M: Hi, my name is Maddy Wooten! I am originally from Charleston, SC, grew up in Orlando and Miami, FL and now reside in Los Angeles, CA!
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: I have been natural for four solid years now! With the exception of coloring my hair, regretting it, and cutting it off again! I decided to go natural for several reasons. The most obvious reason was that my hair was severely damaged! 75% of my hair fell out from color and relaxers. It was extremely thin, dry, and constantly breaking! I went from hair that almost reached the middle of my back to hair that barely reached my shoulders! Another reason is that my natural hair compliments me and my personality way more than my relaxed hair did! I absolutely love what my hair says about me! I want to be able to inspire other women across the globe to feel the same way about themselves. Going natural provides a sense of self. A sense of accomplishment. A sense of perseverance. It has a magical power that can’t be matched. A confidence that can’t be moved. It is empowering. It is liberating. It is all that it seems to be and more.
How would you describe your texture?
M: I have various textures throughout my head. Most of my hair is 3c when I keep it shoulder length. As I grow it out, my curls loosen closer to 3b. The hair on the back of my head and above my neck is definitely 4a. All of my hair on the crown of my head is 3c and some strands near my temples and nape of my neck are even 3b. My hair is relatively thin, however I have a lot of it! My hair is a lot softer to the touch than you would presume by just looking at it because my curls are so tight.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
M: I am a performing artist and I wash and style my hair according to show days. I need 24 hours of allowing my product to air dry before I can get a full figured poof that is stage ready. I have tried 10 different styling products and my favorite styling product is Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding. While my hair is still damp, I section my hair row by row and comb through the product with my fingers from root to tip. This product defines my curls even if I’ve brushed them out. I make sure to saturate my hair with just the right amount of product. This can be tricky because your hair is still slightly damp and you might mistake the hair you’ve applied product to for just wet hair. Not enough product or hair that is too wet causes frizz. Too much product or hair that is too dry causes flaking. The key is that I allow my hair to air dry. Sometimes I need to diffuse it if I am in a rush for a specific look, but my curls frizz up over time from being handled and moved around while trying to dry. When it is at least half way dry, I toss my head left and right, up and down, and twist left and right to allow the air to get between each row and lift my roots. Once completely dry I can fluff out my ends in case clumps of curls are too thick or stuck together. I do this by finding each row of hair and lightly tugging on the very ends, allowing them to spring back to a curl. If I need more volume, I lift my hair section by section from the ends, slide my fingers in through the hair only near the scalp, and tug upwards by pulling my hand away from my head one inch. I then carefully remove my fingers, making sure not to pull through the body of my hair.
I protect my hair at night in a modified pineapple wrap. First I perform the typical pineapple wrap, and then I hold out the very corner triangle piece and tuck in all of the ends of my hair. I then pull the triangle forward to the front of my head and tuck it into the rest of the pineapple wrap. This ensures that 100% of my hair is covered. In the morning I just undo my wrap and shake out my hair. It is usually sticking up so row by row, starting at the base of my neck, I gently tug on the ends of my hair downwards. My hair will last 5–7 days before I need to start pulling it back with a loose ponytail or perform this ritual again :). There are times when my schedule does not allow me to wash it more than once a week. I simply add Curls Curl Refresher Moisturizing Spray a section at a time by rubbing the product in my hands and cupping or squeezing my curls from root to tip. In that same section I then rub Curls Curl Goddess Gel into my hands and repeat the same process. This gives me another 3–4 days without a wash, and with redefined curls.
What does wash day look like for you?
M: My washing ritual starts with a long wetting period. Some of my curls, especially my 4a curls, take longer for their cuticles to open. If you are running water over your hair but your hair is still “dry”, that means the cuticles are still closed and your hair is not ready to receive whatever treatment you intend to give it. I section my hair in columns instead of rows to allow the water to reach my scalp even on the bottom of my head. I also cup each column of hair at the roots and squeeze so that all of the water doesn’t just run past the hair, but forms a puddle in my hand and soaks the hair. Once I feel the texture changes and check the ends to make sure they are fully soaked, I move on to the next column. I then shampoo my hair with Profectiv Megagrowth Stimulating Shampoo. I have tried 6 different shampoo and conditioning products and this is my favorite line! I usually use a little shampoo to get the majority of the product out of my hair. Then I shampoo a second time, massage my scalp, wash my hair in four large sections, then my roots.
I usually deep condition my hair every time I wash it because it dries out so frequently. I use Profectiv Megagrowth Deep Conditioner by applying it thoroughly to both my scalp and hair. I massage my scalp for a few minutes, then I comb my hair with a wide tooth comb. I like to put my head upside down so that the hair on the bottom of my head gets treated as if it were the hair on top. I also put extra conditioner on the bottom of my head because my curls are tight and lose moisture quicker. I comb all of my ends, my shafts, then I comb from the roots last. I then cover my hair with a shower cap and let the hot water run over it for a few minutes. I let the conditioner sit while I finish the rest of my shower routine (make sure to do your hair first before anything else). Then I rinse my hair thoroughly, wring it out with my hands, and wrap it with a towel. I do not pat it or rub it dry. During the cold winter season, I sometimes do not rinse the conditioner as thoroughly so that I can leave a little bit of in my hair for styling.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
M: When I sleep with the pineapple wrap, it only takes me one minute to undo my wrap and shake! When my curls are really old and I do not have time to refresh them, I loosely pull my hair back into a high ponytail and wrap a pony around my hair only once. This gives me a very full poof on the top of my head and protects my hair from breakage from both the hair tie and from pulling it tight. Another quick style I like to use when I do not have time to redo my curls is my frohawk — it is perfect for nappy curls! I just create five ponytails in a row down the middle of my head. It only takes me a few minutes!
How do you combat shrinkage?
M: Once my hair is fully dry I flip my head upside down, slide my fingers into my scalp at various sections and pull outwards to lift my roots. Second, I gentle separate rows of curls so that they sit on top of each other and don’t mush together. Lastly, I use my finger tips and tug on the very tips of my hair to pull out the curls and let them recoil to a position that is slightly looser than before.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
M: I have some strands of 3b curls that require extra scrunching when applying product. I also separate these strands so that they are finer than the other clumps of curls on my head, which helps them tighten a little more. The hair on the back of my neck is extremely coiled and requires a lot of fluffing and shaping as it dries. Unlike the hair on the top of my head that has plenty of room to hang, the hair on the back of my neck keeps getting pushed in by my neck and shoulders, so I need to separate them more as well once dry.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
M: I must remain consistent with cutting dead ends even when I try to grow out my hair. Dead ends cause my hair not to curl as much as it does when my ends are healthy. I must wash my hair at least once a week. If I go too long without washing my curls kink up more than usual, which causes a lot more hair to fall out than necessary.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
M: I never touch the body of my hair once product is in, even when it is fully dry (unless I am going for a fluff out afro and not a curly poof). I only touch the roots and the tips of my hair when reshaping. If my hair is not dry I cannot touch my hair, even to move a strand with clean hands. I must cover my fingers with hair product or that specific section will dry frizzy.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
M: My personal website is www.MaddyWooten.com. I also have two Facebook Pages: “Maddy Wooten” and “Nothing But Natural”. I can be found on Twitter: @MissMaddyMad and @NothinBTNatural and on Instagram: @MissMaddyMad and @NothingButNatural.
I am very excited about this summer because I am also officially releasing a limited edition of my new “Nothing But Natural” racerback tank top!