A Natural Tale: Miss. Leah's Story
PYCAG: You've been natural your whole life. Were you ever tempted to get a relaxer?
Miss. Leah: Lord Yes! I begged and pleaded with my mother to allow me to get a perm. Thank God she refused every time. She was natural and allowed my two sisters to get relaxers and their hair fell out! She told me it would damage my hair and I would be upset later in life if I got one. Well, she was right because she said the same thing about coloring my hair. I eventually got some blonde highlights and regretted it later because I experiened a change in my curl pattern and extreme shedding. Since I colored two years ago (on virgin hair), half of my hair will not curl! Its so bizarre...
PYCAG: You consider yourself to be a heat-styled natural, which means you wear your hair straight most of the time. How often do you straighten your hair?
Miss. Leah: Before I started a grow out challenge last month, I would straighten my hair every weekend. This would include:
- Washing with either Garnier Fructis products or Cantu products
- Conditioning with the same products
- Blow drying (on naked hair... Agggh! I didnt know about heat protectant back then, lol!)
- Oiling the scalp with a little bit of Africa's Best Herbal Oil
- Straightening with my CHI iron
- Wrapping at night with a hair wrap and satin scarf
PYCAG: You're currently doing a grow out challenge and wish to forgo using heat. Can you explain the challenge and what, if anything, has inspired you to use less heat?
Miss. Leah: I found a wonderful blog created by a lady named Shelli. Her blog is Hairscapades, and she is hosting the challenge. For six months we are to stick with a regimen and see how the hair takes to low maintenance styles. I'm playing around with a few different regimens but deep conditioning treatments are a must! Our goal is to retain length and get the hair to a healthy state. At the very beginning of the challenge I had to straighten my hair for my sister's wedding but since then I've been heat free. I won't straighten my hair until January 2012. The whole reason I started this challenge was due in part to my fiance. I told him that I wanted to get a sew-in for our wedding. He said why do that when you can grow your own hair?! I took him up on it and started to research all things natural hair in the fall of 2010. I started to slowly wean myself of the CHI iron and heat altogether.
PYCAG: How are you caring for your hair and or how do you plan to care for it once you give up the heat?
Miss. Leah: My current regimen is:
- I pre-poo with EVOO and coconut oil.
- Then I co-wash and detangle the hair with my fingers and a wide toothed comb or Tangle Teaser.
- I then wash my scalp with Mixed Silk shampoo. I apply Aussie Moist to condition the hair and get the rest of the tangles out and section the hair into two parts.
- On damp hair I apply my special deep conditioning potion. It consists of two packs of henna placenta, 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of shea moisture deep treatment masque, and a couple splashes of EVOO. I apply this mixture to my scalp and tips and place a plastic cap on and go to bed. In the morning I rinse the conditioning potion out and oil the ends and the edges of my hair.
- I normally put my hair in buns or twists. I will two strand cornrow twist the hair and take it down once it dries. This whole regimen is brand new. I never put this much effort into my hair when I was straightening it. As extensive as it sounds, I like this better than my old regimen because I know my hair is benefitting from it.
Miss. Leah: I can proudly say I am not a product junkie!!! I used to follow a natural hair guru when I first began my research. She insisted that a particular product was heaven sent! She said it would curl uncurly hair and it would help prevent shrinkage. Well, I went out and bought the little $18.00 product and guess what...It didnt work! Since then I realized that my mother never used 'special' hair products and my hair was waist length when I was younger. So, this means my hair can grow and I don't need a certain product to make it do so. I currently love:
- Henna Placenta (a deep conditioning treatment)
- Mixed Silk gentle cleansing shampoo (the verdict is still out on this)
- Cantu Shea Butter shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner
- Tea Tree Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Unrefined Coconut Oil
- Shea Moisture Deep Conditioning Masque and Curl Enhancing Smoothie
- Aussie Moist Conditioner (my staple product!!!!!)
- Raw Shea butter
- Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel
Miss. Leah: My goal is to retain 4 inches by the end of the year and reach bra strap length (BSL). I want to wear my hair down and straight for my wedding next October, and I would like my hair to reach below BSL. My biggest goal is to reach waist length, but ultimately I want natural, healthy hair that is strong and beautiful!
Thank you, Miss. Leah, for sharing your natural hair tale with Protecting Your Crown & Glory. We wish you much success with your grow out challenge and overall hair care journey!