Natural Spotlight: Amanda

Where in Africa are you from?
Zambia! Haha I’m thinking of nshima, beans and curried bream just by acknowledging that. Yum…!

When did you decide to go natural?
The first time was in 2005 . I was rather disgruntled by the state of my relaxed hair despite being almost religious about deep conditioning and not using heat. It was round about the time I discovered Janelle Monae’s lush fro – and honestly, I didn’t have a clue how to care for my hair in it’s natural state. Pretty warped huh?

Fast forward 2 years and I relaxed it again *rolling eyes* and 2 more years later I wound up at exactly the same place I was in 2005, disgruntled and ready to chop it all off. So in July 2009 just after I graduated from University, I decided that I’d had enough of the scalp burns and just wanted to wear my hair the way it grew out of my scalp. At the time my mum had previously cut off all her perm and so did my cousin but they are back to the relaxers.

I’ve never touched the creamy crack since and hope it stays that way lol.


Amanda with relaxed hair

 

Amanda during her relaxed years

What has been your experience having natural hair so far?
I fell in love with it despite the hard work that comes with the learning curve. In particular, I’m always excited about the volume, not having to think twice about the rain, swimming or water ruining whatever style I’m wearing. And the texture…I think that’s the thing I love most even when it seems to have a mind of it’s own. It’s different all over my head – kinky, curlier or a hybrid of the two.

Sometimes it’s a little annoying when people insist on touching and feeling it, you kind of feel like a pet being fawned over. I imagine this is what a pregnant woman feels like when people are going “Ooh a baby, can I feel?!”

People are most surprised by the fact that it feels soft which I find strange but I understand they are just curious.

I think discovering YouTube’s natural hair community has definitely played a big part in me staying the course.

All in all I love experimenting – its been one learning experience after another and I feel very confident with doing my own hair. Sure my shelves used to look like a mini pharmacy but at least I now know what works and what doesn’t.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely working for me and I’m always happy to hear that anyone else is thinking of trying it.

Four months after BC

What is your hair regimen?
Most of what I know now and have found works for my hair I learned from Nikole Crowe’s blog (The Moptop Maven) and Kimmaytube on YouTube

The usual suspects come into play. I do everything on sectioned hair because I have a lot of hair and it helps to make it easier to de-tangle.

I really love deep conditioning treatments with honey and different oils, and use protective hair styling so I’m not constantly fussing with my hair. I have very thick but fine hair so it’s important that I don’t over do it and keep any braiding as loose as possible. I’ve even tried roller sets which are a nice alternative.

Shea Butter + Castor Oil….enough said, this stuff is the cosmetic equivalent of gold for my hair!

I recently started formulating my own deep conditioners and leave in conditioners and I’m loving the results so far, so I’ll definitely carry on with that.

Four months post BCing

How did you achieve the hairstyle in these pictures?
Just stretched my hair using the banding method to get a blow out effect in the one with the huge afro.

I think the other one was a twist out or braid out of some sort, that was about six months after I cut my hair off at Xmas in 2009.

Now I have it in braids. Lol, sorry I haven’t taken many pictures over the last two years to share with you.

Any future plans/dreams for your hair?
Just keep it healthy and moisturized and see where all this experimenting and formulating takes me 😉

Any advice to those considering going natural?
It’s worth it if only to learn that the straight, sleek look is not the only standard of beauty. There’s so much versatility with natural hair, its a very interesting journey to take. Ha! Clearly, I guess I’m biased 😉

I’d say everything you need to know is on-line; be it blogs, YouTube tutorials or forums… It need not be daunting because there’s a whole community of people eager to share their experience and help the newbies out. And the video tutorials mean you can see with your own eyes and give it a go and adapt it to suit what you and your hair
needs to stay healthy.

Oh yes, please chill on the heat appliances and – moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! I can’t say that enough. Lol. I really don’t like the taste of avocados but it does wonders when pureed & slapped on my hair with some honey and olive oil!

Um what else…? I definitely think that one of the biggest temptations when starting out is hair envy, in the sense that you aren’t quite sure about your hair’s natural texture and what to do with it. You see and like what other people are doing with their hair and you want to will and force your hair to turn out exactly the same as their’s. I think it’s important to learn the techniques if they will help you maintain your hair but give it your own spin. Which takes me back to my first point, get online and learn more.

I don’t blog or anything like that but I do like to look at pretty pictures….so you can check out some of these blogs/links for inspiration or just to get a taste that re-affirms just how beautiful anyone’s hair is — the way it grows out of your head (so cheesy and fortunately so true!):

http://www.naturalbelle.tumblr.com/ and her blog http://www.hairspiration.blogspot.com/
http://www.curlynikki.com/ (this has a forum and also has a few interviews with some well  known natural folk
http://www.moptopmaven.blogspot.com// (doesn’t blog anymore but her tips and hair have been very helpful)

Yeah so just have as much fun with it!

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