F: My name is Erica, but I go by Freddie. I am from Gulfport, MS. Currently reside in the DMV.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
F: I have been natural since April of 2006. I’ve BCed twice. Once in ’06 and once in February 2012. I think my initial reason for going natural was to be different when I was in high school. There weren’t as many girls wearing their hair natural at the time. I wish I had a more profound reason, but it was pure vanity to be honest!
How would you describe your texture?
F: If I had to describe my hair texture in one word it would be fluffy! Ha. It’s pretty bouncy. I suppose I am a 3c…at least that’s what they tell me. I don’t think my hair is particularly coarse or fine…so I guess I would say medium.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
F: As of late my hair regimen has been particularly minimal. I’m in the US Army (for 2.5 years now) so every day it’s a bun for me. Before joining I would wash and blow dry every day or flat iron about every couple of months or more, and it was very damaging. Now I have a very cut and dry, boring, but effective routine. I wash in the evening, braid it up, take the braids down in the morning, throw some curl cream or conditioner on the ends and put it in a bun. I will take the bun down after work and let my scalp breathe a while then re-braid before bed. I usually just keep applying some curl cream (right now I’m loving Eden Body Works Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme) and re-braiding my hair at night until I feel like washing again. I love this because on weekends or whenever I’m not in uniform I can just wear a braid out. Though every so often I’ll get a little crazy and do a wash and go! If for some reason I’m too lazy to braid my hair at night I just do a pineapple (loose ponytail on top of my head). As far as products go, it’s very important to me that they are not only cruelty free, but also as natural as possible. My diet plays a huge role in my hair care as well. I strive to maintain a healthy, plant based, Whole Foods diet and doing so has made my hair and skin much healthier and more vibrant.
What does wash day look like for you?
F: Well I have two different ways to wash my hair. About once or twice a week depending on my schedule or how my hair feels, in the evening I will put my hair in 6 braids and wash it in the braids. I have been using Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Scented Castile Soap for years now and I love it. I use it to wash my body, my face and my hair. Seriously, it rocks. After I wash I will run some cheap conditioner over my braids (right now I’m using Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner. It’s really cheap and great quality.) to put a bit of moisture back in while I work on detangling. After that I will go one by one and take each braid down and apply some Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner and finger detangle.
Once upon a time I used to use a Denman and detangle very diligently. Now I don’t obsess over getting every single tangle out, and my hair is much happier for it. I save so much time, hair, and water now by just focusing on getting the big tangles out. After I detangle each section I rebraid and throw a towel on for a while and that’s it! Every couple months or so I will do a search and destroy. I also have a post-workout wash technique. I only do this after a heavy morning workout usually. I throw my hair back into those six or so braids then take my Dr. B’s and pour it in between the braids and wet my hands and massage my scalp. Then when I go to rinse the soap out I twist my showerhead so a more narrow stream of water comes out. I hold my braids out and up (a la Pippy Longstocking) and just rinse the scalp in between the braids. This prevents me from having to walk around all day with one of those wet, drippy buns.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
F: Now that I think about it my hairstyle repertoire is seriously lacking! If I’m not in uniform I’m almost always wearing my hair down in a braid out or maybe a wash and go style. I guess I just wear my hair up so often that when the weekend comes it just needs to be let loose! I also really like to wear a pineapple. Sometimes I leave my bangs out with it or tie on a scarf. But chances are if you see me my hair it will be down and out.
How do you combat shrinkage?
F: Gosh, I used to be so troubled with shrinkage, but I think that I’ve moved into that accept what you’ve been given stage. I guess I just don’t think of shrinkage as something that I need to battle anymore. It’s something I have to work with. I know that immediately after a wash I will have more shrinkage, but with my braid out routine my hair stretches a bit more each day (and I think stretching my hair this way has worked wonders for tangling, and retention!) so if I want to have really big, elongated curls I just wash my hair a few days before and just wear a braid out.
Tell us about your hair color?
F: So for years I had this rockin orangey-red hair. I loved that color so much, but it did not love me back! Not only did it damage my hair, but I was constantly putting harsh chemicals on my scalp and into the environment. So I gave up the color and started growing it out and using henna. My hair is much healthier for it.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
F: The hair behind my ears is particularly temperamental! It really requires extra moisture.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
F: Wash and gos were great for me when my hair was shorter, but now that it is relatively long it should be worn stretched. I can wear them every now and then, but certainly not every day. I think a DO for every texture is to try to live a healthy lifestyle. Our hair and our skin are such good indicators of our overall health. I think that we get too concerned sometimes with treating symptoms (dryness, dullness, etc.) when our bodies are trying to hint at the cause. We only need listen. So drink your water, take your multi and eat your veggies!
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
F: Protective styles (with the exception of buns). My hair does not like twists, braids, weaves, wigs, or anything of the sort! Not to mention my braids/twists always just seem to look limp and depressed. Other than while sleeping my hair is not having any of it. Denman-type brushes…I was really hooked on it for quite some time, but I had to come to terms with the fact that what works for others does not always work for me.