J: My name is Jaqui (Juh-kwee) and I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. I currently reside in Brooklyn and moved here in 2011 to pursue a career in music.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
J: I started my natural hair journey back in 2010 when I cut off the last of my relaxed ends (no big chop). At the time I wasn’t aware that I was embarking on a healthy hair journey. I merely stopped getting relaxers because I couldn’t find a reliable hairdresser while I was away at college in DC. It was also for this reason that I started wearing weaves sporadically because it was easy. After rocking weaves, infusions (tragedy!) and clip-ins for on and off for four years I had a lot of new growth and noticed my natural texture for the first time. I decided to “go with it” and learned as much as I possibly could about caring for my own hair without relying on perms, hairdressers and weaves. I trimmed my ends every couple of months and delved into Curly Nikki, Healthy Textures and MopTopMaven (oh where did she go?!) A couple years passed and I was relaxer-free!
How would you describe your texture?
J: I have multi-textured tresses. There’s a combination of mainly 4A/3C coarse and fine hairs all over my head, so as you can imagine it was a bit of a challenge solidifying my product line-up in the beginning of my hair journey. Kinky Curly products worked great whereas Miss Jessie’s didn’t. THEN my hair got longer and Kinky Curly didn’t work as great and Herbal Essences conditioners did. I’m almost always experimenting with new products to this day (product junkie alert!) but the most basic rule I’ve learned about caring for my hair is that it needs moisture. A ton of it.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
J: Using Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo, I only shampoo my hair every couple of weeks and that is simply to remove product buildup so that MORE moisture can get in. Between washes I co-wash almost every 3–4 days with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, which has great slip, and I deep condition at least once a week now with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose. I’ve also been experimenting with Saryna KEY Pure African Shea Butter and my hair LOVES it. My main styling regimen consists of twist outs with a cheapie detangling conditioner like Organix Coconut Milk.
My hair is no longer at wash n’ go length and if I tried I’d be in a detangling inferno so I twist or braid out to avoid this and keep my ends smooth and sealed. I also style my hair in a lot of buns and slick them with EcoStyler Olive Oil Gel (angels sing!). Most of the products I use are sulfate-free and I only use shampoos with sulfates when my hair has been straightened and is doped up on styling serums and heat protectants. My theory is this — if all the products I’ve used before wash-day are natural and water-soluble, then I can wash with natural, sulfate-free products. If I’ve got some gunk on my strands then I need a sulfate shampoo to clear it off (very important!).
What does wash day look like for you?
J: Wash-day is not a day at all but more of an overnight process. I pre-poo with olive oil and if I’m out of that I put conditioner on my hair first to serve as a barrier to the shampoo. Next, I just wash in four sections, detangle with my wide-tooth comb and Denman brush, and deep condition for 30 minutes. I have a Huetiful Hair Steamer (amazing gadget), but haven’t had time to use it lately, so I just use a plastic bag in the shower. Then I make about 12–16 twists with conditioner and seal my ends with shea butter or Simplicity Hair Oil (incredible stuff!) and go to sleep. I also put some oil on my scalp as well. I wake up, untwist, fluff, stretch with a hairdryer on my roots and go!
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
J: If I’m not feeling my hair by day 3 I usually pull it up and rock a high bun or just co-wash and repeat my regimen.
How do you combat shrinkage?
J: I find using the hairdryer on my roots is very effective at stretching my hair so that it’s BIG, and I don’t have to do it often because of this reason.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
J: My basic problem area is dry scalp. Healthy hair grows from a healthy scalp; therefore a main focus of mine is keeping my scalp moisturized, eating healthy and exercising. I battled dry scalp so much as a child (tar shampoos eek!) and now as I look back I can see that what was passed off as “sensitive scalp” or “psoriasis” can be attributed to the use of chemical relaxers (duh!). Since becoming natural I don’t have scalp issues like I did before and my hair is so much healthier.
What are 2 do’s and don’ts for your texture?
J: Caring for my hair has been a learning process and there have been a few old habits to rear their ugly heads along the journey, like coloring (highlights) and constant straightening. These are two major don’ts. I quit my fascination with highlights a couple of years ago. I’m still recovering from the loosened, inconsistent curls due impart to the bleach. My highlighted hair also started to split, so now if I do color my hair it’s using a dark cellophane which just gives my tresses a nice shine. Color can be so tempting but my hair has thrived because I’ve resisted the urge to alter it, and when I do want to experiment with color I achieve the look with weaves.
I also stopped straightening my hair all the darn time. It seems so simple but this was a challenging area for me because I was used to rocking straight, silky hair. I felt the temptation this past winter when wet styles like twist outs were becoming more of a challenge in this New York winter (which we don’t have in Cali) and I reached for my flat iron more than usual. Heat Free Hair was a saving grace. I’ve been rocking the ForCurls collection for about 3 months now and absolutely love it. It’s a protective style (major do!) that affords me the same look as my own natural hair, and keeps the flat iron away. Even though spring is here, I’m still rocking it because it’s so awesome.