J: My name is J.C.! (Jacqueline Chinonso) I am from Brooklyn, NY.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
J: Every time someone asks me how long I have been natural I always tell them ‘it is kind of complicated’. That being said I have been natural for 12 years. Long story as short as I can make it, my mom permed my hair when I was 7 thinking it would make managing my (and my elder sister’s) hair much easier. When she realized that it didn’t, and that the salon and those Just For Me boxes were too costly for our family of 7 she just stopped. No big chop or anything. The only thing I can really recall is that my hair started gradually becoming an afro as opposed to the slight waves (think Michael Jackson’s hair in Black or White) I got after a wash on permed hair. Any-who from then on my mom corn-braided my hair in any cool style that I thought of and I LOVED it.
From third grade to freshman year of high school I had the coolest braid hairstyles and everyone would ask how my mom did it and if they could feel it; I should add here that I attended a majority Caucasian Junior High and High School. During that time I was natural (though no one really called it that back then), but my hair was not the healthiest due to manhandling my dry hair during styling and never having heard of conditioner. It was in sophomore year of high school that I discover RusticBeauty on YouTube and decided to try to grow my hair longer and thicker by doing my hair on my own, allowing styling to be more gentle. Two strand twists became, and still are my protective style of choice about 5 years later. So I have been natural for 12 years, but have been a ‘conscious natural’, as I like to put it, for 5.
How would you describe your texture?
J: I describe my hair texture as 4b and 4c with thick hair strands. With conditioner some curls are defined, but once my hair is dry it has no curls at all and resembles a big blow out.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
J: I like two strand twists as I mentioned above, so I keep my twists in for 2–3 weeks depending on schoolwork and exam schedules. I spritz my hair with water and rub in some leave in conditioner and oils when I feel that my hair is dry. I do twist outs for the 4 days before wash day, which is always on a weekend. All in all I keep it simple.
What does wash day look like for you?
J: Wash day means that I separate my hair into 6 sections and finger detangle each with either Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle or a homemade banana baby food deep conditioner (My favorite). Since I finger detangle this takes a while, but I highly prefer not using a comb. After all sections are done I wait 10–30 minutes and rinse my hair using conditioner to wash my scalp (no shampoo unless I really feel like I need to with Dr. Bronner’s). Then I style my wet hair in twists with Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat as a leave in and an oil: EVOO, coconut oil, or argan oil.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
J: I am very active and enjoy sweating so wearing twists in high buns and ponytails are my go to, plus buns and ponytails often go better with my mainly androgynous dress style.
How do you combat shrinkage?
J: I do not experience much shrinkage since I have in twists all the time, which stretch the hair. Doing my twists on wet hair makes them shrink, but I do not mind that at all and by the 2nd week the twists are stretched due to wearing high buns.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
J: A problem area is the hair by my temples. I have always had shorter hairs at my temple area and have tried castor oil, but that does not really help. It may be genetics as my mom and sisters also have shorter hair there so I don’t really pay any mind to that.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
J: 2 do’s for my hair are to style when wet. I really like working with wet hair as it is easier to detangle. Another do would be to moisturize and seal my twists when I feel that my twists are dry.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
J: 2 don’ts for my hair are 1. Using a comb and 2. Doing wash and gos. I have never tried a wash and go, but I know that it would not last 2–3 weeks, which for me makes it a huge don’t. As for the comb, I have noticed that I loose less hair when using my fingers because using my fingers allow me feel each individual tangle and focus on detangling it patiently.