J: I’m Jessica Jakes, born, primarily raised, and residing in Columbus, GA.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
J: I have been natural for 2.5 years and will reach the three year mark of my journey in December 2013. Initially, my plan wasn’t to “go natural” at all. My father had passed in 2009 and shortly after, I decided to cut my hair. I wore it short and maintained my relaxer, but noticed that every time I visited the shop to have my hair reshaped, I’d go shorter and shorter! After a year, I found that cutting my hair had not done what I needed it to. It hadn’t made me feel the way I expected. A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life, right? I didn’t feel the change, lol. I did some extensive research on natural hair, how it’s maintained and cared for, how it could be styled, and fell in love. I stopped getting relaxers and went 2 months before my impatience got the best of me. I big chopped in December 2010 and haven’t looked back!
How would you describe your texture?
J: My hair is mostly an extremely dense and coarse 4b. The nape of my neck (which my mother describes as “the only patch” I had as a child) is slightly less dense and a bit finer, more 4a. The same is true in regard to my crown area.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
J: The way I style my hair over the course of a month is heavily dependent on what I have scheduled. If I’ve got a pretty clear schedule with mostly work and limited extracurricular activities, I try to maintain a braided up-do for at least a week and a half. I style my up-do after washing or co-washing (Aussie Moist Cleanse and Mend), deep conditioning (Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque), moisturizing (Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream) and sealing (raw African shea butter). Once my up-do goes down (lol) I tend to rock an “old twist out” look by chunky twisting at night or sleeking my hair up into a puff using Eco-Styler Gel to tame my edges. However, for most events or nights out, I prefer a huge and untamed fro.
What does wash day look like for you?
J: Wash day is…wash day. I start by separating my hair into 8 sections, spraying each section with my mix of water, extra virgin olive oil, and Mane and Tail Moisturizing Conditioner, then lightly finger detangling before moving on to my wide toothed comb. I add a dime-sized amount of Aussie Moist Cleanse and Mend to each section before combing through. After I can comfortably comb through each section, I twist them up and move on. I don’t regularly shampoo my hair. When I do shampoo, it’s always due to some major product build up. Therefore, my go to “poo” is normally Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo diluted with 3 parts water and concentrated on the scalp. After cleansing, I deep condition with my Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque by covering with a plastic cap and sitting under my bonnet dryer for 30 minutes. My hair is still in the twists I created during detangling. After rinsing, I apply whatever leave-in I love at the moment, though Cantu has been a consistent friend. Last, it’s sealing with raw shea butter or extra virgin olive oil, and on to styling.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
J: My absolute all time life-saver, is “le puff”! I have more knee high stockings lying around my house than I can count (or find). When my “hair tie” goes missing, EVERYONE is in trouble!
How do you combat shrinkage?
J: Shrinkage can be a major issue for me. If I intend to wear a defined twist out, my hair must be absolutely dry, not damp, DRY. Otherwise, it’s frizz and fluff, for me. To combat that, I have to be sure that I either style my hair with enough time before an event to let it air dry completely, or sit under the dryer. I despise the dryer, so preparation is key. For a fro with reach, sleeping in chunky braids is essential for a good stretch.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
J: Moisture! Though I have my handy dandy spray bottle, I often forget to spritz as often as I should. My hair has a tendency to dry out, which is why I’m sure to seal in as much moisture as possible and cover at night with my satin bonnet.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
J: 1) “DO keep you hair detangled, Jessica!” If not, detangling is bound to be torture. 2) “DO be gentle with your hair, Jessica!” I hate to admit my impatience, but when detangling, there’s always at least one “snap, crackle, or pop” that reminds me to go easy on my curls…or risk unnecessary breakage.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
J: 1) “DON’T go to sleep on that fro, Jessica!” Not twisting or braiding my hair before bed guarantees tears in the morning. 2) “DON’T neglect your ends, Jessica!” My curls are very tightly wound. If I don’t pay especially close attention to the care of my ends, single strand knots will take over and breakage will definitely rob me of my GROWTH!