*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
L: Hey there! My name is Lauren and I’m a Cali girl currently living in the Washington, DC metro area. I ended up on the east coast to attend good ole Howard University, but Cali will always be home.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
L: I was so tired of breakage. I was inspired by a few of my friends who wore their hair straight, and it was so thick and shiny. I was like #wheretheydothatat?! Their secret was their hair was natural and I was like sign me up! Being naïve about natural hair, I had no clue what I was getting myself into lol. In my mind, I was like oh I’ll just wear my hair straight all the time, but stay natural. My grand idea of wearing it straight in this dreadfully humid east coast weather was a joke. I transitioned for only 4 months. I couldn’t take it. I went to a salon and cut my hair down to about 2 inches of hair…and loved it!!! I was a bit insecure at first, in fear of how different I looked and what others would think, but I got over that quick. It was one of the best decisions I made. In retrospect, it was a subconscious representation of growth and change in my life, and as a person. God has a plan for EVERYTHING we do, even our hair ;o)
How would you describe your texture?
L: It is so hard to type natural hair, but I will say my hair is predominantly 4B with looser curls at the top/front of my head, maybe 3C-ish? My curls are tightest at the nape of my neck and my roots are always thick. My hair is coarse and dense. I always get “You got a LOT of hair” whenever I get my hair done lol. My hair behaves pretty well for the most part. It does what I tell it to do! It’s also low porosity, so I don’t have to moisturize every day.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
L: I like to keep my regimen as a weekly process, but switch it up by rotating different products. I find that my hair responds better when I don’t allow it to get used to the same things over and over. I’m not as creative when it comes to styling. I feel like my hair always looks the same lol, but my thing is the overall health of my hair. I am not a huge protective styling gal because I really like to wear my hair out and I feel that you can retain length and grow it long without having to tuck away your ends. I wear a twist-out or bantu-knot out 98% of the time with a few wash-n-gos here and there.
When I wear a twist-out, I twist my hair into about 20 twists (told you I have a lot of hair) and use a shea and/or water based butter/pudding/leave-in. My all-time fav is Oyin Handmade’s Whipped Pudding because it has an impeccable amount of hold for some reason and keeps my hair moisturized like no other. I don’t get much frizz either. I switch it up, so I also use a few other really great products like Juicy Leave-in, Shea Radiance Hair Butter, Koils by Nature Shealoe Leave-in and Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia. I always seal my ends with Oyin Handmade’s pomades (the Burnt Sugar smells SO delicious). This is another reason why I can go without protective styles. I twist at night, and untwist in the morning and whala! Beautiful curls :o) I really love big hair, so I like to fluff to create more volume. Occasionally I will rock a wash-n-go for a week. I haven’t quite mastered these or found the perfect products for them (help!) but in the past, I have gotten great results from Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Eco-styler gel and Curls Unleashed Set it Off Mousse. I always apply a light oil like coconut or Vatika over a wash-n-go to seal in moisture.
What does wash day look like for you?
L: Oil Treatment: Wash days are always on the weekends and I start by doing some type of “pre-shampoo” treatment to help retain moisture in the cleansing process. I either heavily coat my hair with thick oil like castor, coconut or jojoba and let it sit for a few hours OR I will do a Greenhouse Effect treatment the night before. I find all my oils at Whole Foods or online from Camden Grey Essential Oils.
Ayurveda & Cleanse: I also do ayurvedic paste treatments. It’s important I do a pre-poo oil treatment prior to these since they can be drying. My hair really loves brahmi, but I also use amla or neem. I really want to try cassia since it has the same benefits of henna without the color commitment. I buy my powders from my local Indian market, typically Hesh brand (always check the expiration dates on these ladies!!). I’ve been doing these treatments for about 2 months consistently and I have seen a HUGE improvement in the strength, elasticity and thickness of my hair. It’s kind of amazing lol. My fav part is that the amount of shed hair has draaaastically decreased! This is major being that I was losing so much hair before. I don’t think I’ll be able to live without ayurvedic treatments!
The ayurvedic powders can double as cleansers BUT at least once a month, I will skip the ayurveda and wash with a shampoo bar to ensure that I clarify my scalp and get rid of excess product/oil build-up. Shampoo bars are so fun to use lol and the ones I use contain a mixture of awesome all-natural ingredients and clays like bentonite, rhassoul and even ayurvedic powders (so technically I am getting the best of both worlds—cleansing and a treatment). My fav bars come from Bobeam and Henna Sooq. When I use the bars I sometimes do a final rinse with apple cider vinegar to bring the pH level of my hair back to normal (you’ll know you need to do this if you’re hair feels a little waxy or squeaky because your hair cuticle is open).
Deep Condition: On the days that I do an ayurvedic treatment, I condition with a moisturizing conditioner like Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp or Aubrey Organics White Camellia Conditioner. I separate my hair into about 6 sections, apply the conditioner, quickly twist up each section and let it sit for about 45 minutes under a cap. I may opt to do a steam treatment…when my friend lets me borrow her steamer lol, so it’s a treat when I can get my hands on it. I like to put essential oils in the water so my hair gets infused with the oils. It also is a wonderful aromatherapy session :o) If I am not in the mood for the mess that comes with ayurvedic treatments, I’ll do a homemade deep condition (basically another mess, I can’t win lol). I like using honey, molasses, egg, yogurt, avocado, essential oils, depends on what I have in the kitchen. Again, for me it’s about switching it up so my hair doesn’t get used to anything (sort of like muscle confusion for your hair lol).
I like to finger detangle as I go throughout the entire wash process. As I smooth on whatever it is I’m applying to my hair, I gently detangle and remove any shed hair as I go. After I condition, I can detangle a little heavier. My goal is to keep my hair as detangled as possible all the time. Once a month, I will detangle thoroughly with my modified Denman brush. I borrowed a tip from Naptural85 and took out every other row of teeth in the brush so that openings are wider. It makes detangling easier to do and easier on my hair.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style?
L: A low-key style day is literally when I don’t do anything to my hair lol, meaning I just tie a scarf over an old twist-out at night, then in the morning I apply a little coconut or Vatika oil to my hands and fluff my hair out. Takes 1 minute! If my twist-out is too rough looking to salvage, Eco-styler and bobby pins are my best friends. I can always just gel my hair back into a puff or pin my hair up into a funky up-do. When ALL else fails, I recently became bold enough to wear head wraps, so that helps :o)
How do you combat shrinkage?
L: My hair definitely shrinks when wet but I mostly wear twist-outs, which elongate my hair and make my curls appear looser and fuller. I love big hair, but don’t mind shrinkage. I don’t think shrinkage should be considered a negative thing. Think of it as a different look rather than a burden. Embrace the shrink!
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require extra care and attention?
L: My scalp! I am finally re-growing the hair that I lost over the past few years, specifically the upper crown/middle area. The ayurvedic treatments have helped tremendously. I also recently started applying pure aloe vera gel to my thin areas since it has astringent properties and helps with scalp issues. During the colder/dryer months, I apply a homemade oil mixture to my scalp that contains rosemary, cedarwood, myrtle and lavender essential oils. All of these practices have helped because I have about 2 inches of fine baby hairs all over my head and my thin areas are filling out! It’s kinda cool :o) I’m also trying to grow-out my edges. My daggone bonnet was stunting the growth, probably because of the elastic band. I no longer wear a bonnet unless I tie a scarf under it first. I also just bought some Jamaican Black Castor Oil in hopes to help grow them. We’ll see how that goes…
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
L: DO a deep conditioning often. Our hair gets so dry and this is the best way to infuse moisture in your hair. DO seal your ends!! Just do it! You’ll retain so much more length and eliminate split ends.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
L: DON’T dye your own hair unless you know what you’re doing and also how to properly take care of it. I had to learn the hard way… DON’T be envious of someone else’s hair or obsess over trying to make yours like theirs. Learn to love your own tresses by figuring out what it likes and what works best for your style, face, and budget. Who needs that extra stress in their life? Patience is a virtue:o)
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
L: You can catch me at any of these places: