*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
D: My name is Danielle. I’m originally from Houston, but currently living in Huntsville, Texas. I’m currently a student at Sam Houston State University studying fashion merchandising.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
D: I went natural for a number of reasons. 1) Being a college student, relaxers became far too expensive for me to manage on my own and attempting to do it myself was just out of the question. 2) I was looking for a way to not use as much heat on my hair. 3) I was curious about my natural hair texture, something I had not seen since I was 12.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
D: The very first thing I did was stopped using heat on my hair altogether. I opted out for styles that would blend the two textures over styles with extensions. I began my transition in October 2009 and for the next five months I wore roller sets.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
D: Being natural transformed my frame of mind completely. I understand that beauty is not always long straight hair and that thinking has crossed over into the beliefs of my body.
How would you describe your hair?
D: My hair is thick, and when I say thick I mean THICK. It’s more kinky than curly, but not at all coarse. If I were to type it, my hair would be in the 4a/4b range. The kinkiest section is the crown and I have really loose strands at the bottom right at the nape of my neck. Also, my hair shrinks by at least 50% of its original length.
What is your regimen?
D: I shampoo my hair anywhere from every two weeks to once a month. I use Ultra Care Sulfate Free Shampoo that I found at Walmart for about $5 bucks. It does not leave that brittle feeling to my hair AT ALL. I deep condition and co wash every week. For a deep conditioner I use Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque and co wash with Suave Humectant Moisture Conditioner. I use Giovanni Direct Leave-In after every wash. To seal in moisture and style my hair, I use a combination of raw shea butter, aloe vera gel and an assortment of oils from coconut to jojoba. I also detangle my hair on a weekly basis.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
D: I listen to my hair. It does a pretty good job of telling me what it needs. Since I wear my hair out pretty often, I make a point to seal my ends throughout the week to maintain moisture. I also trim my hair every 2–3 months to get rid of any split ends or single strand knots. The less manipulation I do to my hair, the less of a chance it breaks off.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
D: Comparing my hair to other naturals. In doing this, I’ve used the wrong products and regimens for my texture. I’ve also made the mistake of using every product under the sun on my hair, when in all honestly, it doesn’t need that much at all.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
D: Stretching is the absolute best thing I could have ever done to my hair. I keep my hair in twists from the point of washing, to detangling, to styling. This prevents the formation of single strand knots.
Anything else you want to add?
D: Be you, love your hair and it will love you back. Our textures are like fingerprints, each one being unique from the next, so don’t be envious of the next girl. You hair was designed just for you.