Shauntée, hair stylist of La Vita Nova Salon in Richmond, Virginia shares her natural hair journey with us. Read about her favorite products, her hair care regimen, and her thoughts on the biggest mistake that women with natural hair make.
Where are you from?
I’m an artist by nature, so almost anything involving art and creativity interests me.
How was your relaxer experience?
I received my first relaxer at the age of 5. My hair had many ups and downs with relaxers, at times it seem healthy, but the it would break and shed. The older I got the more I began to dislike getting relaxers.
How long have you been natural?
I have been completely natural for a little over 2 and a half years now. I transitioned for 11 months prior to that.
What made you want to go natural?
I saw some pictures online of women with natural hair and I loved it! I believe the major reason was though, I just didn’t want the chemical anymore. I grew bored with the styles and i wanted to see my hair in its natural state. I tried 3 times to go natural, succeeding in the 3rd go-round and I’ve loved it ever since : ).
What are your favorite products?
I’m a Mizani fan all the way. Their natural hair care line, True Textures, works very well. The Butter Rich is my most favorite for my hair, which is thick and can be very dry along with my scalp. I also love the D’Tangle, which really helps me in my detangling process. 100% Raw Shea butter is a great sealant for me as well.
How has your journey been so far?
My journey has been full of lessons, many of them trial-and-error. It took me a while to learn how to care for my hair and be comfortable with wearing and styling it. It’s been an adventure and I’m constantly learning new things from hair care to styling. A wonderful journey indeed, one that I continue to enjoy!
How would you classify your hair? (Hair Type)
My hair is 4a in the back, but mostly 4b. Thick, tightly coiled, major shrinkage.
What are your favorite natural hair styles?
I love, love, love Afrohawks!!! I love natural pin-ups as well! And you can’t leave out the awe-inspiring Afro! I like 2 strand twists as a protective style as well.
Do you have a length goal?
Either BSL (bra strap length) or MBL (Mid-back length).
As a hair stylist, do you prefer 100% all natural products or does it not matter to you? Why?
I prefer products that bring back the health of the hair and keep the hair healthy and its integrity intact. Most of the products I use are full of natural oils and proteins. They aren’t 100%, but they are pretty close to it.
What do you think is the biggest mistake that women natural hair make, hair care wise and maintaining its health?
The number one mistake I believe women make with natural hair care is that they fail to realize the work involved in caring for natural hair. It’s actually more work, time, and care. Behind that, some women don’t seek the help of a professional when transitioning or when they really need one. As a natural, I understand about being finicky about trusting someone else with your hair (which is not bad in itself). As a professional, however, I know that everyone’s hair is as unique as the person themselves, what works for someone else may not work for you, from color to hair care products and everything in between. Professionals are educated, tested, and licensed to take of hair, repair it, analyze and even diagnose hair and scalp conditions. Find a good one and don’t be afraid to let them do what they were trained to do.
What advice do you have for those going natural?
Overall, have patience! You’re hearing it from someone who is still working on that herself! Be patient with your hair, keep it moisturized, if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it! Take care of your hair and it will take care of you.
What is your hair care routine?
I wash my hair every other week, deep conditioning each time. If I’m wearing it out, I braid (or twist) it up every night with a moisturizer or if it’s in a protective style such as twists, I make sure the twists stay moisturized and my ends stay sealed. I always have a satin bonnet on when go to sleep. That’s basically my routine, along with keeping my ends trimmed when they need to be.
When you color treat your hair how do you maintain its health?
By staying consistent with my conditioning treatments and keeping as much moisture in my hair as possible.
How do you feel about shrinkage?
I wasn’t a big fan of it at first, but I’m learning to accept it as part of my texture and use it to my advantage.
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