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.|
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.
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.
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