1. What's your name and where are you from?
My name is Tanika Thomas, and I'm from Chicago, IL.
2. What is your hair type?
I have about three different hair types, ranging from 3B to 3C.
3. When did you go natural and what made you do it?
I decided to do the big chop March 7, 2012.
4. What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
The most challenging thing about going natural was the wait. Once I big chopped I expected my hair to be down my back after just a few months (lbvs). This wasn't the case as I had to cut my hair several additional times to get to my natural texture. This is called scab hair.
As my natural hair journey continued I began to embrace the process, the struggle, and the joys of having a TWA (teeny weeny afro). Even now that my hair is longer there is still the excitement of knowing that there is more growth to come. The key to dealing with this is to just be patient, and care for your hair. The rest will come naturally.
5. What is your weekly regimen?
When my hair was shorter my weekly regiment was a lot different than now. I try to maintain my hairstyles a lot longer than a week, which is easier when I twist my hair, or flat twist it. I usually try to deep condition my tresses at least twice a month now, and use less styling products, and more conditioners, and oils. This has been leaving my hair curly, and soft. There is also a noticeable difference when I wash my hair as well.
6. What is your daily morning regimen?
Most mornings I simply untwist my hair and fluff. If I style with a wash n go, I typically wet my hair while in the shower, section my hair, and apply coconut oil and a leave in, the next step is to simply give my hair a vigorous shake.
7. What is your daily night time regimen?
For my twist-outs I usually twist my hair in about 7-10 flat twists, and put on my satin bonnet. For my wash and go's I've started to use the pineapple technique, and use my satin scarf to wrap around the sides of my hair.
8. Do you use heat on your hair at all?
I recently started to use heat (every once in a while), but I DO NOT re-straighten my hair after the initial straightening. I am also very careful about high temperature. I also use several different heat protectors during the process. Although I was against putting heat in my hair, it allows me to trim my hair, as well as see the progress. In a curly state my hair shrinkage is real. I don't mind shrinkage tho because it only means that my hair porosity is on point.
9. Do you braid your hair? If so, how often do you do so in a year?
I've never been that into braids because of my hair texture. Braids tend to make my hair shed. I do braid my natural hair to achieve braid outs tho.
10. Wide-tooth comb or Denman brush?
Team Denman brush!
11. Is your hair normally loose or in a protective-do?
When my hair was shorter I wore it more loose. Now that it's growing, and I try to keep my styles longer I do tend to do more protective styles. I love to tuck n roll my hair, and twists are always an option. I haven't done any mini twists yet, but this will definitely be an option for the winter.
12. Have you ever had a hair tragedy? What was it? How did you recover from it?
I've not experienced any hair tragedies while being natural, however, a hair tragedy also brought me to go natural. In 2011 I decided to color my hair a honey blonde color. At first it seemed like my hair color had enhanced my hair, but about a week after I'd colored it, I began to notice massive breakage, and when I washed my hair my texture was abnormal. I continued to apply heat to my hair, and after about two weeks my hair was noticeably damaged.
I hid it, and began to rod it and pin it up in the front where it was noticeably shorter. When I would rod my hair pieces would fall out as I rolled my hair up. I was devastated about my hair, but because it grows very fast, all the color was out, and my hair began to grow back in about 9 months.
It still continued to break, but not as much as it had been breaking with the color. I hated the fact that I continued to perm it, and straighten it. After several weeks of researching natural hair, I decided to big chop. This is when my natural hair journey began.
13. What's your biggest tip for maintaining healthy or long hair?
First and foremost it is important not to stress out over hair length, and texture. Secondly, use products that benefit the need of your hair. Thirdly, it is important to use less shampoo, and more conditioner, and co wash. I personally only shampoo once a month to clarify. I use only products that don't have silicone, parabeans, and mineral oil in them. Also invest in a satin bonnet, and/or a satin pillow case. And last but not least be patient with all stages of your journey. Learn to love your hair.
14. Where can we find you online? (blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc).
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