What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?
I was born and raised in Hamburg/ Germany to Ghanian parents (who met in Germany). Most, Ghanians in Germany would relax their hair or get their hair braided in order to manage the hair more easily, and so did I. There were zero role models, I mean negative 10, no one that had my texture neither curly nor kinky hair, and was wearing it and knew how to take care of it. I received my first relaxer at the age of 8, at a professional shop, or at home. It was annoying, at times even painful process. I didn't know any better but to get my hair relaxed every 2 months. At the age of 15 my friends and I did not enjoy wearing braids anymore, so that's when we depended on weaves. If my hair was not done, it would create a slight panic in me.
What made you decide to embrace your naturally coily hair?
Dyeing my hair was fun to me. It allowed me to change my look and see myself in a different light. The only issue was that I was relaxing my hair at the same time. After dyeing my hair at a cheaper shop than I had visited beforehand, I relaxed my hair and it fell out in big chunks. The hair didn't stop falling out in masses, and I had no choice but to cut my hair completely off. I fell into the natural hair movement. I had no idea that there was a natural hair movement.
What has been the most empowering moment of your natural hair journey so far?
Knowing that if I wanted to change my hair I could, but if I don't I still have my God-given hair. The choice, allowed me to be free, with something so simple such as hair. That contributed to me not being bound to anyone's time or schedule. Also, helping clients in my Aunt's hair shop, by answering their questions, helping them with a regimen, and suggesting products. Many people didn't want to believe me, that they could have healthy hair, even though they were enthusiastic about my hair. For so long I was in the dark, and sharing knowledge is light, knowledge is power! It is crossing continents, friends are helping each other, daughters are telling their mothers and grandmothers about it, and now parents are raising their daughters and sons immediately teaching them how to care for their waves, curls and coils. Knowledge is flowing upwards, downwards and sideways!
How do you protect your curls at night?
I use a silk bonnet, and or a satin pillowcase. Sometimes I can't find either one!
Who is your curl crush?
Naptural 85. When I first saw her on my TV screen, I literally screamed “she has my hair !”. I had never seen anyone with a similar hair texture to mine before. She is unbelievably relatable, down to earth and knowledgeable. Fusionofcultures on YouTube, aka neffryfrofro is a fellow intelligent, self-starting, driven Ghanian living in London who teaches her audience about hair. Also Curly Proverbz is incredible. She is funny, knowledgeable, and uses ayurvedic hair treatments. I love them and many more!
What's your curly girl essential you can't live without?
Water and leave-in are the best. I have naturally dry skin and hair, so I need my hydration.
What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you’d like to share?
I try to switch my shampoo at least once a month, so my hair doesn't get used to it and stops working. I use Olaplex Number 3 before I wash my hair . I tend to mix Olaplex 3, with Shikaikai, Amla and Reetha powder and add Olive oil to it distrubute it in my hair. Olaplex 4 and 5 are right now my favorite shampoo and conditioner to wash my hair. When I I deep condition my hair, I use Devacurl Melt Into Moisture and add a few drops of rosemary essential oil. My current leave-in are from Mane choice, or from Aphoghee Keratin, Green Tea Restructurizer, and my protein leave in every other week because I have high porosity hair. Sometimes I throw in a gel from Mielle Organics Honey Ginger Styling Gel. Every six weeks I try to do a protein treatment the Aphoghee 2 step Protein treatment.
What has been the most challenging moment of your natural hair journey so far?
During the first three years I didn't know how to take care of my natural hair at all. I would wash my hair see it curl up and when it was dry, it was not just feeling dry, but the curl had left my hair. How to keep the curl after the shower was the question of the day. I mean come on, I saw it curl up in the shower. I had a friend do my hair for me for a month or so, every week teaching me everything. I applied the knowledge and added my own touch. Also, transitioning was a mental physical experience. India Arie's Song “I am not my hair “really helped me to find balance. When I would feel uncomfortable with my hair , I had to strengthen my personality and shift the focus from hair to my spirit. You think everyone is looking at your bald head? Keep the eye contact, and focus on the conversation.
Are there any techniques or methods that have made a huge impact on your hair health?
I love incorporating ayurvedic methods such as, Shikaikai and Amla. When my hair was breaking off a lot, I boiled some green tea rinses, let it cool down and distributed all over my hair. After it soaked in for a while, I washed it out. I try to pay attention to the signs, there might be a product or ingredient that works for you for a while, it could start losing its effects on your hair or your hair might change. Deep conditioning with heat and adding rosemary essential oil and/ or tea tree oil has absolutely helped my hair grow. Game-changer! Water your hair like a plant while in the shower, I mean drown it. Once you out of the shower you have to see if your curl likes to be worked on damp or drenched hair. Protein treatments and trims are of the essence.
What's your advice to women who are still struggling with loving their natural texture?
You might as well figure it out. That's the same thing you do with your makeup and style, you figured out what suits you! Either you hate the hair on your head and are frustrated and worried about something you can not change or you have to force-alter. Accept the fact that this is who you are, and get the most advice possible on the topic. Do not give up! There is beauty in the struggle, everyone started somewhere. At some point you will get to know your hair better. Just like you learned how to grasp everything else in your life. Don't focus too much on it as if your life depends on it, because it does not. There will be good and bad days and your good days are coming. Do not focus on the timeline, rather make sure your keeping up with your regimen, the weeks will go by and you will notice a difference.