Natural Spotlight: Sarah

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Where in Africa are you from?
I was born in Livingstone, Zambia.
Where are you currently based?
I am currently based in Lusaka, Zambia.
When did you decide to go natural?
I decided to return to natural hair in 2010 and I did so with a big chop.
What has been your experience having natural hair so far?
Being natural for the past four years has been interesting. I spent the first 18 years of my life as a natural head so caring for it was not an entirely new experience. The difference this time around has been in the products and techniques I use to care for my hair. I’m much more conscious of the ingredients of hair care products, I use more home made products, I moisturise my hair more and rarely use heat. I have learnt many new hair styles from other natural heads on and off line. I have also taken the time to read some books that explain the science behind how we care for our hair. As a result my hair is much less prone to dryness and breakage and is likely to retain much more length.
What is your hair regimen?
My hair care regimen is simple.
I wash my hair once a week alternating between bentonite clay (mixed with Aloe Vera juice) and a gentle sulphate free shampoo such as the Body shop’s rain forest or Dr Miracles curl care. I then condition and detangler my hair with a sulphate, silicone, and paraben free conditioner and a wide tooth comb. I use apple cider vinegar or Aloe Vera juice in my final rince. I then wrap my hair with a microfibre towel to absorb excess water. I unwrap my hair when it’s still damp and apply  a leave in conditioner such as Dr miracles curl care or Kinky Curly Knot Today. I either thread or two strand twist my hair with a mixture of shea butter, Aloe Vera gel, coconut oil, and a few drops of peppermint oil to stretch it prior to styling.
I keep my hair moisturised by spritzing it two to three times a week with a mixture of water, glycerine and/or Aloe Vera juice and seal it with a little coconut, or grape seed oil.
I put my hair in chunky twists or braids for the night and cover it with a satin scarf or bonnet.
I intend to incorporate henna treatments once a month for deep conditioning purposes beginning this month.
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Any future plans/dreams for your hair? 
I don’t have any grandiose dreams for my hair beyond having it be as healthy as possible. I may colour it some day when I feel the need to reinvent myself. Right now I’m satisfied with using extensions for box braids and twists (not micro ones!) whenever I feel the need to switch it up.
To those considering going natural, I would say do it when you are ready to accept the texture of hair you were born with and put in the time necessary to learn the techniques and products that make it the best it can be. Concentrate on the health of your hair and length and manageability will be your rewards. Start from scratch if you can with a big chop as caring for two hair textures through a long transitioning period can be very stressful and could lead to you throwing in the towel. Make lots of natural hair friends for support and advise ( join Zedhair!). Finally keep calm, it’s just hair.
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