Describe yourself in 20 words or less.
Name’s Michelle and I’m a silly gal, who’s a mom, wife and entrepreneur.
How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
I’ve been natural for almost 6 years. My reason for going natural was simple. Fear of going bald. I felt that, if I continued to relax my hair, I’d be like my mom, sister and grandmother with thinning edges and/or bald spots. I read a book by Cathy Howse which sparked the entire change of thought toward relaxing my hair. The book is called Thinning Edges.
Did you transition or big chop?
I did both…sort of. I transitioned in the beginning. At 2 inches of new growth, I freaked and relaxed. LOL. It was hard keeping those two textures blended. But then I recommitted after that last relaxer and when my hair grew to 5 inches of new growth, I had a stylist cut off the rest.
What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle? How did you overcome it or what are you doing now to try to address the problem?
My biggest hair challenge is having many uneven lengths on my head. That’s due to flat ironing and heat styling. I’ve since committed to no heat (unless it’s a DC) on my hair and the crown is growing in, but it’s still got a way to go. Due to the uneven lengths, my hair does not look as full in some areas. It’s as if my hair is in layers. I don’t like that one bit.
What is your current regimen? Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
My regimen is CRAZY different! That’s due to all I’ve learned after starting the Kim Coles Grow Out Challenge. So, here’s my regimen:
Mid Week – Massage Scalp with a mixture of Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO). Then, co-wash with a cheap conditioner (I currently have lots of Suave Naturals, Cantu Shea Butter moisturizing rinse out conditioner, Herbal Essences and a bunch of others).
After rinsing, I apply Kimmaytube LIC or As I Am Naturally LIC, followed by twisting my hair (about 10) with either As I Am Naturally Twist Defining Cream or Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I then seal my ends with JBCO and use flexi rods to curl them.
Fri/Sat/or Sun – Wash with WEN Cleansing Conditioner, As I Am Naturally cleanser (I use the clarifying cleanser once a month) or Design Essentials curl cleanser, apply a leave in, seal ends and style in either twists or pin curls.
Every 2 to 3 weeks – Henna treatment for 4 hours:-). After rinsing, I DC with Generic Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm.
Daily – when I style, I use Jane Carter Solutions Nourish and Shine, Argan oil or sometimes I use As I Am Naturally Coco Shea Spray. I also take skin, hair and nail vitamins from Whole Foods.
Nightly – I sleep with so much crap on my head, it’s a wonder I don’t sweat it all out! I have a satin pillow case I sleep on but I also also sleep with a satin cap covered by a satin bonnet or satin scarf. 3 layers of satin, oh my! LOL!
What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
Oh goodness really? I have so much it’s almost hard to figure out (not claiming Pj-ism anymore). But, if I had to give up everything today, here’s what I’d keep (in no special order):
- The Kimmaytube LIC (my hair loves this)
- Henna (Celebration Sunrise for African Hair)
- Argan oil
- Aloe Vera gel (I also use Eco Styler gel but I’m gradually replacing it with this one)
- Organic Root Stimulator Edge Control (for smoothing my edges)
- WEN Cleansing Conditioner – Fig and Sweet Almond Mint
- Jane Carter Solutions Nourish & Shine
- Whole Foods Skin, Hair & Nail vitamins
Note: I want to try the Giovanni conditioner that everyone is raving about. Depending on how this goes, I’ll add it to the list and replace the As I Am Naturally for when I don’t use the Kimmaytube.
What is your “go to” style (share a picture of it, if you have one!)? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
A side bun or a banana clip updo. They’re so fast and simple. I protective style 5 out of 7 days. I also wear the twists up in the banana clip after seeing Kimmaytube do it. I like it because it’s easy and lasts a few days. I will also pull the twists back and pin them up from time to time. I only wear my hair down on Saturdays for church and one other day during the week.
How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it? If you go to a salon, would you recommend it?
I used to always go to the salon for a trim on dry, straightened hair, but since I’ve recently decided not to apply heat, I’ve trimmed once in twists. I don’t think it’s much of an issue since I’m wearing it curly. Maybe next year I will get it blown once for a good trim at a salon. There’s a Ouidad salon in NY I’m planning to visit.
Has going natural impacted other areas of your life (i.e. health & fitness, style, environmental consciousness, etc.?) If so, how and in what ways has it affected your lifestyle?
The only way it’s affected me is my wallet :-). I spend so much money on hair products, it’s a crying shame. I never spent this much when I was relaxed. I’m done with that though (except for today’s $75 spree. Hey a girl need flexi rods and stuff). Oh, and my family. My daughter’s coming around to not relaxing again, so that’s a plus. She’s wearing weave, but she said she’d like to try it without relaxing while her hair is growing underneath.
Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
I have two actually. Not to be funny, but Shelli, you are one of them. Our hair has some similarities. Yours is just much longer, which I aspire to. I love how versatile your hair is for styling as well as its texture.
My other hair crush would be the MopTopMaven on YouTube. Not sure how she’s doing, but I still check her videos every now and then for a refresher of sorts.
Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
CurlyNikki, NaturallyCurly, Hairscapades. On YouTube, the favorites I follow are Kimmaytube, Naptural85, mahoganyknots and Haircrush.
Where can we find you online?
I’m really passionate about skin health. So, I started my own line, Blended Naturals, over at www.freshradiantskin.com. I share skin care tips and information over at www.RadiantBrownBeauty.com. Also, being a special needs mom, I author a blog, Stress Relief for Caregivers and run a Stress/Alternative Pain Relief Store.
Whew! I’m also on Twitter and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/Blended.Naturals.
What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
I think that going natural is the best thing you can do for your hair – to preserve and protect it. It is sometimes discouraging and a big chop down to almost nothing isn’t for everyone. If you are anything like me, it’s actually out of the question. So, the advice I would give is, do what you can to gently keep those two textures blended and trim out the relaxer little by little. This is probably the best time to see a stylist because they tend to be a little scissor happy which you sort of want. You will probably be far too conservative with trimming:-).
A suggestion for keeping the 2 textures blended is getting only your roots blown straight at a salon after a wash and deep conditioning treatment. I would do this no more than every 3 weeks. Sure, your hair could be cleaner, but in the interim, just make sure you moisturize like nobody’s business!
Anything else that you’d like to add?
I think I’ve said a mouthful, but wanted to thank you for this hair “interview.” You’ve given me an idea to do a similar thing on my skin care blog. 🙂