What is your name and where are you from?
I: My name is Iris Hopkins of Darby, Pennsylvania.
Did you transition or big chop? Share your natural hair journey with us!
I: It all started in about 2008ish when I decided that I wanted to “go natural” – that to me meant no perms, no lye, no creamy crack, and no relaxer. This meant at that time in college, less money spent on something I truly could not afford to maintain. This was the start of my transition. There wasn’t a method to my process, I just knew at the time I wasn’t going to chop my hair off. I gradually cut my hair every chance I got – 1 inch here, 1 inch there. Then, in about 2009 I had a semi-chop. I went to Bubbles which at the time was on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, an up-scale beauty salon. This would be the first time I let someone other than a Black woman tackle these tresses and I LOVED it… The cut was exactly what I wanted, “a healthy cut”. My hair grew in nice and full, with a natural glow, and long. Without thinking about it at the time, I did a lot of protective styles because I love braids and big hair.
How would you describe your texture?
I: I actually had to look this one up as I have never put a name on my texture. But based on my findings my texture falls right in the 4s (laugh); I can honestly relate to that whole group. If I had to put a name on it, I am going with 4b/c. I have very thick hair with a full hair line, a little more than 50% shrinkage when wet which I love, and natural characteristics of a sponge.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month, and the rationale behind your various styling decisions.
I: Ha! In a month I am liable to have several styles. This has been somewhat of a trademark of mines by default. I go with how I feel, where I am going, whether it is a special occasion, or what matches my look for that day. Again there is no method to my process.
What does wash day look like for you?
I: Wash day looks like a day where I leave work on time, and I probably skip the gym. I like to get started no later than 7pm. I wash my hair every 2 weeks, or sooner if I’m changing into new a style. I shampoo – with Fantasia’s Tea Tree. I use Etae’ Products for my Carmel Treatment (all natural treatment done before the shampoo once a month) and Etae’ Conditioner. The conditioner is absolutely AMAZING, and it’s all natural. I also use Chi Silk Serum for its additional benefits during blowing drying. And lastly God’s gift to my natural, a Salon Tech 3000 blow dryer.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
I: My chunky French Braid which is 1 or 2 braids joined into one and braid down, or my infamous pompadour. My pompadour has always been clutch, especially when my hair is dirty. I truly believe that dirty hair is the best hair to style.
How do you combat shrinkage?
I: Believe it or not, I have no issue with my shrinkage. My shrinkage and I have no problems. My shrinkage is a reminder that it’s still healthy.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require extra care and attention?
I: Over the last two years I have experienced flare ups with Seborrheic Dermatitis of the scalp. I felt like this was the adult version of cradle cap that infants suffer from. This experience for me made me feel very insecure as my scalp developed thick oily cakey patches mostly along the hairline of my crown. I would part my hair and it was there. I couldn’t leave a style in too long as it would intensify the flaking and become very visible. As with almost all illnesses dealing with the immune system, stress and poor diet were definitely the culprits of this. But let’s be clear; there are several other reasons – I just knew these two for certain were mine. I did so much research on this, I was able to tell my Dermatologist exactly what I thought the condition was and had already proactively started to combat the issue with Apple Cider Vinegar. Today, I’m no longer dealing with it but I am very mindful of stress, putting crap in my body, consuming WATER DAILY, and exercise regularly. I literally used what the Dermatologist prescribed for about 2 weeks… it was expensive and I honestly couldn’t wash my hair every 3 days. I strongly believe my Apple Cider Vinegar hairspray mixture and daily consumption of 8oz of water with a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar worked.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
I: Do my own hair! I learned to braid a plait, cornrow, and twist, as well as give myself a healthy blowout.
Being patient with my hair.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
I: Not being a product junkie, and learning to not get consumed with everything that moves in the Natural Community. Not every technique, product, twist method, or hair gadget will make your twist-out better than the last or like the photos you see on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, or Pinterest.
Is there a blog/webpage or social media account where we can find you?