B: My name is Bema. I’m mixed with Russian and Ghanaian, but I’m from and currently live in Toronto.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
B: I’ve been natural my entire life, but growing up I didn’t know how to manage my hair. Being mixed and not having anyone in my family with my texture made handling my hair challenging. As soon as I discovered the straightener it became a part of my daily hair regimen. Of course my hair would shed a ridiculous amount and my length wouldn’t go past shoulder length. Once my edges began to thin out I decided I needed to make a change, so I researched as much as I could about my hair on blogs and YouTube. I started by working with my damaged curls, but got fed up and decided to do a big chop in September of 2011.
How would you describe your texture?
B: My hair is predominantly 3b/3c. My hair is constantly surprising me with different textures depending on the products I use, the techniques, temperature, etc. My hair responds to a wash and go the first day by giving me tight coils, but as the days go on my curls loosen. My hair is also extremely thick so it’s important for me to use a leave in conditioner before my styling products to make managing it less challenging.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
B: My hair regimen consists of shampooing (which I am phasing out of my regimen), deep conditioning, co-washing, applying a leave-in conditioner, styling, and sealing/locking in the moisture with an oil. I avoid damaging my hair by limiting my use of the straightener and blow dryer. I’ve straightened my hair once in two years.
What does wash day look like for you?
B: I shampoo about once or twice a month and deep condition my hair weekly. My go-to deep conditioner has been the Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner. My hair loves moisture, so whenever I find my hair getting dry during the week, I co-wash my hair with Tresemme Naturals Conditioner. My current favourite leave in conditioner is Kinky Curly Knot Today and my favourite styling product is the Kinky Curly Curling Custard. I use just a bit of the Curling Custard when I’m going for a defined curl look, but some days I don’t use it at all. Sealing my hair and locking in the moisture with almond oil is extremely important and I focus on oiling my ends to prevent breakage.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
B: My go-to style is a wash and go. I love a big foxy fro and I don’t care too much about frizz and having defined curls, most days. However, when I don’t have much time I usually lean towards a mohawk, pigtails, a big curly high ponytail or a bun. I’m currently a student and rushing to get ready for class in the morning doesn’t leave me much time, so I usually put my hair in a curly and “messy” bun.
How do you combat shrinkage?
B: When I first started my healthy natural hair journey I was obsessed with length, especially after doing my big chop. However, I’ve learned to embrace my hair at every step because I’ve realized there are pros and cons at every stage. Honestly, there are times when I see a lady with a banging’ TWA and miss when I had mine. So I’m not concerned about shrinkage because I’m honestly enjoying the stage my hair is at, knowing my hair will grow longer in due time. I am aware of some stretch techniques, but the furthest I currently go to stretch out my uneven curls is pulling them gently when my hair is dry and holding for a few seconds.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
B: Because of my former heat damage, I am very gentle with my edges. I avoid wearing tight ponytails and buns. My scalp is also very sensitive and loathes product buildup, so I co-wash once or twice during the week. I also make sure to oil my hair (the ends especially) during the week to keep my hair healthy.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
B: Deep conditioning my hair and applying a leave-in conditioner are important for my hair. My hair responds to deep conditioning by giving me healthy, strong, and lively curls. Applying a leave-in conditioner moisturizes my hair, detangles it, makes it more manageable, and allows my curls to last longer.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
B: Combing my hair when it’s dry and going too long without washing my hair are two things I avoid. Combing my hair when it’s dry causes a lot of damage, breakage, and did I mention it’s torture? My hair thrives with moisture, so going long periods without washing my hair is something I don’t do.