What is your name and where are you from?
M: My name is Melissa Carter. I’m from Waynesboro, Virginia.
Did you transition or big chop? Share your natural hair journey with us!
M: After nearly a lifetime of relaxers, I became curious about my God-given texture. My relaxed hair seemed pretty healthy but I wanted a change. I went to the salon for highlights, relaxers, layering, and trims. Otherwise, I maintained my hair in between visits. I was afraid to big chop because I did not want to lose length. I transitioned and gradually cut the relaxed ends over the course of six months. I was clueless about maintaining and managing my natural hair. So I got a texturizer to loosen my curl pattern in January 2008. I was under the impression that the texturizer would make my hair more manageable. Boy was I wrong…my hair turned into a hot stringy mess! So I transitioned again. After a year, my coils came back to life. I fell in love with my tiny, corkscrew coils! Five years later, the love affair is still going strong!
How would you describe your texture ?
M: My hair is a mix of 4a/ 4b curls. My texture is coarse and dense. The crown area is 4a, and the nape is 4b. My curls intertwine and tangle easily. So I have to carefully detangle. My hair also craves moisture. Creamy leave-in conditioners, butters, and oils work wonders for my texture. I moisturize and seal every couple days to combat dryness.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month, and the rationale behind your various styling decisions.
M: I do a coconut oil/extra virgin olive oil prepoo prior to cleansing. I also do protein and hot oil treatments as needed since I have low porosity hair. I co-wash and deep condition (with a Huetiful steamer) weekly. I also shampoo my hair once a month. I use Natty Naturals ACV Hair & Scalp Mist and my mixture of jojoba and peppermint oil to keep my scalp fresh after workouts. I usually wear protective styles during the week (buns, twists). When the weekend rolls around, I let my mane loose! I re-twist nightly for twistouts and pineapple curly styles. At bedtime, I sleep in a satin scarf/bonnet. I also use satin pillowcases as a precaution just in case I loose coverage overnight.
What does wash day look like for you?
Pre-poo and cleanse: I pre-poo with Trader Joes Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Trader Joes Extra Virgin Olive Oil (overnight or 8 hrs during the day). Afterward, I carefully detangle my hair. I alternate between the following products for cleansing (shampooing /co-washing): Dudu Osum Natural Shampoo; Bentonite Clay (mixed with Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar and Aloe Vera gel); Natty Moist Conditioner; and Pantene Truly Natural Hair Co-wash.
Deep Conditioning: I section my hair into four parts using my fingers and clips. Then I apply Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner and detangle. I sit under my Huetiful steamer for about 20 minutes. Then I follow up with a cool water rinse using distilled water and Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar. I blot the excess water from my hair with an old t-shirt.
Style prep: Mist my hair and scalp with a mixture of distilled water, jojoba, and peppermint oil. Apply Natty Moist as my leave-in conditioner. Add a layer of Natty Butter to seal in the moisture. Finger detangle each section and separate into two-strand twists. After twisting,
Completing the process usually takes about 3-4 hours.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
M: The Tuck and Roll is my favorite go-to style. I grab my rattail comb to create a side part. Apply products, and section my hair into 8-10 chunky, two-strand twists. Wait about 10 minutes. tuck my hair, roll it under, and secure it in place with bobby pins.
How do you combat shrinkage?
M: I prefer stretching my hair with twists or braids. Retwisting nightly also elongates my hair.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require extra care and attention?
M: My hair is prone to tangle. I use plenty of conditioner for extra slip while detangling.
I have low porosity hair. I have to moisturize a couple times a week depending on the style and climate.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
M: Moisturize with water or a water based leave-in.
Deep conditioning weekly to maintain moisture and combat dryness
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
M: Never shampoo my hair without pre-pooing or sectioning it off. It becomes matted and impossible to detangle.
Don’t attempt to rush washing my hair. Always plan enough time to prevent damage (tangles, fairy knots, or breakage).
Is there a blog/webpage or social media account where we can find you?
M: You can find me on Instagram. My username is macarter30.