N: My name is Nikki Chanel. I’m from Houston, Texas, but I live in Austin.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
N: I broke up with creamy crack years ago. I’ve been natural since 2007. I decided to go natural in college. It was a time of self-discovery for me. I figured if I was ever going to take the dive; I would start there. I’m glad I did. College is a place where everyone is doing their own thing and finding their place in life. It was okay to be different than the person you were in high school. The actual impetus for this change was after a really bad sew-in. When I took the weave out my hair was so knotted up that I had to chop it off. It was really bittersweet. Aside from those knots, that sew-in was bomb.
How would you describe your texture?
N: I would say that my hair is 3c. It is fine, but dense, and it’s always thirsty.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
N: When I have actual time to style my hair I love to do coily twists and two strand twists, however I usually stick to wash and go’s throughout the month. When I’m in a hurry or on the go I like to roll my hair into a halo style. That way my ends are protected and my hair is off my shoulders and out of my face. To do this, I just use a little Oyin Handmade Hair Dew and spray some water to moisten my hair if it’s dry. To create the twists, I LOVE Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Pudding, Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls, and a little olive oil. For my wash and go, I love using the LOC method because it makes the style last and keeps my hair moisturized for a longer period of time. I use a bunch of different products, but my mains are Kinky Curly Knot Today, coconut or olive oil, and Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Crème. I’ve tried tons of products and you can’t go wrong using this method, so almost any products in those categories will work if used in that order.
What does wash day look like for you?
N: Wash day is an event. At first I honestly thought going natural would mean I’d just hop in the shower, shampoo and condition, and be done with it. It literally takes more time to do my hair now than it did when I was relaxed. With the detangling, styling, all the products, and on and on, wash day is a whole big thing now. I usually pre-poo with coconut oil. I only shampoo twice a month (maybe) with either Kinky Curly Come Clean or Bobeam shampoo bars. I work out a lot, so to keep my scalp clean I co-wash with As I Am Coconut CoWash. After my scalp is clean, I condition with Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner or Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi All Natural Deep Conditioner. The Elucence has a lot of slip, so I can detangle in the shower. After that, I just detangle using Kinky Curly Knot Today and proceed to styling. Sometimes, on wash day I will let the deep conditioner sit in my hair for a few minutes under the Hair Therapy Wrap. It’s nice to feel that heat.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
N: I love a big poofy curly bun. The bigger; the better. I work for NaturallyCurly, which means I have a job that really embraces natural hair. So it’s never an issue how ridiculous the size of the bun is. Buns just look so playful and yet sophisticated.
How do you combat shrinkage?
N: I don’t. I don’t combat shrinkage. I just let it happen. I’m fine with it. Plus, it’s much longer now. It still shrinks quite a bit, (like 40%) but when my hair was shorter it was more of a challenge. I am not sure I did very much then either though.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
N: The middle back of my head suffers from frizz. I usually have to really rub in smoothing products to that area. My whole head will look super cute, perfect curls…Then I turn around and the back of my head has lost its mind. It’s just disrespectful.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
N: Two do’s for my texture are detangle and moisturize. I’ve been able to wear my wash and go so much longer using the previously mentioned LOC method, and my hair would still feel soft and not dry. I know it’s something in particular about the actual method and less about products. I know this because I’ve tried a million products as I work for NaturallyCurly.com. Detangling sucks. It’s probably every natural’s nightmare, but I could never skip this step. I MUST detangle or my hair would probably call me mean names and make me look bad in front of my friends.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
N: One, do not dry detangle. I know this works for some people. For me, I haven’t found the perfect way to detangle my hair dry so I just gave up. I lose a lot less hair when it’s wet. Two, do not over manipulate. I love touching my hair (it’s soooo PRETTY) but doing so makes it frizzy and causes split ends. I’m a work in progress. I hope to overcome this. Ya’ll pray.