*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
A: My name is Aiysha and I currently live in NYC.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: My last chemical treatment was in December 2006. Within the next couple of months my hair started to thin/fall out. I actually had bald patches here and there. Those grew in pretty quickly as the rest of my hair slowly started falling off. I would tie back whatever I had left, strategically covering up the short hair spots. Clearly, I was in denial. In March 2007, I finally walked into a salon after work and asked someone to just cut the rest of my hair off. I’ve been chemical-free since.
Later that year I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), which could have contributed to my hair loss, if it wasn’t the sole reason for it. I did have two sew-in weaves shortly following the ‘big chop’ because I was a little uncomfortable with the look of my new hair. My bf told me to just get rid of the weave. I was a little hesitant at first because I thought he would hate my natural hair. It was definitely a journey of acceptance in the beginning, but I love my juicy hair.
How would you describe your texture?
A: Ok, I don’t know anything about hair types. I actually just discovered these different texture categories last year. I’m just now really playing with my hair and doing more research. Thanks to sites like this.
If I had to choose I would be in a Type 4 category, with a defined S pattern. Although I love when my hair bunches up and gives me more of a 4c look. I’m already confused. Forget that. My hair is all over the place. Sometimes it’s the juiciest thing ever. Other times I can’t put enough moisture into it. Sometimes it hangs and other times I have the biggest shrinkage. The top is light; it’s fluffier and less defined. The back is curlier. The hair on the side, underneath, like right near my ears, is super soft and silky — almost like baby hair, especially because moisture is retained better there. I also have to use a lot of product…because I have A LOT of hair. A LOT. I’m reminded of that every time I comb my hair out or do a twist out.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: Hmm in the last few months I think I’ve alternated between twist outs and just wearing my hair out (either down or loosely tied up). I really like using DevaCurl (DC) One Conditioner. Right now, it just seems to be the only conditioner to really penetrate my hair and moisturize it. Although I haven’t really tried testing anything else out. And sometimes I get buildup that I feel is definitely from the DC Conditioner or that it’s making my dermatitis worse.
Since I discovered Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie (thanks, YouTubers!), it’s my go-to product — especially for twist-outs. That and Kinky Kurly’s Knot Today Leave-in. I don’t really like to mess with my hair too much. I think even doing twist-outs too often stresses my tresses (yes, I think I’m clever). If I do twist my hair, it’s more to retain moisture, for a more defined pattern, and length. So when I twist, I use Shea Moisture and then put Argan oil over the twists.
What does wash day look like for you?
A: I just got diagnosed with dermatitis so I’ve been using a prescribed shampoo for that. I don’t use it as often as I should. Instead I use jojoba oil on wash day. Really helps. I have also used Paul Mitchell’s Clarifying Shampoo and DC’s No Poo. So…I shampoo my hair, use the tips of my fingers (vs. nails) to really scrub away all that buildup, condition and then apply either just jojoba oil or a mixture of jojoba and tea tree oil to my scalp. Coat my hair in Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and air dry.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: I rarely pineapple my hair at night or wrap it in anything, or sleep on a silk pillowcase (although I probably should). Whether I am wearing it out or in a twist-out I just usually get up and go. Or get up, tug at it to unflatten the sides, reshape and go. If that doesn’t do it, or it’s way too hot out I grab a scrunchy, pineapple my hair, and go.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: Well I’m not combating it because I’m not at war with it haha. If I want my hair to ‘hang’ more, I do a twist out. Otherwise, like I said, I can reshape it. Sometimes the shrinkage annoys me, especially when it’s looking so cute after a shower and then less than an hour later I’ve lost a few inches. But other times I like the shrinkage. I like that my hair can look so many different ways — long, short, super curly, super puffy and ‘fro‑y’.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
A: Breakage, split ends, dryness. I find that usually those are due to the products I’m using or lack of product. Like I said earlier, I have to use a lot of it to really coat all of my hair. Sometimes it’s my diet. Sometimes it just needs a little water to perk up. Now that my hair is so much longer than when I started and I’m more acquainted with it, I starting to work with it more and understand what it needs.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: Lots of moisture and keeping it detangled (otherwise it can start getting a little matted). And I’m going to add a third one…a cut every few months really revitalizes my hair.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: No moisture and messing with it too much. My hair responds to a light touch and just leaving it alone after that.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: amerryprankster on Instagram. I can be a big #gpoy #naturalhair hashtagger sometimes.