LOVING MY RELAXED HAIR™ PRESENTS: CharmaineSaturday, September 19, 2015
My name is Charmaine Love and I am a 3rd grade teacher in South Dakota, originally from Olathe, KS.
How would you describe your hair? What's your hair type?
My hair is very thick but soft. I have 4a type hair.
When did you start your relaxed hair journey? What is your hair regimen? Share a few of your "go-to" hair products.
I started my relaxed hair journey in December 2010. March of 2013, I decided to go natural after I had a setback. After 18 months, I was fully transitioned to natural. However, December of 2014, I decided to go back to relaxing my hair. Being natural was great but I absolutely loved being relaxed.
My regimen/staple products consist of getting a salon relaxer every 16 weeks with Affirm FiberGuard Sensitive Scalp. I used to self relax but I have found a trustworthy stylist that understands my hair needs. I do a hard protein treatment every 6-8 weeks with the Aphogee Two Step Treatment. My wash routine is done weekly. I always do a hot oil treatment with Jamaican Black Castor oil (JBCO) and Coconut oil mix. I usually let that sit on my hair for about 20 minutes with a plastic cap or overnight depending on how dry my hair is in this South Dakota weather. Next, I wash my hair with a shampoo of my choosing. I do not have a staple shampoo at the moment. I follow up with a deep conditioner such as Affirm 5 in 1 reconstructor or Keracare Humecto Creme Conditioner for at LEAST 30 minutes or longer. I alternate between the two in order to keep my moisture/protein balance in check which is key in my regimen. Next, I apply my leave ins, air dry 70%, moisturize and seal, and then I proceed with a low manipulation style. I apply heat to my hair only if there is a special occasion. Other than that, my hair remains heatless in low manipulation styles. I moisturize with Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter and seal with JBCO at least 4 times a week. I also wear a satin bonnet at night.
What #1 hair tip you would pass on to other relaxed haired ladies who are starting their hair journey?
Very early in my journey I rarely would get trims. After I transitioned, I would routinely get my hair cut to maintain the health of my hair as well as to help me transition quickly to natural. Now that I am relaxed, I do not need to cut as much because I keep my hair in low manipulation styles and moisturize and seal on a regular basis which is huge in my book. I always trim every three months like clockwork. This too is done by a trusted stylist who trims what needs to be trimmed. A lot of ladies are afraid of losing length but I would rather cut dead split ends to have full healthy hair. My goal is health over length. My goals and focus this time around is different. Health over length! The length will come. Patience and consistency are key!
I do not feel the pressure to be natural. When I initially decided to transition, it was because of a setback as I had previously mentioned. My setback was due to my own laziness. I was no longer consistent with my regimen and I began to experiment with color. I also applied alot more heat to my hair than my hair was used too. Bad hair practices led me to my decision of transitioning. When I decided to transition, I was open to the idea of either staying natural or possibly relaxing again. In the end, I did what I felt like was best for me and my lifestyle. I do feel that because of my decision to start relaxing again, I often find myself having to justify or defend my reasoning for being relaxed all the time to other naturals. A lot of people are often surprised that my hair is in the health that it is in and I am relaxed at that. I feel like relaxed or natural you can have healthy hair. You have to do what works for you in terms of your lifestyle. It was a matter of preference for me. Overall, I think it is great that African American women are embracing their natural hair more and shying away from the weaves and taking the time to actually grow their own hair. For many years, there has always been a stigma attached to African American women and their inability to grow their own hair. Natural or relaxed, with the proper routine and haircare products, long and healthy hair can be achieved.
Why do you choose to remain relaxed while many are transitioning back to their natural hair?
When I was natural, I always applied heat to my hair in some form. Usually it was the blow dryer and then I would bun my hair at least twice a month. It was so thick and there was so much hair to deal with. Even though my hair was thriving I missed airdrying my straighter hair without having to alway use a blowdryer to do one of my go to buns. I tried the wash and goes, etc. When it came down to it, I missed my straighter texture of hair. It was really a matter of convenience for me. This was something that was routine for me already being previously relaxed.
What do you absolutely love about your relaxed tresses? And why?
The manageability!!! I feel like I have so many options being relaxed from bantu knots, buns, braid outs to the bone straight look. I also miss the roller wraps! I can virtually have a straight or curly hairstyle with minimal to no direct heat applied.