*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
J: Hey Naturalistas! I’m Jenell aka BlakIzBeautyful. Is Brooklyn in the house?!? I’m a special educator with a Masters in Special Education. I’m a mother to a beautiful chocolate munchkin, a wife to the best man ever, and I’m the editor in chief of www.KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com. I have no idea how I have the time to do all of this, but I make it work.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
J: My cousin talked about it and shared videos with me of women with long natural hair. After seeing how beautiful their hair was I was fed up with my hair! It would never grow past my shoulders and it was constantly shedding. I was ready for a change and wanted hair that was healthy, full, thick, and LONG! I was inspired by many of the women on YouTube who shared their journeys to let go of the relaxers and embrace my natural hair.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
J: I’m an impulsive person so transitioning was not an option for me. I called up my cousin and told her that we needed to big chop right away. We turned it into a party! She got the shears and drinks, I got the food, and we big chopped.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
J: Going natural has changed my way of thinking when it comes to beauty. I no longer need to hide behind straight hair to feel beautiful. When I was relaxed, I was addicted to weaves and hated how I looked without one. I’ve embraced my natural hair and love my 4b texture. As a result of my love for my natural hair I began tracking my journey. This hobby has birthed my natural hair website and YouTube channel, which allows me to share information and styles with thousands of women in need of help on their journey. I started hosting events where naturalistas in NYC can gather and meet other beautiful women. I’m still shocked at how my decision to go natural has opened up many opportunities for me.
How would you describe your hair?
J: I have thick kinky curly coily 4b hair. When I first went natural my hair was dry and it felt like wool, but after learning how to detangle and moisturize, my hair is soft and manageable.
What is your regimen?
J: My regimen can be broken down into two parts – Cleaning and Moisturizing.
I pre-poo and detangle with an oil and cheap conditioner. I shampoo and condition with various products. My favorites are Shea Moisture products, Design Essential products, and a few products by Herbal Essences. I deep condition with Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise or the Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque.
I add a leave in conditioner, oil, then a moisturizer/styling product. My favorite leave-ins have been the Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner and the Mizani D’Tangle Hair Milk. My favorite oils are the Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil and Coconut Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
J: I keep my hair thoroughly moisturized and I always set my hair in twists/braids for bed before putting on my bonnet.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
J: I’m sick and tired of feeling like I have to do something just because someone else does it. I’ve learned that everyone has information to share, but I have to do what works for me. If I want to use sulfates, cones and whatever else—that’s my choice!
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
J: Since I’ve started detangling during my pre-poo I’ve saved myself soooo much time and my hair is thankful for it.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
J: You can check out my website http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com.
Anything else you want to add?
J: Going natural has not only been a decision that affects my hair, it has been a decision that has introduced me to beautiful women that I’ve created great friendships with. I love my hair and I love all of you!