G: Hello! My name is Geri. I’m a Naija American aspiring healthcare professional, makeup artist, and newbie blogger. You might recognize my article, What Does it Mean to Look African. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, but I currently live and work in NYC.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
G: I decided to forgo relaxing my hair, after two successive punches. First punch: A sew-in weave that was left in too long, thinned out and severely weakened my hair. TKO: I allowed a stylist to rake through three months’ worth of new growth, which subsequently, broke off a lot of my hair. For some time, the memory of the ever growing clump of shed and broken hair, discarded in her trashcan, haunted me.
Through this journey, I’ve come to recognize the nonexistent and disconnected relationship I once had with my hair. While I was relaxed, I’d been so accustomed to allowing others to care for it, that my own head of hair became alien to me. The stylist du jour claimed real possession of it, and I dutifully kept to her appointments and adhered to her advice. I trusted her completely, and questioned little. I was almost afraid of my hair, or perhaps, I was just incredibly estranged from it. I can identify that former disassociation I used to have with my hair today, because of the ownership and dare I say, the oneness I now have with it. There is something intimately amazing about noting an errant strand of my hair, on the floor for example, and being able to know the exact region on my head where it came from. I understand my hair so well today, that it is perplexing, just how deeply unaware I used to be.
How would you describe your texture?
G: I don’t personally adhere to hair typing, because I find it to be limiting. However, I appreciate the basic benefits it provides. At a quick glance, my hair has a myriad of 4a/b/c curls. More importantly, my hair is densely made up of fine to thick strands. It takes a while for water to soak through my hair, but on the other hand, my hair dries pretty quickly.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
G: Over the course of one month, especially since this year, I’ve been experimenting with wearing my hair out more often. I alternate between braid outs, updos, or head ties (scarves or turbans). During the colder months, I typically wear wigs or braids. I’m a low manipulator, so whenever I do my styles, I forecast for the upcoming week, and then I try to keep the styles in for that amount of time. I switch into the next style for the new week, over the weekend.
What does wash day look like for you?
G: My wash day literally, takes up the entire day. I only wash my hair once a month, so by this time, my hair is matted and tangled. This is the only time I employ the use of a brush, and it takes me hours to detangle my entire head. I like to use a spray mixture of a penetrating oil (coconut, avocado, or olive), water, and a light conditioner, like Vo5 Moisture Milk. After I completely remove all my shed hair, I deep condition with mashed avocados or any thick cholesterol treatment. Finally, I rinse my hair, and I shampoo it if it is necessary.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style?
G: My favorite quick hairstyle, technically, isn’t a hairstyle. If I don’t have a lot of time to do my hair, I will usually tuck it under a cute scarf.
How do you combat shrinkage?
G: Combat shrinkage? No, I embrace it. I even won the fun shrinkage contest BGLH held last year.
I view shrinkage as an integral characteristic to all curly hair. It goes hand in hand with our hair textures- your hair is curly, therefore, it shrinks. I generally, welcome shrinkage in my hair, because it gives me volume, and also it means that my hair is hydrated.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
G: I work out at least 4 days a week, I drink tons of water, and I try to eat well. I believe optimizing healthy practices, optimizes hair growth.
For braid outs, I use a creamy wax to smooth out my ends, and then I wrap them around a small perm rod. My hair is plagued with SSKs, so the wax stretches out my ends, minimizing SSKs, and the cold rod gives the ends of my hair a uniform curl- without it, my ends would look frayed and spikey.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
G: I rarely do twist outs because they often leave my roots in a mesh of tangles. I also refrain from unnecessary manipulation from tools, like combs and brushes. Most of my hairstyles are done without their aid, because I’ve found out that my hair fares better, (less mid strand splits and breakage), when I seriously minimize their use.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
G: After much prodding, ahem, encouragement, from friends and strangers, lol, I’ve taken the leap into the blogging world. You can find me at geraldinethegreat.blogspot.com. :o)