1. What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Changwa Ruth Lyempe. I was born and raised in Zambia
2. Describe your hair a little (eg. hair porosity, hair type, hair texture, hair density, personality, etc).
Well, I think I could classify my hair as type 4B at the front because my curls are looser and type 4C at the back causing it to appear kinky. The mixed texture of my hair tends to be deceiving because it looks thick and uncontrollable when it’s actually really soft. Having natural hair can be frustrating sometimes, personally my hair is a whole different human, it can move from looking and feeling amazing to a whole mess by midday. Being of high porosity, my hair tends to lose moisture easily, so keeping it moisturized is a goal.
3. How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for over 8 years now but I personally would not consider my whole 8 years as being fully natural because of all the chemicals and heat I used on it. I like to consider my journey to have started close to two years ago.
4. Why did you decide to go natural?
Growing up my hair was kinky and hard to handle, my sister would face difficulties combing it, she decided to relax it. That was me until secondary school rules forced me to go natural. Despite throwing away the perm, I continued to straighten it and use excessive heat and chemicals which ended up causing my hair to break and appear permed which got me into trouble at school. Eventually during my gap year (2016-2017) I decided to go back to my roots and become totally natural.
5. What was the hardest thing about returning natural?
The fact that I had to do everything carefully, choose the right products, trim my hair regularly (still hurts a little, but dead ends got to go), and being consistent with my routines. The time it took to wash and prepare it was somewhat frustrating.
6. What does your hair regimen comprise of?
My hair regime consists of pre-poos with castor oil, coconut oil and aloe vera. I use clarifying shampoos to get rid of dirt build up on my scalp and I deep condition almost every wash day (with either avocado or rice water) but do protein treatments once a month when my hair is not in a protective style. The avocado has helped get rid of dandruff and the rice water with faster hair growth.
7. What do you love most about your hair?
The thing I love about my hair is that I can style it in different ways, I can do twists, a twistout, braidout, wash n go and have a voluminous fro anytime I feel like. And because I have learnt to braid my own hair, I can do any protective style I want. Basically, versatility is what makes the natural hair journey fun. NEW HAIR=NEW PERSONALITY
8. What do you dislike most about your hair?
1. SHRINKAGE: this is one of the most annoying traits of natural hair, after all I need the world to see my length.
2. TIME CONSUPTION: the fact that I cannot put a time limit on how long I would take on washing, braiding or styling my hair is annoying.
9. Which 3 products do you swear by?
Leave-in conditioner (Cantu), shea butter and lots of water.
10. What are your top 3 hair tips?
– Trimming regularly (let those ends go)
– Always do protective hairstyles be it braids, twists or wigs especially during winter
– Get to know your hair, what it loves, and what it accepts not all natural hair products will work for your hair type. Just because it works for someone doesn’t mean it will work for you.
11. Any encouragement for rookie naturals?
Let go of your habits, don’t run back to a perm every time you feel like the natural life is not for you. All hair is manageable with the right products, be proud of your hair and take care of your CROWN. And most importantly BE PATIENT, it will grow in time. HEALTH OVER LENGTH.
12. Where can people find you online (Instagram/YouTube/Facebook, etc.)?
You can find me on Instagram @totally_naturall; Twitter @totallynaturall and Facebook Totallynatural “Changwa Lyempe”.