*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
Z: My name is Zara! I am a Nigerian-American (first generation) girl from Maryland.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
Z: Okay…this is a story! In about middle school my mom really dove into caring for my hair and my sister’s. My hair flourished and got quite long by the time I was in high school. When I was about 15, my mom was busy and couldn’t do my relaxer so she let one of our family members do it. Long story short…the relaxer was left in for far too long. No matter how much I cried for it to be washed out…I was replied to with a forceful “NO”. My hair was pretty severely damaged. It was thin and lifeless.
In an effort to revive my hair, I started looking at relaxed hair videos on YouTube. That was when I discovered the concept of natural hair. As I got distracted by the videos of beautiful women with hair that was just as beautiful, I asked myself why I even relaxed. It was just something I did…I didn’t have to and I realized that I didn’t care to. This was in November of 2008. I had decided I would embark on a natural hair journey. No more relaxers for this head! Let’s see…I went natural in April of 2009 so I have been fully natural for almost 4 years now.
How would you describe your texture?
Z: My hair texture is 4a with 4b at my crown and sides. The strands are fine, but very densely concentrated. My hair is non-porous.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
Z: When I am in school, I keep my hair in braids for the most part. Since I live in a dorm and have a very busy schedule, it’s easier to manage and a lot less time consuming. I moisturize my braids with Paul Mitchell’s “The Conditioner” and I seal in the moisture with a mixture of olive and castor oil. I condition with Tresemme Naturals and I wash (co-wash) with Vo5 Tea Therapy Clarifying Conditioner: Vanilla Mint Tea. I also lightly apply my shea butter mix to my scalp. I’ve found that consistent cleansing eliminates build up.
When I am at home or when my hair is free, I use all the same products. I am currently trying out the Leave-In by Luv Naturals. I am also trying out Oyin Handmade’s Whipped Pudding. I typically leave my hair twisted and just wear scarves, or I blow it out and do twist outs. As long as my hair is stretched, maintaining it is hassle free!
What does wash day look like for you?
Z: For me, wash day is a two-three day process! What I do first is hot oil with a mixture of olive, castor, jojoba, and coconut oil. I then hop in the shower and detangle with a Denman brush (this is easy since my hair was previously stretched). I don’t cleanse often, so I just condition my hair with Tresemme. After all this, I use a deep conditioner. I mix my deep treatment conditioner with honey, olive, jojoba, and coconut oil. I leave it in my hair during the day or overnight. When I rinse, I apply my leave in (Luv Naturals) and my butter (my shea mix or Oyin) and I allow my hair to dry. When my hair is mostly dry, I will blow it out, do a twistout or braidout, or let it stay twisted under a scarf. I then condition during the week (if I choose option three).
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
Z: The bed head…this results from me not re-twisting my hair and just going to sleep. I get a lot of volume and this is typically when people compliment my hair the most…hahahaha. Even after all this laziness, my hair tends to stay relatively manageable.
How do you combat shrinkage?
Z: I never wash-and-go! It’s a nightmare of tangles unless I use gel, so I just don’t take chances anymore. I usually band my twists and such when I don’t do blowouts to prevent shrinkage. This is more for general ease though. I would still be doing wash-and-gos if they were not a hassle to detangle 3. What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
Z: My crown for sure! The more stretched and moisturized it is, the more it flourishes, but I have had some rough experiences in the past. It has finally recovered!
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
Z: Do moisturize with water often! Do keep hair stretched and well detangled to ward off breakage and splits.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
Z: Don’t wash and go unless you are willing to put time in to make sure the style is well detangled, neat, and stress free! Don’t expose hair to cold weather often.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
Z: Yes! I just started sharing my journey. My scalp is very tender/sensitive, but I have a ton of hair! I’m hoping that capturing my trials will help others 3. Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/EfikZara.