Meetup Planning: The Trials and Tribulations

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We have been pondering (for a year and a bit) about hosting our second natural hair meet-up, following up on the success of the first one, remember this and this. If you guys know us, we love grandeur and always come up with elaborate plans! However this planning has been difficult because we are not sure what you guys would like and how to make sure we please you all.

So far we are stuck with great venues, however most are very expensive (we have expensive taste), see below;


Sierra Lounge

Mercury Lounge

Sierra - Pros
  1. Sierra is just so gosh darn pretty! We love the ambience.
  2. We could have a whole floor to ourselves. That's right, they are willing to provide a closed off section just for us curly girls to have our private relaxed and oh-so exclusive fun! 
  3. The planned activities will be comfortably conducted (product swaps, games and giveaways).
  4. The setup will be tres chic with a cocktail vibe to it... (are you convinced yet?)
  5. There will be drinks and delish bitings to be had.
  6. Located in the 2nd floor of Yaya Center, we believe Sierra will be a safe, central and friendly locale to host the meetup.
Sierra - Cons

  1. Right, so in order to have all that and more... Sierra will charge us a fee of KES 1,000/- per head. 
  2. Now you know our 20-something year old behinds can't cover that - assuming we get the same numbers (if not more) as the last meetup - we might as well go for broke right now. So the question is, would y'all be willing to pay the bare minimum of 1000/- to have the meetup in Sierra? Let the debates begin!


Mercury- Pros
  1. It's Mercury! Who doesn't love Mercury! We feel that Mercury has this awesome Sex in the City vibe to it and it could be the perfect funky venue for our Kurls Night Out (spoiler alert).
  2. One word: Cocktails.
  3. Two words: Awesome Music.
  4. This would be a great venue to simply let our hair down out, nothing fancy. Just imagine all of us in our fro's, dancing, mingling.. just doing our thang! 
Mercury - Cons
  1. It won't be that exclusive. Actually it won't be exclusive at all (picture going out with your girls and having a gay old time. Simples)
  2. We're not sure if it can host the total number of awesome natural girls that will grace this auspicious occasion... we know you'll be there.
  3. Due to the music levels, our activities will have to be put on hold for now.

Under the list of consideration, we were also thinking of the Island over at Westlands. Are there any other venues you guy know, manage or would recommend?

We would love to hear from you on what kind of ideas you envision for a meetup. Kindly share on our facebook page, twitter and in the comments!


On a special side note: if you a Kenyan natural hair blogger/ fashion blogger we would TOTALLY love to have you join us as official hosts to the meet up! All interested parties need only email us - kurlykichana@gmail.com - and we can make this the ultimate natural hair event of the year :) kinda something like this.... Check out the video below!


Views from Ess: On Relaxed hair and being "Unafrican"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why, hello Friendship!

How are you today? So by now you know that Kurly Kichana is all about those natural kinks and kurls. We love natural hair and, by virtue of you taking the time out of your busy day to read our posts (and for that we couldn't thank you enough... you rock), we figure you do as well.

At Kurly Kichana, we believe in choice; what is life without choice and the freedom of self-expression right? Well, a little while back we met with a few of our girlfriends and the topic of natural hair vs. relaxed hair came up. We were a table full of curls and locs so the argument was pretty much one-sided... To make a long story short, at the end of the conversation, we found that some people in the natural haired community hold some harsh views on women who choose to keep their hair relaxed. 

Before we met up with our girlfriends we had a shared opinion on natural hair - it's BANG-UP BRILLIANT and if you aren't natural, you need an intervention. Upon further reflection, we realized that it's no one's place to judge other people on their lifestyle choices... We are allowed to hold our views, but not instill them upon others (we would love to hear your thoughts on this).

And so we decided to hear it from a bonafide member of Camp Relaxed. We reached out to a fellow blogger Sharon of this is ess. And this is what she had to say about her relaxed hair journey..


1. Tell us a bit about yourself!

 Haha, oh the pressure of making it “sweet”. 

My name is Sharon Mundia and I'm a 23 year old girl living in her hometown Nairobi, Kenya. I run the site This Is Ess which is a fashion and beauty blog that has quickly become a great passion of mine. My favourite TV Shows include Suits, Modern Family, Sherlock Holmes and Touch (to name a few) and I can’t go a day without lip balm, my glasses and breathing (ha!). Oh and I never go a month without at least one slice of Dormans Red Velvet Cake!


2. When did you have your hair relaxed? Was it your choice or that of an authority figure?  What are your hair goals and what regimen do you follow?

I believe I was 13 years old when I finally relaxed my hair and I had basically done everything in power to convince my mother to let me do it! I so desperately wanted my hair to be relaxed because of all the pain I had gone through while I had natural hair. I never really understood how to take care of my hair then and in fact it has taken me 10 years since to put together a decent hair regimen. 

My long-term goal is to have healthy hair that reaches my waist while my short-term goal (till December 2013) is to have healthy hair that reaches my bra strap (the horizontal section at the back). 


I only started my real hair journey on October 17th 2012 so there’s a good chance my regimen might change as I get to understand my hair needs. I say ‘real’ hair journey as there were times in my past when I thought I knew what my hair needed but after all the research I’ve been doing lately, I realise how wrong I was! As for my current regimen: I wash my hair once a week, use shampoo only when I feel like my hair needs to get rid of all the product that’s built up, co-wash my hair, use a moisture based treatment and/or a protein based treatment depending on my hair needs, moisturise and seal daily, oil my scalp using castor oil once a week and only use heat once a month. Trimming off the split ends regularly is also part of this regimen. 




3. In the wave of the current global movement towards natural hair among women of colour, what has prevented you from being "swept away" by the movement?

To be honest I didn’t realise there was a movement until I started getting into my hair regimen and doing my research and that’s when I saw just how many women out there are going natural! I like my hair relaxed because I think that it’s more convenient that way plus sometimes I just like having bone-straight hair. If ever I want to go natural though, it won’t be because I want to move with the crowd but because for one reason or another, I feel that that’s the best thing for my hair. 


4. Some women with natural hair claim that women who chose to relax their hair are "less African" than those who maintain natural hair. What are your thoughts on such sentiments and what would you say to this?

If my African status was partly based on whether my hair was natural or relaxed then yeah, they’d be right! But I believe that’s a very shallow point of view – declaring someone to be “less African” based on how they treat their hair is very judgemental, not to mention a baseless accusation. I mean, what’s African? And how does hair fall into this definition? And to which extent do you consider manipulation of one’s hair dependent on their African status? Would colouring my hair make me less African? Blow drying? Using a straightener? How about if I texturized my hair, am I “more African” than the lady who’s relaxed her hair but still “less African” than the one who’s natural? 

See where I’m going? Being African is not dependent on your hair!!

5. Do you associate with the health implications of relaxing hair? If so, what precautions should someone who chooses to relax their hair follow? 

The only problems I know that come from using relaxers are scalp burns which occur when the relaxer literally burns your scalp and you’re left with a scab a couple days later. I’ve suffered from this a few times as my scalp is rather sensitive but I’ve learnt that: 


a)      You should always wait about a week (maybe even more) after washing your hair before you relax it. Your scalp needs to have built up some natural oils as a means of protecting itself. 

b)      Don’t sit with the relaxer in your hair for too long – this is disaster waiting to happen

c)      Understand your hair needs. If you can’t stay with relaxer on for too long then go with the mild option. If you’re scalp is less sensitive then you can go for the stronger options

d)     Avoid vigorous scratching of your scalp before going to get your hair relaxed as it only makes it more susceptible to burns. 


6. Would you ever consider going natural? Y/N kindly explain

At this point, no! I find that my hair is much easier to style when it’s relaxed plus it’s a little easier to deal with I guess (even though it needs that much more care to prevent breakage). 


 7. Who are your "hair idols"?

I am absolutely obsessed with Megan from U Love Megz, she’s the one who inspired me to start a proper hair regimen for my hair journey actually! And my friend recently introduced me to Chime Edwards who has gorgeous natural hair!



 8. We love your sense of fashion! Tell us about the look that defines Ess and what elements you cannot do without! 

Aww thanks ladies :) To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve really explored fashion enough in order to truly discover my sense of style but if I had to put it into words I’d say my look is usually simple, cute and a little adventurous! The items that I reach for the most in my wardrobe are my nude pumps and my black blazer – they almost always go with anything I put on (a dress, skirt, jeans) which makes it very convenient for me. I’m also really getting into accessories as I’m finding that they add the little extra to an otherwise ordinary outfit. So start building your accessories ladies!




9. Any closing sentiments?

I think with any hair journey the two things that will almost always help you realise your goals are consistency and patience. But if I happen to come across a miracle healthy hair growth formula, you can rest assured I’ll give you a shout ;) 

Thank you so much for allowing me to do this interview! 

Half Marathon Running Mix

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hey,

We may have shouted on Twitter about really looking forward to the half-marathon this Sunday, apart from inhaling all the carbs we can, we are also trying to come up with running mixes to help us along the tarmac. 

Below are some songs we are loving!



Sweet Nothing  (Diplo Remix) - Calvin Harris and Florence Welch 



Cough Cough - Everything Everything


Julio Bashmore - Au Seve


Running ( Disclosure Mix) - Jessie Ware


Higher Ground - TNGHT


Blood (Kill them with colour remix) - Middle east

Any other hits helping you kill your workouts? please let us know in the comments.

Natural Hair Feature: Daktari Ciku

Monday, October 22, 2012

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 35 year old married mother of two girls. I am a doctor working full time in a busy hospital. Late last year (around this time actually), I realized that if I was going to be happy with my body, it was now or never to lose those extra 7 kilos. So I set a goal to lose 20 kilos by Dec 31st this year ( I have always been ambitious) . I started working out in a gym for 5 days a week and within a month I lost 3 kilos ( Yay me) sadly, my hair was just not with the program, I had to spend untold amounts of time in the salon to look professional and the braids would stink within a week due to the sweating.

See the thinning hairline despite the great length which I do miss.

2. How long have you been natural? When did you decide to go natural and what influenced you?

I cut my hair in March 2012 -  after like 2 and a half months of happy weight loss and very sad hair. I walked into a salon a Friday after work  (not my usual one) and told them to chop it all off. It had been like 5 months since my last relax so there was still some hair on my head. After lengthy consultation (read -  me arguing with the guy)  off it came bar the last 2 inches and the only regret I had was that I paid 400 bob instead of the 100 bob  the under tree kinyozi would have charged or free if I cut it myself – live and learn.


3. What reactions have you gotten from your friends and family about your natural hair?

I got home and the hubby was aghast. My kids said Mama is a boy. They both have shoulder length hair so only boys in their world have short hair. Still no regrets, after all you can’t uncut hair. My mum hates it. She spent all my childhood dealing with it natural before I relaxed it in Campus. My colleagues and friends (including the facebook ones) thought it took 10 years off right there. 

About 2 months natural - shrunk up

The first month was excellent. Wash and go. My hair got very dry but what did I care; I could run to the office bathroom and put water in it. I combed it with an afro comb dripping wet in the shower after my workout. I washed daily with water only or if very dirty the dispensed liquid soap they have in the gym. Alas inevitably, even the most ill treated hair grows. After the first month the TWA got really old, really fast. I also discovered that I have like 3 different hair textures on the same head.  Calling Dr. Google, we have a hair emergency. There were blogs galore, most based in the US so the products were useless. However, I did learn that shampoo is a no-no so stopped shampoo and began to use conditioner to wash it even daily. I braided it in box braids after that but they fell out within a week coz of my lifestyle – daily wash  - and too short hair. Back to Google I went this time specifying Kenya in the search and Voila – there you were!!


4. What products do you currently use?

In the beginning I was cheap as hell, I used the same conditioner as pre –BC Crème of Nature and Motion’s Silicon as deep conditioner (usually 10 minutes in a shower cap). It seemed to do no real harm except my hair was still dryish. So I added castor oil to the mix coz of its famed growth properties. Dryness kaput, enter stickiness.  A week or two of this and I got bored, put in microbraids for six weeks and researched some more. I continued weekly washing with condish during this time.

All products used

Once the braids came off, I tried the Organic’s stuff. So my current regime is like this:

AM:   undo flat twists, apply some Organics olive oil leave in, a little coconut oil, some cheapie gel on the edges and brush back with boar bristle brush and put it in a puff. If I am feeling adventurous or it’s the weekend I do a frohawk. See pics. The fro hawk is really a puff with a bump but can we blame me for trying? If really rushed, I leave it as is. My hair shrinks up tight so I don’t like this but needs must when the devil drives.

Puff at work 

PM: Spritz (200 ml water to 25 ml glycerine + maybe 25 ml conditioner of the week – see pics for selection). When wet, flat twist into 4-6 lines or if feeling special I do corn rows. I live in hope that it will wake up a twist out one of these days but sadly my hair is 4c – no curl pattern to define – we live with it. Then I wrap it in a headscarf and sleep.

Every 7 to 10 days (more if I work out very hard),  I wash with conditioner of the week – same as in spritz and deep condition (again 15 minutes in shower cap) with organics olive oil or cholesterol tee tree oil (if I want it very puffy I use the cholesterol). After I removed braids, I used the jojoba oil n wax treatment by ébe coz its has some protein while still being very moisturizing. I tried something called Crème of nature treatment with Argan oil once – amazing. It comes in a small red packet for like 250 bob one use only and I have not seen it in Uchumi since but I highly recommend it.

Semi Frohawk

6. What are your natural hair goals?

I’m hoping for hair like below in the next year while retaining healthy growth. 
I’m also trying to DIY a lot more. I trimmed my own hair last month (Can I hear a big up for Youtube).  I want to try a tutorial I saw on Goddess braiding on Youtube and if that fails maybe faux bunning?
 
7. What is the best thing about being natural?

The best thing about natural hair – no salons – eve!. If I want to wash I do- no more waiting for time off work. No running from rain. And discovering how soft my hair is. Oh and learning that I don’t have to tame my hair – I respect it and it respects me and we get along. 

Daily Puff

8. What advice would you give someone who recently went natural or who is transitioning?

Anyone wanting to go natural – just research coz the despair of those early months, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Days on end of bad hair days – shudder!!

In other news – I have lost 10 kilos and 2 dress sizes and I am the size I was before my kids. Still have 5 kilos to go but very happy with my body and hair!! Shopping here we come.
 
I’m really excited to share my story. Its early days yet, I’m sure I will evolve with time. I’ll tell you how the Goddess braid experiment or the faux bun works out. Cheers 

Ciku

KK Mail: Siobhan Asks

Friday, October 19, 2012

Siobhan asks,

"Thanks for your wonderful blog.

I am trying to go natural ( for 3 months now), so 99% of my hair is processed.! my hairline has receded to my feet (true, I swear). 

I am a banker and therefore must maintain a neat hairdo.Which hairstyle is neat enough for one who works for such an uptight employer (bank)"

Aww thanks Siobhan, we love receiving emails like these. Natural hair and the workplace can be very easy to do, it just requires some creativity and lots of imagination. The quickest and easiest styles are updos. We have highlighted some simple styles below with short instruction on how to do them. Most of the styles start off with clean, conditioned and detangled hair, however you could also start the style with an old twist out or braid out.

  • Start off with a twist out, brush/gather your hair to the front of your head and using a band or hair pin secure the hair at the top of your head. Once this is done, gather sections and pin them facing the back of your head.


  • Start off with either an old twist out or dry hair. Do a side parting and pin your hair on the side, grab sections around the parting and pin them away, framing your face.


  • The image on the left can be done by your local hairdressr, you could even print out the picture and take it in. Simply cornrows done in a mohawk style and then pinned
  • The image on the right is Janelle Monae Inspired ( see the youtube video below for simple instructions) 



  • Flat twist or cornrow the sides of your hair, then twist the front, middle and back then pin the twists into a twist-hawk

A simple and easy to do hairdo, for work or play

To maintain the updo for a week, take it down and moisturise then repin. Hope that helps Siobhan... and hope you don't get the side eye from HR!

Have a lovely weekend folks


The Kenyan Definition of 'Official' Wear

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I just don't get it.

Hi y'all, Mary here. Today I am going to ask you guys to impart your wisdom. This revolves around business attire, the dreaded 'official' look, and the boundaries the Kenyan workplace dictates around this touchy subject.

I say touchy only because I currently work at a B2B organization which, as you would imagine, demands a level of professionalism to my look. I had previously worked at a creative marketing environment - the extreme opposite of this -  I could roll out of bed and head straight to work, and not a single unkempt brow would be raised... The switchover was not easy for me.

I basically had to go from this: 
To this:

I can't... I just... 


Two years going strong and this is the final look that I have adapted to... 

This is what I'm wearing today

I think I look downright presentable! BUT STILL.... I got the stink eye from HR this morning! 

This is my general aesthetic for what I usually wear: Straight pants/ cut off pants, chiffon tops, and a boyfriend blazer.  I only wear jeans on Fridays (if at all). Heels are optional, I'm tall, so I can get away with flats.

What do you think? Is it me? Am I being rebellious? Might I just add, that I rarely face clients, hardly even! I'm usually at my desk designing stuff and drafting content as I listen to my music on my earphones; minimum to no interaction with other humans. What the heck do the rest of you guys wear to work anyhow? Is there a standard "official look" that all women are meant to abide by? I for one, oppose this.

This has been a mini rant brought to you by Mary Mogoi. I love my job though! :)

Enjoy the day!

Pink October: Unleash the Heroine Within You

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hello ladies,

"When we talk about breast cancer, there's no women or superwomen. Everybody has to do the self-examination monthly. Fight with us against the enemy and, when in doubt, talk with your doctor."

-DDB Mozambique-

DDB Mozambique have created a series of posters against Breast Cancer. The posters show that even superheros are not immune to breast cancer. 

Wonderwoman: 

She-hulk:

Storm:

and Catwoman (I might be in love with Selina Kyle.. ):

As a comic book nerd, I absolutely LOVE this message and the means DDB used to portray it; as a woman, I feel that it's my power to take care of my body and to spread the word to as many women out there as I can.

If you love comic books as much as I do, or if you're just curious; check out what the good people at Marvel Comics have done for the National Breast Cancer Awareness :)

For a more in-your-face approach, DDB Mozambique launched the Topless Poster campaign. I tried to explain it, but I figured it would be best if you just watched the video for yourselves....


Can we just take a moment and appreciate that all this is happening in Africa! A few years ago, a couple of unamused brows would have been raised at such a blatant expression of unintended sexuality. I second both campaigns and I raise my hat to you DDB and to the women of Mozambique. 

It may be breast cancer awareness month, but let me just put this out there; cervical cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up. Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:
  • The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for pre-cancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
  • The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes.
Pap smear tests are recommended for all women and can be done at a clinic/ gynecologists. During a Pap smear test, the cells can be collected and tested for HPV at the laboratory. Talk with your doctor, nurse, or other health care professional about whether the HPV test is right for you.

Thank you so much for reading everyone. 

Take care of yourselves.

Ye Olde Kurly Kichana Vault

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Well hello there,

This morning I decided to go on a delete forever rampage on my laptop. In the process I stumbled upon a picture folder - you know the DCIM type - so I decided to take a peek at it and see what was inside.

To my delight, I found a picture from my TWA (teeny weeny afro) days, and of course I had to share it with you guys (^.^)

OK, for those of you who don't know this... I have never actually had a perm/ chemically treated hair. I've been natural all my life. The sad twist is however, I always, ALWAYS had my hair harshly straightened prior to embarking on the sweet natural life. As you can imagine, all the years of harsh blow drys left my hair limp and lifeless and barely able to revert. Fast forward to the night of my BC (big chop); Nyachomba wet my hair and cut off the limp and stringy bits, leaving me with my adorable TWA :)

Early 2010

This was my hair in 2010; the year of the BC. I must make a confession: during that year, I was scissor happy as heck! I was convinced my hair was still thoroughly damaged and that I needed to constantly trim off the ends every other month. I hardly bothered with styling and focused mainly on moisturizing and deep conditioning my hair. I was so focused on attaining "healthy" hair that I failed to realise milestones and accomplishments! I never tracked my hair growth (something I regret actually).

So word of advice Kurlies: Put the scissors down. You need not trim/ dust or snip at your hair so as to achieve "healthy hair". Maintain the basics of natural hair management and practice protective styling. Simple as that, your hair will be healthy. Also, track your hair's progress with photos and note down how it reacts to certain products; this is very important for the newly natural.

End 2010

This was my hair towards the end of 2010 (I imagine)... I thought I looked really cute, I still think so actually.

Mid 2011

2011 was a good year of growth for me. I still had the scissor bug but it was slightly under control  compared to the previous year. I discovered, sadly, that I do not have thick hair. I always thought I had thick hair, but to be honest, my hair is not as densely packed as I had led myself to believe. I also discovered that my hair shrinks and sucks up moisture like a sponge: because of this, I cut down my glycerine usage.

Pro tip: Glycerine giveth and glycerine taketh away. Use it sparingly in your moisturizing hair spritz, because it is a powerful humectant. So powerful in fact that some naturals claim it can suck the moisture out of your OWN hair rather than draw moisture to it. Egad!

End of 2011

It's 2012: I have cut back on some nasty habits and I have embraced protective styling like a way of life. I can't wait to show you my progress thus far and to tell you guys about a few new habits that Nyachomba and I have cultivated. For a sneak peak I can tell you some of them involve going shampoo free, finger detangling, and aryuvedic treatments (to name a few)... I'm in a protective style at the moment, but as soon as that gets old I'll show you my 2012 hair.

How are your natural hair journeys faring thus far? I would appreciate your kind wisdom, questions or sentiments.

Enjoy your day everyone. x