Feature Friday | Meet Jacqui Bellah-Joseph

IGC: Please introduce yourself tell us where you’re from and tell us how long you’ve been natural?
I am Jacqui Joseph From the island nation of St. Vincent & the Grenadines but residing in Antigua for the past 20 years. At different times in my life, I went natural, from extremely low cuts through Afros to cornrows. My latest natural adventure is now three years and one month old.

IGC: Why did you make the decision to return natural?
In December 2008, I experienced some unusual symptoms when I relaxed my hair. I had never gotten relaxer burn before but my scalp suddenly became sensitive. By the time I was ready for my next relaxer, just in time to travel to the US for a long stay, the experience made me decide to take a break from relaxer. As it happened, I was diagnosed with Discoid Lupus, the reason for my sensitivity. That sealed the deal.

IGC: Did you big chop or transition? Tell us a little about your decision.
Since I was unfamiliar with the stylists in the area I was staying, I did not trust anyone to cut my hair so I took the decision to maintain the already relaxed hair and do regular blow outs to ease the transition until I returned home. When I returned to Antigua, I informed my stylist that I was going to cut off all my hair. He almost passed out because at that time, my hair was the longest he had ever seen it. I preferred the very short hairstyles. It took some convincing but he was accustomed to my changing hair so he obliged. I had not decided if I would maintain a TWA or just grow it out, but I was very firm that I was going to be natural from that point onwards. Thankfully, my family and friends were accustomed to me and my sudden changes in hairstyles so there was support all around. I still change styles at the drop of a hat but my options are so varied now. I have even tried locs, unsuccessfully.

IGC: Please elaborate a little bit about your hair routine? Tell us some of your favorite products to use.
My hair routine varies with my schedule and mood. I try to co-wash twice a week. I have very thirsty hair so I have to ensure that it is well moisturized. After co-wash, I oil my hair with unscented coconut oil, apply a little shea butter/olive oil mix to the ends, then I apply my special homemade leave in conditioner (aloe, coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, castor oil and olive oil with a little Kinky Curly Knot Today). I sometimes add honey and glycerin to the mix. I finger comb my hair, part into sections, twist into bantu knots to dry. I occasionally do an apple cider vinegar rinse.

I am still experimenting with a conditioner for co-washing. Eco Styler Gel with olive oil is my friend. I have also just discovered Creme of Nature Argan Oil Perfect Edges Control, it keeps the fly away hairs in place.

IGC: Most naturals have a love hate relationship with their hair. What’s the relationship between you and your coils?
I have always loved my hair whether processed or natural.  My only problem, if I can call it that, is that my hair is too soft and thin so styles do not last more than a few days.

IGC: What has been the hardest part of your hair journey thus far?           
The hardest part…getting my hair to look good after a twist out. No really, it is the effort I have to put into convincing my friends that I am natural to stay. I was asked recently “So when are you going to do your hair?” I ran my fingers through my new two strand twists, shook my hair and said, “It’s done!”

IGC: Have you ever regretted your decision to return natural? If so, why?
Going natural was nothing new to me and I’m pretty comfortable with my hair so the journey has been easy.

IGC: What are your favorite hairstyles?
My style options are usually blow dry and flat iron at the lowest temperature I can achieve the results I want (a bun), get a plait up at the salon or my favorite, two strand twists.  I spend hours on YouTube looking for natural styles especially those suited for more formal events. I can do a mean up-do.

IGC: Do you see natural hair becoming more popular in the mass media or are relaxers still set to be dominant in the coming years?
More and more persons are going natural but as long as there are those who believe that they cannot manage their natural hair, processed hair will always be dominant.

IGC: What advice do you have for other women who are considering embarking upon a natural hair journey?
There is no one kind of hair. What works for someone might not work for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works for you.

Jacqui thank you so much for the chit chat. I know that having Lupus is not the easiest thing to deal with. But I wish you all the best with the treatment. Congrats on ur 3 year journey thus far. I’m trailing right behind you.

 Ladies let’s show Jacqui some love. Leave a comment below and don’t forget to like and rate the post.


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