1. What is your name and where are you from?
Akosua. I’m Zambian-Ghanaian and grew up in Botswana.
2. What would you consider your hair type and hair porosity to be?
My hair is primarily 4c with some 4b in the middle and on the sides. I have fine, densely packed strands that are low porosity.
3. How long have you been natural?
I big chopped in February 2013.
4. Why did you decide to go natural?
My decision to go natural was influenced by a combination of things. For one, I discovered YouTube and found women who had short hair for the majority of their lives, went natural and were able to grow their hair longer than it had ever been. Prior to discovering YouTube and learning about hair, I was of the mentality that I could not grow long hair, or manage my hair without a relaxer or heat. The more I watched and read, the more my stance changed. Additionally, in my leisure I was researching the connection between foods and disease which led me to look into the ingredients in things I use on my body and how they can have harmful effects on my health. So, I figured it was time for a whole body makeover, which included ditching the relaxer.
5. What was the hardest thing about returning natural?
Building a regimen and figuring out how to tell what products work well with my hair. Also, learning how to style my hair wasn’t the easiest – my first styles were a disaster. I used to go to the salon to do my hair, but wanted to figure out how to take ownership of that myself. It took a while, but I got there.
6. What does your hair regimen comprise of?
When my hair is not in a long-term protective style: I wash my hair once or twice a week usually over the weekend when I have more time. In-between washes, I keep my hair in low maintenance/protective styles for the majority of the week (Monday to Friday at minimum). This usually consists of simple flat twist or individual twist styles. I spritz my hair daily with water or a water mix (water, aloe vera juice and glycerin). Because I often forget, I make sure to also leave my hair uncovered in the shower so I can add moisture that way as well. For my washes, I tend towards “wash” products like clay washes and rinse products versus shampoos because they are less harsh in my hair and tend to help with moisture retention. I detangle my hair under running water prior to washing it. I often pre-poo prior to wash and always deep condition after each wash. After washing, I let my hair air dry in twists. I don’t let my hair dry un-stretched as that would lead to tangles and matting.
When my hair is in a long-term protective style (like twists, flat twists with Havanna or Kanekalon hair): I keep the protective style in for about 3–6 weeks at a time and try to take a 1- 2 week break in between protective styles. I wash my hair every 2 weeks or every 3 weeks when in a protective style and spritz it daily with water or a water mix (water, aloe vera juice and glycerin). I’ve found that its best not to leave my hair out long-term as it loses moisture faster and tends to tangle.
7. What do you love most about your hair?
It’s versatile – I can do so many different styles by myself. My hair is longer than it has ever been, and healthier too. I save money and time on styling because I can do my hair on my own.
8. What do you dislike most about your hair?
There’s nothing I dislike about my hair. Some difficulties are that 1) it is still hard to find the right mix of regimen and products to balance moisture 2) I get single strand knots.
9. Which 3 products do you swear by?
Beija Flor – Licorice Root Scalp Elixir (I use it as a leave in conditioner)Alikay Natural Honey and Sage Deep ConditionerAll Things O’ Natural Natty Cupuacu and Rhassoul Deep Conditioner.
10. What are your top 3 natural hair tips?
Health starts from the inside so make sure you are getting nutrients and water through what you ingestKeep your hair stretched – this reduces tangling which makes the detangling process easier and mitigates breakage. Also, detangle under running water – it makes it easier to get through the hair and is gentler on your strandsPre-poo and deep condition your hair with each wash
11. Any encouragement for rookie naturals?
Yes – be patient. Concentrate on overall health, and the growth will come. Find naturals with a similar hair type to yours and leverage off of their regimen to create your own. Don’t overcomplicate the process: your wash day doesn’t need to be several hours and the time you spend on your hair during the week can be minimal (e.g. spritz with water and go), if you plan accordingly. Consistency is key.
12. Where can people find you online (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, etc.)?