Isn't she lovely? with all that hair!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ladies and Gents,

We have waited a long time for this, a feature with a beautiful lady with an even more beautiful voice. Her name is Patricia Kihoro! She went natural a year back and has the story to share with us. Please read below,

Well…., first of all, forgive my excessive ramblings, but I can’t help it, there is so much to say. This is gonna be a long post. So again, forgive me.

It’s been a year today since my last BC, Jan 14th 2010. Woohoo!!!!

1. Why and when did you first relax your hair? What is your hair story BEFORE your BC?

When I was younger I had beautiful, long, natural hair. By the time I was 8 my hair was thick, halfway down my back and very healthy, albeit with a few split hairs. Then my mum talked me into an ‘awesome’ idea; let’s get my hair trimmed. She said it would make my hair much stronger, and longer, and would only take off about an inch. I was hesitant, but hey, mum had said so, so it was gonna happen anyway. Now you know those horror stories you hear about a salonist who was jealous and chopped off your locks? Well, it happened to me (Although I’m sure I exaggerate a bit). My Bra Strap Length (Although I wasn’t wearing a bra yet!) hair became shoulder length, and I was super pissed off. But hey, what could I do?

One day, aged 9, I was watching an episode of ‘Sisters’ and one of the actresses had a short cropped do, sorta like Halle Berry’s short crop. She was Caucasian, and I was obsessed with being white (I would sit in the sun with soap on my face and body, just to fry the Black off my skin), so I went to Jasper the barber, without telling my mum, and told him I wanted what I thought was a Box i.e. a fade on the sides and a bit longer on top, right? Well, it didn’t turn out quite like I had planned, and that resulted in my first BC.

I was horrified. And looked like a boy. But I was cool with it within hours because I was such a tomboy. But, as time went by, I started to see all these ads on TV for ‘Satin Sheen’ and ‘Style and Bounce’, with all these straight haired Black women and my first thought was, WOW...if I use those products, I can go swimming and my hair won’t shrink! And then there was ‘Beautiful Beginnings’ and the girls on the boxes transfixed me. My hair had started to grow and had reached this weird length that made me look like a village girl (No offense to village girls, I was just very impressionable ).

I begged, screamed and sang to my mum for a perm…and hey presto, 3 months before I turned 10, I got my first relaxer. I thought this was license for me to swim 24/7. Which is exactly what I did. After a swim, I would dry my hair under the hand drier in the hotel bathrooms, and grease it with Vaseline…..and I was good to go. Suffice it to say, my hair never grew past my shoulders for the next 9 years.

Fast forward to November 2004. I had been out of high school for 2 years, and was set to join University in January the next year. I was just about done with my hair and my numerous shenanigans with it, and so I decided to chop it off. Which I did in front of the bathroom mirror in 15 minutes. Four weeks later I took out some twists I had done and didn’t have time to comb it. I liked the look, and it stayed that way for a couple of years, with a bronze dye job I got done at a local hair dressing school, mad cheap. I would occasionally blow dry it to see how long it had grown, braid it once in a while, with yaki braids, or with yarn which I would do myself, texturize it, again myself, and basically not do much in terms of hair care.

I would shower, use my body soap from head to toe and was good to go. My years at University were special though, because most people knew me as the girl with the crazy hair, and I loved it because it was unique. A small group of friends nick named me “Kinky”because of it, but I must say it gave a lot of people the wrong idea about me :-/. I also BC’d every other year, as usual in front of a mirror at home, and the last time I did that was about a year before TPF, October 2008. I was singing in a band then and so after about a month I decided it would be easier for me if I just relaxed it, and style it like a faux hawk or something of that sort. By the time TPF ended in October 2009, it had grown pretty long, after stylist imposed weaves the entire duration of the contest. (And sometimes strange make-up).

Looking back, I think when I got to a certain age, around 15; my attitude towards my hair became very nonchalant, just like my mum. Both of us are very restless when it comes to hair. My mum had long, gorgeous, straightened hair when I was younger, then she chopped it off and had a short cropped, curly do, then she shaved it off completely i.e. pseudo bald, then she grew it again, and it was Bra Strap Length, then she cut it off when I BC’d in 2004…and now she has Bra Strap Length dreadlocks, and growing. But I thank her for it, because I realized that it’s just hair, it doesn’t define who I am, and it grows back.

2. What made you decide to finally do the Big Chop? What were your feelings and thoughts when you did it?

My last BC, which was entirely UNINTENDED, came in January this year, 3 months after the end of TPF. I had braided my hair into tiny twists, and gone to Mombasa for a short vacation. I swam, rolled around in the sand and frolicked like an electrocuted marionette in the sea. When I got back to Nairobi, I took out the braids and my hair was a mess. I decided to shampoo and condition it before detangling, but that became an even HOTTER MESS right there. Ropes and baskets is all I can say to describe what formed on my head. I promptly went to the bathroom mirror with a pair of scissors, and did something I had done countless times; chopped it all off.

I was going to texturize it again, and do my usual ‘whatever’ regimen with my hair when I bumped into you guys at Adelle’s Open Mic in early March. I found your blog, and a couple others including Curly Nikki and The Moptop Maven, and my life hasn’t been the same since.

3. What reactions have you received since doing the BC from your friends and family?

Close friends and family didn’t even flinch because I’d BC’d and changed my look so many times. Fans and new friends were a bit shocked, though, asking if I’d cut my hair so that I could go the “Afro-Fusion” route. But they’ve gotten the hang of it, and most people say I should stick with short hair for the rest of my life. Burra…ahem…that’s not really the plan.

4. What are your natural hair goals?

Big Ass Afro!!! I want a BAA. I can’t wait to have huge, healthy, shiny, Afro envy- invoking hair and I must say, the journey is coming along splendidly. I also want my hair to be a testament that natural hair CAN be for everyone, and that it can grow freakishly long without relaxing or ‘taming’ it with texturizer. I think all my close friends can attest to the fact that I can’t stop going on and on about why they should go natural as well.

I also can’t wait to have many natural haired tots!!

5. How long have you been natural?

On and off, since December 2004, but since my last BC it’s now been exactly a year. Jubilations!

6. What inspired you to be natural?

Before, I would just get restless and want something drastic, cheap and easy to manage. But honestly, this last time it was you guys. I remember seeing the both of you at Adelle’s Open Mic and my girl Wendy and I were whispering to each other trying to figure out what ya’ll MUST have put in your hair…was it a texturizer, was it some wonder chemical from some magical place over the rainbow? I was going to texturize my hair again but when I got onto your blog and found out that you were entirely natural, I said, this is it! Au Naturel for life. I’ve always loved my curly hair in its most natural state, it gets really curly and I often got tonnes of compliments for it. So far 3 of my friends have BC’d, and two others are contemplating it. One by one we shall take over the WORLD!!!!! <>

7. What’s your regimen like?

So far I’m still trying to find one, I can get very distracted so what I had set out to do every week initially, hasn’t really panned out. In fact, my younger brother, who has a BAA, sticks to his regimen with MY products, more than I do. And his hair is gorgeous, although I keep trying to convince him to shave it off (Afro envy right here).

Initially I was co-washing a lot, and rocking wash n go’s but now with my hair growing longer I started doing more twist outs and braid outs, deep conditioning every other week, and moisturizing and sealing every other day. I bought henna for my first treatment but I haven’t gotten round to it yet. :-/ Not enough hours in the day with my new job. I recently braided my hair using Abuja braids but took them out after two weeks coz my hair looked like I’d had the braids in for a year, jeez. Yay for my brothers Newsboy caps. I did a blow dry some weeks back with minimum heat coz I wanted to braid again and the fro amazed me. I rocked the fro for about a week and then got afro kinky twists done…I however looked like a mau mau veteran with them let loose so I had to wrestle them into a side sweep, side ponytail every day. On the plus side-- toned arms. I did try to spray them with water and olive oil whenever I could, and that was a great idea coz when I took them off, my hair was super soft. I braided it for New years as I was going to the coast..No Micro twists though…didn’t want a repeat of last years’ debacle. Now I’m just rocking wash and gos, giving the hair a break. Then today…trying out some new braids, will send a pic when they are done.

8. What products are in your arsenal?

Kiss My Face Saponified Olive Oil and Verbana Bar (From Healthy Yu) to wash my hair with, it really gets the job done and has absolutely no chemicals, Enliven Coconut and Vanilla Conditioner, Africa’s Best Detangling Conditioner (as conditioner and moisturizer), Shea Butter and Olive Oil Detangling Moisturizer for Kids by Africa’s Best, Pietro Coricelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Yup, the one more commonly found in kitchens), Lory’s Shea Butter Treatment (It’s a cheapie but I enhance it with natural honey and oils for Deep Conditioning) and Vatika Enriched Coconut Oil. Aloe Vera Hair Glo is also pretty good, whoddathunk!!

But now…I just recently started using Suave Tropical Coconut and Juicy Green Apple Conditioners for wash and gos, and as leave in. That’s all I need. And Olive oil.

9. What do you like most about being all natural?

My hair is uniquely mine so by being natural, I can be me, all day long, all year round. My confidence is through the roof because I feel like my hair really reflects the fabulosity I feel every day. It also allows me to be so VERSATILE!!!! My style is very eclectic and my hair makes every outfit even more special. I love my natural kinky, curly, coily hair.

Isn't she lovely?

Anonymous said...

love it so inspiring :)

Mary said...

I loved reading this post! Lovely lady, amazing personality and beautiful family. Your hair is SO THICK AND LONG! I'm with you on the 2012 BAAs, not even the Mayan apocalypse can keep me from reaching my goal! It's all about protective styling and length this year.

I have tons of questions for your mum and her locs! Dude, they are gorgeous. Yaol got some lovely hair in your family... hello future curly haired babies!

Thanks again Patricia!

dallahz said...

i love this post...inspiring n being the one who rescued me from my own n introduced me to this blog.Fro ladies we rock!we taking over!am in the 2012 BAA bigger than shingai shoniwa's or Janelle Monae's!Thanks lovely

dallahz said...

i love this post...inspiring n being the one who rescued me from my own n introduced me to this blog.Fro ladies we rock!we taking over!am in the 2012 BAA bigger than shingai shoniwa's or Janelle Monae's!Thanks lovely

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the feature...had fun doing it!!!

I shall try and get the Family Unit to share their stories...send on the questions...or should I just give em the same ones you sent me??


kinky_lockz said...

fantabulous post... mission BAA is in full effect after which i'm eyeing those locs of mama :)

Mary said...

I think we will send in some new questions for them! We'll be right on that.
Ladies, we seriously need to do a protective style challenge...

David said...

She IS lovely...

Anonymous said...

This is soooo lovely :) :)

You ladies are super inspirational :)

Nyachomba Kariuki said...

@Anonymous...This is why we do this features to give you as much inspiration as possible...glad you like them though!!

JandyK said...

She is soo lovely. Hate to admit it but i was one of those gals who thought she had changed because of her Afro-Fusion intersts...but lo! an behold she is natural by genuine choice!! LOVE! Kinky gals rock!

susan said...

I came across this blog last week and i was sooo inspired. I had already had my BC three weeks ago but i wasn't sure hat i wanted to do with my hair! After i read it..esp this feature on chilli Mango....i just went for shopping at super costemitics and man did i shop! Heena, leave-in treatments, coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, Shea Butter polish....Wooooh! I'm on a roll....natural all the way. My hair is only about an inch long and i can't wait for my BAA!(Big Ass Afro) Grow hair grow!

Mary said...

Hi there Susan, BIG UP to you for your BC! Congratulations! You seem armed and ready with your product arsenal (just remember not to be too heavy handed with the products, a little goes a long way).. I'm excited for you hun!

Happy Hair Growing and thanks for reading!

Shira said...

Mary and guys are doing a fantastic job with your blog. I tune in every day, sometimes every 3 or 4 hours, to see what's new. And because i don't live in Kenya, this blog is a connect to my Kenyan sistas. LOVE IT!'re a beautiful woman who's doing great things. Keep doing your music thing...bigger things are in store for you Ms fellow quabberian.

Anonymous said...

lovely post.... been natural for 9 months its amazing how fast hair grows natural and just how much of the self esteem it builds. I work in an all white people office and i always get the " can i touch your hair " question... insane.. they even told me they liked my hair better straight and all that but nothings is more liberating like rocking your natural curl. GO girl !

Nyachomba said...

@Shira...Thank you very much and glad you enjoy our posts. We shall defo do more Kenyany posts to keep you guys in touch yeah?
@Anonymous....Enjoy that natural hair and just let them people know they cannot be touching your hair all the time lol ;-)

Anonymous said...

imagine my i blowdried my hair and then later on it refused to go back to being natural!!
soo depressed.
i have to cut it all AGAIN! but i want a BAA just like her.

Nyachomba said...

Hey@ heatdamaged anon, so sorry about this, using too much heat can completely destroy your hair, avoid using it and you will be good...accept the setback and onwards and upwards...take care of your hair now and u will be halfway to BAA

Anonymous said...

Hi am just discovering this site, albeit late; but hey late's always been better than never...right?
i have Patricia's hair type? which is that again resolution next year is to grow it all the way to my sholders without any chemicals all the way natural. currently i ve a short natural do but its dyied blonde, i dont want to chop it all down and am looking to trim it as it grows. so i need your help, what are the right products to use daily, monthly, weekly etc 1st to protect it from breakage something ve been unable to do n 2nd to aid its growth? i'll appreciate ur help alot!
its time for African hair to go strong! down with the chemicals and weaves!

Nyachomba said...

Hi @Anon....Thanks for the comment..Sadly we are unable to answer such questions case by case and shall refer you to our hair care guide...this will give you a rough idea on what products to have to experiment and get a regimen that suits you..

Kurly said...

Hello Anon, thanks for hoping on to our natural hair bandwagon, there's always room for more! about your new year resolution, we had done a post on taking care of dyed hair recently, I am hoping you had a chance to look at it. Let us know if you did and if you have anymore questions.x

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