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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Natural Hair Feature: Cherise Ishman

Introduce Yourself.
I am Cherise Ishman, a 20 year old college junior, model, saxophonists, jazz vocalists, and Instrumental Music Education Major at Winthrop University.

How long have you been natural and what lead you on this journey?
I would say I’ve truly been 100% natural since January 5, 2013. I just made the spontaneous decision to cut of my texturized, crazy looking hair.  This was my second big chop as I was previously relaxed and big chopped before.

Second Big Chop

What was your reasoning behind wanting your first relaxer at such a young age?
Peer pressure! I was always a minority being that I grew up in a military family that moved every 2-4 years. So when I was around other black girls that had chemically straightened relaxed hair, I wanted to fit in too.

What lead you to your first big chop?
My first big chop was when I was 13 years old back in 2007. It was about one year after I had finally convinced my Mom to give me a relaxer. Honestly, I was just tired of flat ironing, and sweating in the bathroom from applying so much heat on my hair. Also living in Hawaii at that time, I was constantly at the beach.  This lead to me washing and flat ironing my hair 1-2 times a week. As a middle school aged girl, it was exhausting! So I cut my hair and wore my natural coils.

What lead you to texturizing your natural hair? 
At the age of 14, I experienced much criticism from peers about my hair. I was called names, and picked on because of my hair.  My mother suggested I try to texturize my hair to see if that would help reduce the bullying.  The texturizer was suppose to decrease the volume and loosened the curl pattern, but it did nothing to my super tight coils.

I tried texturizing my hair again in high school and it worked. My hair was more manageable and less voluminous, but some parts came out straight
.  I started doing it every 4-6 months to help blend all the different textures together.  It lead to me mostly flat-ironing my hair, and rarely wearing it curly until I went to college in 2011.

Picked out 5 day old twist out

Do you feel you adjusted your hair to fit in with society?  Why or why not?
Yes!  I tried, but I gave up.  It was too much work and time. Not worth it at all. 
When I moved to SC for my senior year of high school, I felt a level of comfort being around more naturalistas.  The bullying was gone because there was no one who felt the need to criticize my curls. 

How did your family play a role in your hair choices?
My family didn’t care how I wore my hair as long as it was healthy.  I’ve been doing my own hair since I was 11 years old.  My mother only relaxed my hair and encouraged me to texturize it because she thought it would make me happier due to the bullying I suffered at school. She has supported me in any choice of hair I choose to wear.  She’s always said I never needed a relaxer or texturizer in the first place and that she LOVES my natural hair.

Braid out puff
What hair products do you use now?
I mainly use Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Oil, Infusium 23 Leave-In Condition for Dry, Damaged Hair, Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, & Eco Styler Gels (Clear & Olive Oil).  I used to use Suave Professionals Almond & Shea Butter or Herbal Essence’s products. 

What advice would you give to a new natural?
Be patient, and enjoy the process of watching your hair grow! You’ll be amazed at how fast it grows when you focus on keeping it well moisturized and healthy.  Don’t be afraid to try new styles! The more you experiment, the faster you will learn your hair and what really works to keep it looking right!

Is there anyway that natural hair admirers can get in contact with you? (i.e. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)

You can reach me at OhSoBariSaxy on Twitter, and Instagram.

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