Meet Tarchelle, a fellow Naturalista living in Tennessee and author of, “Natural Hair Journal: 4 Weeks To Figuring Out What Your Hair Loves”. I had the pleasure of meeting her when she traveled through Boston, MA a few weeks ago and asked if she would like to be interviewed.
Hi Tarchelle, how long have you been natural?
I’ve been natural for most of the past 20 years. I got relaxers occasionally throughout the years, but I’ve been completely natural since 2007 or 2008. I really don’t remember my last relaxer because I didn’t get them regularly. I spent years as a straight natural, I had locs for a year, but wearing my natural curls is my absolute favorite. I’m really comfortable in my curls. They fit my quirky personality.
What obstacles have you faced in your natural hair journey?
The biggest obstacle I’ve faced is figuring out the best products for my hair. There are tons of products out there and I used to be the biggest product junkie. I was always chasing the perfect wash and go that would give my hair the look that I wanted, plus kept my hair hydrated, moisturized, and healthy.
What advice can you give women who are in their big chop or transition phase?
My top 3 tips for natural newbies are:
1) Enjoy every stage of your journey. Don’t miss out on any of your experience by wishing that you were at the next stage.
2) Spend time learning your hair. Forget the hair type/curl pattern. That doesn’t matter much, and the truth is that as your hair grows and gets weighed down by the length, your curl pattern will probably begin to look different anyway. Pay attention to the things that matter – how your naked hair looks and feels, how it absorbs products, whether or not your hair responds better with added oils, and what oils.
3) Drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet, and exercise. Believe it or not, all of these things are vital to the health of your hair and scalp. Healthy hair grows from a healthy body.
You recently published, “Tarchelle B’s Natural Hair Journal” on Amazon. Can you tell us more about it?
Oh yes!! It’s pretty cool!! “Tarchelle B’s Natural Hair Journal: 4 Weeks to Figuring Out What Your Hair Loves” – I named it that because I always get questions about my regimen and how I’m able to tell what products work for me. I decided to take what I did (using a regular notebook and planner) and put it into a book so that everyone else could do the same over the course of a 4 week period. I’ve included pages to record the current condition of your hair and scalp, your short and long term hair goals. Just like any other goals, you have to know where you are and know where you want to go to be able to get anywhere.
Then, there’s a Nutrition and Exercise Log. Like I said earlier, this is a huge part of maintaining healthy hair that grows. Exercise increases blood flow, which stimulates hair growth. It also increases circulation which makes vitamins absorb into the hair follicles more easily. Just about every healthy food has some benefit for the hair and scalp, too. Fish like salmon has omega-3 fatty acids that help hair grow and keep it shiny. Beta carotene in sweet potatoes and carrots stimulates the sebaceous glands in your scalp, increasing sebum. Nutrients in dark leafy greens can keep your hair moisturized and prevent breakage. The list goes on and on, so it’s important to keep your body healthy if you want healthy hair.
The thing most people love about my journal is the Product and Style Logs. It’s the place in the journal where you can record all of the products you use, list the main (first 5) ingredients, and how your hair reacts to each one. I found a lot of similarities in the ingredients of the products that work well in my hair and the ones that don’t work in my hair. Most naturals do, but they usually don’t figure it out until after years of trying tons on products. For me, I know that my hair loves products with aloe and marshmallow root. I also know it hates products with castor oil and beeswax. Knowing that, amongst other things about my hair, makes it pretty easy to know if a product will likely work for me. It’s really tamed that giant product junkie that lives inside me.
It’s an actual writing journal as well. I have blank pages for writing. The big chop is an emotional experience. Transitioning is, too. It’s good to write those feeling out. The good, the bad, and the indifferent. I used to write the rude comments and the compliments. It’s amazing how one rude comment can ruin our entire day. Well, seeing on paper that the compliments list was way longer than the rude list made me forget those nasty things a lot faster. I included some of my absolute favorite natural hair and black beauty quotes on those pages. It’s very inspirational.
The journal is available on Amazon. I also have a .pdf copy available for instant download on my website for people who would rather print it.
In your opinion, how can the natural hair community improve?
The natural hair community is full of the most beautiful, creative, talented, inspiring women (and men, too)! I think it would be so much better if people embraced what they have instead of wishing for what others have. Kinky textured hair is just as beautiful as curly hair. Wavy hair is just as beautiful as kinky hair. I believe we were all blessed with what made us perfect. We shouldn’t wish for the hair that anyone else has. Live in your own beauty. Love it, and flaunt it!!!
Buy Tarchelle B’s Book on Amazon.