W: My name is Whitney Rene and I currently live in Chicago.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
W: I’ve been natural for about 8 or 9 years and it was really by accident. We moved to Illinois and I started going to a new stylist that would do anything I asked. The combination of being young and having a person not really care for my hair was a disaster. At the time, I was getting relaxers regularly and insisted on blonde highlights. I always flat ironed, never deep conditioned, and needless to say, my hair started breaking off. Very upset, I stopped going to her. My sister and I started doing each other’s relaxers at home. Since we weren’t going to the salon anymore, there was more time between relaxers and I realized that I could straighten my “new growth” with the flat iron just as if I had a relaxer. So I stopped getting them. The rest is history, but I still remember the first time I saw a full coil at the nape of my neck. I ran downstairs yelling “OMG Nikki look, my hair is CURLY!” =)
How would you describe your texture?
W: I have so many different textures and curl patterns, but if I had to I would say it’s predominantly 3b/3c. The right side of my hair has a stronger wave into curl pattern while the left side has always been a looser wave into almost straight ends. I thought it was heat damage, but it has been like that since I’ve been natural no matter how short/long my hair is.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
W: I try to make my hair decisions based on the weather. I live near the lake so even on not so hot days there’s still a certain amount of moisture in the air ready and willing to attack my style. Flat twists are my best friends. It has proven to be the most predictable style for my hair besides wearing it straight. The first day of my twist outs are a little too defined, but by day 3/4 it is a perfect combination of frizz and curls.
What does wash day look like for you?
W: My wash days vary depending on how I plan to style my hair. I rotate the products I use because I feel like my hair gets used to them after a while. For curly hair, I wash with As I Am Coconut CoWash and condition with Olive Oil Hair Masque. My hair tends to be dry, but these products do a great job restoring and maintaining the moisture. I cover with a plastic cap and sit under the dryer for about 20 minutes before rinsing with cold water. This seals my cuticle and leaves my hair ridiculously shiny. I detangle with Kinky Curly Knot Today and a Denman brush to prepare my hair for flat twists. I use the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Smooth-n-Hold Pudding on each twist for hold and definition.
If it’s a straight hair wash day, I pretreat my hair/scalp with a combination of essential oils. I use a sulfate shampoo to remove any build up–the Organix Moroccan Argan Oil line is my favorite and smells great! I deep condition (45 minutes under heat) with Biolage Ultra-Hydrating Balm. I’ve been on about a 4 month break from protein treatments because it started to make my hair very stiff, dull and lifeless. I use the Kinky Curly Knot Today and Denman for detangling before I put my hair in four banded ponytails. This stretches my hair while I sit under the dryer until my hair is about 80% dry. I use a handheld dryer and concentration nozzle to dry the rest of my hair. I hold the ends of my hair (continuing to stretch it) and concentrate the dryer on the roots or other sections that may not be dry. I do not comb/brush my hair while I’m drying it. From there I’m ready to straighten.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
W: I’m a sucker for a top bun or the braided headband look. If I’m really low on time and headed out I sometimes cheat and add a few curls in with a curling wand just to touch up my hair. This is very rare because I have certainly learned my lesson with using curling wands.
How do you combat shrinkage?
W: I stretch my hair with banded ponytails if I’m going for a looser (and more voluminous) style. The concentration nozzle is also my friend. I can pull the roots out and use the heat to keep it in place. This helps create a shape when I need a haircut.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
W: The left side of my hair is drastically less curly than the right. I pay close attention to focus on this area when applying moisturizing products. I also put a few twists or braids on that side if I’m doing a wash and go to create a more uniform look.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
W: Use the Curly Girl Method when washing/rinsing conditioner, and always use a heavy moisturizing conditioner.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
W: Too much protein and trying to beat humidity–it will always win.