A: My name is Alesha Sullivan. I am from Memphis, TN and currently reside in Nashville, TN.
Did you transition or big chop? Share your natural hair journey with us!
A: I decided to go natural in March of 2011. I felt that I had mastered my hair in its relaxed state. I knew how to grow and maintain my relaxed hair, and I knew that at some point, I wanted to try to do the same thing to my hair in its natural, unaltered state. I finally decided on day to go for it. It was time for a change so I stopped relaxing my hair.
I slowly transitioned from relaxed to natural. I transitioned for a little over 2 years before I decided to cut the relaxed ends. My hair was middle back length when I started my transition and I just couldn’t do a big chop, so I did mini chops every 3 months and maintained my hair at bra strap length until I grew my natural hair to a length I was comfortable with.
I finally decided to “big chop” one day randomly. I was detangling my hair and became really frustrated (I know we’ve all been there before. Lol), so I went to the store, bought a pair of hair shears, came back home and snipped a piece in the back of my head. After that, it was no turning back, so I kept cutting until all of my relaxed ends were gone. And I don’t regret my decision one bit. I have been completely natural for a little over a year now and I love it!
How would you describe your texture?
A: I would describe my texture as a 4a/4b mix. My hair is mostly coarse and dense, but I do have some fine strands in the front of my head where the texture is a little looser. It can be a little unruly at times, but I am learning my hair and it is finally doing what I want it to do. Lol.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: My favorite hair styles are puffs, braid outs, twist outs, up-dos on old twist outs, and wash and gos. So I will do a twist out and wear it for a few days (3–4 depending on how much definition I achieved in the beginning) and then mist my hair with a water based moisturizer so that I can make my hair revert a bit so that I can wear a puff for a few days. Then it’s time for wash day again and I may do a wash and go or a braid out the next week, followed by a puff. So at the beginning of the week, my hair is in either a twist out, a braid out, or a wash and go. And by the end of that week, I’m usually in a puff until wash day.
What does wash day look like for you?
A: I am on a weekly regimen. My wash day is currently on Sunday evenings so that I can start each week with fresh hair. I am somewhat of a product junkie, so I don’t really have products that I use every single wash, but I do have products that I use in rotation. So a typical wash day would be something like this:
I wash my hair with Graced by Nature Peppermint and Coconut milk shampoo (love this stuff). Afterwards, I apply a deep conditioning masque. This step varies but currently I am loving Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil hair masque for moisture. If my hair needs protein, I will precede this step with Aphoghee Two Minute Reconstructor, and then the hair masque to replenish moisture. I apply a heat thermal turban for about 30 minutes to deep condition. Then I rinse in cool water while detangling in the shower. I then blot dry with a t‑shirt. Next, I will usually apply a leave in (changes weekly but I like Graced by Nature Leave in, Kinky Kurly Knot Today, Cantu Intensive Leave In Treatment, and Shea Moisture Curl Smoothie), followed by a sealant. My hair is super thick, so I have to use heavier sealants and butters. I love whipped shea butter for this step. Finally, I do a twist or braid out and air dry for a few days. This is my weekly routine.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: Recently, if my hair is still drying for a twist out, I will pile the twists on top of my head, tie a scarf around it, and make a simple twist updo. However, my number one go to when I don’t have a lot of time to style is an afro puff. I have different variations (maybe a side puff, a high puff, two puffs, etc.) that I will wear, but the puff is near and dear to my lazy natural heart. Lol.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: I don’t really try to combat shrinkage. I wear my hair in stretched styles to avoid knots and tangles, but once my hair starts to shrink, I usually just go with it. I just make sure that my hair is moisturized so that detangling my shrunken hair won’t be too difficult.
Tell us about your hair color!
A: My hair color is half and half at the moment. It is red in the front, and my natural color, dark brown, in the back. I do color my own hair with the L’Oreal HiColor Hilights in Magenta and Red. I haven’t seen much change in texture, but it has changed a little. The front of my head has always been a looser texture than the back, so adding the color did loosen it a bit more. But overall, my hair hasn’t really suffered from coloring.
What are some of your problem areas that require extra care and attention?
A: The crown of my head is extremely coarse and thick, so I have to be extra patient and careful when detangling this section or I experience breakage.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: Two do’s would be:
Use heavy sealants like shea butter for sealing in moisture or my hair will feel like a brillo pad.
Washing hair in sections to avoid matting and tangles. Washing my hair loose is just asking for a tear filled detangling session.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: Washing hair without sectioning it off. With such a tight texture, my hair will matt and tangle badly if not sectioned properly.
Having a wash day when I don’t have the time to. I know how long it takes to wash, detangle, and style my hair. If I don’t have enough time to, I will wait because in the end, my hair will suffer if I rush through the detangling process. And with 4a/b hair, you have to be patient during the detangle process.
Is there a blog/webpage or social media account where we can find you?
A: I am active on Instagram, and can be found at Instagram — Aleshanokeys
I also have a YouTube channel where I share tutorials, product reviews, etc. I can be found on YouTube at YouTube — Aleshanokeys