*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
F: My name is Francheska. I was born, raised and am living it up in Harlem, NYC! I’m a singer/songwriter and natural living (nutrition+fitness+natural hair care) blogger.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
F: My hair has always been natural. I made the decision to be a healthy natural, meaning only using all natural products and avoiding heat, about 4 years ago. My scalp was always hella dry no matter what I used! My hair was constantly shedding, thinning and the more than necessary visits to the salon for trims made it extra hard to retain length.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
F: Like I said, I’ve always had my natural curls. Once I decided to take better care of my hair I immediately stopped using direct heat. It was a bitter divorce, but I haven’t straightened my hair in 4 years. Best decision I’ve made too because now I rarely go to the salon for trims. Minimizing (or completely stopping) heat means way less damage for the stylist to cut off. I started paying more attention to the ingredients in my beauty products too. Buying brands that are all natural makes that easier to do. Not to mention the world of a difference nutrient based products make in your hair. That kind of clean, quality regimen, combined with no heat and finger detangling = an entirely new head of incredibly dope hair. Trust!
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
F: Becoming a healthy natural has been the most positive transition. Not only do I check for the ingredients in my products, but I also pay close attention to the ingredients in what I consume. I’ve become completely enamored with clean living now. I was already researching ways to eat better and become more physically active. But this newfound discipline, of only quality hair care, served as a gateway into a whole new school of thought for me. Now I’m hella conscious of my overall health (physical, mental, spiritual) and always working towards as natural a lifestyle as possible. Not to mention being able to pass on the information to those just getting started. That’s truly the best part.
How would you describe your hair?
F: My hair is the funniest thing cause when it’s wet it looks kinda stringy and flat. As soon as it dries though, it becomes this massive, mind of its own, Diana Ross-esque head of hair. I truly love natural hair’s versatility. And I’m convinced big, dramatic, natural hair makes any outfit look amazing!
What is your regimen?
F: The night before wash day, I’ll sit and finger detangle my entire head of hair in small sections using Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie. This helps minimize breakage and frizz during the cleansing process. Once detangled, I’ll slowly rake through it with a wide tooth comb to ensure I didn’t miss any tangles. I then put my hair up in a high, wrap around bun and cover it to sleep. Next day, I’ll massage my scalp for a few minutes with extra virgin coconut oil. This improves scalp health, circulation and promotes hair growth. I’ll place a plastic cap over my head for a good 30 minutes, letting the oil marinate with my head’s natural heat.
I don’t use shampoo. It makes my hair brittle and is so frizz inducing! That coconut oil routine I do keeps my scalp clean and healthy. I co-wash with either White Camellia by Aubrey Organics, The Raw Shea Butter or Yucca & Baobab by Shea Moisture, or Beauticurls by Curl Junkie (hair is already detangled, from the night before, so raking through it with conditioner is a piece of cake). Since I wash my hair once a week, I buy those 4 different conditioners and use a different one every week of the month. My hair responds well to the switch up; constantly boosted with different types of nutrients. It’s like working out. If you use the same machine or do the same workout, your body will not be challenged after awhile. But when you confuse your muscles by switching up the routine, they respond well and you see way faster results. It’s a really great method for hair AND fitness!
As far as styling, if I’m doing a Wash & Go, I’ll apply some Pure Aloe Juice into my dripping wet hair to seal the water’s moisture. I then apply either Curl Souffle by Curls, Shea Butter Leave-in by Beautiful Curls or Curly Whip by Hair Rules. Like I said, I like to switch it up! If I’m doing a protective style, I’ll continue my aloe routine then apply Bee Mine Curly Butter, Amla & Olive by Qhemet Biologics or MyHoneyChild twist out crème. I put my hair in two pigtails, squeezing out excess product with a curl cloth (curlmart.com). Next day, when fully dried, I’ll either part and put 8 braids on each side or twist up my entire head, sealing the ends with some Burnt Sugar Pomade by Oyin Handmade. Throw on a bohemian hat, oversized shades and call it a day!
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
F: I retain length by moisturizing my ends, either every night or every other. Right before bed I take my hair down and feel for dry spots, then I moisturize as needed. I always put my hair up in a pineapple so my curls won’t be crushed. Then I cover with a silk scarf or a hooded band from Ricky’s NYC (they’re amazing cause they stretch all the way over the pineapple style). I also sleep on a satin pillowcase, for that added moisture retention.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
F: When I was younger I dyed my hair so many different colors, lord. Can we say breakage city!? I even used to go to this Korean spot in Queens to get my hair flat ironed for 15 bucks. You can only imagine the damage. I swear they would set those things to 400 degrees. My hair would be dead straight for weeks! It was nice to be able to switch from curls to straight, but it definitely wasn’t worth it. My curls kept suffering with each salon visit. I learned that with my specific hair type, I truly had to pick one. So I picked my natural curls regimen and haven’t looked back since. The curls fit my personal style way better anyway!
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
F: Buying a Huetiful Hair Steamer and deep conditioning once a week has definitely been the most impactful part of my regimen. My fav deep conditioner is the Purification Masque by Shea Moisture. I love the Deep Treatment Masque too. Also, I throw in 2 drops of tea tree oil into the water as a scalp treatment and 2 drops of rosemary essential oil for that extra shine.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
F: My natural living blog: http://heyfranhey.com
The FB page for it: http://facebook.com/heyfranhey
And you can also find me @ http://twitter.com/heyfranhey
Anything else you want to add?
F: I just want to encourage all of you to look deeper than just a hair care regimen. Make sure you’re taking just as much care of your bodies and minds. Watch what you’re consuming. Cut out processed, factory made foods. Drink lots and lots of water. Invest in a juicer and increase your intake of veggies/fruit, daily. Google where your nearest farmer’s markets are located. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it will make in your life. Check out the docs, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” or “Food Matters” to learn more about how and why.
Also, make sure your heart is challenged, even if it’s just a brisk walk. You don’t have to be some gym rat to be fit. Bike ride, jump rope and swim! Go on organized hikes with friends! That’s what will keep you truly fresh and fly. Being natural should be more than just your hair. It should be a way of life. Check out the site if you need that extra push! Much love!