*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
C: Hi ladies! My name is Channing; I currently reside in Tampa, FL but D.C. where I lived while attending the BEST university on the planet, Howard University (HU, You Know!!) is my heart. I’m a current student of Computational Linguistics with dreams of being a documentary producer, and starting a health and empowerment foundation for young girls.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
C: I’ve always loved big hair, big curly hair to be exact. I’ve had a fascination with it for as long as I can remember. Honestly a relaxer for me was so normal as a child I didn’t know there was any other way. I remember this girl in middle school who came almost every day with a BAA and although people made jokes and comments, I was so in love with her hair. I wanted to find a way to make my relaxed hair that way (lol) and honestly I’ve never found straight hair that flattering on me. It felt so flat, was a lot of upkeep to maintain that pin straight look, and wasn’t reflective of my carefree personality. Even now my flat ironed hair has to have some sort of curl.
My natural journey started in 10th grade back in 2005, but I spent the majority of that time as a heat-straight natural as well as in and out of sewins. I tried a texturizer or two and even did a wave nouveau trying to achieve this “perfect curl” that I thought I was so desperately missing, and because of this I had a lot of hair setbacks with the worse being no real progress in growth. Eventually I cut my processed, damaged hair off and my natural hair to a short bob in the Summer of 2008 and went from there.
How would you describe your texture?
C: Hair typing has been the bane of my natural hair existence since I began. I don’t know if I have it right at all. It seems like once you get past the 3b’s things get muddy, but I’ll give it a go…I do have 3 textures.
The front of my hair from ear to ear across the top is 3c. It is very fine yet dense. It responds the quickest to any sort of stretching or heat, and is most prone to heat damage. There is a lot less shrinkage in this area, and it doesn’t hold a loose style very well. Instead of reverting it falls flat. The back section from ear to ear across is 4a. It is slightly coarse and is the most durable of the three sections. Like the front it responds well to any manipulation and styling, but isn’t affected by heat as easily and maintains a style throughout its duration. The crown…is there a 5? No seriously, she is a tough cookie up there. My love/ hate section for sure. 4c I’d say, and is the most resistant to stretching and heat styling. Very coarse strands, but when I get it styled let me tell you this section stays put through whatever. I am a big hair lover and this gives me my volume, making sure I don’t have the “flat top look” so it’s worth the extra attention.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
C: I don’t want to sound redundant since the next two question are basically my regime, and really the most activity my hair sees is on wash day which is normally every two weeks or so. Outside of this, I will do the occasional henna treatment and I do drink a “healthy hair smoothie” almost daily that consists of things that are good for hair, skin, and nails as well as overall body health. I try to stay away from adding too many supplements so I primarily focus on foods that have the nutrients I need. My styling regime is “what can I wear that is low maintenance that will also transition well throughout my various activities” (work, school, dates, going out, etc.)
What does wash day look like for you?
C: Wash day is very simple; I start with conditioning on dry hair (prepoo I guess) with a mix of olive oil, raw honey, Motions CPR, and Hair Mayonnaise. (Forgot the brand, the one with the dark green lid) I let it sit for about 15 minutes and while I’m waiting I mix a batch of Bentonite Clay and Apple Cider Vinegar. I rinse out the conditioner and detangle with my Jilbre and apply the Bentonite, making sure to scrub my scalp and cover the hair completely. Leave it on for another 15 minutes and rinse. After I add a small amount of Herbal Essences Hello Hydration as a leave in and style.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
C: I am a self-proclaimed protective style queen. So anything that keeps my hair up and away and keeps me from having to do or redo it daily has my name all over it. I truly believe wearing protective styles along with extremely limiting my direct heat styling is what got me past my hair plateau and has helped me retain so much length. But while the limit in heat styling was an intentional move to retain length, the protective styling was not. Truth is I am extremely hair lazy and the less I have to do to my head the better so I tend to go for styles that will last me a week or more (twists, braids, yarn braids, buns, etc.) I just style those when I want to change it up. Only recently have I been wearing my hair out which is why I was able to scrape up some pictures haha and even then I go for long lasting styles, so bantu knot outs and braid outs tend to be a staple for that.
How do you combat shrinkage?
C: I don’t do wash and go’s and I never let my hair dry loose. On top of that all of my styling is done on damp hair. Not even damp, like moist, when it is just barely wet, just enough to be pliable. I also henna from time to time and I’m not 100% sure, but I think it has given me less shrinkage overall. Then as my hair has gotten longer it just naturally hangs lower.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
C: Oy vey! My crown is a beast I tell ya, straight monster! If I have a style that takes 3 hours the crown alone takes probably 1 hour or more and we’re talking a section about the size of a balled up fist. It’s always been my trouble section, but it’s the only area that rarely ever gets splits or SSKs and it’s the strongest. For years though I didn’t realize it was different and needed even more delicate handling than the rest of my hair and due to my own rough handling out of frustration I suffered breakage, but now that I know it needs extra time, I try to do that section first or near first if possible so I’m not worn out. This has really helped me retain length, cause you have no idea how close I used to come to just shaving a patch in my head and wearing my hair up all the time.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
C: Hmm, I’d say my hair responds very well to dry conditioning and low manipulation styles.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
C: Don’t forget to moisturize especially the ends. Detangle thoroughly, very thoroughly, until you can run your detangling tool root to tip with no snag. Yes it takes more time, but it is worth it.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
C: Although I am extremely passionate about healthy natural hair, and can usually be found poking around on any natural hair site, my attempts at starting a blog…ehh…I’ve realized that while I’d love to contribute to one, I don’t want one of my own at the moment so for now feel free to catch up with me up on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/Curls.and.Stilettos and/or Instagram @curlsandstilettos. I love hair talk, answering questions and getting tips and tidbits from other ladies as well.