*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
C: Hi everyone! My name is Corinne and I am 20 years old. I was born on the island of Grenada and have been here all my life. Recently, I graduated with a Bachelor degree of Science in Biology at St. George’s University, and I now work as a Lab and Research Assistant.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
C: Honestly, it was really spontaneous! I relaxed my hair for the first time in my final year of high school for my graduation, and after that my hair progressively got thinner and shorter from breakage. Within about a year and a half my hair went from mid-back length to chin length. Finally after over 2 years of those annoying trips to the salon (yeah it took me a while to learn my lesson) one day I just decided that I had enough with my damaged, lifeless-looking strands and it was time to head down the road of natural hair. I wore braid extension styles for a couple months after my last relaxer, big chopped, and then continued to wear braid extensions and kinky twist extensions for a significant part of my first year natural. This was the case honestly because I didn’t know how to manage it at the time; it took a while before I got used to how thick my natural hair was. I do wish I had researched more before going back natural, so heads up to the newbies/transitioners!
After a year into my natural journey of tearing through hair that I smothered in hair grease with any comb I could find, neglecting treatments and blow-drying my hair without protecting it, I had to cut 2 to 3 inches of damaged ends off (yikes!). I made a greater effort to learn about natural hair and to really take proper care of my hair from the beginning of my second year natural onwards. I’ve been completely natural for 2 years and 6 months. When I BC’d in March 2010, it was 4 months after my last relaxer.
How would you describe your texture?
C: Though I’m personally not that into the typing system, I would say my hair generally would be categorized with the 4b/4c texture; full of kinks which I love! I do find rebel straight and curly strands when my mane is out, which I accept as just one of the surprises natural hair can bring to the table. My hair is very thick with fine strands. I recently added highlights to my hair with permanent colour. Fortunately, I didn’t experience any texture issues.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
C: I wash my hair every 2–3 weeks with shampoo, which I always follow with a detangling session and deep conditioning. My hair likes the simple approach when it comes to products, while my arms approve simple, low manipulation styles because of the thickness of my hair.
After washes I twist my hair while it is still damp in medium to small twists usually with just castor oil. If I desire I will apply Organic Root Stimulator Loc & Twist Gel after the castor oil before twisting. I apply a castor and peppermint oil mix to my scalp after twisting and leave the twists in for about a week or so and then I rock a twistout for a few days. Twistouts are my fav style! I refresh my hair when needed with a spritz consisting of water with a little regular conditioner. When the twistout gets old, my hair is then stretched enough to do a cute bun or updo until the next wash day. If I think my hair needs some extra moisture before my scheduled shampoo day, I will co-wash with Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner and wear a “wash-n-go” puff for that day.
What does wash day look like for you?
C: Wash days are a workout! I get tired just thinking about them. The night before my shampoo day, my hair is usually in a stretched state from an old twistout or braidout. So it is easy for me then to section my hair off into about 8 twisted sections and slightly finger detangle each section after misting it with a mixture of water and castor oil. Once a month, I protein treat my hair with some Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise mixed with 2 eggs. Before shampooing, I apply this treatment generously to my hair, cover my hair with a plastic cap and let it sit for about half an hour before rinsing.
After that, starting with the first section I unravel the twist, massage Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo into the section focusing on my scalp, rinse, slather the section with Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner and re-twist. I repeat this process until each section has been cleansed and my entire head is covered with conditioner. Then working in the same order I shampooed sections, I detangle each section first with my fingers followed with a wide tooth comb under running water and re-twist. To finish off I deep condition my hair with Organics Olive Oil Deep Conditioner with a plastic cap for about an hour. After slightly blotting the extra water with a t‑shirt, my hair can finally be styled. Whew!
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
C: I love puffs! My knee-high stocking has not failed me yet on those off hair days.
How do you combat shrinkage?
C: I do not try to combat it really, and believe me my hair shrinks ALOT but I accept it. As I have not used heat in over a year, I am ok with the little stretch I get from twisting after washes. If I want more stretch, for example in preparation for a style I would like to do the following day, I will put my hair in medium-sized braids overnight.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
C: My hair has the tendency to dry out easily if I’m not careful, sometimes it seems to soak up moisture like a sponge.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
C: 1) Working in sections makes styling and wash days less stressful 2) Eliminating the use of heat on my hair has worked wonders for moisture retention and overall hair health.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
C: 1) Applying product on my dry hair does nothing besides making it feel really greasy, so I stay away from dry twistouts/braidouts. 2) Might come as a shock to most naturals, but my hair dislikes coconut oil! Great shine, but it just sits on my hair and makes it feel brittle to the touch.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
C: Hopefully I will have a YouTube channel up soon, but in the meantime you can always check out my page here on the BGLH forum: http://blackgirllonghairforum.com/profile/CocoNatalieFrancis and I’ll be glad to answer any questions. In addition, I am a co-admin of the SpicyNaturals FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SpicyNaturals/216039545136186, a spot which aims to give support and information for the naturals of Grenada and beyond, and also encourages an integral approach to being natural (hair, skin, body and spiritual well-being).