*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
M: Mouna Traoré is what I generally go by. I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m a television actress, model, musician and student.
What is the natural hair scene like in Toronto?
M: It’s getting pretty big. Toronto has a large Afro Caribbean community as well. Africans from throughout the diaspora and an increasing number of them are going natural. More salons and beauty supplies are carrying natural hair products, though you do have to mission sometimes to find them.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: I decided to go natural because I could never remember being natural. I detested the idea of going to the salon and having my hair relaxed anymore. I hated the process and I was like “why am I doing this?” If I hated it, I didn’t have to do it, so I stopped. I also wanted live a life more accepting of myself and my body as created by God. As an actress I have the opportunity to set an example to young girls, and I want them to know that you can be just as sexy and beautiful without straightening your hair or using chemicals. There are so few African women with natural hair portrayed in the media, and I felt like it was important to present that image and let people know that its alright to accept yourself as you are. I’m not trying embody a Eurocentric beauty ideal. I am African and VERY proud.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
M: I began my transition in December of 2009. My hair was relaxed so I just grew out my natural hair so I had a bit of an afro and simply began cutting off the hair that was relaxed until it was gone.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
M: Getting ready in the morning is a breeze! I takes me very little time to get ready or to do my hair. I also change my hair up way more. I’m much more conscious of the products I use in my hair and the ingredients. They say if you wouldn’t eat it, then it probably shouldn’t go on your hair or skin, so I try my best to adhere to that rule. I definitely find that the men who come into my life romantically are a lot less superficial and much more down to earth, and I worry a lot less about how my hair looks. Rain and snow, no problem!
How would you describe your hair?
M: My hair is pretty weird. It’s very thick, but also very soft. It’s quite easy to brush, wet or dry. After I wash it I have beautiful tight ringlet like curls. If I manipulate it a lot (stretch, braid etc.) it goes pretty straight. When I straighten it with an iron (VERY rarely) it looks as if it’s been relaxed.
What is your regimen?
M: I shampoo my hair about once a week with Deva Curl Shampoo, and follow with their Conditioner, or with the Richee Rich Moisturizing Conditioner by Uncle Funky’s Daughter. Depending on what hairstyle I choose to do I’ll use the Kinky Curly Curling Custard or the Uncle Funky’s Daughter Supercurl Miracle Moisture Crème to style. At night I moisturize my ends with organic Castor oil from the health food store. I always rub the Castor oil in my hands before I apply to heat it up because my Mom says its more effective that way. For between washes I’ll use Kinky Curly’s Spiral Spritz Styling Serum for moisture, and their Knot Today Detangler before I set my hair at night. On special occasions when I want to wear my hair up I’ll use Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding “Sniffer Sensitive No Nonsense Formula.” It definitely holds well, though it has some ingredients I don’t really like, so I only use it once in a while. I wet my hair in the shower almost every day on top of everything.
I also change my hair all the time. I get bored really easily and I always like to try something different. I really love African hairstyles and I’m always inspired by them, but because of my work I generally can’t keep intricate hairstyles in for very long.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
M: I wear protective hairstyles, I get my hair trimmed every 10 weeks and I ALWAYS wrap my hair at night. I also cover my hair when I’m in the sun.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
M: Not wrapping my hair at night and using products with a lot of chemicals and alcohol. Also trimming my split ends myself. Such a bad look! My hair ended up uneven and looking pretty crazy
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
M: Every couple of weeks I condition my hair with my own recipe of Avocado, Honey, and Coconut oil. I mix the ingredients together and apply it to my hair and sleep with it over night. When I wash it out my hair feels glorious for days!
Where do you buy your hair products?
M: In the U.S at random stores like Ricky’s, or in Toronto at a Salon called Curl Ambassadors.
What would you like to see in Toronto in terms of hair care?
M: More natural hair salons, and store that carry natural hair products!
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
M: My personal blog is http://sunmoonandassociates.blogspot.com/. My tumblr, which is dedicated the Natural African Women is http://sunmoonandassociates.tumblr.com/.