The Bull from the famous Bull Ring Market in Birmingham, England
Where are you from?
K: I was born in Kingston, Jamaica. At age 6, my mom and I emigrated to the US to join our other family members. I grew up in Washington, DC but my hand was forced and I moved to Birmingham, UK earlier this year.
What’s interesting about the UK?
K: The UK is so much more than London. My mom used to live in London for 8 years and I visited every year during that time. I never left London until I met my partner, who is British, 4 years ago. Do yourself a favor and visit not just other cities besides London, but visit the countryside. You can actually see livestock while driving on the roads! Amazing. And you won’t find greener grass anywhere else, and the clouds seem closer to the ground.
What is the natural hair scene like?
K: Hair-wise, there is a much smaller natural hair movement than in the US. This is particularly true outside of London. It’s a bit frustrating sometimes because the product lines in the stores are very limited, so I have to order online. I see some naturals around Birmingham, but there isn’t a cohesive natural community here. I’m actually set to attend the first natural hair meet-up in London on October 2nd. I can’t wait! I’ll be sure to make a video about it and post it on my YouTube channel. On a positive note, I wore a big curly ‘fro to my new job last week and no one batted a lash. I even wore my ‘fro to a meeting with the CFO, which made me feel totally badass! It seems to be less of a big deal here.
Why did you go natural?
K: My first natural journey was in my teens. It was about discovering who I was without my mother’s influence (you can read that story on BGLH). I would cut my hair every time it grew too long and unruly. I did not know how to care for it and did not educate myself about the intricacies of caring for natural hair. So after too many 45-minute detangling sessions, in which I caused much breakage, I relaxed my hair and wore it that way for nearly 5 years.
Relaxed hair was easier and less time-consuming BUT also less fun. After a few years of cutting to achieve different styles, I began missing the feel, bounce and look of my curls. On a trip to London last year, I saw a billboard advertising clothing, but I was transfixed by the hair of the girl in the ad. My decision was made. I transitioned for about 6 months, then did a big chop in late January 2010. I’m not going back this time because there is too much information and too many products out there for me to fail at taking care of my curls.
What’s your regimen?
K: I finally have a consistent regimen. I switch between wearing twists, twist-outs and wash-n-gos. Now that I have two jobs (one more and I’m officially a Jamaican), I have less time. I wash my hair with Faith in Nature aloe vera shampoo and tea tree conditioner or Naked Rescue shampoo and conditioner, depending on how long I’ve gone between washes. I then put on TIGI’s Let it Be leave-in or my own leave in concoction (coconut oil, jojoba oil, liquid leave-in base and aloe vera juice). I then put in two strand twists using a mix of alcohol-free gel and Davine’s Momo moisturizer for dry, frizzy hair. I leave the twists in anywhere from 4–7 days and moisturize daily with my spray bottle mix and seal with avocado oil. I then wear the twist out for 3–5 days. Can I just say that I get FABULOUS twist-outs from this routine?! Thanks to BGLH readers and the hard work of other hair blogs, I’ve learned so much in the last few months. The information has really helped my hair to thrive.