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Casandra // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Oct 10, 2013

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Introduce yourself!
C:
Hello! My name is Casandra Austin. I’m from Springfield, IL where I currently reside.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
C:
I’ve been natural for 3.5 years. When I was in college at SIU, I attempted to go natural, however became frustrated with the transitioning process. Needless to say, it took me nearly 10 years to gather the courage to do the big chop! I was natural as a young child, but was often teased growing up because of my coarse, big and poofy hair! Therefore, I wanted a relaxer. I maintained my relaxed hair for several years. When I did do the big chop, my hair was thinning (which was extremely abnormal for me) and I was going through some personal changes in my life. The big chop symbolized freedom for me. Freedom to be myself, love myself and accept myself just the way God created me. 🙂

How would you describe your texture?
C:
Surprisingly enough, I’ve never identified the texture of my hair as 3a, 4b or what have you. I’ve simply stated my hair is extremely thick, coarse, and curly, and has a mind of its own!! Some days my hair seems more pliable then others and on other days I feel like I’m about to go to war with my strands; it’s all out of love though!

Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
C:
I work out a lot and live an active lifestyle, in result, I face the dilemma of sweaty hair. Therefore, I have to wash and co-wash my hair quite frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I most definitely have lazy moments where my hair does not get washed as often as it should, but I do so at the risk of my skin breaking out from sweaty, dirty product build up in my hair. Yuck! Nonetheless, I make every effort to wash my hair as frequently as time permits. I wash my hair with shampoo at least once a week to be sure I get all of the excess residue and product build up removed from my scalp. I love, love, love Crème of Nature’s Sulfate-Free Moisture and Shine Shampoo; it literally does as it says “hydrates and detangles”. I follow with their Intensive Conditioning Treatment after shampooing. I co-wash at least once a week as well to rinse the sweat out of my hair without stripping all of the essential oils I applied just a couple of days ago. I use Suave Professionals Almond + Shea Butter Conditioner. Although this is a cheaper conditioner, it works well for me.

I try to style my hair as simple and convenient as possible due to my hectic schedule (I’m a single mother of a 10 year old boy, a Probation Officer, and also do hair on the side as a part time gig). Two-strand twists are usually my go-to style following a wash. I use a concoction of oils that I mix together which include coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, and any other essential oils I have on hand. I also love Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream and the Shea Moisture line of products. The combination of the moisturizer/leave-ins and the oil concoction leaves my hair moisturized, manageable and well nourished. In between washing and co-washing, and as my twist outs get old, I use that as an opportunity to put some protective styles in my hair. I find protective styling is easiest when my hair is in this state. My hair is already stretched, so all I have to do is spritz a little water, apply my special concoction of oils, and get creative!

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What does wash day look like for you?
C:
When I wash my hair, I divide it into 4 sections, detangling each section prior to twisting. I then wash each individual section while in the shower. This process allows me to thoroughly cleanse my scalp (with Crème of Nature Sulfate-Free Moisture and Shine Shampoo), get through it in a timely manner, and eliminate some of the frustrations that go along with washing thicker hair. I then apply Crème of Nature Argan Oil Intensive Conditioning Treatment to each section respectively, finger comb through my hair, re-twist each section, then place a plastic shower cap over my hair while I finish my shower. I rinse the conditioner out with the twists still intact; I personally don’t mind if a little conditioner is left in my hair.

After washing, I use an old t‑shirt to absorb as much excess water as possible. I do not use towels, as I believe they put stress on the strands by pulling and tugging, which can ultimately result in your strands being on the towel instead of your head! I then proceed with applying my concoction of oils and either a leave-in or moisturizer, and twist my hair. I also use this same process when co-washing my hair. I’ve just recently tested out a few samples of Entwine’s Cleansing + Growth Lathering Hair Bathè, Hydrating + Growth Crème Hair Rinse, and Exotique Leave-In Hair Potion. So far so good! So I may have to invest in their line of products soon!!

Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
C:
If I’m not rocking a twist out, as of lately my go to hairstyles are either a high bun or two flat twists on each side with a lower twisted bun in the back. These styles literally take me 5 minutes and then I’m out of the door!

How do you combat shrinkage?
C:
If I want to stretch my hair, I use the pineapple/banding methods. These methods work pretty well in achieving a stretched state for my strands without putting any heat on my hair. I usually only apply heat to my hair once a year for an annual length check. I also welcome shrinkage though. I believe it brings versatility to my looks and I can rock a different style without having to cut my hair! I think it’s pretty cool.

Tell us about your hair color?
C:
My hair is naturally this color. I am bi-racial, my father is black and my mother is white. I get the red hair from my mother, who also has red hair. I used to get teased and bullied growing up about not just the texture/fullness of my hair, but the color as well. I’ve learned to embrace all of my differences and now I love my hair and its color; it’s vibrant, original, and me!

What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
C:
My ends have always been my problem area. I combat dryness and split ends often. Therefore, I dust my ends often and try to keep them well moisturized. I also believe my diet helps me in this area. I don’t drink any sugary beverages, only water, and I eat pretty clean. I believe eating a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water are paramount in maintaining healthy strands.

What are 2 do’s for your texture?
C:
2 do’s: 1) Water is a good thing, as long as I follow up with a good oil or moisturizer to seal in the moisture. 2) I try to wrap my hair every night with a satin/silk scarf to protect my strands, but I also sleep with satin and/or silk pillowcases for extra protection.

What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
C:
2 don’ts: 1) Too much combing can be a hindrance and cause breakage to my strands. I find finger combing works just fine in detangling my hair without adding extra stress to my strands. 2) If I wear a twist out for too long, or leave my strands loose for too long, they’re more susceptible to knots and tangling. I prefer to wear a twist out for 2 days max and then it’s to protective styling I go!

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
C:
I have not started a blog/webpage as of yet, but I have been entertaining the idea. Right now you can find me on IG: c_fitmichelle08 or Facebook: Casandra Austin.

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About Meosha

Just another lover of natural hair and expression. - Style Icon Coordinator for BGLH

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Well
Well
7 years ago

We need to abolish the hair typing system.

Jen
Jen
7 years ago
Reply to  Well

please to other readers lets not divert attention from this beautiful icon’s hair and very detailed article, it would unfair to her bc she did not ask for a debate.

Meosha Tall
7 years ago
Reply to  Jen

I appreciate you Jen 😉

ST
ST
7 years ago
Reply to  Well

I agree.

Dananana
Dananana
7 years ago

What a beauty! And from my hometown and birthplace!!! You rock 🙂

Zee
Zee
7 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I relate!

darkchildlovethyhair
7 years ago

Awesome hair!

darkchildlovethyhair.blogspot.com/2013/10/grow-your-hair-fast-inversion-method.html?m=1

Amma Mama
7 years ago

She is absolutely beautiful! I LOVE her natural hair color and the thickness of her hair. I am glad she embraced her differences,they’re what make us beautiful & unique. Sidenote: Those button/vintage looking earrings are too cute <3

http://ammamama.wordpress.com/

Nappy 4C Rocks
Nappy 4C Rocks
7 years ago
Reply to  Amma Mama

lovely

BeaJae
BeaJae
7 years ago

I love your hair, and when I saw you’re a single mother to a 10 yr old boy, probation officer, and hair stylist on the side, I thought “Superwoman”. You rock!

Redseouls
Redseouls
7 years ago

Lovely lady! You have beautiful hair!

Sandy B
Sandy B
7 years ago

I absolutely love your hair! You are in my hometown and I need to get some pointers from you as I just started my transition.

Jax
Jax
7 years ago

Beautiful hair and awesome bone structure!

mrsrcola
mrsrcola
7 years ago

your hair is beautiful!!! 🙂

Jj
Jj
7 years ago

Her cheekbones tho!!!!

Nkem
7 years ago

Her hair is beautiful and she looks so lovely. I love the colour of her hair.

Asana
7 years ago

Lovely hair First thing I said when I saw her picture was nice color, I have the same one right now except mine is *ahem* artificial lol Sad you were teased about it. I love your updos! Simply gorgeous!

JazzWife
7 years ago

Absolutely beautiful!

cookie
cookie
7 years ago

very pretty hair. She looks a tiny bit like Chante Moore

tristan
tristan
7 years ago

love

LBell
LBell
7 years ago

I used to go to school with a girl who wasn’t biracial (in that both her parents were black) and she had hair that was very similar in color to yours, Casandra. Whenever she’d introduce herself in a group (like you do when it’s the first week of school) she’d say, “Hi, my name is ___, and yes, this is my natural hair color.” 🙂 She was darker-skinned as well; I’m sure she got a lot of crazy looks from folks.

Anyway, you and your hair are gorgeous!

neochasez
neochasez
7 years ago

I love your hair color! Simply beautiful…

Summerbaby
Summerbaby
7 years ago

I’m so glad to see a natural from my hometown. Beautiful hair!

LaShonda
LaShonda
7 years ago

Hey Red Cassandra lol we always called you Red. You look amazing it seems like I haven’t seen you since SIU . I hope you are still running track and I pray all is well.

lorne
lorne
7 years ago

She lives in IL I need to find her or a natural hair salon ASAP! Great icon choice her hair is epic

Je
Je
7 years ago

I’m sure the same little girls who teased your hair color would die to have the color they would have to buy to achieve and the boys could kicked themselves wishing to get with you!

Sassy24
Sassy24
7 years ago

Gorgeous

ada
ada
7 years ago

As a dark girl with dark auburn hair naturally, I empathize. While mine isn’t as bright as yours, I got lots of comments from folks about whether I dyed my hair, whether I applied henna, or if my hair is damaged. But it’s a rare trait that runs in my African family. I have come to appreciate it, and love it, much like you love yours, Casandra.

Love your hair, your philosophy, and the pics. You and your hair are beautiful.

Kita
Kita
7 years ago
Reply to  ada

my family is the same way. my great grandmother, dark skinned with bright red hair. passed down to my daddy and me and my sister have this same hair trait. i personally love being a secret red head (i say secret because i normally wear my hair in wash and go’s so no one sees it unless i blow my hair out)

Saba
6 years ago
Reply to  Kita

I have decided to buy a gold IRA, but there is cinolfcting information given by different companies. Some say to put Gold proof American Eagles in it, because they are more valuable than non-proof American Eagles. Others say that it is not worth it, because the coins, when in an IRA, are only valued based on the value of the metal itself, and not on the collectible value, so this is just a way for the salesman to make a better commission from you. Does anyone know the real answer to this question?

gb
gb
7 years ago

…hmmm…if you come to Nairobi, kenya with that hair, you my girl, will be LOVED!!!…here. by the way here, even getting a job in natural hair is like getting blood from a stone yet our hair is just african as it should be. we have wigs and weaves all over the place, making everyone look like 100 years older…ha ha..you go girls

NaturalV
7 years ago

WOW, i love your hair,style and philosophy its simply beautiful.

achanelle
achanelle
7 years ago

I love your hair! It looks very healthly and thick. You remind me of Tahiry Jose on LHHNY (especially in the third picture).

Vsez
Vsez
7 years ago

Gorgeous face! Gorgeous hair!

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