Check out Jarquisha’s new regimen! This feature was originally posted on April 18, 2011… updated with new pics 🙂
Where do you live?
J: I live in Atlanta, GA, but I’m reppin’ Macon, GA (THE 478!). I’m currently a full-time student at Emory University, majoring in Applied Mathematics and minoring in Economics.
Why did you go natural?
J: My natural journey began in August 2008. It was unconventional in the sense that it wasn’t spurred by some observation of my damaged relaxed hair nor by my want to have healthier hair. During the summer of 2007 I took a trip to Florida with my church, during which I got my relaxed hair wet at a water park. Once I got back to the hotel I was able to see something I’d never paid much attention to before: remnants of my once curly hair. This made me curious. In pictures from my childhood prior to my first relaxer at age 8, I’d worn a press and curl. I was never really exposed to my natural texture. This curiosity is what spurred my natural hair journey. So I began my transition at the start of my freshman year in college. After my brush with a “texture softener” (RELAXER!) on April 12, 2009 I continued my transition which culminated in my big chop on January 22, 2010 🙂 April 12, 2011 makes 2 years in my natural journey.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
J: The first time around, I transitioned for 8 months (August 2008-April 2009). I relied mostly on two-strand flat twists, which I’d wear for a week and then wear a twist-out. During that time I didn’t really know much about how to manage two textures, so when I wasn’t wearing my twists, I was flat ironing my hair (WITHOUT HEAT PROTECTANT!)
I got frustrated after a while and decided to get the Just For Me Texture Softener that my mother uses on my younger sister’s hair. BAD MOVE! Afterward, I seriously regretted the decision and began my transition that same day. The second time around I transitioned for 9 months (April 2009-January 2010). The two-strand flat twists were my staple style up until my BC.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
J: Going natural has affected my life tremendously. I never knew what to expect from the journey, but I must say that I love what I’ve experienced thus far. I’m the type of person that likes to be very knowledgeable about things. So when I decided to go natural the second time, I made sure I was well-informed, doing as much research as possible and even taking things that I learned in school and applying them to my haircare routines. After a while, I became known as the “go-to girl” on my campus (and at home) for natural hair. That is by far the most rewarding part of it all. Knowing that my journey has inspired others to make a change and knowing that I can affect change simply by setting an example is a great feeling. So in my spare time, I do as much as I can to help out my friends and even strangers that are trying to go natural or maintain Natural hair. I have to remind them though to make the journey theirs and not to get discouraged if they don’t have what they think is a desirable texture. That happens a lot. I also got the chance to contribute to some popular natural hair blogs/sites, which I still do today.
How would you describe your hair?
J: When typing my hair, I use the LOIS system. I find it to be more unique to a person’s hair type. Plus, thinking of myself as a “daughter of LOIS” is pretty fun. According to this system, my pattern is a mixture of O’s and S’s (curls and waves). My hair strand size is thin-medium (but very dense… I have a lot of strands). My texture is spongy. However, using Andre Walker’s typing system I’d say I’m 4A. When wet, my hair tends to be very defined with some frizz. When dry, some days it will let gravity take hold and hang. Other times my hair just has a mind of its own. I can’t keep my hands (or other people’s) out of it most days. I think I have that “Hand-In-Hair” syndrome.
What’s your regimen?
J: *Updated 11/5/2011* I have officially been relaxer free for 2.5 years. Since April 2009, my hair routine has changed so much. I’ve gotten tons of FB messages from friends here at Emory and back home in Macon asking what I do to my hair and if I have any advice to share with them in their journey. In the past, I would have been all over the place trying to figure out what products to suggest. Now I tell them its VERY simple: Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash (Left Coast Lemon), homemade flax seed gel (courtesy of Naptural85 on Youtube) and occasionally EVOO or virgin coconut oil. I “wash” my hair weekly with the mud wash and wear my hair in a twist out. Each night I dry twist my hair and tie it up with my satin bonnet. I can honestly say I’m having the BEST hair days ever. I don’t suffer shrinkage as badly with my new routine, nor do I experience any dryness. I really do enjoy the simplicity of my routine now and I know my hair appreciates it.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
J: The biggest mistake that I’ve made with my hair is neglecting it for more than 2 weeks. My hair tangles very easily, so if it’s in an unstretched style for more than 2 weeks I literally go through hell trying to detangle it. It’s very frustrating, especially since my hair is nearly a foot long. So I try to wash my hair every 1–2 weeks, depending on the style.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
J: The most effective thing I do for my hair is bi-weekly deep conditioning, followed by my “moisture + moisturizer” routine. I try to incorporate a balance of moisture and protein in my deep conditioning routine which consists of Giovanni Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor (protein) as a base and virgin coconut oil, EVOO and honey added in for moisture. I whip this in a bowl with my mixer for a more blended and creamy texture. After 2 hours with a plastic cap on my hair feels AMAZING! After that I seal in the water (moisture) with the Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream (moisturizer).
Anything else you want to add?
J: A lot of people tend to ask for my advice about going natural, so the biggest thing I can say is this: Make the journey YOURS. Be inspired and encouraged by others who are Natural, but remember that your hair is like a fingerprint: VERY UNIQUE 🙂