A: Hello my curlies! My name is Ashley and I’m a naturalista from New York. My natural journey began on August 10, 2013 and ever since then I’ve been empowered physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: Transitioning has probably been one of the hardest things to do because when you’re used to frying your hair on a daily basis, going cold-turkey feels as if you are in hell. When I was 13 I got a Japanese Straightening Treatment (LOADS OF CHEMICALS) and when I was 15 or 16 I got a relaxer. My hair was in such bad shape. Honestly, I didn’t know my hair was curly– I just thought it was wavy. At first, my goal was to just revert my hair back to a healthier state, but when I started noticing a curl pattern forming I was determined to “go natural”.
How would you describe your texture?
A: My hair had several curl patterns– the bottom was like a 2a/2b, the middle was a 2b/2c, and the top was somewhere in between 2c/3a. I believe 4–5 months into my natural journey I chopped off 7 inches of hair! I did another chop a month or two later and chopped off an additional 2 inches. This was so drastic because I was used to my tailbone length hair, and cutting it made it 2–3 inches above my bra strap. But cutting off my damaged ends really made a huge difference! My curls sprang up and were so adorable! After the cut my hair remained in between 2c and 3a and it’s thicker (shout out to Jamaican Black Castor Oil), and I still have at least an inch and a half of straight ends.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
A: Depending on what I’m trying to accomplish, I will either do braid outs, twist outs, use Flexi Rods, or just let my hair air dry for a wash-n-go. For my wash-n-go (after the washing process below) I do the LOC method with Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream, organic coconut oil, and Shea Moisture Curl & Style Milk. For braid outs and twist outs I use Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream in addition to the products listed above. Lastly, for my Flexi Rods I use Palmer’s Hair Polisher Serum and the same products I use for the LOC method.
What does wash day look like for you?
A: Now let’s get down to the thing that leaves my arms exhausted, but hair looking gorgeous — WASH DAY! I recently started pre-pooing with warm olive oil for 30–45 minutes and I love the results. During my pre-poo I finger detangle and leave about 8 twists in my hair. Afterwards I wash with Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo and condition with Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Conditioner. Depending on the week I will either deep condition (every other week, usually the first and third Sunday of the month) with As I Am Hydration Elation Conditioner, do a cholesterol treatment (the second and fourth Sunday of the month) with Kuza Indian Hemp Cholesterol, or do a protein treatment including mayo, olive oil, castor oil, and honey, every 4–6 weeks.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A: For those days when I’m either too lazy to do my hair, or when my hair just looks down right crazy, I spritz some water on my hair and throw it up in a big old China bun, sock bun, or top knot.
How do you combat shrinkage?
A: Since I LOVVVVVVE me some shrinkage, I don’t usually try to alleviate it. But for those days when I want to see my length, which is now an inch or two below bra strap length, I will do a top knot when my hair is wet, and when it dries you see the length.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
A: The most difficult part of my hair would have to be the top half of the back of my head. Back in the days when I used to flat iron my hair I would pass that hot devil a good 4–5 times back there to make sure it laid down flat. It’s so dry and it’s in the process of developing a curl pattern. To alleviate this issue, I finger coil the area and boom-baby problem solved!
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
A: For those with my hair, two things that I recommend are 1) be gentle– if not you’re going to see hair all over the sink, tub, floor! 2) never forget to sleep without your scarf boo, I mean unless you want to come out looking like you stuck your hand in an electrical outlet.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
A: My major don’ts would be 1) don’t touch your hair while it’s drying! 2) don’t become a product junkie! I’m currently in junkie rehab. A lot of products will smell great but work poorly, or they will work for a couple of months and then they say “I QUIT”!
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A: You guys can find me on Instagram @curlwhatever, where I’m always introducing new techniques for curly girls. I try to answer all curly problems and inquires there. I’m also in the process of making a YouTube channel so stay tuned!! But if you guys feel more comfortable emailing, then you can contact me at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org.