I was absolutely elated when Chicoro agreed to be interviewed last summer, as she rarely does interviews. For those who may not know who she is (if you’re a natural you should know who she is). Chicoro is considered a respected hair guru in the natural hair community and author of “Grow It” and “Hair Products 101”. Her books emphasize the importance hair health, hair growth and product use. Chicoro has grown her hair to amazing lengths and has helped many learn the importance of length retention and how to attain it. Below she offers the best advice to having heathy hair and a healthy body, overall. Chicoro is an educator, a natural hair guru and a hairspiration to naturals everywhere.
Hi Chicoro! Thank you for agreeing to speak to me and my audience. This is absolutely a tremendous opportunity! You are the author of two incredible and informative books, “Grow It: How to Grow Afro-Textured Hair to Maximum Lengths in the Shortest Time” and “Hair Products 101: A 4-Step Process to Empower You to Select the Best Products for Your Hair”. Before 2009 there weren’t many books on shelves that catered to women of color’s hair. We were lucky to get a chapter in a hair book. Is this what inspired you to write “Grow It”?
Yes and no. In 2009 there were some significant books out there for us. Cathy Howse’s, Ultra Black Hair Growth II and Pamela Ferrell’s, Let’s Talk Hair. Another significant document that catered to the needs and interests of our hair was Wanakee Pugh’s pamphlet for her Verifen line of hair products entitled, “Because You are Serious About Your Hair“. Wanakee is the person who coined the phrases, “protective styling” and “afro – textured” hair. Her hair was and still is jaw-dropping. She had great before photos and excellent photos all along her hair journey. It was powerful for me because she knew and understood what was needed to gain length on afro-textured hair. More importantly, she shared her knowledge and gave away the pamphlet for free! These women were my first inspirations.
I joined a hair board in 2003 and one member encouraged me to create a Fotki account (for new naturals Fotki accounts were pictorial databases in which women would document their hair growth and healthy hair progression with pictures, prior to Instagram) . I started documenting my hair journey there. I would get all kinds of feedback from other women about how they used the information in my Fotki and how it helped them. I wasn’t giving advice, just talking about my processes and my successes and challenges. Some aspects of ‘Grow It’ came from the responses I would give in my Fotki. ‘Grow It’ was the book that I wished that I had at the beginning of my hair journey. I wrote ‘Grow It’, for myself.
I often credit books such as “Grow It” to the length and health of my hair, as I have read it several times. I’m sure you’re aware of how many naturals you have helped and inspire on a daily basis, but who inspires you to do your work?
Black women are my inspiration. I want them to know how beautiful and powerful they are. Too many of us don’t know these two things about ourselves. At one time, I didn’t know that I was beautiful or powerful either. Now, I do.
I understand you’re working on your 3rd book, I’m salivating as I think about the title, “Nurture It”. I’m sure this book will be just informative as your others. Will it focus on how to maintain your hair after you “grow It”? What stage is this upcoming book in?
No, this book will not focus on how to maintain hair. I do have some hair information within it, though. The book is at the stage where I have the cover completed, all the interior color photographs taken and the bulk of the text written. It will be the third and final installment in the Beautify Bit By Bit book series. I thought I would write seven (7) books, but only the three (3) are needed to say all that I want to say and share.
When naturals visit your website Beautify Bit By Bit I am sure they think they are going to read typical hair tips and hair advice. But your site provides so much more information such as emphasizing the importance of inner beauty, self-love, and overcoming fears. Why was it important for you to incorporate content like this?
It was important to incorporate content like this because I believe that the most important aspect of our life journey is to learn to love ourselves. When you truly love yourself, nothing can hold you back. This also allows you to love and help others. We are all connected and a part of our purpose is to help and support one another. That’s hard to do if your self-esteem is rock bottom or worse, non-existent. I write there when I have something to say. I don’t write on an external schedule. I write there when I have something to say.
At one point you were eating in the raw and juicing, living a clean healthy lifestyle. Are you still eating the same? Would you say that this contributed to the growth, retention and appearance of your hair? What are some of the fruits and vegetables that are a must in order to maintain good health, great skin and strengthen one’s hair?
I go in and out of raw as it suits me. I also want to say that I first learned about raw foods from Queen Afua’s book, “Sacred Woman”. I had growing, painful fibroid tumors and the information in the book helped me shrink them naturally and saved my uterus.
Right now, I am back to eating raw food and juicing. Yes, I believe that juicing contributed to the growth of my hair. Raw juices are brimming with potassium and organic sulfur, a building block for hair. These nutrients stay in the body for twelve (12) hours. Thus, drinking raw juice two times a day, morning and evening, may help to keep your internal sulfur and potassium levels up, in theory.
I think green juices make your skin pretty. I like juicing some kind of green, leafy vegetable, like chard, collards or kale along with cucumber, red apples, carrots and ginger. My nails grow long and fast, too. Of course it impacts the hair. Hair growth is part of an ancillary system, meaning that it is not necessary to have hair to live. If your vital functions are deficient in nutrients, the body takes them from non-critical processes, like hair. If you are providing your body with all the nutrition it needs, the spill over can be taken up by your hair. Thus, I think green juices and raw foods help with creating beautiful hair.
You emphasize the importance of naturals taking responsibility and documenting what we use in our hair and listening to our hair’s needs? Have you added anything else in your hair thought process since 2009 from when you first published your book?
Yes, I have. I think that people are under a tremendous amount of stress today. Although it should not be a replacement for food, sometimes we may need the temporary support of supplements. The first one I suggest people research and discuss with their doctors is the use of Vitamin B Complex Stress Formula. The second one that I am mentioning for the first time here is Magnesium with B6, liquid formula. When we are stressed, our muscles tense and we lose B vitamins. The magnesium helps with relaxation and the B Complex replenishes our lost B vitamin stores. B vitamins are necessary for things like making our hearts beat!
What’s your opinion of big multimillion dollar companies jumping on the natural hair bandwagon creating products “for us”?
The nature of all businesses is to generate revenue for the company’s stockholders. The way to generate money is to create a product that people, the consumer will buy. That gives you, the consumer, a tremendous advantage. If you are vocal and work together, these companies will create the products that you want. If you don’t like a product, don’t buy it. If you want something, ask for it. Consumers can leverage these multi-million dollar organizations and their resources to get what they want. You wield a great deal of power.
One thing we do have in common is our transitional period…how we let the relaxer grow out of our hair over time, which really didn’t take that long. However, you specified in an interview a few years back that “newly natural hair is the healthiest hair in town”. If you could do it all over again would you “big chop”? Why or why not?
If I could do it all over, no I would not chop my hair into a tiny afro. I love to wear my hair in a pony tail. When I cut off my relaxer, I did literally cut off about 10 to 12 inches of hair. But, I waited until my natural hair was long enough to get into a pony tail. In my mind, I did do a big chop. I never wore an afro. I just waited to chop until my natural hair reached my shoulders before I cut it so that I could put it into a pony tail
Is there a difference between the terms “grow it” vs. “retain length”? What are your thoughts?
Every thing is really a matter of one’s perspective. For me personally, these are two separate processes. Growing hair is something that happens automatically if you are a relatively healthy person. Retaining length is something that you need to consciously work toward and may not be automatic. Retaining length is a process that must be learned, especially if you are someone who has hair that reflects its mistreatment.
Your hair is absolutely beautiful and we love your tutorials and information.You have up loaded a few Youtube videos that are super-helpful. Did you plan on uploading more in the near future?
Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it very much. Yes, I plan on uploading more videos in the near future. Thus far, I have about ten (10) more sketched out. I take my direction from internally, not by an external schedule. I am starting to feel an urgency and a nudging from within myself. That means I am going to have to put out some more videos pretty soon!
Chicoro explains the LOC Method on her Youtube channel. See below:
What’s next for Chicoro?
I am learning how to speak French. I love the French language and because French is the language of cosmetics, along with English. Last, but not least, so many women with afro-textured hair speak French. Perhaps I may put out something special about hair, just for them, in French. You never know what’s going to happen, right?!