Where do you live?
E: I live in Chicago, IL; reppin the Uptown/Lakeview neighborhood (although I spent my first 11 years of life reppin Hyde Park), and the country of Belize (my mommy is Belizean), and of course, the US of A! I am a freelance model (still seeking an agency), and I am a college student at Truman College, and Wright College. I’m in my second semester.
Why did you go natural?
E: I’ve been natural all of my life (except for one incident when I was 11, but the relaxer did NOT take for some reason, and after all that burning… ugh, I never did it again.), but for a few years (from about 12–16 years old) I would get my hair blow dried/flat ironed monthly at a salon, or I’d straighten it at home. After a while, I just stopped straightening my hair so often, and last year, I stopped doing it at all, after I realized that my ends were still heat damaged and not curling back up.
How did you transition into natural hair?
E: There wasn’t really much of a transition, more of an impulsive thing. My ends were flat and stringy. Then I went through a bad breakup and I felt like I needed a drastic change. I went into the bathroom, snatched up the scissors and cut off all of my hair. Pretty dramatic, I know, but it was like shedding an old skin and growing into a new one. With that came a new mindset, and a new way that I viewed myself.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
E: I feel like I’m more in touch with myself and my culture, and above all, I feel way more mature. Before, when my hair was straightened, I was going for the ‘punk’ look: dead straight hair, funky colors, wacky cuts; hey, I was a teenager! But now I’m a bit older and I feel like the look I had before doesn’t fit who I am now. I still think my old hair was super cute, I loved having a mohawk, and I miss having hot pink/red hair (I did it before Rihanna!), but I love my longer natural hair that I have now.
How would you describe your hair?
E: In one word: interesting. My hair is very thick, and I have a bunch of textures; the back of my head has loosely curled 3C texture, the sides are what I think is a 4A, and the middle is where I say I keep my patch of Africa, that’s where my kinkiest hair is, at a 4B texture. So… my hair keeps me busy. I’m always trying to make it all look uniform, when the textures, to me at least, are clearly not uniform. I’m either trying to make the rest of my hair as nappy as the middle, or I’m braiding the middle the tightest and smallest to stretch it out so it can look more like the back or the sides. Usually I just don’t care, and I let my hair do whatever it wants to do.
What is a brief description of your regimen?
E: If I’m co-washing, I use Giovanni 50:50, if I’m trying to really cleanse my hair, I use the Shea Moisture Organic African Black Soap, or the Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo (it’s soooooo moisturizing, I use it when I run out of conditioner or if I just wanna give my hair a light washing and not a deep cleansing). If I’m letting my hair stay in an afro, I throw in a little Deep Treatment Masque, then Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing smoothie, some argan oil, and some castor oil to seal. If I’m twisting or braiding (as I do often nowadays), it’s the same process, except that I also sometimes use a little Pink Lotion to coat the braids. I am also a notorious product junkie, so if I’m not following my routine, I’m trying new stuff in my head.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
E: Using heat! I used heat protectants, but even that can’t save you from getting damage eventually. So, I stopped using heat. I have way less split ends, no silly stringy ends, I’m gaining length, and my hair is gorgeous and thick. If I can help it, I would never use a flat iron in my head again. I’d rather throw on a wig and get some crazy straight hair that way, and leave my poor poof alone, and let it grow grow grow.
Secondly, dyeing my hair! My hair has been bleached, dyed, fried, and dyed over and over again. My hair has been literally EVERY color, from silver-grey, to blonde, to purple, pea soup green (the Bears were in the Superbowl, I dyed my hair blue and orange, but then they lost and I washed my hair and the colors mixed and turned green). The bleach and dye ended up loosening my texture, but also making my hair crunchy and dry. No bueno. Although I loved my pink hair, I don’t think I’ll be touching bleach or dye for a long, long time. At least, not until I reach my goal of my hair being waist length!
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
E: The best thing has to be putting it in braids, and keeping it wet, then coated in my favorite moisturizer. I love my Coolio braids (HAHA), as I call them. It keeps my hair from tangling, and keeps me from having to gently detangle for hours.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
E: Oh goodness yes! I’m all over the internets…
www.youtube.com/KnottyKinky; I just started doing hair tutorials and reviews. I’m learning, so excuse the awkwardness/ mistakes.
www.facebook.com/InkaMichelle; my FB fanpage/modeling page
http://www.formspring.me/InkaMichelle; you can ask me questions.
www.twitter.com/Inka; of course, the Twitter.
http://bglhforum.com/profile/ErinWright < the BGLH forum, of course!
KnottyKinky.blogspot.com «< it’s new, and I will start posting stuff soon 🙂
Anything else you want to add?
E: Just to love what grows out of your head, just like you love the rest of your body. You’ve only got one body, so take care of it. And your hair is what it is, and you have to learn to see its beauty even if no one else does. It’s on YOUR head, all that matters is that you love it and take care of it!