Hi, I’m Cherise! I am 25 years old, born and raised in northwestern Pennsylvania. This means lots of snow, which it happens to be doing right now :(. In my spare time I love to play with makeup and playing video games! After serving almost eight years in the Army Reserve (with time spent in Kuwait and Iraq) and finishing my Bachelor’s of Psychology I am currently working in Veterans Affairs for my local government. I transitioned for the second time 6 years ago. Before that, I was natural in high school for about two years.
What or Who inspired you to go natural? Did you bc or Transition?
I had virgin hair until I was about 10 when I was taken to the salon and the hair dresser thought it best to give me a relaxer. My dad was a single father so they thought this was easier for him to manage. To his credit, he styled my natural hair as well as some moms! From age 10-15 I either had my hair professionally relaxed and eventually began relaxing it on my own. I experienced a lot of breakage at one point and decided to grow it all out. My hair was the shortest it had ever been and it was because I was over processing it. At that time I was relaxing it every month because I thought I HAD to. Once I looked at older pictures of myself with longer, fuller hair, I decided to stop relaxing and let it grow out. I decided to transition because I wasn’t ready to cut it all off. At 16 my hair had grown out tremendously, despite me cutting off relaxed ends. I was loving it! I also started playing with color.
In 2007 it was time for me to graduate high school and go to basic training. At that time I was fully natural. I googled information about black hair in basic and at the time I really only saw other women relaxing theirs. Since it seemed like it was the best option, I decided to relax my hair once again to help cut down hygiene time. You only get so much and I didn’t want to spend it on my hair! I ended up wearing braids mostly in basic training so it was sort of a waste for me to relax it again.
Flash forward to 2009. I had the bright idea of getting a tapered, asymmetrical cut. It was cute but I didn’t know how to manage it which resulted in biweekly trips to the salon for HOURS. We all know how that can be. The stylist was talented, but she insisted on relaxing my hair every month. The cut I had required relaxed hair but not monthly! I already learned that lesson! Her attitude was also less than stellar so I once again began growing it out. I let her know I wanted to grow it back out so she wouldn’t cut it so short anymore. I also requested she relax it only every 8 weeks. Once it got back to bob length I stopped going to the shop, but I continued straightening it. While I wasn’t doing too much damage to my hair, I realized heat wasn’t the best option, especially when trying to save a curl pattern. I started getting sew ins and this helped with length retention. In fact it’s my favorite protective style.
I guess in a nutshell, it was vanity that made me transition. I hated how my hair looked while short and thin. I have learned now that it’s not about length, but the health of my hair. I recently did a “mini chop” after noticing I was holding on to a lot of scraggly ends. I took off 4-6 inches but my curls look SO much better now!
Top three products and prices.
This is tough! I’m sort of a product junkie. I definitely love Shea Moisture products especially the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($12.99). I normally purchase all of my Shea Moisture products during CVS’ buy one get one sale. I have to stock up on it because my husband uses it as well! Lol! To cowash, I used Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Curls Conditioner ($3 or $5 for the large bottle). I love this stuff because it works pretty similar to Deva Curl One Condition for me. I use tons of conditioner so this is much more affordable for me ($3-5 vs $20-40). Although I do love Deva Curl’s line and I’d have to put it at number 3. I mostly use One Condition as a leave in and cowash with Herbal Essence just to make it stretch.
Fave go to hairstyle?
My favorite summer go to is a wash and go! I mean I know it’s hot and my hair has gotten pretty big now but it seems to thrive in the warmer weather. In the cooler months I definitely wear buns more. Recently, I’ve been studying how to do crochet braids. It’s a style I’d like to try because it seems like an amazing protective style plus I can still rock big hair.
If you had to give your hair a name what would it be?
Sekhmet is an Egyptian Warrior and Healing Goddess. She’s represented as a lioness. She’s powerful, wise, and fiery. I can identify with her, since I am a combat Veteran, and as a healer (my job in the Army. Eventually I’d like to go back to school and become a therapist).
Have you tried Hair Shadowing?
Oh goodness! So I have tried this! But it ended terribly lol! I had a small phase where I wanted to highlight my hair so I could use temporary colors on the streaks on the weekends. I work in a pretty conservative environment so I could never be able to wear it during the week. I tried Color Tattoo EyeShadows and it didn’t really work out. I’ve also tried hair chalk but that also didn’t really work for me! I have dyed my hair with permanent color for years so I’m sure that has something to do with it. I also keep a lot of oil in my hair, which I think was the problem for the Color Tattoo eyeshadow. In the future I want to try Splat temporary color or something like it!
If you hair is colored what do you use to do so?
Previously, I dyed my hair with L’Oreal Feria in #21 Bright Black. This is a cooler shade and although I loved the blue undertone it’s not warm enough for my skin tone. I switched over to #20 which is just black. This went better with my skin tone. Recently, I’ve been trying to get away from permanent color. I’ve been dyeing my hair with Age Beautiful Demi Color in 3V Darkest Plum Brown and 20 Developer. It’s still a dark color but I’m loving the plum undertone. It’s been washed 3-4 times since I’ve colored it and it’s faded but it’s not fading too bad. The main reason I switched from permanent to semi is to allow flexibility with my color choices. I adore dark hair but I’d love to try different undertones without having to lift the previous color!
Sum up your natural hair journey in three words.
Stressful. Rewarding. Irreplaceable.
Any advice to the natural newbies?
Keep at it! It’s too easy to become discouraged with your hair but it does get easier! If you need a break or a change hair extensions can be a great choice as long as they’re done correctly! I lived in sew ins while I got through the awkward stage!
What was your favorite compliment someone has ever given you on your hair?
Probably my little sister saying she wishes she had hair like mine. Her hair is thick, but more wavy and loosely curled. I actually always envied her hair!
If you could only watch one natural hair vlogger on youtube who would it be? why?
Probably Taren Guy. She’s who I started with. I learned a lot about my natural hair through her!
Finish this sentence:
I Rock My Natural because Ms. Sekhmet is fierce honey!
Keep Rockin Cherise!