*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
A: My name is Anna. I’m 21 years old. I am half Ghanaian and half Dutch. I’m from Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. Born and raised in a very multicultural city with a lot of diversity. I am a proud ‘Rotterdammer’!
I am an art school student studying Lifestyle & Design. I now and then model for Your Models Management, I work at a call center, and as a substitute at several daycares in Rotterdam. I’m also working on my artistic skills like drawing, photography and working in Illustrator, hoping one day I will be a pro in these things and start my own business.
What is the natural hair scene like in the Netherlands?
A: I think people in Holland are starting to appreciate their natural hair a lot more than they used to because when I was a teenager, everybody around me with “black hair” used to straighten it, or weave it. It was obvious that in class I was the only nappy headed girl. Now I see a big change in that. Girls are letting their own hair grow naturally and now because of the influences on the internet, like youtube tutorials or tumblr, girls are now wearing their hair in styles that are similar to the natural hair scene in the rest of Europe and America. So I don’t think that there’s a big difference in that.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
A: My hair has always been natural. I never straightened it, or used anything chemical to loosen my natural texture. When I was about 14 everyone around me did and I asked my Dutch, red headed sweet mommy If I could do that too and she told me not to do it. She said that I would regret that when I am older and I am thankful that I listened because I now love my natural texture.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
A: When I was little I used to have a lot of braids in my hair and little beads in it. Then in my teens I found that braiding it was a bit childish, but when I wore it loose it was too dry and too nappy. I didn’t like that at all. So most of my teenage years I wore my hair in a big knot on top of my head, or in a pony tale.
When I was about 18 I tried to experiment more with products so I could wear my hair loose and from that day I did all sorts of styles with my hair in wearing in loose. I became more conscious of what I could do with my hair, and I became a lot more sure of myself and my ethnicity. You can say that I’ve learned to appreciate and love my hair just the way it is, and now I wouldn’t want it any other way. Perhaps maybe a bit longer!
How would you describe your hair?
A: My hair is very soft, and a bit thick. I have 2 types of hair textures, I guess because I am mixed. In the back of my head, my hair is more type 4A and in the front, my hair type is more like 3C. The back of my hair tends to be more dry sometimes than the front, so I handle that part of my hair with extra care. In the summer my curls are a bit more together, but in the wintertime they won’t stick together, and tend to look a bit dryer than in the summer. That’s why I love my hair the most in the summertime.
What is your regimen?
A: When washing my hair I use hair products from Palmer’s Olive Oil. My conditioner is from Mixed Chicks. After showering I apply Mixed Chicks Leave in Conditioner on wet hair and style the way I want to. When I am in a hurry I blow dry my hair, but otherwise I let it dry naturally. After that I put a bit of shea butter from Cantu in my hair, but mostly only on the back part of my hair and on dry ends.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
A: I cut my hair 2 to 3 times a year. Also drinking a lot of water. When I don’t drink enough water for a week I notice that my hair feels dryer than normally. I also use a lot of coconut masks for my hair when I feel like it. Also from Palmers.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
A: Dying my hair too many times. I noticed my hair isn’t as thick as it used to be. So I am not dying my hair anymore for a while. In 2011, I dyed it more that 4 times.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
A: Drinking a lot of water, and also not using too many chemical things for my hair. I don’t flat iron my hair and only blow dry it once in a while.
Where do you buy your hair products?
A: In Rotterdam there is a street called ‘Kruiskade’. There are a lot of shops with African and Asian products. Not only for your hair, but also body, beauty products and even food. I always buy my products at these kinds of shops.
What would you like to see in the Netherlands in terms of hair care?
A: I would like to see more products for black hair on TV commercials or posters hanging in the city because Rotterdam is such a multicultural city, with so many different people. There aren’t just people with straight European hair.
Anything else you want to add?
A: Love yourself AND your hair! Greetings from the Netherlands.