She is always striving to show that you can be chic and professional while rocking your natural hair, welcome Trinidad’s Tshenelle Bethel aka Nelly B!
At age 30, this naturalista is on the fourth year of her hair journey.
Special Kinks (SK): Why did you decide to go natural?
Nelly B: Having been natural my whole life before I tried a relaxer, I realised that I missed my curls and that relaxers just weren’t for me.
SK: Were you natural when you and your bf/fiance/husband met or did your natural hair have to grow on him? What was and is his response to your natural hair?
Nelly B: I was actually transitioning when I met my fiance. Funny thing was, I big chopped the day after we made our relationship ‘official’. I was nervous about him seeing my short natural hair, but he loved it and always encourages me to stay natural and even helps with my hair care every now and again.
SK: Why did you choose to big chop AND transition?
Nelly B: I chose to do both because I didn’t want to wait too long to chop off the straight ends, but I also wanted to have an inch or two on my head before I cut it off
SK: How easy or difficult was it in the beginning stages when you chopped or started your transition?
Nelly B: For me it was easy since I braided during most of my transition and after my big chop.
SK: What is your hair regimen?
Nelly B: I don’t have a strict regimen, but what I can say is that I follow the LOC method, I cowash and deep condition once a week; shampoo wash once every other week; and protein treatment once a month. I’ve only recently started trying my hand at hot oil treatments.
Though many have an oil that they bank on, Nelly B stands out because she doesn’t have favourite actually.
SK: Name your favourite products
Nelly B: Wayyyy too many to name. But I can mention brands like Eco Truffles, Wholesome You, The Mixtress J, Happy Curls Happy Girls, Just Bee You and 4 My Kinks, which are locally made in Trinidad and Tobago, and work wonders for my hair.
After she was raving about products made in her home island, we already knew Nelly’s answer to the question of how easy or difficult is it sourcing products where she lives, but she still said:
“It’s not that hard at all. Local product makers are accessible, and the more commercial brands are available in stores like Pennywise, Body Beautiful on D’Avenue, or are brought in by individuals to sell.”
SK: Favourite style
Nelly B: Any style where my hair is out, like twist outs, braids outs, or a high or low puff.
SK: Do you do protective styles?
Nelly B: I do protective style, admittedly not enough. I put my hair through a lot of manipulation so it’s good to give it a break. I love Senegalese braids and in general any type of twisted braid because they tend to not pull on my scalp as much as styles like box braids.
SK: Tell me about a great hair day or a bad hair day in short, or about a liked or frustrating feature about your hair.
Nelly B: A frustrating feature about my hair would be that it gets dry very quickly, especially since I am a coloured natural. I always have to ensure that I step up my moisture game to keep hair healthy.
SK: How do you detangle? (comb, fingers, Denman brush, water only, etc)
Nelly B: I detangle once a week, either during a cowash or a deep condition. I finger detangle first, and only if necessary, do I resort to my wide tooth comb or my eco tools brush.
SK: Do you have any hair crushes?
Nelly B: Honestly, no celebrity crushes. I do however truly admire to women and men of the Facebook group Caribbean Ppl with natural hair. It’s so amazing to see naturals of all textures embrace their hair, love it, care for it, experiment with it. A lot of the things I have tried in my hair are a result of something I’ve seen another natural do in the group.
SK: Describe your hair in one word, and why?
Nelly B: Chameleon!!! My hair is versatile and I can switch it up to suit any occasion.
SK: Name something outrageous or edgy or just different you would love to try with your hair but have not had the guts to try YET!
Nelly B: This may come across as mundane, but flat iron. I have not applied direct heat to my hair since I went back natural. I’m very wary about heat damage.
SK: Would you encourage others to go back natural?
Nelly B: It depends, if someone came to me seeking advice on going natural I would definitely encourage them and assist them however I can. On the other hand, if someone has for example, a relaxer, and their hair is thriving and healthy, I don’t see the need to push the concept of going natural on them. At the end of the day, healthy hair is most important.
Want to explore natural hair and styles more with Nelly B? She’s very social, so find her on her channels.
Twitter and Instagram @blessednelly