Natural Hair Feature: Aisha

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The lovely Aisha

Hi! I’m Aisha. I’m from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and I currently live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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

I stopped relaxing my hair in February of 2011 and big chopped three months later in May 2011. So I’ve been fully natural for a year and a half now. I actually decided to go natural the day after my last relaxer. I had gone to the salon to remove some braids and after they removed them, I retouched my growth, despite the fact that I’d already lost about 1/5 of my hair to the unbraiding process. I know it’s a huge no no to relax your hair right after removing braids, but I’d done that so many times before and I got away with it. Not this time. My hair was in shambles. My hairline was so broken, my hair looked weak and miserable. There was no doubt that it was telling me something. I wasn’t happy at all when I left the salon and I already had a deep feeling that something was going to change. What that was, I wasn’t sure yet but I woke up the next morning and made the decision that I was going to stop relaxing my hair. I didn’t know what was in the future, I just knew that relaxing wasn’t for me nor my hair anymore.

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

In the beginning it was a mixed bag of reactions. My boyfriend loved it and I think his reaction also came from a place of understanding because he knew why I cut my hair and what led up to that day. He was also prepared for it since I told him the same day I made the decision to stop relaxing, and he had three months to get used to the idea but he was all for it from the beginning. I only told a couple of friends before I cut it and one or two seemed a bit doubtful that I’d go through with it. I can’t remember if I told my family or not but I didn’t get a great initial reaction from them. 

Even though some of my siblings hated the weaved up look, they also weren’t warming to the short afro look either. I’d done the big chop and everything while in Joburg then went home to Tanzania a couple months later and some people who hadn’t seen me since I left as well as some family members implied I looked better before or even just plain out asked me what on Earth I did to my hair. I kept up a brave face but after being there for about two weeks, I slapped on a weave before I returned to Joburg. I think that was the weakest moment of my hair story. I’m not against weaves now that I’m natural. I still think they’re great for protective styles but the reason why I put one in was the issue. I’d let other people’s negative opinions affect me to the point that I didn’t feel pretty with my new hair and that I should wear another style to ‘get back up there’ in the pretty books.

3. What products do you currently use?

I’ve tried quite a few products and at the moment I’m experimenting with V05 Love My Colour range as I recently dyed my hair. But my core staples are Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner as my deep conditioner, Vatika Oil for hot oil treatments, my own butter which includes shea butter and coconut oil, and my own daily spritz which has glycerin, water and avocado oil. Before using V05, I used Tresemme shampoos and conditioners. I love products that easily moisturize my hair. It took a little while to get to this point where I’ve got some core products and I used to think I always had to change it up but I realised that there’s nothing wrong with sticking to something if it works for you and your hair. Not to say that I don’t ever want to try new things, but I’m definitely not as ‘itchy’ as I was before.

4. What are your natural hair goals?

I actually don’t really have any, except to have healthy hair. I’d love my hair to grow longer and longer but I don’t have a set length in mind that I’m aiming to reach.

5. What styles do your wear most of the time?

I’ve learned that my hair at this length doesn’t work well with anything other than a braid or twist out. So I always braid big mabutu after I was and deep condition as well as rebraid every night. Not doing this leaves my hair really tangled and also reverts back to a shorter length. I usually style my hair differently pretty much everyday. I love leaving it out but I also love a style I call “side pull ups” where I pull a section on either side of my hair (or just one side depending) and I pin them towards the top of my head. It’s a bit hard to explain :S I have blow dried my hair about 4 or 5 times since I went natural, I try to keep that to a minimum as I don’t like applying heat to my hair.

6. What is the best thing about being natural?

That I can wear my hair in sooo many different ways. The longer it grows, the more I discover new things to do to it. I can rock it straight, blown out, curly, wavy, it’s endless. I love that there’s always a new thing to look forward to trying.

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

Give you and your hair time. The last time you had your natural hair was probably a long time ago. Give yourself some time to adjust, experiment and don’t be scared to try things. What works for one natural may not work well for you. If it doesn’t work, move on to the next thing. I was quite hard on myself I the beginning because I thought I’d have it all figured out, but remember that you had your relaxed hair for years. You learnt how to care for it, similarly you need to give your natural hair time for you to learn how to care for it. It might take a month, it might take a year. I’m a year and 6 months in and I still have some “oops” moments. It’s a dynamic experience too. I’ve changed my routine quite a few times at different stages of my hair growth. Patience is key.

If there's anything else you would like to add, go right ahead!

Thanks for this opportunity! I have a blog where I document my experiences with my natural hair, from even before I big chopped as well as share the things I’ve learned and am still learning. I also have a Youtube channel where I do tutorials on quick and easy hairstyles. You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest ;)

Look up Aisha on social media on the links her some love!

Twitter: @Cosmoaisha

Anonymous said...

Hi Aisha was going thru your blog yesterday n I loved the outfits u make:-) totally awesome. Wish u were here in Kenya ad love to get them outfits. Also loving the different hair dos:-) :-) :-) :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Aisha, and the Kurly Kichanas :-)

First of all, Mary your burgundy hair was/is amazeballs!! LOVE. Second, Aisha, your hair has made me want to cut my hair again! Your hair is soo healthy and looks so soft and I love your hairstyles! Your hair is long! I think I should cut mine a bit more for it to grow as healthy as yours has. And your hairstyles are great! I'm a new follower on the blog. LOVE it! I have a blog as well,


Jen said...

Love, love, love Aisha and her blog! So inspiring :)

evbu said...

lovely girl! lovely fro! her blog is too awesome! what i love most about her: she has taken the fro, made it hers, created her own signature looks that work for her and shown that 4c hair is beautiful too!

Mercy Mkhana said...

Awesome! All the looks you are rocking, Ms Aisha, look fantastic. Love the short look and the full on look beautiful. I do appreciate the fact you state over realizing the authentic reasons you chose to put a weave in during your journey. It's hard to have people you know, and strangers too, openly judge you for rocking what is your natural texture. When you have "unpretty" or non-textured hair (Lil Wayne unceremoniously dubs it Nigerian hair...) people tend to think you are either ugly/not attractive or 'not living up to your full hair potential' (that was a serious statement directed at a friend with her afro'd hair out). On the flip side of that coin, I wear weaves sometimes and I also get that open judgement of 'Are you ashamed of your own hair'?' or 'Are you trying to be white?'. It feels like a no-win situation so the only person I try to please is myself (and my hair). I do what is healthy and comfy for my own hair - keeping my weave on but taking care of my natural hair underneath, and keeping my hair as healthy as possible when it's out in its natural state.

Sorry for the long comment but I have to say this, one more thing:
The thing I love about being a girl is the myriad of choices we all have when it comes to our hair - clip it, cut it, dye it, henna it, weave it, it all shouldn't matter as the key thing should be maintaining a head of healthy hair and a healthy attitude about one's hair/looks. I applaud you and every other woman of color out there, regardless of texture, choosing to rock what sprouts out of your scalp and loving it or making peace with it. I also applaud those women who experiment with weaves and wigs and other protective styles without sacrificing the health of their own hair.

Your hair is absolutely beautiful, Ms Aisha, and reminds me what a little TLC can do for your hair!

beatmagazine said...

Beautiful hair makes mw want to accelerate my own hair growth. But hey, everyone has to start somewhere. Please check out my baby steps in being natural in my blog

Irene-lisa M said...

Hey Aisha!i'm a tanzanian natural schooling in moshi,kilimanjaro. loooove your hair!you inspire me 2 wear mine out more. It's kinda hard though because society expects you to wear your hair in a certain way,natural or relaxed. I can't wear a twistout or wash-n-go coz people here will think i haven't combed my hair. It's a lot easier for me 2 rock my hair when i'm in Botswana or South Africa.I used to hide behind proctective hairstyles which didn't help me retain much length coz d hair stylists just yanked out my hair while plaiting it coz it's 'so hard.' Two weeks ago i realised i had 2 start doing my own hair if i wanted 2 retain any length. I'm sooo happy now n jus doing me!

Roberta Ajulo said...

I've been getting some really negative reactions to my natural hair from family and friends. This post has definitely encouraged me to stick with it and help other people embrace a natural look as well. Thanks a lot!

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