*Pre­pared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1Me­Nat­u­ral­ly

Intro­duce your­self!
T:
I’m Tes­sa from Bed­stuy, BK.

Why did you make the deci­sion to go nat­u­ral?
T:
I missed my curls!!! :-D When I was younger I always want­ed my hair to look like my mom’s, per­fect­ly straight. I begged for a perm…that was my biggest mis­take. I became addict­ed to the creamy crack for years. As I got old­er I slow­ly began to real­ize that I couldn’t stand the pres­sure of main­tain­ing my straight hair. Being told that a col­ored wom­an has to always have their hair relaxed in order to be con­sid­ered beau­ti­ful, and that curls were nap­py and ugly.

I began to uncov­er that thought was an idea that has been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion and I need­ed to stand up for the dig­ni­ty of my life and my curls. That fun­da­men­tal dark­ness became my moti­va­tion. I was also told that I would nev­er be able to have my curls again unless I shaved my head. I nev­er did a big chop. I just let it grow out, and bit by bit cut the ends. I broke down once dur­ing the ugly stage and combed a kid­die perm through my hair. I cried like a baby after­wards because I suc­cumbed to my own men­tal pres­sure. I start­ed to tran­si­tion 12 years ago, but I have been ful­ly perm free for 11 years. I’m so hap­py to see that there is more sup­port for wom­en who want to lib­er­ate them­selves from chem­i­cal­ly pro­cess­ing their hair.

How would you describe your tex­ture?
T:
Wow, this is the first time I have put a label on my tex­ture. It’s very dense and very curly. I believe that as my hair con­tin­ues to grow it behaves dif­fer­ent­ly. Some styles are eas­ier to cre­ate, and some I don’t do because my hair is too long. I don’t real­ly care for the whole hair chart label because when I look at one sin­gle curl it resem­bles the 1c, but because my hair is so dense it’s placed in the 4 range. So it is hard for me to be speci­fic as to which cat­e­go­ry my mane is in.

Describe your styling reg­i­men over the course of the mon­th.
T:
I try to keep my hair styling very basic, and I am in the mid­st of learn­ing more pro­tec­tive styles. I usu­al­ly either do dou­ble strand twists or semi-micro braids. I enjoy those two styles so that I can cre­ate a mul­ti­tude of buns, twists and updos.

I live by my shea but­ter and coconut oil. I have recent­ly start­ed to use Sweet Ambrosia from Karen’s Body Beau­ti­ful. I loooooove her line; very nat­u­ral and organ­ic and my hair is respond­ing well to her ingre­di­ents. I keep in braids and twists for two to three weeks (depend­ing on the sea­son) then I’ll take them out and rock a twist out for anoth­er week. I some­times can push it for two weeks, but by that time my afro is in full glo­ry. I try to do styles that don’t require me wash­ing and restyling once a week. I can hon­est­ly say dur­ing the sum­mer I have only done one wash and go. It’s just too much work lol!

What does wash day look like for you?
T:
A typ­i­cal wash day is seri­ous­ly almost a day long! I usu­al­ly do my hair at night, but I am try­ing to start the process dur­ing the day so that I am not up until the wee hours of the night/am. I typ­i­cal­ly just rin­se my hair with hot water until it is com­ple­men­tary sat­u­rat­ed with water. Dur­ing this time I usu­al­ly scratch my scalp with my nails. If I feel like my hair needs more cleans­ing, I cre­ate a hair ton­ic using two table­spoons of apple cider vine­gar in a bot­tle of water. Some­times I even use Dr. Bronner’s Mag­ic Soap (pep­per­mint and/or tea tree oil).

Once my hair is cleansed I lath­er on the con­di­tion­er. I usu­al­ly go through the whole bot­tle in one go. For years I have been on the quest to find the right con­di­tion­er for my hair, and as my hair fol­li­cle changes so does the con­di­tion­er I use. At the cur­rent moment I am using VO5. From what I heard it is the lesser of all evils. And you can’t beat $1.50 for a bot­tle!!! Once my hair is sop­ping wet with con­di­tion­er, I sec­tion it off based on where my “locks” are. I twist them and begin to comb through sec­tion by sec­tion. After my arm work­out, I rin­se my hair in cold water as a way to seal in the con­di­tion­er. I then pro­ceed to part my hair for my upcom­ing style, and put some mois­tur­iz­er in. I some­times make some with shea but­ter and oils. Most recent­ly I have been using Sweet Ambrosia by Karen’s Body Beau­ti­ful. Then the mag­ic of styling begins!

Describe your favorite go-to hair­style for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
T:
I have loy­al­ly been rock­ing dou­ble strand twists. Some­times I rock them real­ly chunky or real­ly small. Since it’s such a process to wash my hair, comb it, mois­tur­ize, takes a few hours, etc., I need a style that is durable and can be mul­ti­plied as the weeks pro­gress. If I’m real­ly real­ly pressed for time I plait my hair into two french braids and main­tain it for a week until I am ready to style it.

How do you com­bat shrink­age?
T:
I’ve come to a point where I enjoy my shrink­age, so I real­ly don’t com­bat it. It tick­les me pink when I pull at my hair and see how long it tru­ly is. It’s almost a run­ning joke with my friends, “Go on, show them how long your hair is!” When the weath­er gets cool­er, I am look­ing for­ward to blow­ing it out. I haven’t in almost two years.

What are some of your prob­lem areas (if any) that require spe­cial care and atten­tion?
T:
My ends. Cer­tain styles dry them mak­ing my curls look sad. I have to make sure I con­di­tion them dai­ly before I go to bed. Also I make sure that I stay hydrat­ed and main­tain a healthy eat­ing lifestyle.

What are 2 do’s for your tex­ture?
T:
Gee I have so many do’s! Mois­tur­ize, mois­tur­ize, mois­tur­ize and ALWAYS sleep with a sat­in/silk scarf. I also do treat­ments every few months, and/or with the change of the sea­son. Seek out and learn about your curls and don’t be afraid to learn from tri­al and error!

What are 2 don’ts for your tex­ture?
T:
I hard­ly sham­poo. After years of sham­poo­ing I can see the dam­age it does to my hair, strip­ping away its nat­u­ral oils. My hair LOVES being dirty. As I weaned myself off of sham­poo and became more con­scious of what prod­ucts I was putting on my mane, my curls began to evolve. I also don’t like cut­ting my hair too much. Just once in a blue moon.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
T:
My web­site is still under con­struc­tion, but you can fol­low we on Insta­gram @_afronista. Thank you for read­ing my expe­ri­ence!!!!

Meosha

Just anoth­er lover of nat­u­ral hair and expres­sion.
— Style Icon Coor­di­na­tor for BGLH

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53 Comments on "Tessa // Natural Hair Style Icon"

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Indigo

Her insta­gram is dif­fer­ent now! If you wan­na fol­low her, shes @afroista on insta­gram

Rachel

Gor­geous hair, and so much of it!

Leslie

Shame on me! It should be “mois­tur­ize!” Duh.

Leslie

Tes­sa, your hair is beau­ti­ful. Thanks for post­ing. I have a hair role mod­el now because I had no idea what my hair was. Mine looks just like yours. I had trou­ble accept­ing my hair’s den­si­ty as I was tran­si­tion­ing. When it frizzes up, I feel like my hair is unkempt. It gets so dry and tan­gled fast!!! But now I know how to moister­ize and I am look­ing for­ward to being nat­u­ral. When I want to go straight, I will rock a wig! Thanks again.

Afroista

I’m hon­ored to be your role mod­el! Please feel free to stay in touch if you need more sup­port!

Jack

An unre­lat­ed ques­tion and a quite late: Where did you get the white swim­suit bot­tom? I’ve been look­ing for some­thing in that style.

Afroista

I got it from Amer­i­ca Appar­el

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Cathey

Wow, I am LOVING your hair! BEAUTIFUL!

Sally

Oh, WOW! I’m in awe of your hair. Absolute­ly stun­ning!

Robin

Your hair is MAJOR!!!!!

Kathryn

kathy­hop­pel — Beau­ti­ful wed­ding katie your uncle john would be every hap­py for u all i know that he is your aunt kathy love u and u know your uncle john love u to.wish i was there that Beau­ti­ful day to share it with u all .

garry

i feel like mar­ry you

Likewaterforchocolat

Beau­ti­ful and I’m so with her on the V05 condish for co-wash­ing. Between those (I get thme for no more than $1 at my local Dol­lar Tree) and the Suave Shea & Almond condish, I pret­ty much swear by the­se cheap­ies for co-wash­ing. If you live in a town that has Kroger (I live in Atlanta), you can find V05 for 87 cents a bot­tle.

Tess

crazy how the cheap­est pro­duct is some­times the best

kendra beiting

I think I am in love-WITH YOUR HAIR-LOL :)

Tess

lol it loves you too

Cee Mac

Love­ly!

CuteKinks

Good­ness gra­cious your hair is beau­ti­ful!

Toya

Absolute­ly Beau­ti­ful! Thanks for shar­ing with us! Gives me more hair inspi­ra­tion and moti­va­tion!

Tess

my plesure! Thank you for read­ing!

selma

Love her hair

Mika

Breath­tak­ing­ly beau­ti­ful hair.

Curly Queen

True hair envy. Beau­ti­ful.

LaNeshe

Great inter­view

Annie L.

“I need­ed to stand up for the dig­ni­ty of my life and my curls”

“Wow, this is the first time I have put a label on my tex­ture”

Two very mean­ing­ful sen­ti­ments, thank you for the won­der­ful inter­view and pho­tos, you and your hair are gor­geous.

Tess

Thank you Annie. I am so grate­ful to have been able to sit down and reflect on this jour­ney thus far.

Carla

That’s a whole lot­ta healthy look­ing hair! You rock it lady :)

Ashley

Beau­ti­ful hair, lady! WOW.

Pandora

Any­one else notice the cou­ple mak­in out in the first pho­to? Lol

I too love her hair..my hair also changes with length, (I thought I was the only one) so its quite unpre­dictable. I admire that you have reached that lev­el where you have learnt the ins and out of your hair :)

Tess

lol thats Paris for you lol

Im always learn­ing, seek­ing out what works and what does­nt. I believe its a life­time jour­ney

JazzWife

Wow!

Jesusinthecity

Best hair of the year!!! Wow!

Cia

Yes!! One of the pret­ti­est, thick­est and most lus­cious heads of hair I have seen in a long time!

Tess

much respect!! Thank you

sam

OK, may­be I need to try elim­i­nat­ing sham­poo every time I wash my hair. I’ve been afraid to just do the con­di­tion­er wash because I thought it wouldn’t get rid of all the pro­duct that accu­mu­lat­ed. But I have VERY low porous hair that needs A LOT of mois­ture, so per­haps I should give it a shot???

Tessa

Try and see what hap­pens to your hair, if u feel like ur scalp needs more trea­ment use the apple cider vine­gar in the water to give it a through clean. Hope it helps!

Treece

Ooh that beach pic. So lush, great healthy hair, girl

Tess

thank you!

merry

omg. the shot with her hair blow­ing in the wind. i love it.

Tessa

Thank you ladies so much!!

lacquerholic

Now that’s some hair porn right there!

Tess

chicka chicka bow wow lol

goyta

jeal­ous am i. in awe am i

d.from.md

Wow! your hair is the bomb! Gor­geous!

LM

WOW! Look at all of that HAIR! I am total­ly drool­ing right now! Absolute­ly too gor­geous!

Moglet

my sen­ti­ments exact­ly, WOW!

Tess

All you guys hav­ing me blush­ing lol.

Tess

Thank you sooo much. All you guys hav­ing me blush­ing lol.

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