*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
G: My name is Gisella. I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am a journalist and freelance creative with a passion for blogging about my daily life. On my blog you can find my projects on makeup, styling and photography as well as my loved ones. I also have a regular job with a Norwegian company as a South America Marketing Coordinator.
What is the natural hair scene like in Brazil?
G: There is a huge amount of girls with curly hair in Brazil both light and dark skinned, but unfortunately since very young, we are “taught” by society and the media that the most beautiful girls have blonde and straight hair. Some girls are breaking free from those absurd ideas and starting to go natural and love curls and volume, but it has been a slow process.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
G: I was tired of being a slave to extreme, strong hair products that were supposed to control the volume of my curls. After using the products my hair looked straight on the roots and very unhealthy all over, super dry and opaque. I had to stop that in order to be happier about my image. It was also a matter of changing my mind and forgetting all the negative inputs I heard since childhood.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
G: It happened around 12 years ago. It was a slow process. I started by having it cut short up to my shoulders. I waited a couple of months and then finally I got a really short haircut and removed all the straight hair. Then I was “free” and natural. But short haired. Hehehe. Going natural is one of the best things I have ever done.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
G: By the time I got my hair totally natural, volume was not a popular word when it comes to hairstyle in Brazil. We seem very trendy abroad, but on a daily basis people are still a bit late and the new is a little rejected by most people. Until we had the first black girl with natural hair as the main character in a soap opera, I was seen as an attraction on the streets. People used to point me out, children used to laugh, and I was considered “unusual”. And I kinda enjoyed the shocked expressions on their faces. 🙂
How would you describe your hair?
G: I have thin hair with naturally well-defined curls. It’s light and so has great volume and is very easygoing.
What is your regimen?
G: I try not to wash my hair too much, but I usually do it around three times a week or more (Rio is a very warm city). 🙂 I don´t know if this is true, but I have the feeling if I use more types of products, my hair performs better. So I use Khiel´s Olive Fruit Oil Collection. I use the same brand of style series and my favs are Creme with Silk Groom and Climate-Proof Shine-Enhancing Non-Aerosol Spray. I also like to use the Kerastase´s Oléo Relax products. Recentlly I discovered my new darling, the Aveda´s Be Curly Kit. For curly hair, foam is a great styling product especially when just applied on the edges.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
G: I moisturize my hair two times a week, with Khiels and Kerastase masks and have it cut three times a year or so.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
G: The greatest mistake was not being happy with my natural hair, but I can understand. I was a child and not able to figure out my own ideas and style references. I have learned that accepting your natural features such as hair and body type are the real secret to happiness.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
G: I remove all the conditioner and apply styling product mainly on the edges. It keeps my hair loose and shiny. When I know I won´t be able to wash it the next day I use a slightly bigger amount of styling product on the first day and use a curls booster on the following days. For that, I suggest Redken´s Fresh Curls Curl Booster.
Where do you buy your hair products?
G: I buy them anywhere, but Brazil. Beauty products here are ridiculously expensive so I buy when I travel abroad — Khiels and Kerastase in the US and Aveda in London or Oslo. And on the internet in case of emergencies.
What would you like to see in Brazil in terms of hair care?
G: More effective local products and cheaper international brands. But what I really would like to see is media campaigns promoting natural beauty and self-esteem.
Anything else you want to add?
G: Yes. Your natural beauty is what makes you look edgy nowadays. Use all the tools you have to enhance it and make you better love yourself. To be happy with your reflection in the mirror is what will keep your vitality forever. It comes from the inside, not the products we find at the shops, they just make the final adjustments.