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Jenell from Chicago // 4C Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Feb 28, 2015

nelly1

Introduce yourself!
J: Aloooooha! My name is Jenell and I am from Chicago originally, currently residing on the beautiful island of Oahu.

Did you transition or big chop? Share your natural hair journey with us!
J: I BIG CHOPPED! After frying it, dyeing it, weaving it, lace fronting it, and everything else under the sun, I decided to let my crown be free; her abuse had come an end in 2009. My edges were starting to thin and the breakage was real! I went to my stylist and got the “are you sure?” which I’m sure most who chop hear, but it’s been a beautiful journey!

How would you describe your texture?
J: My hair is coarse, dense and primarily 4c, tighter coils around my perimeter and looser at the crown. A few years ago, I would try to manipulate to look like something I saw or had in mind.  But the reality is each head of hair has its own personality and mine is a wild one! The more I got to know my strands the easier styling became. I have cut my hair out of styling frustration in the past. I used to think my strands were stubborn, but I was the one not listening. Your hair will tell you what it needs, what it likes, and even what it does not.

Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month, and the rationale behind your various styling decisions.
J: For twists I use whatever I have on hand at the time, since the goal of the finished product is rarely the look — the goal is primarily to stretch my hair. Lately Shea Moisture Curling Souffle or Kera Care Twist and Define Cream are my go-tos,  (which can be sticky if you overuse) but I love how soft they make my hair feel. I re-twist about every other night concentrating on shed hair removal as well. The fewer shed hairs hanging around the better life will be!

What does wash day look like for you?
J: “Wash day” starts a day or two before free-flowing water actually hits my hair. I like to have a good finger detangling session with coconut oil and section beforehand so that wash day is not such an overwhelming task. I generally wash my hair twice a month, but also as needed depending on activities like beach time or a strenuous hike. I cowash about once a month between washes. Either way I do it, my hair is separated and clipped in sections. Otherwise, it’s a detangling nightmare. I use certain products depending on what my hair needs. If I have product build-up or my scalp is due for a deep clean, I shampoo with either Kera Care Sulfate Free Shampoo or Organix. I use Kera Care or Carol’s Daughter cowash. For detangling I use Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner. For deep conditioning (which is done every time I shampoo),  I generally use a mask or deep treatment of some sort and add in honey and coconut oil or olive oil, then cover my hair for at least an hour with a plastic bag and a scarf. I rarely allow my hair to air dry without at least being either pulled into ponytails or twists, because my tight curls are harder to manipulate without at least a little stretch while drying. Blow drying is a rarity for me.

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Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style. 
J: My go-to would definitely be The Puff! If I’m doing a quick puff, I layer my Cantu Shea Leave-In, olive oil, and Eco-Styler. I usually add my product in the shower after the steam has perked up my curls. I randomly pull and finger coil strands with Eco-Styler on my finger tips to give her a little more dimension and out the door I go! I tie down my edges to lay them flat while I getting dressed. If I’m really in a crunch, turban it is!

How do you combat shrinkage?
J: I moreso try to collaborate! I have come to terms with the fact that my coils are going to do their thing regardless. This realization saves me frustration and disappointment from unrealistic expectations. If I’m going for a certain style I try to prep my hair with the appropriate stylers to try and help maintain the look that I am going for. If I wanna go BIG for a night out I usually section and braid my roots, leaving the ends loose and curly. If it is a rush job I spritz my hair with water and then hand stretch hair with a blow dryer.

Tell us about your hair color!
J: I colored my hair at home with Crème of Nature Exotic Shine in bronze copper. I called myself playing it safe and only coloring the tips! I had colored my hair a few years ago but I had less hair to lose if things went south (lol). All is well and maintenance is about the same, I let my strands do the talking and I govern my regimen accordingly. I have not experienced much additional dryness or change in texture.

What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require extra care and attention?
J: The curls at my crown are looser so it generally requires a little more product, manipulation, or a combination of both. My nape also requires extra attention. My stretched hair sits right on my shoulders now, so I make an effort to make sure that the clothing I wear is curly girl friendly — even if that just means accessorizing with a scarf to protect my ends.

What are 2 do’s for your texture?
J: One do would definitely be shed hair control. Making detangling apart of my maintenance routine and not reserving detangling for “wash day” has reduced knots, matting, and tangles.

Another do would be to let the strands dictate the next move. Early on in my journey I was so stuck on a regimen that I was paying more attention to the calendar and what day it was as opposed to what my hair was telling me. LISTEN!!

What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
J: One don’t is saturating my hair without sectioning it off first, that results in a matted mess!

Another don’t which I am still working on is hair envy! I would get so frustrated with my hair if a certain product or method didn’t give me the results I had in mind.  Each head of hair has its own personality, embrace it! Now instead of cutting my hair off out of frustration I find a protective style that tickles my fancy and give myself some time to miss my curls.

Is there a blog/webpage or social media account where we can find you?
J: There is! I am on Instagram as NellyNelle19 and I have some video ideas brewing, so stay tuned for that!

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About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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Manestream Beauty
Manestream Beauty
5 years ago

Fab hair!

Jasmine S
Jasmine S
5 years ago

Wow, her hair is gorgeous #hairgoals

LoveIt
LoveIt
5 years ago

Wow, everything on her looks amazing.

kia
kia
5 years ago

You have very beautiful hair

JenniD
JenniD
5 years ago

Beautiful fro! Love the shape of your hair as well.

Guest
Guest
5 years ago

Georgous! Georgous! Georgous!

Ms. Vee
Ms. Vee
5 years ago

Wow she’s purty. Look at how lush her fro is. #NewHairCrush

Hair Anomaly
Hair Anomaly
5 years ago

I won’t even try to fight the hair envy with this one…beautiful!

I dream of the day when I leave this awkward stage and my air dried fro no longer makes me look like Gary Coleman.

Eva S.
Eva S.
5 years ago
Reply to  Hair Anomaly

Omg I just loled..I’m in the same awkward stage, and feel ya 🙂

NaturallySweet
NaturallySweet
5 years ago
Reply to  Hair Anomaly

Lol, awwww I’m sure it’s not that (Gary Coleman) bad!!!

Melissa
Melissa
5 years ago
Reply to  Hair Anomaly

LOL! Stop it right this instant!

britti the dub
britti the dub
5 years ago

Totally needed to see this post. You are an inspiration. As a fellow 4C, after seeing this post, I’ve realized my expectations for the way my length is supposed to look has been really unrealistic. This whole time I thought my hair wasn’t growing because I wasnt getting any hang time! But after seeing your photos, I’m like “Omg duh Brittiany! Your hair grows up & out!” Thanks for sharing!!

Jordane Lee Mouyéka
Jordane Lee Mouyéka
5 years ago

I love your 4c hair!

mlank64
mlank64
5 years ago

This woman is GORGEOUS, that face and hair…stunning!

modestgoddess
modestgoddess
5 years ago

GORGEOUS

Megan
Megan
5 years ago

I need her fro and that silver necklace

Cee Cee
Cee Cee
5 years ago

I’m having major hair envy with the fullness and shape of your fro!!!

jjac401
jjac401
5 years ago

The Puffs are all that and some!

Philly Jawn
Philly Jawn
5 years ago

pretty girl great hair

YaaLia
5 years ago

Total hair envy. I have been neglecting mine lately and need to get back on track. This is the motivation I need.
Liza | http://www.yaalia.com

youngin girl
youngin girl
4 years ago

Beautiful creativity.

hope i helped
hope i helped
5 years ago

gorge 😀

Yabbyrella
Yabbyrella
5 years ago

Goodness she’s gorgeous. Got that Hawaiian sun glow and everything!!

easyBlake
easyBlake
5 years ago

The interwebs is so Small. I was just lurking on her instagram for undercut inspiration. Hair looks great!

Redseouls B
Redseouls B
5 years ago

What a beauty! I just love your hair! Thanks for sharing your journey!

jen516
jen516
5 years ago

Gorgeous!!!! I just love her hair.

Melissa
Melissa
5 years ago

Little does she know, a lot of women would have hair envy of that gorgeous head of hair she has too! So pretty. She looks stylie too. Love it!

Youngin girl
Youngin girl
5 years ago

I am happy to see another 4c. There’s not that many 4c’s. My hair is tightly coiled too and My mom has to style it before it gets dry. I like your outfit in photo 4 and your yellow rose on the side.

EllieLo
EllieLo
5 years ago

GAW-GEOUS!!!
Your hair is BEAU-TI-FUL and I can’t get enough of it!!!

Candice
Candice
5 years ago

your fro is E V E R Y T H A NG!!!!!!!

Danielle Baylor
Danielle Baylor
5 years ago

That fro!! My hair is so in between everything, i don’t know what to do with it lol. Very nice

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