J: My name is Jaleesa and I’m from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. I’m originally from Suriname (a wonderful country just above Brazil).
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
J: I really wanted to feel my own thick and coily hair again after years of relaxers and bad weaves. I was sick and tired of it. My hair felt weaker and thinner. It sometimes felt like I “hid” my own texture from the outside world. I thought about it and actually couldn’t find a logical reason for it. Being myself, inside and out, was what I was going for. I decided to transition until I felt comfortable with wearing my natural hair. I transitioned for a year and big chopped in January 2013. So I’ve been fully natural now for almost 1.5 years.
How would you describe your texture?
J: My coily hair is very dense with thick, coarse strands and medium porosity. I can describe my hair as 4A/B/C with mostly 4B.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
J: I love to keep it simple! I wash my hair every 7–10 days. I wear my hair loose a few days after washing it, but it’s important to me to wear updos in the second half of the week. My ends really love to be protected in updos so that’s why I try to keep consistent with them. My night time routine is just wetting my hands with water or rosewater and braiding my hair in maybe 8 or 10 braids. If my hair feels extra dry, maybe after a sunny day and wearing it loose, I’ll use a bit of Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream to moisturize it.
What does wash day look like for you?
J: If it’s time to deep condition I will rinse my hair to remove most of the build up. I then apply my DIY deep conditioning treatment (most of the time it’s avocado with honey and olive oil) and let it sit for around 35 minutes. I then separate my hair in four sections with hair ties and co-wash my hair with Tresemme Naturals Conditioner under the shower. This is also the moment where I finger detangle. Co-washing feels better on my hair, but I do use Yves Rocher’s Smoothing Shampoo once a month. I let my hair air dry afterwards while I do other stuff in the house :P I’ll put Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream in my hair when it’s around 80% dry. Then I seal with my shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil mix. I’ll use a bit of my homemade flaxseed gel on top of that if I want a defined look the next day. Then I’ll braid my hair for a braid out. It depends on my mood if I wear it loose or in an updo the next day.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
J: A puff or a halo twist updo. These styles are so quick to do! They also look nice and no one would know that it’s actually a plan B hairstyle :P
How do you combat shrinkage?
J: I don’t mind shrinkage, so if it happens I just re-arrange my hair plans for that day. But I do notice my hair shrinks less after braiding it in big sections at night.
Tell us about your hair color?
J: I did my color myself actually, but I’ll definitely go to a professional next time (if there will be a next time). It’s a very very faded Dark and Lovely Red Hot Rhythm. It hasn’t changed the texture, but my hair does feel drier. Frequent deep conditioning helps me beat the dryness. The dry ends bothered me so much I cut a few inches off recently, and I’m now just growing it out.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
J: My ends because they are drier than the rest of my hair. That’s why I love updos so much. I also always extra moisturize my ends.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
J: Moisturize when it needs the extra love and sleep with a satin scarf.
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
J: Using too much heat and forcing your hair to do something when it clearly doesn’t want to.