Image Slider

The Curl Files - Feat. Shaneka

Everyone meet Shaneka, the beautiful mother of three, embracing her natural hair. At first, Shaneka did not intend on going natural, but after experiencing damage, she was forced to do the big chop. Now, two years later, Shaneka states her natural hair journey has been a freeing experience. She even has a name for her fro!Beginning of natural hair journey
 Left: April 2013 | Right: October 2013
natural hair journey
Left: August 2015 | Right: October 2015

Please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Shaneka, I'm from Las Vegas born and raised, I'm very excited to share my hair journey and so thankful for the opportunity to do so! As well as I love to read all the different ones and enjoying some similarities and tips I could learn from. So enjoy ^-^.

How long have you been natural?
On October 2015 it became 2 years! How exciting!

What made you decide to go natural?
I think like most of the other naturalistas, I can say I started off with loving relaxers at a young age. Honestly, I had no intentions to purposely go natural UNTIL that faithful day I decided to surprise everyone and change my hair color; I bleached my hair and it didn’t come out the color I wanted so I did it again the same day (an hour apart). I can safely say my hair was no longer my own. The next day it started falling out and it refused to straighten. So I had to just wear my hair natural (as natural as fried bleached hair looked). From that point I was so mad I decided to damage my hair so I made the decision to go natural that day. The worst day of my life was the best decision I had made regarding my hair.

Did you do the big chop or did you transition?
I did the big chop. When I finally had some new growth (more of my natural hair color) actually showing, I got all of the bleached ends cut off.

What was the hardest part of going natural in the beginning?
The hardest part of going natural for me was not knowing what to do with my hair or knowing how to care for it. Not knowing the different products to use and feeling like I looked like a boy also made it difficult.

Did you care what others would think about your hair? Do you still care?
At first I definitely cared what others thought of my hair. I thought all the stares were looks of disapproval. As of now, I don’t care as much about what people think of my hair since I love my hair now.

How did others react to your hair in the beginning? How do they react now?
I had full supporters in my corner, rooting me along, especially my husband. He made it easier for me to love myself even when I didn't feel pretty. And of course I had the “do something with your hair,” “wow that’s different,” “this is just a phase, you're gonna straighten your hair” people. They all love my hair now and some wonder how I stuck with it for so long. Some also ask, “how do you get your hair like that?"

Have you faced any struggles from being natural in school or in the workplace?
I didn’t face struggles out-loud per say, but there were times I greeted people I got those looks of “whoa” (at least in my mind they were saying “whoa”).  I still get looks of "whoa" to this day, but I laugh it off and embrace my hair with nothing less than full confidence!

What is your current hair regimen?
I have a wash day and deep condition day, which are once a week (every Saturday to be exact). I do not use shampoo in my hair; if I do it’s very rare (like once a month if even that). On wash day, I first deep condition my hair with oils- mostly my favorite, which is unrefined coconut oil, 100% African shea butter (melted down), fruits (sometimes) and another oil I'll usually add last minute lol, just depends on what I have. Then, I detangle my hair section by section, put a shower cap on for however long I think my hair needs it for that week (which normally is no less than an hour). Then I cowash, put my products on my hair, let it dry 80% -100%, put my hair in a pineapple with my satin bonnet overnight, wake up, put some coconut oil on my ends and massage a little in my scalp, shake my hair out and I have my hairstyle (wash and go) for the rest of the week. I just repeat this process for the next 4- 5 days.

What products do you love? 
I love and live by my Coconut Oil, Aussie or Tresemme conditioner, As I am Coconut Cowash (When I can afford it lol), Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, and Eco Style Gel.

What is your favorite hairstyle?
Wash 'and Gos are my favorite. I used to love and only do twist outs, but after a while I found a product that worked for Wash and Gos. I loved how hydrated it kept my wash and gos.

What is your hair motto?
The bigger the hair the more they stare and try to not anger the beast! Lol

What's the best part about being natural? What is the hardest part?
The best part is knowing it’s all mine, I feel free in a way (especially when it rains, I don’t have to run for cover anymore). The hardest part for me is PATIENCE; my curls have a mind of their own! The hardest part is having to give your hair TLC even when you don’t feel like it. For example while detangling you can’t just say “forget it” and rip through your hair. You still have to be gentle with it and I always have to remember that, but it gets really hard!

What tips or advice would you give others that are starting their natural hair journey or thinking about starting?
Go for it! Stay with it! Embrace it! You will have your hard times like everything else, but you will not regret it. Find products that work for you. Be very, very patient with your hair. Even if you think you’re not getting any progress, you'll look back and see how far you’ve come. Remember it’s not about the length, but how healthy your hair is. So make sure you're not just trying to hold on to length over overall health. This is the best decision you can make and there is a supportive community of many other natural lovely ladies.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I missed?
I just want to add, one thing that kept me going through the hard times is I gave my hair a persona. I named my fro Nalabrisk. Sounds weird, I know, but it made the process easier for me. When my hair was in that first, awkward stage I put flowers in it, headbands, etc. Just find things that work for you and helps with your journey. Remember it's yours, it's what God gave you, it's beautiful and no one can be a better you than you!