*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
S: Hi I’m Stephanie and I’m from London UK.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
S: I’ve been natural since March 2009. Prior to that I had been natural till I was 17 years old. I had never stepped foot in a hair salon. My mum always did my hair so I was completely clueless about hair relaxers and all that stuff. My cousin was getting married in 2006 and I was bridesmaid. She wanted all of the bridesmaids to have the same hairstyle. So a ‘hair stylist’ chemically straightened my hair for the wedding to fit in. She said she did it because apparently I had ‘too much hair’. Initially I thought it was one of those ‘wash-out’ jobs. But alas, it was not the case lol.
I went natural to rectify what the ‘hair stylist’ did to my hair. I had always liked my hair, never had a problem with its maintenance, texture or health. I guess I just wanted to return to what I had. Not that having my hair straight for a while wasn’t fun, I just didn’t want it to be permanent.
How would you describe your texture?
S: Hmm, probably 3c in the back and a toss-up between 4a and 4b in the middle and front. My hair doesn’t tangle much. It’s definitely not thick despite its appearance.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
S: I don’t use combs or brushes. I find I get quite rough with my hair when I comb it and end up yanking at it, which isn’t much fun or good for my hair. I only use heat once a year when I straighten it (just to change it up for a bit). I detangle using my fingers. I’ve been finger detangling for about 8 months now, and it works well for me. I usually plait my hair every Sunday after it’s washed and fully dry. I then take the braids out Monday morning. I wear my hair up, away from my neckline, e.g. loose up-dos and a lot of loose/messy buns. Or if the weather is warm and not too windy, I’ll leave it down.
I don’t wear protective styles like braids and twists very often because I find that they make me look quite young. I know that it’s a silly thing to say, but when I see myself with twists it reminds me of a photo of myself when I was 5 years old that still hangs on the mantelpiece in my mum’s house lol. Plus I prefer my hair loose in up-dos and buns.
What does wash day look like for you?
S: I don’t enjoy spending a long time in the bathroom washing my hair or styling it if I’m honest. So my regime is very very very simple. I co-wash only. I co-wash every Sunday with Tresemme Naturals Conditioner or L’oreal EverSleek Conditioner (I discovered this one recently and quite like it). I pretty much follow the ‘Curly Girl’ Method of washing my hair with conditioner, but I don’t use gel. I find most gels distort my texture too much, and make me look like I’ve got a jheri curl. I allow my hair to air dry then plait 6 big braids before I go to bed. Unravel the plaits in the morning and give them a spritz with aloe vera and water. I deep condition once a month. I use fresh ripe avocado mixed with some coconut milk as my deep conditioner.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style?
S: A loose messy bun/pineapple bun right at the top of my head.
How do you combat shrinkage?
S: By allowing my hair to fully air dry. It can be tempting to fiddle with my hair when it’s wet because it’s more malleable. But I try to resist the urge as much as I can. I also use braids to stretch out my hair.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require extra care and attention?
S: My hair grows out like a mullet lol. That’s my only real woe with my hair.
I don’t do many protein treatments. In the past I used to, though personally I didn’t notice much difference in my hair health by doing them. I’m still learning about my hair everyday. So protein, and what protein treatments suit my hair are an area I’m looking to learn more about.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
S: Flaxseed, and listening to my body. I used to suffer from a dry flaky scalp and used lots of useless oils and creams to try and cover it up. I avoided the foundation of the issue, which was my poor diet and not drinking enough water. Once I improved those two elements and incorporated flaxseed into my diet (I sprinkle 2 tablespoons over my cereal and also take the supplement), my scalp problems disappeared. It’s a great source of essential fatty acids and fiber. I urge others to look into it if they are suffering from a similar problem with their scalp.
I truly believe that by a certain age you should know how to heal yourself. By this I don’t mean you should self medicate, but that you should be in tune with your body and what it needs. Nourishment and care, inside and out has definitely supported and improved my overall health. And I guess because I have taken more of an interest in what my body needs and what I put in it (I’ve been vegetarian for over 7 years and a vegan for 4 years) my hair as a result has reaped the benefits.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
S: Lack of moisture and using too much heat.