Where are you from?
N: I am from Nairobi, Kenya. I was born and bred here and apart from my 3 year stint in Nottingham, England for University, I have always lived in Nairobi and absolutely love living here.
What is interesting about Nairobi?
N: Nairobi is the only city in the world with a National Park in it, it’s a cultural melting pot and we house people from all over the world. It’s always bustling and is also called the city under the sun. Nairobi is a cosmopolitan city with tons of things to do, great clubs, lovely restaurants and the friendliest people ever!
What is the natural hair scene like in Nairobi?
N: The natural hair scene is slowly growing. Most Kenyan ladies are relaxed and have been relaxed since they were in primary school (ages 7–14) . However the natural hair scene is slowly growing and emerged with many young people both male and female sporting locs. Slowly and with time more and more ladies are doing the big chops and embracing natural hair.
Why did you go natural?
N: I have always been natural. My mother always encouraged me to keep my hair natural although she herself was relaxed (although she now sports short natural hair). I begged her over and over again to relax my hair but she never gave in, always insisting that I had lovely hair and didn’t need it relaxed. At the time I was very bitter and upset especially going into high school, but now I am very grateful for her insistence of me not getting a perm. I had locs for two years but decided to cut them because they were difficult to maintain. I woke up one day and cut off all my dreads and was left with about 1 inch and a half of hair, this was 2 and a half years ago.
What’s your regimen?
N: I shampoo my hair every two weeks with diluted shampoo and co wash at least 2 times a week. I use a cheapie shampoo but co wash with Suave Naturals Green Apple Conditioner (which is very easily available in Nairobi).
I deep condition weekly and use mainly what I have lying around the house. This could be avocado, mayonnaise, honey, coconut milk and sometimes mix them with a store bought conditioner. I leave this in my hair for a minimum 45 minutes.
I also henna every two weeks because my hair is very fine. This has definitely made my hair thicker, stronger and shinier. I use Nupur henna which has 9 Indian herbs including Shikakai and Amla and is very cheap.
I wear protective styles such as twists, buns and twist n curls (which is one of my favorites) most of the time. I try to moisturize with a mix of water, conditioner, peppermint oil and glycerin twice a day and seal with either shea butter or coconut oil.
What would you like to see in Nairobi in terms of haircare?
N: I would love to see more ladies in love with their hair especially naturals. I would also love for more of them to do their hair rather than relying on salons which have staff that may not be able to deal with natural hair. I also want mothers to teach young girls to love their hair rather than slap a box of relaxer on their daughters heads. I am ecstatic that the Kenyan Natural hair scene is growing.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
N: My friend Mary and I blog at thenaturalgirlsguidetobeauty.blogspot.com. This is a blog we started to encourage Kenyan Ladies to appreciate their natural hair. We also reach out to natural haired ladies from across the world.