For the second installment of natural hair exposé in 2016, please meet my very good and naturally beautiful friend, Chiamaka. Chiamaka has been natural for as long as I have known her. She’s one of the lucky ones who can style or not style their hair and still come out looking good.
Natural hair exposé is a monthly feature on LME where I interview naturals both old and new to gain more insights on their natural hair journey, favorite products, hair regimen and advice for other naturals. If you or anyone you know will like to be featured on this series please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related: Natural Hair Exposé: Deola Adebiyi
How long have you been natural?
Hello, I have been natural since January 2006. I was 19-years-old and a freshman in college. I simply got tired of the effort required to maintain a perm. I lived a good distance from my salon and I assumed a change would make my life easier.
What made you decide to go natural?
I wanted to take care of my own tresses and cut back on my dependence on salons. I realized that I wasted a lot of time, energy and effort on commuting to my hair appointments.
What is your experience so far as a natural?
Far from easy but well worth it. I have developed a deep appreciation for unapologetic Blackness. Growing up, I felt that I could never rock my kinks because I did not have so called “good hair.” However, my natural hair journey has changed my mind set. I still find it time consuming but far cheaper than maintaining a relaxer.
Please describe your natural hair texture/type.
I have super, coily, kinky, 4xyz hair. Although I read a lot about low-porosity and the thickness of hair, I’m still not sure how to precisely classify my own. It is very coily, though.
What are your favorite natural hair products and what have they done for your hair?
For maintaining daily moisture, I use vegetable glycerin and water. It is one of the only products that keep my hair consistently moisturized. I play around with different oils, but olive oil and shea butter are my favorites. I use Shea butter on my skin as well, but I just moved to Colombia and need to find a store that sells it. I also am feeling the Shea Moisture line of products. The shampoo cleanses my hair without stripping it of its natural oils. I’m also a big fan of Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner. It smells great, costs little and makes my hair soft.
Describe your hair care regimen and reason behind it.
I do not have a set routine per se. Lately, I have been wearing kinky-twists extensions that I installed myself. (Thanks, YouTube) I recently started playing around with blow drying my hair weekly to decrease detangling time. My hair dries fairly quickly on the cool setting. On wash days, I pre-poo with an oil or some conditioner. Then I shampoo and condition with Shea Moisture products. While washing, I keep my hair in braids in order to prevent tangles. After deep conditioning, I blow dry my hair on the cool setting. Then, voila!
What are your go-to natural hairstyles?
I love my protective styles, so I can just get up and go in the mornings, especially the kinky twists extensions. I also rock braid outs daily when I do wear my loose hair.
What advice do you have for new or old naturals hoping to grow their hair healthier?
Don’t be afraid to try new things! Some regimens and products may work for you and others won’t. Also, I feel like people may not tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about the natural hair journey so that they don’t scare you from going natural. It can be very time consuming and high-maintenance depending on your personal preferences. However, I could never imagine myself getting a relaxer ever again. Plus, there’s just something about rocking what God gave you.
Do you have a blog and/or social media page people can visit for more info?
My friend finally convinced me to get an Instagram, so I don’t have too many pictures but I’m there! @HelenOnwuka. I’m also on Facebook at Helen Chiamaka.
Please check out some of Chiamaka’s best hair moments below