Tress Talk With Shannon

June 12, 2014 in Interviews by mkabba

Hair Talk with Shannon

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Hey Natural Nubian… Kindly introduce yourself!

Howdy! My name is Shannon Hemmings but a ton of people call me Shan Shan! I am a recent college graduate who is currently looking for a job in the TV/Film industry! I love everything from broadcast journalism to hosting and of course to Acting. As far as my background most of my family is from Jamaica and one of my gorgeous grandmothers is from Trinidad, so I’m definitely an islander by blood and by heart.

I’m what they call a free-spirited and positive individual and I try to live life to the fullest! Traveling is also a huge passion of mine and I look forward to seeing what this amazing world has to offer now that I’m a grad!

Have you worn your Natural Hair all since birth? If not how long have you been natural and what spurred you to return to you natural tresses?

I was natural until I was 12 years old and I literally begged my mom to perm my hair, she gave in and I finally returned about 18 months ago. I was absolutely sick of putting chemicals in my hair, my once healthy permed hair finally started breaking when I came to college, and I figured why not give returning a chance. I remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t even remember what my own hair looked like and once I did the big chop I knew there was no turning back; I truly fell in love!

Did you receive immediate acceptance having been newly natural? What were the reactions of those around you? How was your newly natural self-received by others?

I definitely received mostly positive reactions from everyone! My family was very supportive although some were also very wary, letting me know to make sure I took care of it order for it to look “nice enough” for the industry I want to be a part of.

Then people at college were pretty positive as well! A lot of people told me they loved it, some people said they were inspired to try it and then of course there were those that had to try and ruin the fun. A couple people had the infamous “I liked your hair better the other way” statement which at first was a tad bit annoying but I fell more in love with my hair and my new found hair independence that their opinions didn’t matter at all.

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Tell us about your hair stages! Did you transition? Did you big chop? If so tell us about your TWA stages!

I transitioned for about 3 months! I rocked some braids for a while and then I actually rocked a wig for literally about 2 weeks (people seriously thought I got a haircut haha) then I went home for a break and I told my mom I could not wait any longer!! So she cut it off and I looked in the mirror and that is seriously one of the happiest and most memorable moments I have experienced.

Do you believe there to be stereotypes and misconceptions of black women and their natural hair?

I haven’t experienced very many but I would say that one I’ve heard quite a bit is that women are going natural just to be a part of a fad/trend. Honestly, I find that to be hilarious, first of all the women are “returning,” natural and if being yourself is considered a “trend” now, I think it’s a pretty great one!

In your experience would you say managing natural hair is mentally and or physically demanding?

Noooooooooo!!! Honestly, it’s so relaxing! Am I the only one that turns on my favourite show and takes a max of 20 minutes to twist or braid my hair at night? I have never been happier to take care of my hair. It’s all me! No running to salons, dreading the “burn” of perming my hair or having to take out tons of cash every 6-10 weeks. I can just sit down and relax and do my own thing. I actually had someone ask me the other day who did my hair and when I said “me,” she was super impressed. It has definitely been the opposite of demanding for me personally.

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Kindly tell us your 3 most HOTTEST must have hair products?

Ok, I am the biggest product junkie so this is hard but I would have to say the Shea Moisture Smoothie, Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, and I just started using Raw Shea butter; it works wonders!

What’s the most popular questions you get about your natural hair? Pros & or cons?

How did you get it like that? Me: Like what? Lol one of my friends asked me “how do get your “poof-lets?” and I died, laughing of course. Then there’s the how long have you been natural question and why did you do it and is it hard. I love it when people ask questions! Most of the time their questions come from a good place and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, when I was over in London, I had warned the office I was washing my hair and there would be shrinkage so not to ask me if I had gotten a haircut and they still did, jokingly of course.

*SNIP SNIP SNIP* How often do you trim your hair?

I finally learned the importance of trimming and I’m trying to trim every 6 months.

What are your TOP TIPS for healthy, lengthy, successful hair growth?

Make sure your hair is MOISTURIZED, drink tons of water, and take vitamins! BIOTIN is where it’s at!

Let’s talk Hair Typing! Necessity or Nuisance? What’s your hair type and what are your views on hair typing? What hair care advice would you give to newly naturals with with you hair type?

Honestly I’m going to say 4C because that’s what most people tell me but I secretly, well now not so secretly, have no clue! I personally don’t think hair typing is a necessity just because I’m very “go with the flow” and the best way I learn is by doing and experimenting. So when I returned natural I simply tried different products and figured out for myself which ones worked great for me. As for naturals with my hair type, I find that raw Shea butter works wonders. I recently started warming raw Shea butter up for a little while then mixing it with my Shea smoothie. It really moisturizes my roots and makes my kinks nice and easy to handle.

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What are your favourite MUST HAVE staple products for the following (those that apply)

Deep Conditioner: Pantene Deep Conditioner

Sealant: Hold and Shine Moisture Mist-Shea Moisture

Shampoo: Curl and Shine Shampoo- Shea Moisture

Styling: Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, Raw Shea Butter, Curl Enhancing Smoothie-Shea

Let’s talk HAIR REGIMEN! What does your current/staple hair regimen consist of? How does your hair respond to this?

I try and drink tons of water and I take vitamins daily! I actually just jumped on the Hairfinity train and I can already see my hairs shine improving as well as its strength. Also, I can’t say it enough Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize! My hair reacts so incredibly well when I put some of my products in, I feel like it makes my hair happy!


Do you believe returning back to natural to be a statement? If so of what sort?

For some maybe, for me I simply wanted to be myself again and I think that’s why the majority return. “I am Me,” would be the only statement that comes to mind.


Have you made any mistakes/ experienced any natural hair disasters? If so what? And what advise would you give to other naturals?

If I can recall correctly I went on a short trip as a recent natural and decided not to bring my moisturizing products, BIG MISTAKE. Make sure if you go on even the shortest vacation, to bring at least one of your best products for moisturising.

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Has being natural dispelled any myths you previously had of “black hair?”

Yes, that black hair is “hard to handle.” It really isn’t IF you find the right products! I have never had a hard time with my hair because I make sure that it is always moisturized.

What is your go-to hairstyle and how do you achieve and maintain it?

My go-to is definitely my braid/twist out. I moisturize my hair at night, then I put it into about 12-15 braids, and wrap it with a silk head tie. In the morning, I take out the braids then put my hair into twists and wrap it again. I take the twists out once I’ve showered and gotten ready to go, pin it if I feel like it and usually put on a sporty head band. I really don’t do much to maintain the style; I just try and keep my hands out of my hair! (very hard)  😉 )

What one piece of advice would you give someone who’s considering going back to their natural hair?

Do it for you! Don’t care what others say and just give it a chance. If you do go back and you’re not happy right away, don’t give up! Give it a real chance and experiment, find the right products for you, follow amazing Instagram pages, and be inspired by the beautiful natural hair sisterhood.


Latterly where can our readers find and reach out to you (Online)?

The best place to reach out to me is definitely Instagram: Shanhem1 and then I’m also on Youtube under Shanhem

Cheers! xXx

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