H: My name is Hajar Ahmed. My ethnicity is Nubian Egyptian, but I was born and raised in Northern Virginia #DMVGirl.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
H: I’ve been getting relaxers/texturizers in my hair since I was 7 because according to my mother my hair was just easier to handle while permed. I had a really bad experience the last time and the chemicals burned my scalp in the process. I noticed the breakage and how thin my hair was. It was in a terrible state so I told myself the perming days are over! I’ve been natural for 3 years.
How would you describe your texture?
H: HA! My hair has a mind of its own. My edges are more coarse and don’t really have much of a curl pattern, they’re kind of just there. But for the outer edges of my head I’m more of a 3c and in the inner part of my head (the crown) I’m more of a 4a with looser curls on the outside and tighter/thicker curls on the inside.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
H: Post wash-day I usually have my hair in a huge curly fro for as long as I can possibly take it (anywhere between 3–6 days depending on the amount of product I use). After that I usually throw my hair up in a high bun (my favorite protective style) or another variation of a protective style until it’s wash day again! My hair doesn’t run on a schedule where wash day is every Sunday for example. I’m pretty busy, so wash day comes when I have the time. I use KeraCare Edge Tamer to keep my cray cray edges in line and Au Naturale Anti-Shrinkage 10-In‑1 Styles Gelee to lock in my twist-outs with no flaking or damage to my hair! It’s great for wash and gos too and really does combat shrinkage! This is a staple product!
What does wash day look like for you?
H: Oh Wash Day. 3 essentials I keep in the shower at all times: a wide toothed comb, a shower cap/bonnet of some sort, and CONDITIONER ON CONDITIONER ON CONDITIONER. There’s no such thing as too many conditioners. Depending on the style I want to do (wash n go, twist out, braid out, etc.) I alter my wash day differently.
Twist-out/braid-out: I separate my dry hair into 6 two-strand twist sections (just with my bare hands, nothing fancy). I wet my hair in the shower and take out one of the twists, co-wash it (being sure to really get into my scalp), deep condition, and retwist. I repeat this with the rest of the twists one at a time. I let the deep conditioner sit for at least 10 minutes. I then repeat this process with more of a moisturizing conditioner (and one that can serve as a leave in as well), apply, and retwist. At the end of the shower I let the shower head run on my twists for a few seconds, letting some water run through and wash out some of the conditioner but not all. I leave a vast majority of the conditioner in.
Shampoo: I co-wash my hair meaning I don’t shampoo except for once every 2–3 months. This has made a significant difference in the health of my hair. I only use sulfate free shampoos.
KEY!: Always always always use a wide tooth comb. I comb out my individual twists after applying product before I twist them back up.
Wash N Go: I run through the co-wash/deep conditioner/moisturizer as stated above, but being sure to completely detangle my hair with a wide tooth comb. My all-time favorite product for a wash and go is Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
H: #TeamHighBun. I am High Bun crazy! It gets the hair out of my face, and away from my neck. Plus it looks collected and classy! It also helps to stretch my curls so that if I decide to leave them out the day after, my hair has a fuller look.
How do you combat shrinkage?
H: By stretching. Twist-outs/braid-outs/high buns are your friend.
Tell us about your hair color.
H: Currently I have an ombre in my hair. My friend who is a hairdresser did it for me at home. To get my hair to lighten up she used a lightener as opposed to a bleach (which would have killed my ends). My ends did become a little rougher, but it wasn’t anything deep conditioning and constant moisturizing couldn’t fix! (With particular attention to the ends that were colored.)
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
H: My edges for sure, rude little things. I always find myself twisting just my edges overnight so that they have a curl pattern by a.m. because they don’t seem to have a pattern whatsoever. (If you have problems with thinning edges, Jamaican Black Castor Oil works wonders!)
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
H: Twist-outs, protective styling and the pineapple method is my favorite — saves my curls from going flat overnight.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
H: I’m on Instagram straight flexin! @TheRoyalEssence