*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
K: Hi! I’m Kenya and I’m originally from a small town outside Chicago, but now live in Atlanta, GA. I’m biracial, black and white.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
K: I went natural because my hair wasn’t growing fast enough and I wanted longer hair when I wore it straight! I used to have really long hair in college and I missed it. Post undergrad I was a professional dancer in the NBA for 6 years and it was really rough on my hair. I had a lot of breakage from perming, wearing weave, and coloring. Now that my hair is really long, I only wear it straight/blown out, maybe once a month! Oh the irony!
I started to go natural 4 years ago by growing out my perm and did the big chop in 2010. The time in between the growing out and the big chop was a nightmare! I was constantly braiding it and curling with a tiny iron to get any kind of curl pattern. The big chop was amazing! If you are growing out and waiting for length or thickness before you chop, just CHOP it! Save yourself time and stress. I bet your hair will grow faster anyways! Natural took some time to grow on me, but I am most me in my curls!
How would you describe your texture?
K: My hair is extremely big and thick! It’s 3c on the bottom and 3b on top. The longer it gets, the heavier, and the curls weigh it down on top. I also pull it back quite a bit and it stretches the curls on top! Don’t be like me! My texture isn’t coarse, but it’s sturdy! As long as I’m styling my hair, my snapback is great! Too many professional blow-outs do effect my curl pattern though and I end up with straight ends.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
K: My hair is literally wash & go! While it takes a while to wash and dry because there is so much of it, I don’t use a lot of product and it’s not a crazy process. I wash my hair once a week with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo and Tresemme Moisture Rich Conditioner. While it’s wet, I brush through it with a big paddle brush (because it slicks the curls together), section it in big sections and apply Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I blast it with the diffuser for about 15 minutes then let the air dry the rest. I do a quick condition wash, about every other day because it gets dry quickly. That’s just water and the Tresemme conditioner.
I go through the same product ritual as well. I deep condition it about twice a month, which is not enough, but I’m lazy when it comes to upkeep with coconut oil. I section and saturate my hair with the coconut oil while it’s wet, and brush it through. I then shampoo and condition as usual. When I want really defined and special curls, or the humidity is high and I have to fight the frizz, I use Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding, which I swear and die by! It’s just too expensive to use every other day and waste on working out and dancing!
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
K: I live by the poof! It’s a 1/2 pulled through ponytail where the curls rest on the top of my head. It can be casual or more refined if I slick the sides up. Add red lips, and the look is unstoppable!
How do you combat shrinkage?
K: I don’t ever think about shrinkage. The more my hair air dries, the longer the curls hang. If I diffuse for a little too long, the curls are tighter. I have come to a place where there is a slim chance I will have 2 similar hair days! Some days the curls hang, other days they frizz or are tighter or bigger…I just let it be.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
K: I’m really aware of stretching my curls. The top curls no longer ringlet like they used to. They are almost waves with small ringlets on the ends. It’s from pulling them back and up. I also have tried to dye my hair red several times, and the color has released the curls. I wanted to bleach it and go completely red, but I’m afraid of how it will affect my curls. To fight the stretch, I do my best to wear my hair down and sleep with it down. I even work out with it down!
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
K: I really don’t think in terms of texture, but I do think in terms of size! The bigger the better! I love love love when my hair is crazy big and the curls are all over! So after I do a quick diffuse, which I believe sets the product, I whip my hair from side to side and back and forth just like Willow says to do;) I want to make sure the curls separate and get hit by the air so they grow:) Then I let it air dry without touching!
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
K: Don’t over product! Don’t touch or mess with the curls until they are dry!