Before: Shameka Brown Barbosa, 36
“Everyone in my family had chemically salon-relaxed hair, but I wasn’t allowed to get a relaxer until I was 16,” says Shameka, who is an associate creative director at an advertising agency. “By the time I was in my senior year of college, my hair was really dry and damaged from all the chemicals. After a trip to Zimbabwe that year, I decided to reclaim my heritage and go natural. I went back to relaxing a year later. But when I gave birth to two daughters in 2006 and 2008 and was faced with three curly heads to deal with, I let my salon ritual fall by the wayside. I decided I’d straighten my hair on my own, at home, with an elaborate process that involved washing and conditioning, then hand-twisting my curls under a dryer every Sunday afternoon. It took two hours!”
Her goal: a polished look that doesn’t take hours to style.