C: My name is Chole Ike. I am originally from Columbia, SC, but I have been living in Atlanta now for over 10 years.
Did you transition or big chop? Share your natural hair journey with us!
C: I decided to go natural because I was bored with my hair. I found myself constantly wearing ponytails. I was constantly cutting my hair to get a different look and eventually I decided to go natural. I wore braids for 3–6 months while I listened to people try to talk me out of it. My family told me I would never be able to get a comb through it because of the thickness. In February 2013. I took the braids out. I went to a salon in the mall where I saw a black woman working and assumed she’d know how to accentuate my texture. She was just as lost as I was. She evened out the cut I had done at home, gave me some salon hair products and sent me along my way. Since I’ve been natural, I went through a cycle of letting my hair grow, growing locs, and then big chopping. I’ve done that twice, and after the last time, I wore my hair in a fade for almost a year before growing my hair back out. This is the first time I’ve actually been able to wear my hair curly. I blame the saturation of hair blogs, youtube tutorials, and hair products that support and nurture our different textures.
How would you describe your texture?
C: I don’t know what hair type I have. My hair is looser wave in the top, and a tighter spiral curl in the back. My hair is fine, but thick. It is low porosity, and I’m constantly struggling to add moisture. My biggest challenge is my dry scalp.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month, and the rationale behind your various styling decisions.
C: I can typically get 4–5 days from a wash and go before my hair, and my scalp are screaming to be washed. If I can’t fit a wash into my schedule, I’ll pull my hair up in the back, using small combs and let my hair fall forward. Sometimes, instead of combs, I’ll use a hair band, secured with bobby pins instead of the combs. If my hair is frizzier than normal, I’ll pull it into a high puff using a high band, and smooth the sides with some EcoStyler Super Protein Gel. No matter the style, I always spritz my hair with a watered down version of Paul Mitchell The Conditioner (4 parts water, 1 part conditioner). I like to use the following products:
What does wash day look like for you?
C: I pre-poo with Nature’s Way Premium Liquid Coconut Oil. I just rub some through my hair the night before I plan to wash. I add Suave Tropical Coconut Conditioner to my dry hair and run my fingers through it as a light detangler. I find that it’s easy to get rid of any shedding hair during this step. This step helps me keep my bathtub drain clear and happy. While the conditioner is still on my hair, I add the Selsun Blue Medicated Shampoo to just my scalp. Dandruff shampoo is notorious for being dry, so I try to minimize the impact by adding it after the conditioner and just to the scalp. This helps my scalp get the benefits of the shampoo without my drying my hair. When I’m ready to rinse, I get in the shower. I try to avoid washing my hair bent over anything because it seems to make my hair tangle more. Once I rinse, I do 2 rounds of Tresemme Curl Hydration Conditioner. I squeeze out the excess water, before adding Coconut Oil, Paul Mitchell the Conditioner, Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner, and then I apply EcoStyler Super Protein Gel in medium sized sections. It’s important to me to smooth the products on from root to tip to make sure it’s evenly distributed and allow my hair to clump.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
C: When my hair isn’t cooperating or I don’t have time to fool with it, I usually pull the sides back and wear a frohawk.
How do you combat shrinkage?
C: I don’t combat shrinkage. When I want to show off my length, I’ll use the tension method to get my hair to hang more. I do that possibly once a month. Living in the south where it’s so humid all the time, anything I do lasts such a short amount of time that it’s not worth my effort.
Tell us about your hair color!
C: I colored my hair myself and that’s the one thing I wish I could go back in time and take back. I have dyed my hair 3 times in a 6 month time period to achieve my current color. The first 2 times, I dyed my entire head using Soft Sheen Carson Hi-Rez in Brazen Bronze. The last time I used Dark & Lovely Go Intense in Golden Blonde just on the front of my hair. I think the dying has made my hair texture tighter in the front, but there is no noticeable change in texture anywhere else.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require extra care and attention?
C: My problem area is my scalp. I would love to be one of those lucky people that can go weeks without washing their hair, but my scalp will not allow me to do that. I wear protective styles every few months (usually when I feel the temptation to cut it all off) to give me and my hair a break, and they never stay in more than 2–3 weeks because my scalp objects to the lack of washing. I had a doctor recommend Selsun Blue Medicated early on in my journey, and while I strayed to try natural methods, I find that regular use will allow for more time between washes.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
C: Do — Use lots and lots of conditioner.
Do — Use an oil to help seal your moisture.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
C: Don’t — Detangle your hair using some kind of tool consistently. Finger detangle regularly and only use a tool when it’s absolutely necessary.
Don’t — Fight the frizz. Embrace it. if you use a lot of products to fight frizz, you could be doing more harm than good.
Is there a blog/webpage or social media account where we can find you?
C: I am everywhere! I can be found at instagram.com/toochole, twitter.com/choleike, facebook.com/choleike. I have a new blog launching this month, at choleinthea.com.