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Rachel // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Sep 14, 2010

Where do you live?
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/

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Ameerah Pearman
Ameerah Pearman
10 years ago

BEAUTIFUL!! I’d like to know what her hair type is!

NinaG
NinaG
10 years ago

yay for biostats!

BrownSugahChild
10 years ago

love love love your hair chick!!!!!!!!!

helga crane
helga crane
10 years ago

Rachel, your hair is so pretty!

Britney D.
10 years ago

Love your hair! And biostats?! Wow, you go girl!

Prettybig
10 years ago

wow your hair looks amazing!

just_nia
just_nia
10 years ago

awesome hair!!!

captain morgan
10 years ago

I’ve been using bentonite masks for my face for a long time now, but how do you apply them to your hair? Do you mix the same way with water and ACV and just slap it on there or is there another method?

Help!

Taharqa
Taharqa
10 years ago

Wow! You’re hair is so lovely!

shelle
shelle
10 years ago

Yea! for Penn! yea for rugby! Although I’ve been a long time lurker, much like I’ve been a long term transitioner (1 year this november), I felt it time for me to leave a comment. I’m currently at Penn and I also played rugby. Although though I was natural for a brief period in high school, I caved because I was playing sports year round and just couldn’t deal with it. After starting college and when I stopped playing rugby, I decided it was time to go natural again.

Dawn Michelle @ Minimalist Beauty

Rachel,
You are absolutely stunning! Loving your locks. Natural products are definitely the way to go.
Best Wishes!!

Ain't I an African
Ain't I an African
10 years ago

Gorgeous!!!

Rachel
Rachel
10 years ago

Hi Everyone!! Thank you SO much for all of the wonderful comments!! We are all on this natural journey together! 🙂 To answer some of the questions: 1. @Ameerah Pearman — My hair type is a classic 3C. I think this site explains it perfectly: http://www.naturallycurly.com/pages/hairtypes/type3c 2. @captain morgan — You are exactly right. I apply the clay the same way as you would your face. Water and ACV, mix it up, and just apply it to my hair in sections. Let it dry and then rinse out in the shower. In fact, I usually mix up enough to apply it… Read more »

Rachel
Rachel
10 years ago

More comments…

3. @shelle — You’re at PENN and you play rugby!!!?? We need to get together girl! 🙂 … And glad that someone shares in my sports/hair struggle. Congrats on your 1 year anniversary this November! 🙂

4. Dawn Michelle @ Minimalist Beauty — thanks sis!

Rosie
Rosie
10 years ago

wait you said you were in college 13 yrs ago?!?! how old are you, you look 20!! lol beautiful hair

Janique
Janique
10 years ago

I tried coconut oil with the bentonite clay last night, but it didn’t leave my face as moisturized as when I used olive oil with it. I would try both and see which one you like best.

Rachel
Rachel
10 years ago

— you are too sweet! Yes, I was in college 13 years ago and am now 32 years old *young 😉

— Thanks for the tip about the olive oil! I actually have oily skin, so I’m not sure I would use the oil/clay mixture on my face (unless you think the result is not too oily?). I will definitely try both the coco and olive oil mixtures with the clay on my hair 🙂

Tamika
Tamika
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

Hi Rachel I wanted to ask you do you leave in the Vatica coconut iol and aply it daily. Or do I need to wash. It out everytime I use it?

shelle
shelle
10 years ago

@ Rachel, I would love to meet at some point!

Tiffany
10 years ago

Wow, love your hairstyle in the pictures, do you mind sharing what you did to your hair? 32 years! Wow and I thought I looked young!

mixed beans
mixed beans
10 years ago

Hi Rachel, you are stunning, i absolutely love your hair!! 🙂

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