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Farhia in Canada // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Nov 27, 2011

*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally

Introduce yourself!
F:
My name is Farhia, but everyone calls me Free. I live in Toronto, Canada. I am currently studying International Development Studies at York University.

What is the natural hair scene like in Canada?
F:
Unfortunately, in Toronto there isn’t much of a natural hair scene. A lot of black women still choose to weave and relax their hair. I’d even go as far to say that I am well acquainted with a majority of women who wear their hair natural in Toronto. That should give you an idea of how small the natural hair scene is.

When and how did you transition into natural hair?
F:
I went through many different stages with my hair and reached a point where I just wanted to be me 24/7, 365. By coloring, relaxing and straightening my hair at the hairdressers, I came to realize that this look wasn’t me, wasn’t my culture, wasn’t my identity and wouldn’t be how I represented myself to the world much longer.

In 2007, I realized that my natural curls and texture especially at the ends were ruined and if I really wanted to go natural I’d have to cut all the damage off. This was difficult for me to do especially since I (like a lot of black women) am very attached to the length of my hair. From straightened hair past my shoulders in the middle of my back, I cut it into a short Afro. From then on I used natural hair products and focused on conditioning and growing out my newfound thick, curly and healthy hair.

In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
F:
By going natural I definitely felt a lot more confident. It was difficult at first. I had to get used to comments from co-workers and peers, “Why don’t you straighten your hair anymore?”, “It was so long! WHY”, “I prefer it the way you had it before”. Going natural changed others’ perceptions of me. I was now labeled as “afrocentric.” It doesn’t bother me because I don’t find it offensive. I just don’t want to be affiliated with any group. I am a woman. I am Canadian. I am Kenyan. I am Somali. By going natural I felt free from an oppressive Eurocentric attitude my society perpetuated. I came to terms that natural hair = freedom.

How would you describe your hair?
F:
I would describe my hair as thick with tight curls. However if I comb it out after I wash, it is much longer and falls down the sides of my face in comparison to when it is usually just sticking up and out the sides of my face.

What’s your regimen?
F:
My scalp is very sensitive so I have to wash my hair at least 3 times a week, otherwise it will be irritated. Since my hair is very curly and thick, I condition, condition, and condition! In addition to a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner I use a curl defining cream to help with some definition to keep my hair shiny and looking its best. For the most part all the products I use have certified organic ingredients. For a basic wash and condition I use Moroccanoil and Uncle Funky’s Daughter Rich & Funky. For a monthly deep hair condition treatment I use Moroccanoil Oil Hair Treatment. For everyday use to maintain curl definition I use Mixed Chicks Leave in Conditioner.

How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
F:
In addition to my hair regimen, I notice that a healthy diet contributes to the health and growth of my hair. I eat a lot of fish, tofu, nuts (sucker for almonds), avocados (literally addicted) and I only cook with olive oil. By keeping your body healthy, wearing a silk scarf or cap to bed while using products with organic ingredients (even though they can be quite expensive) I retain the length and moisture in my hair.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
F:
I made the mistake of relaxing my hair as a young teenager and after several years of maintenance my hair has finally reached its natural texture. Not only were relaxers uncomfortable and abrasive, I had to continue to relax my hair for a few months because there were too many different textures in my hair and I wouldn’t wear my hair any other way but straight. I went through this stage where I’d dye it different shades of red for about a year. Looking back at some photographs…no words needed, YIKES! Trying to change something beautiful I was born with would be the biggest mistake I made in the first place.

Where do you buy your products?
F:
I buy all of my hair products in a store located in Toronto called Honey Fig. They also have an online store. http://www.honeyfig.com

What would you like to see in Canada in terms of haircare?
F:
I would love to see more women of color in Toronto wearing their hair natural. It would be great if there were more resources and stores like Honey Fig, to educate women on the positive effects (internally and externally) on wearing their hair natural. Let go of the weaves, lacefronts, wigs, relaxers, perms and fall in love with your twists, braids, locks, afros, curls, thick, short or long hair.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
F:
You can find me on tumblr: freeandasiagoingham.tumblr.com

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About Meosha

Just another lover of natural hair and expression. - Style Icon Coordinator for BGLH

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Niki
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Niki

She is really pretty and so is her hair.

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[…] Farhia in Canada // Natural Hair Style Icon | Black Girl with Long Hair Where do you buy your products? F: I buy all of my hair products in a store located in Toronto called Honey Fig. They also have an online store. //www.honeyfig.com. What would you like to see in Canada in terms of . […]

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

Yes! My fellow cannuck there are more if us out there. Keep up the fabulous representation.

BL
Guest
BL

she’s right, the natural hair community is very small in toronto!

df
Guest
df

I’m honestly surprised!

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

How can you tell? The GTA population is almost 6 million and not to mention there are a ton of natural women that use wigs/weaves as a protective style.

Beauty Is Diverse
Guest

Exactly with a population with over 5 million her statement on there being hardly any black women with natural hair is false. Considering the large population of west indies that live in Toronto including myself. I’m natural but I wear my hair in an array of styles from weaves to braids etc.

Claire
Guest
Claire

I disagree. I used to live in Toronto.

Yet I’ve never met Farhia. I also doubt that she’s met my natural girlfriends.

This is a wonderful profile, but the information about the amount of natural-haired women is incorrect.

Cheeky
Guest
Cheeky

AS soon as I saw that statement I was like, wtf? I used to live in Toronto also and I have no clue who she is. I think it’s a little egocentric to assume that the natural community is only as big as her circle of friends.

Letti
Guest
Letti

lool. I live in Toronto too and I was thinking the same thing. I think that she just means that she doesn’t see too many herself. I also think that Toronto women have a tendency to keep to themselves, even though this country is known for its politeness, it doesn’t really translate to friendliness.

Amber
Guest
Amber

I wonder what her family origins are. She reminds me somewhat of Fatima (I think that is her name) from one of the seasons of ANTM. Very striking.

Nonnie
Guest
Nonnie

From the name and her facial features I’d guess she is Somali.

Beth
Guest
Beth

I was gonna say the same thing! She looks just like Fatima!

B
Guest
B

She’s Somali ( not to disregard the other jobs she mentioned being part of) She says so in the article. And yes, she does resemble Fatima somewhat. I liked her 🙂

B
Guest
B

Oops. I meant to write ‘groups’, not ‘jobs’. 😉

catryn
Guest
catryn

It is great to see a Canadian featured on this website (not saying that this is the first time). I, myself, live in Vancouver. By the way Sophia, Canucks are the Vancouverite Hockey Team; not the Torontians.

Fatim
Guest
Fatim

cool! i’m in Vancouver myself! 🙂

VivaMac
Guest
VivaMac

They are black people in Vancouver! LOL. I am in the Interior.

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

I wasn’t referring to the hockey team I was referring to Canadians in general as ca nicks

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

Stupid iPad! Ca nicks = cannucks

catryn
Guest
catryn

VivaMac. Love your joke. 😉
Ogo. I don’t know of any yet. If anyone knows please tell us.

Ogo
Guest
Ogo

I am moving to Vancouver soon!

Any natural hair meetups there?

nouvelle
Guest
nouvelle

So beautiful, she looks east african too.

Kenyan Gal
Guest
Kenyan Gal

She is East African for sure! We usually can tell our own.. Lol!

African Violet
Guest
African Violet

I’m West African, and I could tell that she was East African! 🙂 Her hair is gorgeous!

Ayaan
Guest
Ayaan

HEEEY she’s somali! Eyyy sis lol
I don’t see somalis (I’m somali too) with this tight curls often and I must say it looks fab on you.
MashaAllah you’re super pretty Farhia. #EastAfricanBeauty 🙂

Kenyan Gal
Guest
Kenyan Gal

++++++++

Hyspin
Guest
Hyspin

The natural scene is natural scene isn’t that small in Toronto but I guess in matter of opinion I have been to Atlanta and New York and the percentage of black women who are natural seems pretty close (slightly smaller but not noticeably so). I even joined the naturals meet-up group in TO and recently went natural hair show at the JCCC. When I was living in Scarborough I stumble on new naturals all the time. I think it really depends on which borough in Toronto or city near Toronto your in. I figure it is just the same in… Read more »

Mey
Guest

Great to see a fellow Canadian. I’m from Ottawa and the natural hair scene is quite small…at least from what I can see. I’ve started a blog, ManeAttention.com, in hopes of bringing this small community even closer. I tried to contact the Natural hair-meet-up group in T.O with no luck…does anyone know how to join their group?

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

I’m from Ottawa actually really kanata. I don’t live there anymore but I do visit quite often and I agree there is not much of a natural scene there

Mey
Guest

@Sophia-are you still in Canada? Any natural’s where you are?

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

No, unfortunately my parents uprooted me in 98 and moved us to the states. I currently live in nc and there is a hige scene over here.

f.
Guest
f.

Quebec is the name of the province,if you talking about the province capital it’s quebec city.

Hyspin
Guest
Hyspin

Pardon, ma ami. I meant Québec City.

TMR
Guest
TMR

Glad to hear from someone in the T‑Dot! I’m in the GTA. I learned, recently, about the annual Toronto Natural Hair and Beauty Show. It happened on Sept. 18th this year, but I couldn’t make it; I was so disappointed! Farhia, you’re lovely. Your hair is beautiful, and hopefully our paths will cross in the T‑Dot. Blessings…

Kenyan Gal
Guest
Kenyan Gal

Gorgeous gal, gorgeous hair! There’s quite a few of us in Edmonton too. #Yay Canadian naturals!!

Amoye
Guest

The natural hair scene in Toronto is booming girl!

check out http://www.iheartmyhair.com, The Toronto Natural Hair Show… http://www.afrochic.ca

You look glorious and incredible. Take care

Anya
Guest

Hey sis I love ya thanks for the big up! Kisses

canuckgirl
Guest
canuckgirl

Yes, I am seeing more and more Canadian naturals. Check out splinta24, wj539 and RealQueensRegimens on YouTube!

Amma Mama
Guest
Amma Mama

She is soooo pretty!

Phania
Guest
Phania

I enjoyed reading her answers. I live in Canada too, but in Montreal, Quebec. And I must say,it’s not very easy here either. I only know of one person who does natural hair, there are others, but they are so expensive and the weather doesn’t necessarily help. But, the community is growing and soon, I hope, it will be big enough for us to have our own store of honey fig for example and stop buying most of our products online. Hmm.. I have a dream.
[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/010.JPG[/img]

misschris2025
Guest
misschris2025

Hi Phania, I’m also a Natural living in Montreal. It’s not always easy running around everywhere to find natural hair products, but it’s definitely getting better. Honeyfig is great, their selection is fantastic and the customer service is on point. One major caveat though: Boy is it expensive! On average, the products are double the price than what you’d pay in the US, yikes :S I’m involved in two Natural hair Montreal Facebook groups, where we share tips, advice, locations for natural hair products, and make sure to support each other. You should check them out if you haven’t already!… Read more »

Phania
Guest
Phania

Thank you!!!! MissChris,tks… by the way, would you happen to know where i can find curlformers in montreal? have checked in a few dollar stores and nothing.… Any ideas?

Mey
Guest

@Phania.…I live in Ottawa myself, and although we do not have stores dedicated to natural hair.…the grocery stores are a great alternative. I’ve tried shopping online, but at times I am disappointed with the cost and/or product.

TK
Guest
TK

I think Farhia stated the natural hair scene wrong
there are many naturals in Canada but the amount of naturals that you stumble upon depends of the area/province you live in… In Toronto there are MANY naturals some of them just use weaves for protective styling but i stumble upon naturals all the time in toronto !

Jaeda Laurez
Guest
Jaeda Laurez

I agree- downtown Toronto here and I see naturals here all the time in the subway, on the streetcar- everywhere! Shoot, you might mistake me for a non-natural since I rock wigs from time to time, but trust, we are most definitely here. As far as Honey Fig, yeah- they have a lot of products and I do try to support when I can, but they are WILDLY overpriced (20 bucks for a 10 dollar bottle of Shea Moisture? !!!!) and with a bit of calling individual stores(and using my mom’s postal address), I’ve found the products I use (Jane… Read more »

Clare
Guest
Clare

I agree with this. It sucks that Honeyfig is one of the few places to find hair products and the prices are a little out of control considering our dollar is a parody with the US dollar. I’m in Toronto too.. and I do see Naturals from time to time.. but still think that a lot of women do still wear weaves, relaxed, wigs etc. Natural hair is still a phenomenon to a lot of people here.. I still get perplexed faces and wide eyed random people coming up to me saying they love my hair. So cool to see… Read more »

Farhia
Guest
Farhia

Wow thanks so much everyone for such gracious and beautiful comments. I guess I need to get out a little more, but I am so glad the natural hair scene is growing in Toronto. And most of you are correct with your guesses I am East African (Kenyan-Borona + Somali). 🙂

And thanks again to Moesha for giving me the opportunity to speak about some of experiences.

Kenyan Gal
Guest
Kenyan Gal

Hey Farhia.. I am Half Borana too!! Actually Borana + Kalenjin.. Lol.. Akam.

Kel B
Guest
Kel B

Their is a big Natural hair scene in Toronto. They have a expo every year.Their are quiet a few natural hair salons as well in Toronto.

Mey
Guest

@ Kel B.…any suggestions on a good natural salon in T.O?

Beverly
Guest
Beverly

I have lived in Toronto since 2005. I worked downtown, lived in the west end and the east end. There are lots of East African Naturals. Ethiopian and Eritrean women with looser curls tend to wear their hair Natural and straighten occasionally. A few relax their hair. Somali women for the most part cover their hair but the vast majority with looser curls wear their hair natural.Other Africans with looser curls wear their hair natural.There are loads of older Caribbean women who wear fades,TWAs and Locs.Loads of African women who wear TWAs,braids and weaves. The weather does TERRIBLE things to… Read more »

Poppy
Guest
Poppy

You guys are like jumping down her throat for a simple mistake and calling her wrong all up and down.
I doubt she checks out every single black womans head see if she’s natural or relaxed.
Seriously y’all need to calm Down a bit.

SK
Guest
SK

no one is bashing her, just informing her that the natural hair scene in toronto is bigger than she thought 🙂 She has beautiful hair too !

Beverly
Guest
Beverly

“I’d even go as far to say that I am well acquainted with a majority of women who wear their hair natural in Toronto”. If anyone needs calming down I believe it would be you Ma’am. A mistake is different from misinformation. Farhia does not need any defense from me. I did not bash her. I merely provided information about women/girls in her community, especially in Toronto itself and not the GTA. Besides,one would be foolish not to use a protective style 90% of the time in winter, so maybe that is why she is seeing a lot of wigs,weaves… Read more »

Jessica Kotei
Guest
Jessica Kotei

I am also natural and i live in Regina Saskatchewan.….. I also don’t see a lot of naturals. About 99.999% of the products for natural hair we all hear about cannot be found where I live. It’s super frustrating… but i’m never going to give up.

ab
Guest
ab

I agree with Beverly in Toronto there is a big natural hair scene that keeps growing!!! 10 years ago I wouldn’t see half of the amount of women I do now wearing there natural hair. I would also say your exposure to the amount of natural hair you see in the city depends on where you live… like the North West not soo much I live close to York U and I don’t see the same amount of naturals that I do when I working down town for example. Toronto is also extremely culturally diverse especially within the “black” community… Read more »

merry
Guest
merry

i think youtube vlogger tonidaley80 lives in toronto. i think she even posted video from a natural show in toronto.

Awet
Guest
Awet

I agree with Poppy, some people are focusing on the wrong issues. I got way more out of your experience, especially as a East African (Eritrea)woman with a similar hair type. You and your hair are gorgeous. Thank you Farhia for sharing your natural hair experience!

AD
Guest
AD

WHAT? There is a HUGE natural hair scene in Toronto. There are even natural hair meet up groups! Many, hairdressers in Toronto are now catering to natural black hair. No disrespect to Free, but maybe she needs to venture out a bit more because natural hair is blowing up here.
Beautiful hair, by the way.

Clare
Guest
Clare

Please tell me who these hair dressers are.. because I can’t seem to find one who knows what they’re doing.

Urbansista
Guest

I’m another Toronto natural! Not jumping down Farhia’s throat or attacking her, but there are a lot of naturals in the city and in the suburbs. Go to any event downtown in the summer — Harbourfront Centre, Caribana, Afrofest, Yonge/Dundas Square, heck, Eaton Centre, and you’ll see a fair number of natural folks. You see us on the subways, GO Transit, in the grocery stores in the ‘burbs — you get the point. To her point, there are still a number of folks rocking bad weaves and lacefronts, but you can’t build Rome in a day 🙂

Patricia Kayden
Guest
Patricia Kayden

As a former Canadian, it’s great to see so many of y’all here!! Good to know that the natural hair scene is thriving in Canada.

P
Guest
P

I’m glad that you are representing Toronto.There are many naturals here in the Tdot. I’ve been natural before it was fashionable or even OK, and I use to be one of the only girls w/ natural hair all through high school. I can’t say that anymore.

misha
Guest

the toronto natural hair meetup has over 100 members.
http://www.meetup.com/Toronto-Naturals/

Andie
Guest
Andie

Hey all you Canadian curlies! I live in the Vancouver area and I’ve been natural for about a year. I used to live in Toronto and thought the natural hair community there was small…until I moved to BC and found out what it’s really like to live in a small natural hair community! I want to start an e‑newsletter or website dedicated to the Canadian natural hair community. If this sounds interesting to you, send me an e‑mail at curlycanucks@yahoo.com. Also let me know if you have any ideas for stories, topics or issues that would be of interest to… Read more »

Karle
Guest
Karle

I’m sorry but as a proud natural haired black woman from Toronto I beg to differ. There are so many naturals in this city…I would even go as far as saying that half of the black women that I encounter on a daily basis are natural. Be it a fad or a rejuvenated appreciation for natural hair, all I know is that we Toronto black women are reppin hard for natural hair. So, no hate but I have to respectfully disagree with Free about there not being any naturals in Toronto.

Anya
Guest

Hello Naturalistasss… I agree with most of you the scene in Toronto is growing tremendously… as a matter of fact there’s a Natural Hair meet up THIS THURSDAY in Toronto… check out this link for more info… http://www.iheartmyhair.com/2011/11/iheartmyhair-com-re-launch-and-year-end-event/

If you continue to visit http://iheartmyhair.com, http://afrochic.ca and http://torontonaturals.com… you will be in know about what’s happening in the city and meet more and more Naturals women and men… CANADA STAND UP!
[img]http://bglhonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Harmony.jpg[/img]

Najah
Guest
Najah

Somali people are so beautiful. They look like they just walked right off and Egyptian temple wall, and Free is no exception. I still appreciate West African beauty, so please no body jump down my throat.

Enti-way I wish that someone would reveal what traditional Somali women use as a leave ins. Shea butter? Olive Oil? What?

Shuali
Guest
Shuali

Hello Free, am thinking of going natural because I am tired of running back to the saloon for anticurle touch ups, this constant process is driving me insane.

I would like to find people who know the traditional Somali braiding, or timo tidac, but am unable to find any pictures.

Jody
Guest
Jody

Sister, there are tons of naturalist in Toronto and the burbs! Don’t know about you but I notice them everywhere I go, including people with Locs. I went back to my natural hair in the late 90s. No regrets! Love my hurr! ?

Jody
Guest
Jody

Sister, there are tons of naturalist in Toronto and the burbs! Don’t know about you but I notice them everywhere I go, including people with Locs. I went back to my natural hair in the late 90s. No regrets! Love my hurr! ?

Jody
Guest
Jody

Sister, there are tons of naturalist in Toronto and the burbs! Don’t know about you but I notice them everywhere I go, including people with Locs. I went back to my natural hair in the late 90s. No regrets! Love my hurr! ?

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