*Prepared for BGLH by Meosha Tall of 1MeNaturally
O: Olivia. I was born in London, but I grew up in Sydney Australia. My father is Nigerian and my mum is Australian.
Why did you make the decision to go natural?
O: Because I feel it’s what suits me best. I was born with it for a reason so I may as well keep it and look after it the best I can. I get so much attention for my hair and it baffles me because all black people have this hair or similar variations of my hair. It almost annoys me because people look at it like it’s a rare type of hair when it’s not at all. In saying all this though there are times when I do just want to get weave or blow dry it straight just for a change. But these moods only last a couple of hours.
I’ve been natural mostly my whole life because in Australia there isn’t really any option to not be natural. There weren’t that many black people around when I was growing up. However when I was 18 I got sick of my hair, bleached it blonde, and put a texturizer in it to loosen the curls. This was a disaster and it all started breaking. I missed the volume of my natural hair. My hair looked so bad I had no choice, but to start straightening it daily. When I was 19 I had a gap year in London and I was so amazed by all the options I had since they knew how to do black hair. Since then I’ve gone natural again.
How would you describe your texture?
O: 4B. In its completely natural state it is very unmanageable. You can’t put your hands through it. It’s very tight. The individual strands are fine and my hair is very dense. When wet it completely molds together and shrinks down so tight.
Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
O: Once a fortnight or once a week I put my entire head in little plaits. I then wet the plaits in the shower and sleep on it over night. When I wake I undo these plaits and it sets my hair in the curls that I like. It almost looks crimped. I can then break apart the crimped pieces of hair to achieve the amount of volume that I want. When I can’t be bothered plaiting my hair and if it’s starting to get a bit too frizzy (which can also be fine sometimes) I just apply some Moroccan Oil Intense Curl Cream and this seems to be able to give my curls some structure. If I am going out and want to achieve a really dynamic look I will brush my hair out completely and make it as big as I can. I can also stretch my hair by pulling it down with my hands and using a blow dryer. This makes it long and big as well.
What does wash day look like for you?
O: I barely wash my hair. Maybe once every two months. Whenever I do it, it completely dries out and shrinks my hair up so small it’s ridiculous. When I wash I need to make sure I have nothing to do that day and spend about 8 hours brushing, oiling and plaiting each individual section, which is much harder than usual because it is wet and has shrunken up. I put Moroccan Oil Intense Curl Cream all over my hair as soon as I have dried my washed hair, fresh from the shower. I also apply regular Moroccan oil or Coconut oil to the individual strands when I am plaiting it. Beeswax also works. Any extremely oily product is essentially what I need.
Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
O: Just up in a big bun really.
How do you combat shrinkage?
O: By plaiting my hair, not washing it regularly and if I really wanted to give it extra length using the blow dryer.
What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
O: At the crown of my head the hair seems to be a lot denser and much dryer so I need to apply the most product to that area.
What are 2 do’s for your texture?
O: Oil! Braiding and plaiting regularly and Let it be Free!
What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
O: No chemical treatments, No dyeing and Don’t wash so often.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
O: Oluwayemi.tumblr.com and @yemisul on Instagram.