*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
V: My name is Victoria and I am from all over! My parents were in the Army so we have lived in Germany, Hawaii, Texas, and New Jersey, to name a few. Currently, live in Ft. Worth, Texas, but I claim Pemberton, New Jersey as home since that is where my family and I spent the most consecutive years together.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
V: I actually went natural by accident, and many factors contributed. I missed my 10-week routinely scheduled “perm”; I moved away from home to start my new job, my mom was too far away to give me my touch-up, and I absolutely dreaded going to the salon. Before I knew it, a whole three months had already passed when I noticed a sprout of coily hair from the nape of my neck. I was immediately in awe and was excited about the new life that my hair would begin to take on after 19+ years of being pressed and relaxed. With three other sisters, it was difficult for my mom to keep up with our tangles and tears, so she introduced the “relaxer” and heat at a young age. Now, I have a great appreciation for the rain and I have absolutely no worries about “sweating out my perm” when I exercise. My last relaxer was in January 2008 I believe, and I Big Chopped in July 2009.
How would you describe your texture?
V: I think I am a 3c/4a and am not too sure what to classify my strands as. What I can say is that I do have a thick head of hair and that when it’s soaked, it becomes very springy and uniformly coiled and in humidity/light moisture it is full of life.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
V: Since this is a quick process, I wet all of my hair while in the shower and essentially partition my hair in four to six sections to apply the conditioner, allowing maximum access to my strands. My conditioner of choice is now, “Hello Hydration” (blue bottle) or “Honey I’m Strong” (orange bottle) by Herbal Essences. I apply a generous amount to each section from root to tip and let it sit for approximately 3 minutes before running water over my hair enough for the conditioner to penetrate throughout. In this process, I leave about 70% of the conditioner in my hair, then I squeeze out the excess water with a towel, leaving my damp curls free to air dry. (I will only Wash and Go on a warm day.)
Co-Wash and Oil(s)/Cantu Shea Butter/Twist-Out: Same regimen as above, except this time I rinse out all of the conditioner. This is followed with the application of Oil(s)/Cantu Shea Butter. Here, I put about a teaspoon of the coconut oil (from the grocery store), jojoba, argan and/or Cantu Shea Butter in an 8oz spray bottle with water for application, massage through my hair, create about eight two-strand twists (typically before bed), then put on my bonnet. The next day, I’ll allow moisture from the shower to mist my hair, to revive the fullness. Protective Styling: I make tighter/smaller two-strand twists (similar to my co-wash regimen above) and I put them into a French Roll with a pin or I wear the twists out with a headband. With a twisted style, Oyin Handmade’s Burnt Sugar Pomade is my product of choice on the ends for improved hold.
What does wash day look like for you?
V: On a wash day where Cleansing, Conditioning, and Detangling ALL take place, I do the following:
Step 1 – Cleanse: I completely wet my hair in the shower, then I generously apply Pantene – for Natural or Relaxed Hair or Tea Tree Oil Shampoo to six sections of my hair (root to tip), work the poo into a lather then rinse out by section. [Typically every 2 weeks]
Step 2 – Condition: I apply Herbal Essences – Hello Hydration/Honey I’m Strong from root to tip, and then run more water through each section to make sure the conditioner penetrates throughout my hair. Afterwards, I put each conditioned section into a small bun and conduct the detangling portion of the regimen outside of the shower. [Typically 1-2 times per week]
Step 3 (occasional) – Detangling: With the conditioner still present, I finger detangle my hair by section, gently separating the kinks and tangles. (I do this outside of the shower to reduce the amount of water wasted and the water gets cold after a while). [Typically once every few months] To remove the loose strands, I place each section between two flat hands (as if praying) and from root to tip, pull down. If doing a Wash and Go after detangling, I keep the conditioner in. Otherwise to prepare for Protective Styling, I rinse the conditioner out completely (in sections). [Typically after every co-wash]
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
V: I love to wear a sloppy bun as my go-to! I really can only do this style with stretched hair, though; otherwise it’s too small and is more like a curly puff.
How do you combat shrinkage?
V: When I want to loosen the coils, I will do about eight two-strand twists and wear them overnight. The next day, I allow the water droplets from the shower/spray bottle to fluff up my hair just the way I like it when it’s out, big.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
V: I do get a lot of little fairy knots on my strands, and I do have a bad habit of picking them! Wearing my hair up helps me keep my hands out of it and reduces the amount of knots I get. Not only is picking the knots out an annoying habit, it also misshapes your mane.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
V: Double bonnet – I can no longer fit my bonnet with loose hair and feel guilty sleeping without something covering my hair, so I started using a satin scarf around my head with the puff exposed in a pineapple. I then take my bonnet and pull it over the exposed hair for full coverage. Spray bottle/misting – Go Green! I am conscious of the amount of water used when conditioning/detangling/styling my hair. Not only does using a spray bottle help me to deliberately reach sections of my hair to evenly apply product and rehydrate it, the amount of water is controlled and waste is minimized. After all, what good is it to be “natural” and run out of our natural resources? Depending on what I’m doing, I’ll either 1) pour water by itself in a bottle for misting or 2) add my oils (coconut, jojoba, argan), or Cantu Shea Butter, shake it up and spray for even application and/or dilution of product.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
V: Combing – I don’t detangle often, but in my prior regimen I would get through my hair with a comb/paddle brush after a wash which took out more hair than what I ever could imagine. Through trial and error, I learned that finger detangling is pretty effective and is just enough for me. The next time I plan to use a wide-tooth comb or paddle brush will be when I am going to blow dry my hair, but find it unnecessary when wearing my curls. Heat – To maintain length and keep my hair hydrated, I’ve learned that heat, at least for straightening, was traumatic so I moved to straightening it annually. I noticed an overwhelming amount of growth over the course of a year and plan to do my next length check January 2014. Take the “No-Heat” challenge with me!
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
V: No blog/webpage as of yet, but follow me on Instagram @victoriaqueenv.