*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
M: Hi my name is Mamiky. I’m 20 years old and I live in Paris. I’m originally from Guinea and Liberia. I finished my nurse studies and I’m also a hairdresser when I’m free. I’ve had a blog for 3 years which talks about natural hair care, black skincare, and some taboos in the black community in France and in general.
What is the natural hair scene like in France?
M: Natural hair in France is frowned upon by the black community. Women are afraid to show their natural hair because of the idea of beauty that has been inked into the minds of black women. On my blog, I also talk about skin bleaching because it’s become a real health problem and people who are bleaching their skin do not realize the damage that can lead to the use of these products. Sometimes young black women use skin bleaching products because they want to look like their favorite stars (model, singer, actress…) In the media, black women are not represented. We always see women with light skin and weaves, etc.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
M: I began relaxing my hair when I was about 11 years old. Going back to my roots was a natural awareness. It was a true revelation seeing that we could do a lot to our hair. I came across a blog that allowed me to open my eyes to the versatility of natural hair and I realized we could take care of our hair without relaxers.
When and how did you transition into natural hair?
M: While I gained information on natural hair forums, I began a transition. I alternated time between braids for about 8 months. Then I big chopped in August 2008. It’s at this time that I started my blog to share some ideas for natural hairstyles, products that I use and also to show a different image of black women, a positive image.
In what ways (if any) has going natural affected you?
M: You must be in tune with yourself and respect yourself so that others will respect you. Even if someone says something critical that does not make me doubt the potential of my hair. I love my hair as it is. I feel really good in my head and my body. I think that natural hair is a real strength for the black woman because she wears her afro and locks like a crown.
How would you describe your hair?
M: My hair is really coarse and kinky. I think I have a 4C texture. My hair is strong and dense. My hair is also thicker in the back of my head, so it tends to be longer in the back than the front.
What is your regimen?
M: I use natural brands like Les Secrets de Loly (it’s a French brand), I use the Smoothie and the Chantilly de Karité (whipped shea butter). I also use and American brand, Oyin Handmade. I love the Burnt Sugar and the Honey Hemp Conditioner. I use both of them on my hair. I wash my hair every 2 weeks with the Gran Poo Bar then I use the Honey Hemp Conditioner. I leave it on for two hours and then I rinse my hair. After that, I detangle section by section with the Tangle Teezer. I add some Whipped Shea Butter and do some braids or twists and style in the morning.
How do you retain length and moisture in your hair?
M: I use the banding method, but i use yarn on my hair. I do it section by section. I detangle with carapate oil for moisture. I have a video about it, it’s more explicit. I do this method when I want to see the length of my hair without using a blowdryer. We do this in Africa on the little girls.
What’s the best/most effective thing you do for your hair?
M: The best effective thing I do is sleep on a silk pillow case because I don’t like wearing a satin scarf. I also put my hair in braids before I go to sleep.
What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learned from?
M: My biggest mistake was detangling my hair everyday, but now I am careful not to over manipulate my hair.
What would you like to see in France in terms of haircare?
M: Oohh lots of things. The issue in France is we have no hairdressing school specializing in natural hair, so for the most part hairdressers have to go to London or the USA to have more practice on hair in general. It’s very difficult for black women who want to take care of their hair naturally to find a good hair salon in France.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
M: My blog: http://www.brownskin.fr/. Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/BroWn-SkIn-Baby/104411659596281. Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/BrownskinZulu. And my Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBrownskin3?feature=guide
Anything else you want to add?
M: I love the website BGLH!! I’m a huge fan! I just want to say be proud of who you are and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Love your hair and take care of it, this includes all types of hair. Black women are strong and beautiful with their natural hair. We all have crowns on our heads and that’s powerful.