*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
A: Hello everyone! My name is Ambi and I am from Philadelphia, PA.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: I was actually encouraged by my stylist to let the relaxer go. She explained it was not necessary in order to wear my hair straight; that I could have it pressed and still achieve that straight look. I admired the uniqueness and versatility that God created in natural tresses, and felt it would add to the health of my hair so I begin my transition in 2003. For a few years after becoming natural, I predominately wore my hair pressed. I began to experiment with my natural curls when I moved out of state to attend law school. I was then caring for my own hair and started wearing wash and go’s and puffs and I loved them, but still heavily relied on the flat iron (and yet could I not figure out why the shoulder length hair I had most of my life would not grow much past that length, lol).
So was the case for many years, until I became frustrated with a lack of progress and decided to focus on the overall health of my hair by minimizing my heat usage and using mostly all natural products. I decided to give twist outs a try even though they had been epic failures in the past. I learned to fluff and have not looked back, and am no longer dependent on heat to style my hair. I have been natural for 8 years.
How would you describe your texture?
A: My hair is highly porous. It loves to suck up moisture and would be categorized as 4a with a variety of curl patterns. The front portion has loose kinks, the crown has coarser coils and the back is finer with more defined tight ringlet curls. The various curl patterns use to frustrate me and I longed for a more uniform look, but I now accept it for what it is and love every coil, kink, and curl.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: In a spray bottle I blend water with a little VO5 Moisture Milk Conditioner, extra virgin coconut oil, and Infusium Leave In to create my daily moisturizer. I then seal in that moisture with a mixture of Shea Butter, Castor Oil and extra virgin coconut oil (with peppermint and rosemary essential oils added for fragrance) and follow up with by twisting or braiding, allow it to dry over night and fluff in the morning.
I regularly style my hair with heat free stretched styles to avoid tangles and single strand knots. I prefer wearing my hair loose and big. I achieve those big looks through twist outs, braid outs, and twisted bantu knot outs. Those are the styles I keep in heavy rotation. To maintain the style throughout the week, at night I may do three chunky twists or braids in the front if necessary and pull it all back in a low pony. Then fluff it out in the morning.
What does wash day look like for you?
A: I shampoo weekly in four sections with Organix Coconut Milk Sulfate-Free Shampoo, then deep condition under my Huetiful Hair Steamer. Currently I am using Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner (I keep Suave Humectant Moisture Conditioner, Giovanni or Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Conditioner, and Aussie Moist in the mix as well– it all depends on what my hair is in need of). I then rinse and detangle in sections directly under the water stream using a shower comb. Afterwards, I apply Infusium and Giovanni’s Direct Leave In, and wrap it up in a microfiber towel to rid it of the drippies. Then I allow it to air dry in two twisted low ponytails or in Curlformers. Both methods provide me with stretched hair. Then before I go to bed I set it in twists or braids for a big fluffy set.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: If I am short on time, my set is at the end of its life or simply didn’t turn out as expected, I pull it up in a high bun, use a bit of flaxseed gel to slick it up and I’m good to go.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: I do damp or dry sets as appose to wet, and the use of my shea butter mix helps fight against the shrinkage as well as humidity. It coats the strands and helps stretch out the curl a bit.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
A: Well one bad heat incident left me with a little brakeage in one area. Luckily it is not noticeable, but I pay extra attention to that section. On the plus side it grew back quickly and showed me that my hair is actually growing at an average rate.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: Keeping it moisturized is a must. That does not mean dousing it with water daily, but a little spritz and seal keeps my tresses happy. Recently I’ve incorporated henna treatments in my regimen for a hint of color, plus the added conditioning and strengthening benefits are a major plus.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: The constant use of heat tools is a major don’t for my hair. These days I’m just not into straight hair so it is easy to avoid. Yet when I do choose to do a blow out or press, I make sure to use heat protectant at every stage. Going beyond a week without washing is another don’t for my hair. It is just not going to work, it is almost as if a reset button needs to be pushed every 5–7 days, or it will not cooperate.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: I’m on Instagram, feel free to follow me @ prettypearls08.