1) What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Thandie Nzimba, I was born in Zambia, Africa and I now live in Brighton, England.
2) Describe your hair a little (eg. hair porosity, hair type, hair texture, hair density, personality, etc).
My hair is type 4, with the kinkiest 4c parts being the middle and crown of my head while the back of my head is a looser curl, around 4a. My hair was very low porosity, dry and did not retain moisture a lot until I began my current regimen. Now I have normal hair porosity, and moisture is retained very well. My hair is neither super thick or thin for natural type 4 hair, but as it grows in length, I can see a lot more body and shape which excites me a lot. I love the huge puff look and cannot wait for my hair to be so big too.
3) How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for approximately 2 years and 7 months. July 2019 will mark 3 years and what a beautiful, yet tough, journey of self-exploration and acceptance it has been.
4) Why did you decide to go natural?
The first thing that made me want to go natural was the pit of dread in my stomach every time my mother said it was time to relax my hair. The smell of the cream and the stinging pain!
On top of that, my hair felt like wire, it was brittle and my ends were fried. My friend had been natural since birth and I absolutely adored her hair. I wondered if my hair could form the way hers did and I begged my mum to be natural for a couple of years before I decided to just refuse the relaxer altogether and start transitioning.
I was also doing a lot of research on how toxic the chemicals are. And I came across many natural ladies sharing videos about their hair which inspired me even more!
5) What was the hardest thing about returning natural?
The hardest part about returning natural was the time maintenance. This was the first time I had been properly doing my hair for myself without my mother. I was extremely gentle which meant taking my time through detangling and the aching arms! This meant I went from a 45-minute wash and blow-dry routine to a 3/4 hour wash, moisturize and twist routine with two very different textures!
6) What does your hair regimen comprise of?
At the moment, I have been experimenting with the Water Only Wash routine, so my regimen only consists of water, that’s it!
This means that you begin by cleansing the hair and scalp completely of products and build-up (I used an apple cider vinegar solution for this). Then the subsequent washes that follow should not include shampoos or conditioners which strip the hair of its natural oil, sebum. Instead, the sebum is used as your natural nourishing moisturizer by scratching the scalp (massaging to allow the sebum to be released) and preening the oil down the hair shaft so that it can coat the strands. To avoid dry hair, I would then coat the ends of my hair with light oils (almond oil was my main choice) before twisting it up and styling the next day. Now that my hair has reached full sebum coverage (along the entire shaft) I no longer use oils. And I cleanse my scalp every 2/3 weeks or when needed, but since I am not using any products there is a lot less build-up of dirt on my hair and scalp.
My hair has never been softer, it retains more moisture, my porosity has gone from low to normal and my hair is not weighed down by heavy products. Not to mention I am not stripping it of its natural oils and trying to compensate that with products that mimic the natural nourishment of sebum. This method is not for everyone, I understand. I just could never find products that worked for my hair no matter how much I tried so I started to explore and I am happy with my results.
7) What do you love most about your hair?
What I love most about my hair is the versatility of it. I can wear it straight and flat, I can have a big, beautiful and bouncy afro, I can wear braids or twists with or without extensions, etc. I also love the texture of naturally curly hair, especially when my hair is at its softest where it feels like a cloud.
8) What do you dislike most about your hair?
If I had to pick what I dislike most about my hair, it is the fact that it can be very time consuming. I have accepted that I can get through 1 or 2 movies before I finish my hair if I make good effort for a particular style when twisting, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t so.
9) Which 3 products do you swear by?
The products I swear by most are water, water and WATER! Drink it, spritz it, drench your curls in it! Water is your best friend!
10) What are your top 3 hair tips?
Top tip 1: Listen to YOUR hair. It will tell you what it needs. There are many people sharing their routines and regimens and you can damage your hair a lot if you take their words as holy grail and expect it to work on your hair. For example, if they wash their hair every 2 weeks and your hair cannot go more than 4 days without getting unmanageably dry then listen to it. Explore for yourself and only take other’s words as inspiration to find what works for you, not as the be all and end all answer.
Top tip 2: Make sure your protective styles are truly protective and not JUST there for decoration and looking good. Braids/weaves, etc. that are kept in too tight or for too long and without proper maintenance can be incredibly damaging for your hair and slow down your healthy hair journey. PROTECT your hair correctly.
Top tip 3: Be patient with your hair. Be gentle. Good things take time, focus on becoming a well-rounded person and not paying all your energy into your hair growth you might just drive yourself crazy when you don’t see results straight away.
11) Any encouragement for rookie naturals?
To all the new naturals, welcome, I’m glad you made it here. Get comfortable as you are about to embark on a journey to loving and accepting yourself more than you ever have before. Rock that kinky-curly crown. You’ve got this!
12) Where can people find you online (Instagram/YouTube/Facebook, etc.)?
You can find me on Instagram @yoitsthandie