Where are you from/What is your background?
I’m Kenyan. A kikuyu from Muranga.
When did you return to your natural hair roots?
I’d finally made it into my dream university! Studying in Melbourne Australia. I was all packed and ready to go! Clothes? Check. Tea bags? Check. Plan for my hair? I’ll just put it in braids and figure it out when I get there! I arrived, and got crazy busy trying to figure out life. One month in, the braids were a little messy, but whatever. Two months in, I started hiding the roots with head bands and turbans. Three months in, I ‘attempted’ to re do the front. By my 4th month, I was desperate for a solution. Being the only African in my class meant I didn’t know who to ask. In the 4 months I’d lived in Melbourne I’d seen a grand total of 6 black people. 3 (drunk) Sudanese men on a train, and 3 business men in the streets (At different times). I wasn’t about to jump a guy in the street to say ” Hey.. I’m African too.. Where does your wife do her hair?.. ? . . .
I was kinda stuck for a solution. The hours it would take to undo the hair myself were more than I could spare.
One day, I walked out of school a different way than I usually did, and saw photos of people with braids in the window. I was SO happy to see it, I went in and asked ‘Hi! Do you do braids?’ She said ‘Hello, Kindly have a seat’ So I sit down. She brings over this big black book, sits next to me, opens it, flips through and asks ‘would you like braids or cornrows?’ I say ‘braids please’ She says ‘ we charge 250 dollars, for a quarter head, and one thousand dollars for a full head.’
In that moment, my natural hair journey began. I marched out of there thinking, ‘No way!’ Straight home to Dr Google to type in ‘natural hair’. A whole world unfolded in front of me. It was like Alice, falling into wonderland. Photos, so many photos of gorgeous Afro hair. Waist length Afro hair. My type of hair could grow that long? Why didn’t anybody tell me? Surely, these ladies were mixed. And they do their hair themselves? From home?
I couldn’t do that! Could I? I stayed up all night searching for answers. I guess the short answer is, I made the decision some time in 2012. But it took some time to research and I count my hair birthday (big chop) as January 2013.
What is your current regimen?
I wash my hair every 7 days. I use the CaptivatingNaturals Bon Terre Peppermint Hair Wash. Once a month I do a pre shampoo hot oil treatment with the CaptivatingNaturals Rejuvenating Moisture Mix. Once a month I do a protein treatment using either Eden Bodyworks, Shea Moisture, or Vitale protein treatment. After I wash, I seal in the moisture using the CaptivatingNaturals LOC method. I do an oil rinse with the CaptivatingNaturals THE Sealant, then seal that in with the CaptivatingNaturals Mango Shea Butter. I trim my hair every 4 months. And get it professionally cut once a year. I spend 70% on the time in protective styles.
Where do you get your products from?
I’m the founder of CaptivatingNaturals. We help East African women become confident in their natural hair through training and organic products. Our product range focuses on organic cold pressed oils sourced within the borders of Africa. Handmade with love.
What is the one product you cannot live without?
If I was on a deserted Island, I’d have to have The Bon Terre Peppermint Hair Wash. But I’d be really happy if I discovered the Mango Shea Butter floating in the wreckage
What difficulties have you faced being natural?
The natural hair journey is really a journey! It’s a journey to acquire the skills to ‘look decent’ And it’s a journey to re form your mental picture of what it means to ‘look decent’. Just when you’ve conquered a challenge, another bigger one appears. You learn that you were just on level one. The challenges make your world expand.
What is the best thing about being natural?
Going natural or deciding to care for my natural hair myself has been a decision that really impacted my life. When I reflect, that decision has blessed me in a huge number of ways. Learning to be patient with my hair has taught me that most of the time, I’m really impatient. Learning to invest my time in caring for my own beauty has been interesting. At first, I honestly couldn’t justify the long wash days, and didn’t see the value in investing that time in myself. Over the years, I’ve come to look forward to my wash day, its the highlight of my week! At first I couldn’t stand the knots and tangles, I had to learn how to style my hair to reduce the knots and tangles, and how to love my hair for what it is. During my journey, I’ve been able to dream of growing my own hair to waist length. That’s a dream my childhood self didn’t know she could have. That was a standard of beauty I didn’t know I could achieve. Learning that its possible, then putting in the consistent effort to achieve it has changed how I go about life. Setting a 5 year goal and working on it week by week and seeing progress has given me confidence.
The best thing about going natural has been the confidence I’ve gained.
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