I am in my 20th month of being perm free. As the days go by, even though I am becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin and being a naturalista, I am still learning my own hair.
I got my first perm at 13 years old. Before that, my mother used to braid and take care of my hair. So I never really got a chance to learn the beauty of natural hair care until now, more than twenty years since getting my first perm and 13 months since doing the bold big chop and being totally perm free.
I always feel obliged to try new hair products, search for hair styling tips and more. I believe that with this new movement, there are definitely others who can share stories or ideas based on their natural hair journey. For this reason alone, I decided one Saturday in May to check out a natural hair show that was being hosted at Nicholas Brooklyn, which is where I met Cynthia Williamston, natural hair expert and editor-in-chief of Bridal Tribe. I am grateful that she took some time out to answer some of my questions about hair.
Interview with Cynthia Williamston
SJ: How do you determine your hair texture? Thin or thick?
CW: Texture is about the quality of hair structure, and that is determined by a few factors. Heredity, health, and chemical treatments are the most common factors to consider. Hair can be either Curly, wavy, straight or a combination of these and I believe the most people have a combination. If you were to part your hair into four quadrants and check the different sections, you would find different textures and hair patterns. I’m sure you have had the experience where one side of your hair styles perfectly and when you try to do the same on the other side it just won’t cooperate. This used to frustrate me with my own hair and still does...lol I think that a professional cosmetologist or hair expert is the best person to help you determine your texture, even if you do most of your styling at home. That information will help you make better styling choices.
Health plays a major factor as well because healthy food intake, dehydration, medication, aging, and diseases can affect the blood which is what brings the needed vitamins and protein to keep hair healthy and growing.
Chemical treatments alter hair structure so getting a relaxer or permanent color can stretch out naturally curly hair changing it to wavy or straight. Any combination of these factors can cause the hair to become dry, thin, overly porous, and hard to style. Maintaining healthy hair takes the work of a hair professional and you.
SJ: I co-wash every day. is that too much?
CW: Co washing is using conditioner as shampoo so that hair isn’t stripped of the natural oils that can protect your strands from sun damage and everyday styling. It can also deposit a lot of oils into the hair creating build up so you want to be careful about how often you do this. If it is working well for your hair then it may not be too much, but keep an eye on how your hair responds to it. If there is a need to change your routine you will know by how healthy your hair is. Just check in with a professional at least bi monthly for an evaluation.
SJ: How do you grow your sides? Is there a method to the madness?
CW: If your sides are always thin, the first thing I would ask is, were they always thin? If your texture is very fine your hair has a thin structure naturally, and can look thinner while wet. If your hair normally grows nicely but seems to be stagnant, then I would have you take a look at outside factors. Once again I recommend looking at how you are treating and nourishing your body and hair.
Eating live foods full of vitamins, avoiding stress and styles that can stress the hair is a start. A great shampooing and scalp massage can help get healthy blood flowing to the scalp and stimulate growth so treat your scalp well. Make an appointment to see a trichologist to help with any scalp issues and proper diagnosis of ongoing problems.
SJ: What is a good moisturizing leave-in?
CW: Before choosing a leave in conditioner, you must determine why you are using it. Is it for dry hair, breaking hair, or something else? There are many leave in conditioners in the market today so it can be difficult to know without trying it first. If you have a professional stylist that you see, ask for a recommendation and track how the product is working for you. The most important thing is to make sure that the product is helping to strengthen your hair.
You can find out more about Williamston by checking out http://mynaturalreality.com/?p=5858 or visiting Bridal Tribe's Website http://www.bridaltribe.com
I Heart My Hair
Be a part of the natural hair movement and express the beauty you are. Natural beauties, visit http://www.buttaflyunltd.com where you can get some really neat and original items by Kissa Starr.
For if it had not been for her shirts inspiring me, I never would have started this blog. Thankful to her, to Cynthia Williamston and to everybody who took the time out to read this post.
I heart you all!!!