K: My name is Kouki (pronounced “co-key”), I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO!
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
K: My natural journey started about 4 years ago when I decided to become a vegetarian. I’ve always been extremely health conscious, so I started thinking about healthy alternatives to chemical relaxers. Initially, I stumbled upon a product claiming to be a “natural relaxer,” I was so excited. At the time, I was only 16 years old in high school, so I couldn’t afford the product every 4–6 weeks like directed to use. Bummed out about the natural relaxer, I ventured to YouTube and natural hair forums to learn everything I could about hair, African American hair specifically. That’s when I found Kimmaytube, one of the natural hair gurus who inspired me to go natural. After extensive research, I decided the best thing for my hair was to transition to natural hair. On December 22, 2009, I had my FINAL chemical relaxer. On June 2, 2013, I celebrated my third year being natural! Yay!
How would you describe your texture?
K: I would have to describe my natural texture as a mixture of 3c/4a. Predominantly, my hair is full of 4a tightly coiled springs, but the front has looser 3c curls. I have a lot of definition throughout my hair when wet, virtually every strand of hair clumps and curls together. Although my strands are fine, I have a whole lot of them! Making my hair super EXTREMELY dense, did I say extremely?
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
K: Honestly, I do not really style my hair very often, especially during the colder months. During winter, I wear protective styles majority of the time because that is when I incur the most breakage. Since I finish wash day with my hair already twisted, I normally just take down those twists and wear a twistout. Or either I braid my hair after taking down the twists to wear a braid out. Whenever I re-twist or braid I use water, Oyin Handmade Honey Hair Dew leave-in, and shea butter to seal my ends.
What does wash day look like for you?
K: Every 7–10 days I wash my hair. The longest I will go without washing is 2 weeks. My current regimen consists of 4 MAJOR steps: Detangle, Cleanse, Condition, and Moisturize/Seal. Sometimes before I detangle I will apply coconut oil to my hair the night before I plan to wash, to act as a hot oil treatment while I sleep. I like to detangle with Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner. This product mixed with the coconut oil gives awesome slip while I finger detangle my hair. Finishing in about 8 large twists, I then cleanse my hair with LUVNaturals Wash Me Gently Shampoo. I concentrate the shampoo on my scalp first, then I make my way down my hair shaft.
After my shampoo, I apply my Garnier Fructis Length and Strength Conditioner and allow it to sit on my head for 2 minutes in the shower. After that is all rinsed out, I apply my deep conditioner, Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner, put on a plastic cap, then leave it on for about 2 hours. Once I’ve washed that out of my hair, I moisturize my hair using the L.O.C. Method (Liquid, Oil, Cream). First I apply the LUVNaturals Love Me and Leave In, then I add apricot oil (great for sealing), then I slap on some of my shea butter mix, all while my hair is in twists. Everything takes me about 6 hours to complete, but this method keeps my hair moisturized for days. I have a detailed video explaining my regimen.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
K: My go-to hairstyle? DEFINITELY the puff! If I’m having a bad hair day, the puff will be my style of choice because it is so easy and cute. My favorite is the high puff. I had always wanted to wear my hair like that when I was relaxed, lol.
How do you combat shrinkage?
K: I combat shrinkage by always trying to keep my hair stretched. I stretch my hair by braiding, twisting, bunning, and banding. I have like 1000% percent shrinkage, so stretching is a MUST!
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
K: My hair in the back breaks and tangles easier than the front, so I must be a little more gentle when working with that section of my hair. I have noticed the front holds moisture a lot better than the back as well.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
K: Water and protective styling are a must for my hair to retain length. Since my hair is so tightly coiled and now over 12 inches long, it is basically impossible for the natural oils from my scalp to reach the ends of my hair. So I MUST moisturize it daily with water. Normally I use a mixture of water, Oyin Handmade Honey Hair Dew, jojoba, apricot, tea tree, and peppermint oil in a spray bottle to spritz my hair. Protective styling makes it easier to moisturize and keep from daily styling.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
K: I cannot detangle my hair dry. It won’t happen. If I even tried I’d rip out all of my hair lol. Sulfate shampoos are another don’t. Every time I use one they strip my hair. No matter how long it has been since my last wash, no matter how much product build up I have, even if I have used silicones, it will strip my hair. I’ll be left with nothing but tangled hair that will more than likely take hours to finger detangle. Me and sulfate shampoos do NOT get along, haha.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
K: Sure is! I manage a natural hair channel dedicated to promoting healthy hair practices, documenting my hair growth and whatever else I think is important enough to share with you guys! It is called LoveyLocks, youtube.com/LoveyLocks. To see pictures of my hair you can check out my Instagram, @koukiii. I can also be reached on Facebook, Facebook.com/koukicollier.