B: My name is Brooke Slade. I am a Philly native, but these days I call Bed-Stuy home.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
B: For the majority of my life I have had natural hair. My mother always encouraged me to wear my hair curly, styling it in “Shirley Temple Curls” and ponytails as a child. Relaxers were never popular in my family. My grandmother, mother and aunt showed me early on how to style and care for my hair type. My one and only encounter with a relaxer, at the age of 11 (Just For Me) was a result of “Brooke wanting to do what everyone else is doing”, and my mother indulging me. The relaxer grew out and since then I have been natural.
How would you describe your texture?
B: I understand that it is popular to categorize hair, however I’ve never done this. So I can honestly say that until today I had no idea what my hair texture would be considered. (But I did my homework for this feature). Overall my hair is 3a/b. Breaking my hair into sections: My hair is curliest (ringlets) in the back and underneath on the sides [3b]. It is looser and super frizzy in the top-middle [3a/b mix] and in the front it mostly consists of a mix of large loose curls and waves [3a]. My hair strands are thin, but there are tons of them, so I have a thick head of hair, composed of many tiny strands. My hair is light, fluffy and voluminous when curly and super sleek and thin when blown straight.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
B: Because of my career as a model, my hair styling regimen changes so much! It is often that the clients I work with request me to arrive with hair straight one day and curly the next. On the days that I am able to do what I want with my hair, I usually opt for a wash & go (with diffusing), a high bun, twist out or pigtails. I wash my hair once every 4–5 days and condition with each wash. Deep conditioning varies, sometimes 2x a week depending on the stress my job puts on my hair, and I do a hot-oil treatment (coconut oil) at least once a month.
What does wash day look like for you?
B: I have two types of wash days. One is the post-work wash day (which usually includes a bit of anxiety and washing tons of hairspray out) and the other is a regular wash day (much less anxiety). Post-work wash days (days with product overuse/build-up) I start with a coconut oil pre-poo. I drench my hair in oil, massaging it in, paying special attention to areas with product build-up, as well as my ends. The oil softens the hairspray making it easier to wash out and also leaves my hair a lot less stripped (from the alcohol in the hairspray). I follow this with Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo then Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Shampoo, (parting the hair down the middle and washing in two sections). After rinsing the shampoo, I apply Pantene Keratin Repair Conditioner, leaving it on for 5 minutes, then rinse and apply a quarter-sized amount of Kinky Curly Knot Today on my ends, followed by a few spritzes of C. Booth Nourishing Dry Oil Mist. I wrap my wet hair in a t‑shirt and allow it to soak up the excess water. Non-work or regular wash days I use the same process with the exception of Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
B: My favorite go-to hairstyle is the two-strand twist pigtail or cornrow pigtails. I braid rather quickly so it usually takes me 10 minutes start to finish. These styles are also my favorite because when you take them out, they make for a great wavy/twist-out/braid-out look.
How do you combat shrinkage?
B: I don’t, I really just try to let my hair do its thing.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
B: My ends always require extra attention because of all of the styling, and having thinner strands in general, they tend to take a beating. This is why I begin and end every wash with oil and use steam with my deep conditioners as often as possible.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
B: 1) Spoil your hair with moisturizing treatments (in the shower, on wash day, while hair is wet, warm, and strands are open). 2) Use very little or light oil-based products that allow your hair to be itself, too many products can weigh your hair down.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
B: 1) Do not use a lot of product! (Please) 2) Don’t forget to brush/comb it dry.