T: My name is Tasha Branham. I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I now live in Columbus, Ohio. I am the Founder of MILK + HONEY, which specializes in natural hair care products for kinky and coarsely textured hair. I am also a Creative Designer and Brand Strategist for beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
T: I have been natural since October of 2007. Happy anniversary to me! I’ve been officially natural for six years. My hair has always been really long, but it was so unhealthy. I had tons of breakage and dandruff. In addition to that, I was at a point of my life where I began shedding a lot of “the old me.” I was in a major transition, and when I first did my big chop, people thought I was crazy!
How would you describe your texture?
T: My texture is mainly 4b. It is coarse and very thick. I don’t have much of a curl pattern. My hair’s texture however is in the “s” pattern and I have LOTS of shrinkage. My hair is also extremely delicate, and breaks really easily.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
T: The most important concept that I implement is keeping my hair stretched and separated. Because of the thickness of my hair, and the coarseness, it locs and tangles very easily. I moisturize my hair at night and then I set it for styling before bed. My night time regimen is extremely important! I sleep with a satin pillowcase. I only use a bonnet or scarf if the style I am setting requires it. If I am going for a set style where I am stretching my hair such as a braidout or twistout, I use MILK + HONEY’s Honey Butter. It isn’t a water based product, so I do not have to worry about my hair shrinking when I apply the moisturizer. I have found that if I am trying to wear my hair stretched and I use a water based cream, my hair texture will shrink and it will not be as elongated. I am careful of wearing my hair completely out because it is then that my hair is more so prone to tangles and breakage. With my hair being longer, it brushes against my clothing. If I am wearing it out, my ends have to be moisturized! Honey Butter works great because my hair is able to absorb it without losing my stretch.
When I am in protective styling mode, I wear lots and lots of updos. I love updos because they are classy and versatile. I use MILK + HONEY’s Hydrating Hair Custard for my updo styling. Especially if the style has a twistout or braidout texture. I also use MILK + HONEY’s Curl Delight Mist when applying the Hydrating Hair Custard because it gives my hair extra shine and hydration. Moisture is so very important for my hair. VERY! I typically will wear an updo for about 3–4 days before I take it down and re-style. I also re-moisturize when I re-style. I only have about 3–5 different styles that I rotate through. I have found that with my hair, less is more. I can’t wash my hair every few days or every week. I can’t blow dry it often, and I definitely can’t wear styles that cause stress on the scalp like box braids. Let’s not even discuss flat ironing it. I only do that when I need a good trim. All of those things will cause breakage for me. I have learned to listen to what my hair is telling me. My hair and I have found our groove and it must be working because I am only a few inches away from waist length! My hair has never been this healthy!
What does wash day look like for you?
T: It took me years to develop a regimen for washing my hair. I divide my hair into four sections. Each section is then rolled into a bun and held in place with clips. I wash my hair in the shower, so I definitely have to be strategic in order not to run out of hot water. I start with one section, and under running water, I use a bar of unscented organic Goat’s Milk Soap to begin lathering my hair. I use both hands, and from the roots to the ends I use a downward motion to clean the hair without tangling. Then, while holding the ends, I use my other hand to massage and clean my scalp. I also use Say Yes to Carrots Conditioner once my hair is shampooed. I love that stuff! I finger detangle under running water or I use a wide tooth comb when needed. I do this for all four sections. Once each section is washed and conditioned, I will place them back into buns to prevent any tangling. I have the process down to about 45 minutes, in the shower. If my hair is really tangled, I will use MILK + HONEY’s Tangle Free Pudding to help work through the knots. Once I am out of the shower, I apply the Hydrating Hair Custard and Curl Delight Mist to each section, and then either two strand twist or braid. There’s no need for any additional combing because at this point my hair is tangle free. I don’t use a lot of product to wash or maintain my hair. My hair has taught me that less is more. I only deep condition if it’s absolutely necessary. (which isn’t that often)
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
T: Updos! My updos often look intricate, but they’re not! I just grab hair and pin it! I have actually created some of my most complimented hairstyles on days that I have been in a rush and have had to pin it up.
How do you combat shrinkage?
T: Braid outs and bantu knot outs are my friend! My nighttime regimen always includes some form of stretching my hair. Whether I am two strand twisting it, braiding it, putting it in a bun, or setting it in bantu knots. This helps me win the war against shrinkage. It is very humid in Ohio in the summer months, so often times shrinkage wins and I submit. I just try wearing styles that keep my hair stretched and my ends neatly tucked away for those humid months.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
T: I have a section of hair in the back of my head that is 3c-4a. It is so silky and soft, but it locs and knots up so easily! I have to keep a close watch on that section and finger detangle often to ensure no locs form. I also have to be really careful with my edges. They have always been thin, genetically, and I have to make sure that I don’t wear the same style for too long or else it will cause stress and then breakage.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
T: Less is more. I’m not a product junkie. I would love to experiment, but I have to listen to my hair. When I first became natural, I was buying everything trying to find what worked. I quickly found that my hair has a mind of its own and that I needed to start listening to it. I also stray from doing lots of different styles. My hair and scalp don’t respond well to lots of manipulation. I live by the motto of keeping it simple and giving my hair what it asks for. I also moisturize heavily! Without moisture, I can pretty much say goodbye to length retention and hello to flakes and breakage! My hair loves moisture. Creams, oils and butters.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
T: No wash and goes and SLS shampoos! SLS shampoos make my hair feel like straw. Any shampoo with SLS in it is a no-go for me. It totally dries my hair and I would even venture to say that it causes tangles. I also have come to the realization that wash and goes aren’t for everyone. *sad face* Although they are pretty to look at, my hair isn’t wash and go hair. It’s thick, doesn’t have a real curl pattern, and I have massive shrinkage.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
T: You can find me on most social media sites. I love chatter 🙂