N: Hi! My name is Nyasha Johnson and I’m from Zimbabwe!
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
N: I was natural my whole life until I turned 17 in high school. I always had a big fro as a child which my mother or grandmother always kept braided, but as soon as I came to the United States I had no idea how to tend to my kinky hair. So after struggling for quite a bit I decided to relax my hair. I enjoyed it for quite some time… but about 2 years later, in 2012 I decided to big chop for the first time in my life. I’d never had short hair before so I was extremely excited.
I decided to go natural again because I started following natural hair blogs such as UrbanBushBabes.com and many others. The way they styled and took care of their hair made me wish I’d never cut off my 17 years worth of fro. But I’m happy I went through this process because I learned not to place so much importance on hair. I also learned how to keep my hair healthy and well maintained. Going natural wasn’t a big spiritual revelation for me, as I had grown up in a household that cherished everything natural. It was more of a new journey in which I would learn how to style and keep up with my hair. So, I have been natural for exactly 2 years now.
How would you describe your texture?
N: My hair is a mixture of 3c, 4a and 4b. It is soft, fluffy, and a bit thick. How it behaves depends on the weather and how well I’ve moisturized it of course. It usually doesn’t behave the way I want it to, but I’m learning to work around that!
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
N: I’m such a minimalist when it comes to my hair! I shampoo-wash my fro once a month with Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo, but I recently switched to Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo (Baobab smells amazing!!!). It doesn’t strip my hair, and it leaves it feeling super clean. But I usually co-wash every weekend using Burt’s Bees More Moisture Conditioner, which I also use as a leave in conditioner. It works wonders for my twist outs! Afterwards I apply olive oil or whatever oil I happen to have.
I avoid styling my hair too much because I’ve noticed that for my hair, it grows best when left alone. So usually I put my hair in twists and wear headwraps during the week, and let it out on the weekend. But when I do style my hair, I do a simple twist out or braid out. I love to wear my fluffy fro and I achieve this by doing a dry twist out on a 4 or 5 day old twist out. I also do my own thick box braids, which allow me to leave my hair alone for no more than a month. I avoid getting them done by other people or at the salon because that way I don’t ruin my edges and my hair doesn’t break. Every other night I spritz my box braids with water that contains rosemary and lavender essential oils and then I apply a light oil over my scalp. It does wonders I tell ya!
What does wash day look like for you?
N: I comb and detangle my hair before I wash it because that way it won’t tangle when it’s wet. I wash it with Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo. Afterwards I apply Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner, leave it on over night then rinse with cold water the next morning. I follow up with some leave-in conditioner and olive oil and let it air-dry in twists. I love hassle-free hair!
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
N: Chunky twist outs. Because on the third day it turns into a mega fro!
How do you combat shrinkage?
N: Shrinkage is the worst… I usually either pull my hair back with an elastic hair band or create an up-do using a silk scarf! It all comes down to being creative and going with the flow.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
N: The hair right in the middle of my head is very coarse and dry, so it tangles furiously. I keep it extra moisturized. I’m also super careful with my edges.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
N: Low manipulation and minimal use of products. It’s nice to see other naturalistas try all kinds of fabulous styles (jealous!) but my fro grows wonderfully when left alone 🙂
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
N: Combing my hair when it’s wet (it’s painful) and wash-and-goes.