N: I’m Nikki and I currently reside in Chicago, IL.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
N: I first tried to go natural in high school. A friend of mine who was natural all her life had the most beautiful curls I had ever seen. She was able to go curly or straight with ease. I wanted the same versatility. I failed many times, but finally got serious in 2005. At the time I was highlighting and using box color, all while relaxing. My hair never broke off or fell out, but I knew that I couldn’t continue. I chose to keep the color and experiment with my natural texture. It’s been 8 years and it’s the best decision I ever made.
How would you describe your texture?
N: My hair is extremely thick with medium strands. I also have a big head, which gives me even more follicles. I have about 3 textures throughout my hair. All tight waves with a slight curl at the end. The only portion that forms any kind of ringlet is near my temples and nape. If I had to give it a number I would say 3b/3c.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
N: I try to keep my styling routine simple. I style on wash day and try to make sure it will last for a least 4 days. I find that if I have to constantly detangle and reset textured styles that my hair will break off. My textured styles are a wash and go, braid out, or my curling wand flexirod set. I also stretch my hair with large Curlformers. This allows me to prep for other styles like buns and stretched braid outs. I love my straight hair, but I am not flat ironing.
What does wash day look like for you?
N: I love wash day. This gives me an opportunity to relax and try new styles. If it doesn’t work there’s always a cute bun. I start with my own infused oil mixture as a hot oil treatment. I follow up with Mystic Divine Nourishing Shampoo from Sally Beauty Supply. It’s very moisturizing. I shampoo once and use a sulfate-free cream shampoo, like Devacurl No Poo to detangle. Depending on what my hair needs I will deep condition with Mystic Divine Nourishing Masque (moisturizer) or Avlon Affirm 5 in 1 Reconstructor (protein). I cover my head with a plastic cap and sit under a hood dryer for 30 minutes. I rinse in the shower, apply a lighter conditioner, and do a final rinse with cold water. From there I style.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
N: I’m always prepared if I’m starting to have a bad hair day. I carry a small brush, bobbie pins, hair ties and a travel container of styler to whip up a quick bun. I’ve learned to not fight my hair into what I want, and work with it and the changing weather.
How do you combat shrinkage?
N: Now that my hair has grown out, I love my shrinkage. My shrinkage is shoulder length and if I want it longer I will set my hair on stretched hair.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
N: The right side above my ear to my temples is very dry. I make sure to completely saturate that section with deep conditioner. When styling, I make sure to over moisturize and apply a strong hold styler.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
N: Deep conditioning and keeping my ends healthy.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
N: Going more than 5 days with out washing my hair and using heavy oils.