*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
S: My name is Shamilla. I was born in St-Vincent and the Grenadines and my family and I moved to Montreal when I was 5. I LOVE the sun (heat) and I REALLY hate the cold. You would think that I would get used to it by now…NOPE! Also, I am fluent in Franglais/Frenglish (combination of English and French..lol..don’t ask).
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
S: I think that I wanted something different, a new challenge. My younger sister introduced me to Healthy Hair Journeys during our relaxer days about 6 years ago and we discussed going natural eventually. Plus I was tired of having them darn scabs on my scalp form relaxer burns. My last relaxer was in September of ’09 and I BC’d in July ’10. I was sooo itching to chop it ALL off I couldn’t reach the 1 year transition mark. If my math is correct I have been fully natural for 2 1/2 years since my BC.
How would you describe your texture?
S: I really don’t fully understand those categories for our hair…but I guess I’m closest to 4a/4b. My hair could get “real hard” (like my mother would say). I have medium strands, but my hair is very thick. Once, I pulled a muscle at my shoulder blade from trying to put my thick hair into a ponytail. I was in pain for about 3 days and I couldn’t lift my arm. Lol true story.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
S: I love my twists. I don’t know where I would be without them. I wear twists 97% of the time. The other 3% are braid outs and flat-ironed hair (once a year). This month, all twists all day. It’s just much easier for me to handle and I can style them however I want. My strands also benefit more from the moisturizing process since I don’t miss any spots when it’s twisted.
My products list is really short since it’s definitely very difficult to find the products that you really want in Montreal. The variety is very little compared to the US and other parts of Canada. But I did manage to get my hands on a few popular products without having to pay an arm for them:
Leave-in Moisturizer: Kinky Curly Knot Today and Cantu Leave-in (bought in NYC).
Conditioner/Protein: Aubrey Organic’s Honey Suckle and GPB (ordered these online) and ORS Replenishing Pack. Tresemme and Herbal Essences are okay if I mix them with oils. I also like Aussie 3 Minute Miracle and Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor.
Shampoo: Almost non existent. One bottle lasts me soooo long. Sometimes years because I usually use a dime sized amount and dilute it with a lot of water. I don’t use a specific brand. I clarify once every 6 (or so) weeks with apple cider vinegar mixed with good ol’ H20.
Oils: Vatika coconut oil is my fave. This stays right in front of my heater during the cold months. This way it doesn’t solidify and it’s always ready for me 🙂 Olive oil is also my fave and Jamaican black castor oil for my lovely edges (front and back). I’ve also used avocado oil, which is okay but it’s expensive here and you can barely find it. I would like to try aloe vera juice, but I’m not in the mood for a hunt right now.
What does wash day look like for you?
S: I always wash my hair once every week. Except during the winter months. I wash every 2 weeks. I start by deep conditioning on dry hair in sections (about 6 chunky twists) with either Aubrey, ORS Pack or Aussie (anything thick). Once the hair is well coated, I seal with l’huile d’olive (sometimes the French sneaks up on me) and slap on my Hair Therapy Wrap and I keep this on for about 45 minutes (sometimes longer when I don’t pay attention). If I’m shampooing my hair that week, it’s applied only to my scalp with the help of a squeeze bottle (conditioner still in my hair and hair still twisted). My hair is then rinsed well and voila…I’m ready for styling.
I towel blot the excess water and I start undoing one section/twist at a time, apply a leave-in and do smaller twists at that section. I do this for each section until my entire head is done. I wear these twists until my next wash day (or re-do them at the 1 week mark if I’m washing every 2 weeks).
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
S: When I’m in a hurry or not in the mood to put too much work into my hair, I just go for chunkier twists instead of medium sized twists. But no matter what, my hair will be in twists some way or another. Or, if it’s already in twists and I’m headed out to the movies with the beau, then I might do a twist out.
How do you combat shrinkage?
S: I usually don’t. On wash days, after my hair has been twisted and ready for the work week, it stretches out due to tension from my ponytail holder. But if I need my hair stretched out from day one, then I will grab the blow dryer and use the tension method with my hands (instead of the brush).
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
S: That would definitely be my edges. After I had my daughter, postpartum shedding was no stranger, so I’ve been working extra hard at getting my edges back to their initial full state with the help of Jamaican black castor oil and making sure that no direct tension is used at that area. So far the results are wonderful. Another problem area is the hair at the crown of my head is more course that the rest, so I usually moisturize/condition there generously.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
S: Most def deep conditioning faithfully during every wash. Always sleeping on a satin pillowcase and using a satin hair wrap under my winter hat. (You should see the confused looks on people’s faces at the movies or even at church when I’m tying that thing around my head before I slap on my hat…too bad I don’t care)
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
S: Wash and gos — Tried it a few times, and every time was a complete disaster. (Too many SSKs)
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
S: I’m on YouTube, but I’m not as dedicated to it as I would like to be. But for those who are interested YT user => s4spirals. I’m also on Instagram as ShamillaBella 🙂