-dry or flat iron any more! I would just wet it, and let it fall and dry naturally. I had a friend of mine literally chop off about 4 inches of my hair. This was the bottom part of my hair that was “permed,” while the top part of my hair was semi-not permed.
The chop was for the best but I went on with my routine of getting a yearly perm for about 3–4 more years (bad idea) — I thought of this as a way to “maintain” my out of control curls. Also back then, I had a VERY tough time finding products that worked well, so getting this perm would help in some ways. I’m sure you can imagine — eventually these yearly perms also started to take a toll. I realized that I was still getting major split ends and damage, and finally I decided I never wanted to get a perm again. This was about 5–6 years ago, and I have not had a perm since.
Going natural with my hair has pushed me to go “natural” in other aspects of my life, both beauty and health-wise. In educating myself about the benefits of using natural products, I couldn’t help but want to incorporate these benefits in more parts of my life than just hair. Additionally, I feel a sense of pride in wearing my hair naturally. The fact that I don’t have to do much to my hair and it’s still beautiful just makes me feel good 🙂
What’s your regimen?
R: My typical regimen can be described as a “wash & go.” I will wet my hair in the shower, while under the water, comb through with a very wide toothed comb. Then, apply something like a hair milk or light leave-in as a base coat. Then on top of this base coat I will apply something a little thicker (more creamy/fluffy, less grease-like), and finally will add a touch of some kind of gel for hold. Then, air dry. I wear a silk scarf to bed, and “fluff” the next morning. I don’t like to do the wash & go routine everyday so I will also rock a bun about 1–2 times a week. I’m a strong believer in protective styles.
As for products, I like to use ones that are 100% organic, or close to that. Here are some of the brands: Aubrey Organics, Karen’s Body Beautiful, Kinky Curly, Oyin Handmade, and Shea Moisture Products. Specifically, I love KBB’s hair milk and Kinky Curly’s leave in, Oyin’s Shine and Define is the BEST, as well as Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hisbicus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and finally the best gels are Aubrey Organic’s B5 and their Moisturizing Jelly, as well as Kinky Curly Curling Custard.
I’ll also add, I have tried almost EVERY product out there. It took me some time to realize that these organic products were the ones that made my hair look the best consistently.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
R: I HAVE to make sure I keep my hair freshly trimmed and moisturized. If I forget these things, my ends will very quickly start to break.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
R: My monthly Bentonite Clay Mask. I use this to replace shampoo, and every time I do it, my hair feels SO clean and never needs any product afterwards.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
R: I started a blog with my best friend, mostly as a means for her and I to share our hair journey findings, but, we have been slacking on it 🙂 … Here’s the URL anyway: http://www.rachelandjanelle.blogspot.com/