*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
J: Jouelzy —- the great white land of suburbia, Delaware.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
J: I didn’t really “go natural” I just wanted to try a new look by shaving my head into a caesar. That was the 3rd time I shaved off all my hair. The first two times I was actually trying to go natural. The first time I thought I was doing something wrong because my “new growth” just wasn’t acting right. The second time, I thought I could train my hair into being curly — because that’s what I thought natural hair was suppose to be, curly. And the last time, I just wanted a caesar with designs in it; blame it on just moving to Brooklyn. Once I got some length I started putting various weaves and braids in and forgot about my real hair. So as far as being a natural who actually embraces her hair — I would say 1.5 years.
How would you describe your texture?
J: I have coarse 4C hair with some other textures in the back, but I largely identify as 4C. It’s somewhat dense. For me the hair typing system is a beginners marker to help them begin to learn about their hair, but it’s nothing to get too attached to. I know I have a texture that’s not widely represented so I use 4C as a marker so I’m easier for people to find on YouTube.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
J: I enjoy switching up my look and I think hair is a mode of expression. I style often because I can and I like to — and because I have a YouTube channel that I try to upload one video a week to. I love curls, like most of us. So I do a lot of curly styles, and because of that I’m styling my hair 2-3 times a week. I’m always looking for a new way to curl my hair (it’s why I have a curl series!!!), whether it’s different curlers or techniques, I’m trying something new on a weekly basis when my work schedule permits.
What does wash day look like for you?
J: Well depending on what products I have obliged myself to review or what style I decided I was going to record a video on, that usually shapes my wash day. Once a week I have a thorough wash day and then when I can get it in in the middle of the week I’ll do a refresh wash by just co-washing my hair. On the wash day I’m always trying something new, whether it’s a deep conditioner (I DC weekly during the winter) or a DIY cleanser/conditioning treatment. I’m doing something that requires me to mix some products together. I always steam. I LOVE steaming my hair as part of my conditioning process. I use my Q-Redew steamer a lot. If I need to clarify my hair, which I do once a month I’ll use Carol’s Daughter Rosemary Mint Shampoo or As I Am Cleansing Conditioner depending on my mood.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
J: I love big hair, so I can get almost any style to work with a few bobby pins because I want my hair to be big and obnoxious. Bantu knot outs are my usual go to. Some times I throw some perm rods in for 30 minutes, just to add some type of definition. My Honeychild Type 4 Hair Creme is a great moisturizer that allows me to do these last minute styles without it turning to complete frizz. For whatever reason if I have that in my hair, I can get away with 30 minute rollers that look decent.
How do you combat shrinkage?
J: I embrace it. That’s the biggest thing with coarser textured hair. Embrace the “flaws” like shrinkage and frizz otherwise you’re going to have unrealistic expectations. I know if I style my hair on anything more than slightly damp hair (if I can actually get it to dry) I’m going to have really tight curls/shrunken styles. But it’ll stretch throughout the week as the curls drop or if it’s a style I redo every night, that’ll stretch it out too. I don’t combat it. I work with it. There’s a plus to shrinkage. Even if your hair looks shorter because it’s densely compacted it will appear thicker/fuller. I prefer a full look over a longer look.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
J: The back middle of my head is a pain in my right side. It has the nerve to try and be curly when the rest of my hair is a z pattern. And who has time to section their hair and apply completely different product to one section of their head that just wants to be different? Chile cheese. On a serious note, I just try to be gentle all around with my hair, patient and manage my time better when it comes to doing my hair, so I’m not pulling a rush job.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
J: Detangle, detangle and detangle. It’s a never ending process. Wash, detangle, condition, detangle. With coarse hair that wraps around itself and has no sense of uniformity, I have to be very careful with detangling my hair to help minimize breakage, tangles and knots that cause breakage. And obviously moisturizing. It’s something I do often, depending on the style, at the very least every other day. After every wash I do the LCO (leave-in water based product, creme product, oil/butter) to moisturize. Then I’ll spray my hair throughout the week. For curly styles I love Alikay Naturals Loc Butter and Entwine’s Hydrator. For all around styling, when I’m being super lazy, Shea Moisture products are the best. They can be overpowering, but that works in your favor if you want to moisturize your hair one day and not worry about it for most of the week.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
J: Being impatient and over thinking the process. I get a lot of questions on my YouTube channel that really make me furrow my brow, like huh? But I understand that there isn’t a lot of representation for 4C/Coarse hair in the media to begin with. We all watch these girls with big curly hair or hair that has a lot less kink then ours and we start thinking our hair is the impossible texture to deal with. We set unrealistic expectations on ourselves and we get so caught up in the have-not side of things. And then every time we go to style our hair, the first thought is “this isn’t going to work cause my hair is….”, you’ve already over complicated the situation. Know that it’s going to take more then some light leave-in or gel to moisturize your hair and that you have to MANIPULATE your hair into a curl, because you DO NOT have a curl to DEFINE. Accept it and make it do what it do. Yes you will have to style your hair more often, because of your moisturizing needs you hair doesn’t hold curls as long as others, but if you embrace your hair you will open yourself up to a whole new world of style options. 80% of your style is confidence. People perceive you how you perceive yourself, so don’t box yourself in with expectations that don’t fit you. I might think that my hair looks horrible, but there’s someone out there wishing they had my hair.