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Ev’Yan // 4A Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Oct 27, 2013

2013-05-20 13.41.01

Introduce yourself!
E:
Hello, sisters! My name is Ev’Yan Whitney. I’m originally from a small desert-town in Southern California (Victorville, if you must know), but I consider Portland, Oregon to be my home, which is where I’m living now.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
E:
My parents slapped a texturizer on my hair when I was just three-years-old, then kept me religiously relaxed from there. My relationship with sodium hydroxide (and just straightening my hair in general) was always very tumultuous, and I struggled with breakage, severe scalp burns, and brittle hair for as long as I can remember. And even though I did get to a point where I had “healthy hair” when it was straight, I didn’t like that when I questioned why it was I continued to relax my hair. Even as a consenting, well-informed adult, I didn’t have any better of an answer than, “Well… because I always have.”

One evening, after my man had freshly applied relaxer to my roots, it dawned on me that I had actually never seen my natural born hair texture. This realization angered and deeply saddened me; so much so that it kept me up all night and the next morning I shaved my head. (Not without having an intense conversation with my man first to get me psyched out!) It was an equally impulsive and well thought out decision, one that remains to be the most liberating and spiritual things I have ever done. That was over three years ago. I feel beckoned to add here that for me it wasn’t as simple as buzzing off the relaxer and beginning to embrace my natural texture. It has taken so much bloody work to get to where I am with my hair, which is a place of acceptance, of surrender, of ease. As Mr. Garvey said “Take the kinks out of your mind, not your hair,” and my goodness, I had A LOT of kinks and social conditioning to undo. Doing the work and coming to love myself unabashedly has been the most rewarding thing about this journey for me.

How would you describe your texture?
E:
Hair typing puzzles me, so I’m not 100% sure, but I’ve always thought my hair to be 4a with 3b/c tendencies. What I’m absolutely certain of is that my strands are definitely fine with proneness to tangle really, really easily because of how coily/curly they are. I’d say my hair is normal density—not thin, but definitely not thick either. I also have mad shrinkage, which has been the bane of my natural haired existence.

Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
E:
80% of the time, my hair is in a protective style, usually taking the form of two strand twists. I discovered rather late in the game (like, 1.5 years late) that wearing my hair out and free (i.e., wash ‘n gos) are a big no-no for me unless I want to be detangling for 3 hours and dealing with snapping strands. Since I’ve made that discovery I’ve been very diligent about keeping my hair twisted at all times, almost to the point of babying it. I usually keep my twists in for 1–2 weeks at a time, spritzing with my water/aloe/glycerin mix and squeezing in some coconut oil to keep the twists moisturized. When my twists begin to look raggedy, I’ll either wear a twist out or go directly to washing. Because I wear my hair in stretched styles, the Pacific Northwest’s moisture destroys my final twisted look. Only recently have I been trying to embrace the shrinkage that happens with the humidity here. It’s been a process for me. As for products, Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner is the one conditioner I’ve used ever since I went natural. For washing, I use whatever’s in the shower at the time, usually Dr. Bronner’s soap. I alternate between using Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Deep Conditioning Masque, and the Restorative Conditioner/Leave-in for moisturizers and twisting. For deep conditioning I use Aubrey Organic’s GPB Conditioner—my hair loves protein! And of course coconut oil to seal my strands and shea butter to seal my ends.

2012-11-12 14.16.31

What does wash day look like for you?
E:
I have two different kinds of wash days: one for a simple cleanse/co-wash (which I do in between twists/twist outs) and one for when I get my hair colored. For the simple co-wash, I begin by pre-pooing my hair in medium sections with warmed coconut and olive oil, which I apply to my dampened hair. I cover it with a shower cap and plastic bag and let that sit for no more than an hour, then rinse in the shower. I work section by section, co-washing twice with Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner (and detangling as I go along), applying a leave-in (either the Shea Moisture Deep Conditioning Masque or the Restorative Conditioner), then sealing with some of the extra coconut/olive oil mixture. Then, I two-strand twist the section, bantu knot it, and move onto the next sections. I let my hair air dry in the knots during the day and before bed I take down the knots and pin the twists to my hair, stretching them gently.

I put on a scarf and go to bed with my hair still a bit damp. I got this method of section washing and bantu knotting from Naptural85, accept that in the morning I don’t untwist and wear a twist out, but untwist and retwist into smaller twists. For when my hair is getting colored, I basically do the same things except that I don’t pre-poo, I don’t section wash, and I use a shampoo to make sure all of the color is rinsed out. I do deep condition with GPB Conditioner to repair the damage that’s been done with the coloring. Regardless of which kind of wash day it is, after my hair has been stretched, I always retwist into smaller sections the next day. My twisting method is: spritz with water/aloe/glycerin, apply moisturizer, seal with coconut oil, twist, then seal ends with shea butter. I try to wear my hair in twists for as long as I can and either take them down and wear a twist out, or rewash them and start all over again.

Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
E:
I like to do the Gibson Tuck when my hair is in twists. It’s quick and easy, looks very elegant, and keeps my ends tucked away and unexposed. I like to wear scarves too. I wish I could do a nice high bun, but I haven’t found the perfect method (or tools) for that just yet. (And any advice you all might have on that would be much appreciated!)

How do you combat shrinkage?
E:
Stretching my hair using the pinning method helps me. But these days, I’m just trying to embrace whatever my hair does, even if that means it shrinks up and the humidity destroys my twist out. Again, that’s a process.

Tell us about your hair color?
E:
My hair color is a honey blondish, golden‑y, caramel‑y 7G (and it’s achieved by using a 20v developer, not wretched bleach). It’s pretty close to Dark ‘n Lovely’s Golden Bronze, and I actually used that for over a year before switching to a more professional product. I do the color myself (I have a license in cosmetology). I’ve been blonder, but I didn’t like how unnatural it looked on me, so I went just a little darker. I absolutely adore my color. I love the way it complements my skin tone. My curls never changed until I went to a salon last winter to go blonder, and then I saw my coils loosen. But they sprung back when properly moisturized. I just make sure to treat my hair with care and am very gentle when I handle it. Deep conditioning is a must!

What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
E:
My ends are tired, y’all. They really need to be snipped, and I’ve been dusting weekly rather than doing the big chop on them. I’m just so attached to my length (and I’m not ashamed to admit it)! The sides of my hair are the most fragile and fine, and actually when I went super blonde, that was the section that I think sustained the most damage. I make sure to go extra gentle in those areas and keep those strands especially moisturized.

What are 2 do’s for your texture?
E:
For my hair, sectioning washing/detangling and protein (coconut oil) are musts.

What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
E:
Free-flying ‘fros and sleeping with my hair unprotected.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
E:
Yes! My Blog: http://sexloveliberation.com and Instagram: http://instagram.com/ev_yan. Thank you for having me!

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About Meosha

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

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Ray
Ray
7 years ago

Looks 4a to me. I have 3c/4a/3b in my head you can really tell the difference when they are next to each other. They are all very defined spirals but the sizes are noticeably different. Pretty hair, love the red-blonde it really suits you!

Deb
Deb
7 years ago
Reply to  Ray

don’t think she cares that much…

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Deb

you’re right, deb. IDGAF.

Just Saying
Just Saying
7 years ago
Reply to  Ray

Not trying to be rude but she doesn’t say her hair is 3b/3c she says it has “TENDENCIES” like it as in texture wise not curl size.

LaNeshe
7 years ago

Check out her blog ladies!

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  LaNeshe

Thank you, LaNeshe. <3

T.
T.
7 years ago

Hi Ev’Yan! Glad to see this feature. I really enjoy your comments on this site, I really enjoy your blog when I get the chance to read it, and your hair looks great. The colour is fantastic!

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  T.

Thank you! I’ve grown overly fond of my color, too. 🙂

Ellipsis
7 years ago

OMG! i have been stalking her since her apricot-tea days. i <3 her so much…she really inspired me to go natural (i think we did around the same time)

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Ellipsis

How sweet! <3

treece12
treece12
7 years ago

Oh, she’s absolutely adorable.

AnonSince87
AnonSince87
7 years ago

Stunning!

Djanira
Djanira
7 years ago

Love it!

Gina
Gina
7 years ago

Your pre-natural days sound like mine, except my hair never appeared healthy. :p

Asana
7 years ago

Wow short hair looks absolutely stunning on you! Love it.

whatshetaughther.blogspot.com

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Asana

I LOVED my short hair. I had a pixie cut for years when I was relaxed & then BC’d with a TWA. I loved it so much that I kept it around for a few months, cutting it down super short again & again before deciding to grow it out. Of all the styles I’ve ever had—& I’ve had them all: bowl cut, Halle Berry pixie, frohawk, BIG hair—I loved my TWA most. Don’t tempt me! ;p

nnezy
nnezy
7 years ago

I love your hair!! The blonde color looks amazing! I think black hair suits you really well too!

Chocolatecurls
Chocolatecurls
7 years ago

Ooh la la. Pics are fab! And the 6/2013 photo looks especially Muy Caliente!!! Is he your beau?

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Chocolatecurls

That’s my man, yes. 🙂

Coconut + Cream
7 years ago

Love the third photo!
Sidenote: I might be mistaken but, she used to own a blog called Apricot Tea(?) I loved that blog — I look forward to catching up with her over at her new blog.
xx

Ev`Yan
7 years ago

That’s me! Apricot Tea still has my heart.

Rosalie
7 years ago

Yes she used to blog under Apricot Tea! I loved her newer blog too but haven’t read it in a long time since it’s blocked on my work computer. Glad to see her again.

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Rosalie

Hearing that I’m blocked on people’s work computers delights me in a twisted way. ;p

RV
RV
7 years ago

I use to follow her blog when I was in college, and whens he first chopped off her hair! I am so excited to see her featured here and even happier to find her blog again! Love her hair!

lafricanista
lafricanista
7 years ago

what a beautiful soul! Both your personality and your hair are gorgeous!

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  lafricanista

Thank you! :-*

Love JAH
Love JAH
7 years ago

Cuteness overload!!!

Ev`Yan
7 years ago

Thanks again for having me BGLH. What a great way to celebrate my recent 3 year anniversary of being natural. 🙂

Bobbie
Bobbie
7 years ago

You mentioned constantly having to cut your ends (weekly) and how fragile parts of your hair is, could it be related to the harsh dye?

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Bobbie

I’m not constantly cutting my ends. Actually, this interview was done a few months ago, & since then I’ve developed a new kind of routine in cutting my hair. I’m playing around with only cutting my hair on certain moon days (via the Farmer’s Almanac; find it here » http://bit.ly/16GWhIL), so small, intentional trims once a month. My ends are tired because they’ve never gotten a decent hair cut, just half-assed trims. And going super blonde that one time last winter definitely didn’t help the fragility of my fine strands. It wasn’t until months later (after the super-blonde) that I realized… Read more »

Random
Random
7 years ago
Reply to  Ev`Yan

I know you’re not an expert colorist or anything lol but do you think those with fine hair could gradually lift it to a light blonde over the course of several years??

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Random

I think they could, yes, if they’re very, very patient & they do lots of DC in the process. It’s definitely possible! As for me, going super blonde was a nuisance because, 1. it dried my hair out which meant that is left it even MORE susceptible to damage, & 2. the upkeep is obnoxious. If you’re a natural dark-haired person like me, root touch ups every 4–6 weeks are a must unless you don’t mind “the truth” showing. I absolutely hate the way I look when my roots need a touch up, so that constant upkeep, for me, is… Read more »

NT
NT
7 years ago

You state in your feature that you’re not 100% sure what your hair type is but that you think it’s type 4a with type 3 b/c tendencies. When I saw your photos because I saw type 4 hair that is like my own. Would you please explain what you mean by type 3b/c tendencies? Your response will help me further understand hair typing. Please consider this a teachable moment and please do not be offended. Why did Ray’s observation that her 3c/4a/3b hair is different from your 4a hair elicit an “IDGAF” (which I translated as “I don’t give a… Read more »

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  NT

Sure! I’m not offended at all. I just don’t like it when people nit-pick about hair-typing. Knowing my texture to the precise number & letter is really not important to me (which is why I “IDGAF’d”). And even if someone tells me that my hair looks more like “4z” to them, the truth is that I’m still going to see (& experience) my hair as “4a with 3b/c tendencies” on a daily basis. That’s why I think the whole auto-correcting with hair-typing is useless. Unless one’s hands are in my hair on a daily basis, & sees what it does… Read more »

Jenné
Jenné
7 years ago

you made me want to go blonde 🙂

Rochelle
Rochelle
7 years ago

I love your hair and love your blog. I’ve been a loyal follower since your Apricot Tea days.

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Rochelle

Thank you so much! <3

Kelcie
Kelcie
7 years ago

Very nice!! I was smiling when she said “my man” LOL. I thought I was the only one who says that!!! Very beautiful hair and pics. She reminds me of Kelly J from Natural Girls Rock!

Shantay
Shantay
7 years ago

I love your hair color. You are a natural beauty. Have you ever asked your family why they texturized your hair so early?? 3 years old is probably the youngest I’ve ever heard in chemical processing.

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Shantay

I was doing acting at the time, & I believe my parents wanted my hair to be more “manageable” & probably more defined. And yes, three is very, very, very young.

alt-K
alt-K
7 years ago

Beautiful girl! I love ALL of your pics!

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  alt-K

Thank you!

lulu
lulu
7 years ago

I love your images. they really capture what a beauty you are! I checked out the blog and was simply blown away, I even had to find you on fb lol. In and out, your amazing.. keep sharing <3

Miz B
Miz B
7 years ago

Love the headwrap pic!

keisha
keisha
7 years ago

you are a beautiful woman! you should be modeling…if you aren’t already! 🙂 We have the same hair! I recently started using TJ nourish spa and i swear it’s heaven in a bottle! the slip is unbelievable!

Jayne
6 years ago
Reply to  keisha

Your answer shows real inllteigence.

Ameilia
Ameilia
7 years ago

I really like your face shape and your hair of course lol

Sabrina Antoinnette < link to instagram profile

I am madly in love with your color!!!! *eyes of envy* I am not bold enough to allow anyone to color my hair anymore due to the disastrous attempts (three) I’ve had in the past… if only! 🙂

Stephanie
Stephanie
7 years ago

Victorville I think is on the way to Vegas from LA!! Love the pics, hair, style, Marcus GArvey quote! Thanks for sharing!!!

Ev`Yan
7 years ago
Reply to  Stephanie

You got it! Victorville is my “hometown.”

WhyMe?
WhyMe?
7 years ago

interesting

BIVY
BIVY
7 years ago

Oh gosh! Apricot Tea! Seeing how cute you looked with your shaved head/twa totally inspired me to big chop two and a half years ago! You look great at any hair length!

angie
angie
7 years ago

i like you. I could see your heart marching to another beat.

Janice
Janice
7 years ago

I like the pixie from her Apricot tea days. It was really cute with her face shape. I wonder what it would look like blonde.

Princess C
Princess C
7 years ago

So glad you have been featured on this site 🙂 really enjoying your blog — look forward to reading more.

Gorg hair too!!

Lifejourneytobenatural
Lifejourneytobenatural
7 years ago

Ev’Yan I am so happy that you stayed strong during your natural hair journey because your hair blossomed beautifully. And the color pops well with your skin. One Luv & Peace. ???

Lifejourneytobenatural
Lifejourneytobenatural
7 years ago

I tried to give you stars and hearts at tge end of my last post. It did not show them. <3

Lifejourneytobenatural
Lifejourneytobenatural
7 years ago

Hope you create a youtube channel some day to tell us more about your hair journey, your blog, books, tea, etc.

DrSelina
DrSelina
6 years ago

I live in Portland as well. My first hariversary is coming up and I REALLY need a trim. I just do not know where to go. Do you have any suggestions of a good salon in Portland where I can trust the stylist to not take too much of my hard earned growth?

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