Where do you live?
J: I am currently living in the UK Northern Ireland but am originally from Malawi. I moved to the UK in 2005. I’m an A level student.
Why did you go natural?
J: It started off as a relaxer stretch. My hair was very damaged from over processing, I used to relax the length of my hair every time I had a touch up. Yes it is totally crazy but I had no clue and neither did my hair stylist. I grew up wearing a teeny weeny afro in Africa which was a common hair style for women, most high schools where I lived actually didn’t allow girls to grow their hair long. When I moved to the UK I decided to grow my hair out and got a relaxer for the first time in my life. I kept my hair in braids and weaves for the next two years and then decided to just wear my hair since it had grown and partly because I was spending alot of money. Anyway I didn’t know the word haircare and my hair started to break which led me to research and finding Long Hair Care Forum, FOTKI and my decision to start stretching relaxers so that I could get rid of the damaged hair. I can’t remember the moment when I finally decided that I wouldn’t get relaxers anymore. I transitioned for ten months and big chopped in June 2009. Going natural is the best decision I have ever made!
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
J: I literally wore two cornrows/French breads the entire time I was transitioning (talk about lack of creativity…they were cute though lol). I would shampoo, apply conditioner (Organic Root Stimulator replenishing conditioner), detangle (with jilbere comb) and leave the conditioner on for 30 minutes to an hour to deep condition. Then I would rinse it out, apply a leave in/seal with oil and put my hair in braids. I did that for ten months!
Natural hair makes me standout. I get a crazy amount of compliments on my hair. My teachers and random pupils in my school constantly compliment me; I have actually had long conversations about my hair with curious teachers who taught me when I used to relax and are surprised that this huge ‘fab’ afro was hiding. I go to a predominantly white school… my teacher who has mixed kids told her daughter to come and talk to me about my hair.…how I take care of it because she has been bugging her mum about getting a relaxer (the mixed kids in my school straighten the hell out of their hair, the black girls in my school relax and wear breads). I was approached by Hollister recruiters while with an offer to work for them. A guy randomly came up to me and said “I crossed the road so I could talk to you, sisters don’t wear their hair like that anymore”. Literally my background noise is “I love her hair”. I have inspired my mum and sister to go natural and I don’t have to spend crazy amounts of money on braids and weaves that can damage my hair.
How would you describe your hair?
J: My hair is currently bra strap length; it’s very thick and shrinks a lot. I have three different textures…the sides are coarse (4b) the middle and front is wavy and the back is curly.
What’s your regimen?
J: My regimen is very simple. I don’t want to spend hours because I am busy with school and even if I had all the time in the world I don’t feel there is a need to spend hours doing my hair.
· I shampoo my hair in four sections with Organix coconut milk shampoo,
· Then I rinse out the shampoo and apply Giovanni smooth as silk conditioner in sections.
· I get out the shower and detangle each section adding more conditioner and spritzing as needed (I split each section into three sections…so I detangle 12 sections in total). I use a jilbere comb and then a denman brush.
· I rinse out the Giovanni as soon as I finish detangling and leave my hair to dry. When it is almost or completely dry I apply Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and leave it in my hair for however long (mostly overnight) to deep condition.
· If I don’t have Aubrey Organics I just leave the Giovanni in overnight.
· I rinse it the next day while still in section (I unravel every twist and retwist while rinsing in the shower.…I hate getting out of the shower and finding product in my hair) and after rinsing with cold water I apply my leave-in (kinky curly knot today) and seal in with jojoba oil. I started using jojoba oil recently and I love it because it is not greasy on my hair.
· Then I twist my hair with either Anita grant whipped butter lemon sponge (small to medium sized twists) or bee mine bee hold curly butter (chunky twists).…I love both looks!! I keep the twists in for a minimum of three days and then rock a twistout or wear the twists the entire week.
· If I am wearing a twistout the whole week, I retwist every night (chunky twists…takes me 5–10 mins) and twistout in the morning.
I go through the shampoo process every 2 to 3 weeks… it’s all about how I feel and I always sleep with a satin bonnet.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
J: Protective styling, I wear twists for the most part and pin them up to protect my ends.
Anything else you want to add?
J: This has been said so many times before but find and do what works for you; what products work for you, the amount of time you are willing to spend doing your hair. Just because someone on youtube spends hours doing their hair doesn’t mean that every natural does that or HAS to do that.