N: Bonjour! My name is Nikki, and I’m from the windy city known as Chicago. I am currently a Biochemistry student with a minor in French at Chicago State University.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
N: I’ve been natural for 2 years and 7 months to be exact. Before I decided to go natural I had been getting relaxers ever since I can remember and my hair was a pretty decent length (longer than shoulder length). It wasn’t until high school that I noticed my hair was breaking off (probably due to my obsession with bleaching and dying my hair on top of having a relaxer SMH) and by the time I had graduated high school and was in my 2nd year of college, my hair was in the worst shape I’ve ever seen. I was tired of seeing/dealing with my badly damaged relaxed hair that was struggling to grow past shoulder length.
It just dawned on me one day that I wanted the long and healthy natural hair back that I had as a child. I started to go online and research natural hair and how to go natural, stumbling upon naturals on YouTube and bloggers with some of the most beautiful hair I had ever seen in my life sharing their knowledge on natural hair. Learning about natural hair was all new to me because at the time no one in my family or any of my friends wore their natural hair. Once I made up my mind that I wanted to go natural, I did the big chop (I’m not the most patient person in the world when it comes to my hair so transitioning was not at all for me) and the rest is history! lol
How would you describe your texture?
N: I have very thick, coarse, coily-kinky hair. My hair is mostly a 4a texture with 3c textured hair along the back of my head towards the nape.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
N: For the most part my hair is usually in a twist out style. To twist my hair I like to use Design Essentials Natural Curl Stretching Cream or Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream because they both leave my hair extremely moisturized throughout the week. I moisturize and seal my hair every day with a little water and olive oil or coconut oil to keep my hair from becoming dry. The older the twist out, the bigger and better it looks on my hair, and when I feel like it’s a little bit too old and frizzy to wear out I’ll wear my hair in a puff or a bun until it’s time for a wash. If I want to do a wash and go after I wash my hair I’ll distribute my Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Repair Cream (I swear by that stuff) in sections throughout my hair and use a tiny bit of Olive Oil Eco Styler Gel on each section. For heat styling, I love to do twist outs on blown out hair. I make sure I wash and deep condition my hair before using a blow dryer or flat iron. For heat protection, I use TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray or Silk Elements MegaSilk Heat Protection Spray before blow drying and flat ironing my hair. I’m really not a protective style kind of girl, I like my hair out and big, but if I do feel the need to protect my ends I’ll do a bun. Hopefully as time goes on I’ll learn to experiment more with protective styles.
What does wash day look like for you?
N: I try to wash my hair every week, (every two weeks during the winter months) and sometimes I’ll co-wash my hair using TRESemme Naturals Conditioner in the middle of the week depending on how my scalp feels. I usually go back and forth between different shampoos, but as of late I shampoo my hair using Design Essentials Natural Curl Cleanser followed by deep conditioning with Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner or Jane Carter Solutions Nutrient Replenishing Conditioner (I rotate between the two). After I deep condition I apply coconut oil all over my hair to seal in moisture, and then I detangle section by section using a wide tooth comb while applying my Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Repair Cream.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
N: Ever since I’ve been natural twist outs seem to be my favorite hairstyle. I love twist outs! I’m not a braider, so twist outs are simple and easy enough for me to do within a reasonable amount of time.
How do you combat shrinkage?
N: I naturally have a lot of shrinkage with my wash and go’s but it’s not a problem for me, especially during the summer months when it’s hot and I don’t want a lot of hair on my neck. If I don’t want my hair to have a shrunken look to it I’ll stretch my hair after I twist it by stretching each twist randomly over my head and bobby pinning it down (tip I learned from Naptural85!). It looks crazy, but it works! I also stretch my hair by twisting on damp hair rather than wet hair because I find that the longer I let my hair dry before twisting it the less shrinkage I have when I take the twists down the next day.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
N: I would say my edges are my problem area just because they’re thinner than I would like for them to be, probably due to getting relaxers all those years. I’m currently looking for ways to help grow my edges in thicker.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
N: For me it’s moisturizing and deep conditioning, which is extremely necessary in order for me to keep my hair looking and feeling healthy.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
N: Not moisturizing my hair and going more than a week without detangling my hair would be catastrophic.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
N: I can be found on Instagram @napturalnikki.