Getting inside a naturalista’s hair routine is one of the best ways to research when you’re thinking about going natural. Queeneleem, a natural haired beauty with 4B/4C hair shares the deets on her transition, regimen, and styles that keep her natural hair flourishing!
I have 4C/4B hair that is light medium brown. My hair is thick with thin individual strands and naturally dry. And man, is my shrinkage real (around 80%).
This is my natural hair texture slightly stretched. I braided it into 3 large braids after I showered to keep it from tangling as it dried while I slept. My stretched length in this picture is an inch above my bra strap.
I started my natural hair transition January 26th 2013 when I decided to stop using relaxers. I noticed that my usually thick hair (usually so thick it was hard for me to manage back then) felt thin and limp. And so I started my natural hair journey which transformed into a lifestyle. I had started using weaves to give my hair a break before I decided to go natural but after putting the relaxer down I started wearing a curly weave most of the time. I taught myself how to cornrow when I was 13 so a sew-in was pretty easy to learn. My first weave I went to a hair store in Harlem and had an African lady do it but I watched her to see if there was anything I thought I couldn’t teach myself.
I created a braided headband technique where I leave 1-2 inches of hair out around my edges that I braid into a french braid then I cover the space between my braid and my sew in with a black headband. This style is great because not only is this style super low maintenance (I rarely have to do anything more then shower, brush, then go) it also had the added benefit of protecting my edges becuase I never had to blend it or put heat on it and when I did blend it it was already wavy from the braid.
I’ve found that the best way for me to take care of and love my hair is to use low manipulation protective styles. And now I’m obsessed with low manipulation protective hairstyles. My go to hair styles are: my curly weave, braids, goddess locs (which is currently my favorite style but can be time consuming for me to install as they take me about 3 days of off and on. I also put my hair in a a goddess braid style by using the Annie or Tammy Outre synthetic quick weaves with my braided headband method. I also see a big difference when I religiously use my silk scarf at night. When I don’t wear it my edges get dry and break off.
Also, my care regimen has been really instrumental in retaining length and keeping my hair happy. I only brush my hair in the shower when it is wet and is conditioner in it, air drying by putting my hair in 2 tight pigtails in the shower. I brush the conditioner out of my hair while smoothing into 2 pigtails. I braids the end of each pigtail, tie them off, then take each and secure them behind my head until they dry. I’m big on air drying which usually takes my hair about 24 hours. I then comb out my hair using a large tooth comb. For moisture, I find that the products that work best on my hair are: ORS carrot oil and ORS anti breakage cream. To seal I use coconut oil (I use Crisco organic coconut oil). When I wear my hair in braids I use combo of coconut oil and castor oil on my scalp.
My belief is that our hair is unique because of what it can do which is damn near everything. But it can also be extremely fragile and require a lot of attention and time which can be frustrating. And yet it can be so empowering to teach oneself how to take care of it and to watch it grow. Its taken me a while to get to this length (4 years!) but it was so worth it and I’d encourage everyone who’s interested or thinking about going natural to just take that leap and start taking care of you!
Check out more of Queeneleem on Instagram!