*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
A: My name is Amina Zena (yep that’s my real name lol). I’m originally from West Virginia, but I’ve been living in New York City for almost 2 years now working as a Personal Trainer/Group Exercise Instructor and YouTuber.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: I went natural because I want to have super long hair. I didn’t get my first relaxer until I was 14 so my hair was half way down my back and I miss it. When I had a relaxer it didn’t really get much longer than shoulder length because it was breaking, plus it was getting too expensive to maintain. I also thought it was silly to “need” to go get a relaxer. I felt like I wasn’t being true to myself with a relaxer, and there was a little part of me that wanted to make a political statement as well. I started transitioning in November 2009, so I’ve been natural about 2.5–3 years-ish. I BC’d in June 2010 and I think I ended up cutting an inch of natural hair in the process.
How would you describe your texture?
A: I’m pretty sure my hair is 4a with some 3c undertones. It’s coarse and ridiculously dense and thick. A gift and curse at times lol.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: I’m super lazy when it comes to my hair. I definitely believe in using all natural organic products and keeping it as healthy as possible, but I do the bare minimum. I wash 1–2 times a week with a sulfate free shampoo, I always do a deep conditioning treatment for at least 15–20 minutes and then I use leave in styling products. I do hot oil treatments maybe twice a month. I love trying new products so I don’t have a line that I always use and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever used the same combination of products twice, but I really like Kinky Curly, Shea Moisture, Beautiful Curls and Eco Styler Gel — those have been the products that have really worked for my hair type. On the days in between my next wash I just spritz it with water and rub in a little leave in — whatever is in my shower at the time and go. I always air dry. Sometimes if I’m in a hurry I’ll use the blow dryer on cool, but I’m honestly afraid to use heat on my hair. I don’t want to mess up the curl pattern and I haven’t found an excuse to justify spending 3–4 hours straightening it.
Does your workout routine affect your hair care regimen?
A: Working out doesn’t make a significant difference in terms of what I do to my hair. Sure I sweat a lot, but I wouldn’t say that working out causes me to “sweat out” the style. The only thing is sometimes I have to shower at the gym and pack my products with me, other than that there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to working out and messing up your natural hair.
What does wash day look like for you?
A: The last time I washed my hair I used Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo, Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Leave In (for about 15 minutes) rinsed and then to style I used Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In and Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk with my Denman brush — It turned out pretty nice! The whole process takes about an hour start to finish if I don’t take breaks in between.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: I honestly wake up and go most days. I wear an afro and sometimes I use a scarf and rock my puff, but I either use my hands or my pick and fluff it up. I’m super low maintenance when it comes to my hair. I definitely want to try more styles though. It’s easier for me to manage as it gets longer.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: Shrinkage is my number one pet peeve when it comes to my hair!! I constantly have to fluff it throughout the day, but I notice when I keep it tied up in a puff it helps retain the length but then it sort of straightens the curls. I definitely prefer the more defined curl look overall on myself, but I usually pick it out for the length factor. I can’t wait until I can have super definition and length — I enjoy my afro though and I’m probably never going to get a major hair cut. I’m gonna rock the fro for as long as I can.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
A: The crown of my head has the tightest coarsest thickest curls and requires about 2 times more product than the rest of my head and requires a little more umph to detangle. Also my bangs and side burns have a looser curl pattern than the rest of my head — that’s the part of my hair that’s more 3C so I have to be conscious to blend the textures and give it a little more attention when I’m brushing it with my Denman.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: ALWAYS deep condition when you wash and sleep on a satin pillowcase. It makes a big difference!
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: Don’t touch it while it’s drying — causes frizz. Don’t use products with alcohol. It definitely dries it out and the texture is already dry to begin with.
Do you have any tips for the person looking to start a workout routine, but doesn’t know where to start?
A: The best place to start is in your head. You should set a goal so that way you know what you’re working towards every time you step into the gym or decide to workout, plus it makes it easier for me and other fitness professionals to help you when we know what you’re trying to achieve. Once your mind is right you can do anything, and you can plan your workouts accordingly. Diet is a huge factor as well. A good rule of thumb is to think the fresher the better, so before you reach for something that comes prepackaged think about grabbing fresh veggies, fruit, nuts or lean protein instead — less pastas, bread, rice, cereals, cookies, chips, etc.
Can you share 3 quick tips for fitness on the go?
A: 1. Before you reach for a snack try drinking water. Sometimes you’re actually more thirsty than you are hungry. 2. Keep your core (abs) tight at all times, maintain good posture, keep your shoulders rolled back and stand up tall as if someone is holding you up by pulling a string from the top of your head. It may seem minor, but it does make a difference in the long run with your overall appearance and core strength. 3. Don’t just take the stairs, jog up them! You’ll get there faster, burn more calories and get a natural energy boost. It’s a win-win-win!
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: You can find me at Youtube — also on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook under AminaZena — I’m all over the web but those are the sites I frequent the most. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It’s free and I give a lot of great fitness info! Always stay positive, whether you’re transitioning to natural or getting in shape for the first time. Stay focused and strong despite any negativity or naysayers you encounter. Stay true to yourself and your goal and be positive, great things will happen. The only time you should look back is to see how far you’ve come.