S: My name is Sharnell Lewison. I’m from South Jersey, currently living in Long Island, NY.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
S: I first went natural in 2006 when I was 16. After transitioning for 3 months I BC’ed and started locs. In 2008, I BC’ed my locs and started growing loose natural hair. Going natural for me was a part of a self acceptance journey. I treated my hair terribly because I thought ‘my kind of hair’ needed such abuse to be beautiful. My outlook on my hair changed with a positive self image.
How would you describe your texture?
S: My hair is a very thick, coarse, densely packed 4b-4c. After my hair is freshly washed, it looks like a cloud with clusters of z coils scattered throughout. It produces very little of its own natural oils. I wash my hair in sections because it will loc very easily.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
S: My hair is in twists or braids for most of the month. I wash my hair every week, stretching the wash to a week and a half if I can. If I wear a twist out or braid out, it occurs right before prepooing for wash day. My hair is fully moisturized and less likely to tangle at that time. I try to handle my hair as little as possible.
What does wash day look like for you?
S: Prepoo: I detangle my hair before my wash. My prepoo gives my hair enough slip to release shed hair. I grab a small manageable section of hair, spritz it with water and apply Tresemme Remoisturizing Conditioner and a generous amount of nyle oil on top of that. I finger detangle and then use a wide tooth comb. After combing I braid the section. My prepoo stays on for at least 6 hours or overnight. The braids stay in for the wash. Shampoo: I use Ayur Amla & Shikakai Reetha Herbal Shampoo undiluted in a squeeze bottle. I work it through my hair and take this time to massage my scalp for cleanliness and circulation. Conditioner: I use Aussie 3 Minute Miracle as my after shampoo conditioner. I rinse this out 80% of the way, dry my hair with a large t shirt, and style. If I’m blow drying my hair, I use Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray. Other than that I use a moisturizer (I’m in between moisturizers right now, but I’ll be starting Focus 21 Sea Plasma Hair and Skin Moisturizer this week), and I seal with nyle oil. My scalp and ends are treated with Ultra Shea Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy Intensive Scalp Nourishing Balm. Chunky twists are usually what I go for after a wash.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
S: When my hair’s just not laying right, I throw on a turban or a scarf. I love cat-ear turbans and I have them in a few colors :). I can wear hats to work and school so I never feel much pressure to show my hair when it’s not styled.
How do you combat shrinkage?
S: I let my hair fully dry before attempting any kind of twist out or braid out. It really helps keep the shrinkage down.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
S: My nape gets very tangled. I gave into its tangly nature for a while with a nape/rat tail dread, but I recently unloc’ed it.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
S: Do dismantle knots in hair strand by strand. Do massage products into hair very well. My hair loves massages, especially the ends.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
S: Don’t snap strands when detangling. Don’t underestimate the thirstiness of your hair!