*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
T: My name is TeKeyia (yes, the “K” in my first name is capitalized), I was born in San Diego, CA and I am currently living in Orange County, CA about to make my move to Long Beach, CA. At the moment I am working on getting to grad school for a master in education as well as a teaching credential.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
T: This past September was 4 years since my big chop. My decision to go natural was actually really random. For the most part, the only person I trust to do my hair is my mother and she had been giving me relaxers since I was about 10 or 11 years old. When I moved away to college it was such a hassle to drive down to San Diego just to have my mom relax my hair and there weren’t many salons near UC Irvine where I was attending college, so I decided to just let my hair grow out from the relaxer. As the time passed, I started to vaguely remember that I had curly hair and I was just really curious as to what my natural texture looked like because I honestly couldn’t remember.
How would you describe your texture?
T: I have never really been able to figure out the whole hair typing thing, but I think I’m 4a/b. My hair is VERY thick. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone whose hair is as thick and dense as mine is. I always joke that I have 3 strands of hair per follicle. And my hair also tangles no matter how much I detangle it, which can be extremely frustrating when styling.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
T: I did a mini-chop in May ‘11 and cut off about 2.5 inches of damaged ends from not taking good care of my hair when I highlighted and straightened it. Right around the year mark of my mini-chop my hair had practically grown back to almost armpit length and since then I have been wearing my hair in mini-twists for about 3 weeks, then wearing a twist out for about a week, washing it, and then putting it back into mini twists.
Typically after I wash my hair I will detangle and moisturize with a leave-in of TRESemmé for curls conditioner mixed with some water and a little peppermint oil for the smell. I always use a mix of shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, a little vitamin E to moisturize, and my staple for twisting is Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel. Styling my hair is very frustrating, especially because I have so much hair and it takes 2 days at the minimum no matter the style, so I prefer to not have to style it often. Usually three weeks is just at the point where I am missing my free hair, especially my afro, and a twist out is perfect for that (even though I DREAD detangling a week old twist out/afro).
What does wash day look like for you?
T: When my hair was shorter I would co-wash with TRESemmé for curls, detangle with a wide tooth comb and my Denman and then wear a wash-and-go. And for the most part I would wash my hair with shampoo about once every other month. But now that my hair is longer I will separate my hair into four main sections and then each of those sections into four sections for washing. If my hair is feeling dry I will pre-poo with coconut oil and Hollywood Beauty Olive Cholesterol and try to detangle my hair as much as it will allow. After that I usually wash my scalp with TRESemmé Naturals Shampoo, then condition with TRESemmé for curls and once again detangle. Once out of the shower I get started with my twisting routine.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
T: My go-to style would be my afro. If I have washed my hair and don’t have the time to start my twists I will just leave it in my braided sections from washing. Once my hair has dried I take out the braids and rock a fluffy afro until I find the time to style.
How do you combat shrinkage?
T: Shrinkage is the least of my worries. I actually don’t mind shrinkage and usually my hair will relax from its shrunken state around day 4 or 5, so I just go with the flow.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
T: If I get lazy with taking care of my hair (i.e. not taking the time to deep condition, wearing it out in an afro too long without co-washing, and throwing it into a puff). It tends to start to break in the front near my hairline. It’s not very noticeable to other people, but I can tell because my twists in the front will be a little skinnier than the others. I am horrible with wrapping my hair at night, but I do sleep with a satin pillowcase
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
T: 1) Having a good conditioner for detangling, which is why I’ve stuck with TRESemmé because it’s just heavy enough for my hair and 2) Taking the time to deep condition really works wonders. My hair loves coconut milk as a deep conditioner.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
T: 1) Don’t wear free hair out for too long and 2) Don’t rush detangling.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
T: Tumblr: girlwiththeafro.tumblr.com