A: Hi! My name is Angela Tellier. I’m a professional photographer from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: I have been natural for about 9 years now. Growing up my Mom never allowed me to relax my hair. So I kept my natural curls until I was about eight. Being the only colored girl in elementary school I had a hard time accepting that my color and hair texture were beautiful and normal, and I didn’t understand that they were part of my roots and who I am. So at eight I wanted to get my hair straightened. After long contemplation, my mother allowed me to do so. I kept doing this at home and at salons until I was 19. My hair looked terrible during those years. I had a lot of breakage from heat damage. Seriously, I was desperate enough to use an iron once!
My family and I lived in a small city near Harlem and you couldn’t buy any black hair products around town. When I was 19 I went on a holiday to Spain after skipping the salon for a while to save money. After a few days my hair was rough and frizzy because of the combination of salt water and sunshine. It lightened up and my natural texture came through. I f‑ing loved it! I hadn’t seen my own texture in years, and suddenly I couldn’t believe why I ever used chemicals to straighten my hair. I never did a big chop. When it comes to hair, I’m not that brave lol. I just let it grow and chopped off the ends every now and then until I had a full fro.
How would you describe your texture?
A: I guess my hair texture would be a combination of 3C, 4A and a little 3B in the nape. It changes though over the years. I like the mix of hair types because it allows me to change it up. With a little more product and no touching while air drying, I can easily turn it into a 3B/C type, and with less product and a little pulling, I get a 3C/4A kinda situation. I colored my hair a few times blond and red, but every time I lost a lot of my length because of breakage. I like to swim also, and the chloride in the water doesn’t really help keeping your hair strong and healthy. I decided that I just won’t color my full head of hair, so if I really want to spice things up, I can color parts of it. I’ve never used it, but I’ve heard good things about Henna.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: I wash when I feel that my hair needs to be washed. I think once every 10 days depending on how much product I have used, or if I went out and my hair reeks of cigarettes. I use Aveda Be Curly Shampoo. It’s an organic shampoo. Sometimes I like to change things up and use black soap. Next to that I use Kinky Curly Curling Custard every now and then, but mostly in the summer. I finish bottles of Kinky Curly Knot Today to be able to comb my hair in the shower. I can’t go a day without my Kinky Curly (at this moment I’m out of it and it’s a battle to comb the knots out).
Next to that I use Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk on my dry curls in combination with a water spritzer to pep things up, and I try to use a deep treatment mask ever week. Right now I’m trying the one from the Shea Moisture line, but I’m not really a big fan of it. I prefer Curls Curl Ecstasy Hair Tea Deep Conditioner. And EVERY day I use pure organic coconut oil and pure shea butter. Sometimes I melt a blend of the two with a dash of almond oil. The shea butter I buy on the African market comes in blocks. The coconut oil I use is from the supermarket. The one you cook with, and that smells slightly like coconut. I also use the coconut oil and shea butter as a body lotion/face cream every day. When it’s wintertime I like to use Jamaican black castor oil on my ends and scalp. Before bedtime I try to twist my hair. This doesn’t always work since I can be very lazy when it comes to that, but I do sleep on a satin pillowcase.
What does wash day look like for you?
A: I have a shower that runs for 15 minutes before the hot water is done. So I wash quickly. I wet my hair almost every day and in between washing I wash with conditioner. One thing I always do when my hair is wet is put a little coconut oil and shea butter in it, and use product after. That way my curls stay hydrated all day. When I do it the other way around I have to use more product during the day.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: Afro, down, or a fluffy tail with bangs. I used to love box braids, but I haven’t done that in a very long time.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: Shrinkage has never really been a problem for me. It doesn’t shrink that much. Now that it’s growing longer it gets kinda flat on top, but I don’t mind. I can switch it up when I don’t feel like big hair. When I want it more fluffy I spritz it with a combination of water and conditioner, comb it a little bit, or in the worst case blow it out; although I rarely use a blow dryer.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
A: My nape. Every day I have knots there close to tiny dreads. It’s because my clothes cause friction. I have tried a lot of things to make sure it doesn’t happen, but as of now I just have to get them out every night, or make a small braid in my nape area. Next to that my scalp gets very dry in the winter, and I have some damage around my hairline from the years I used chemicals to relax my hair.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: Keeping my hair conditioned is a definite do.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: Coloring my hair and sleeping without it in twists, or without a satin pillowcase.