Thursday, March 31, 2011

On hair: Talking hair with a Natural: Africa's hair Journey Part 1!

Here we go, the story I promised you, Africa Brown's hair journey!
The reason why I picked Africa to be the first person I featured is because of her beautiful personality! She has been very supportive of the blog and my endeavors when we first met and it was important to me to honor her kindness. So I decided to pick her as my first Natural on my blog!
What I like  most about Africa is that she is very enthusiastic, she get things done, and like I said she has a beautiful personality!  She also has very beautiful and healthy hair as we will see!
I truly think that it takes more than pretty hair to make a woman a truly beautiful person! So even though I am sharing her hair story, I must tell you that it's the person that she is that caused me to be so curious about her hair journey and it's her personality that makes her story worth sharing and worth reading.

I warn you that this will be lengthy because I will not even edit what she shared with me! It's with her full consent and collaboration that I am sharing with you everything she shared with me !
So make yourself comfortable, join in our Girls'Talk about hair and stick around to leave your comments and if you are not a Follower yet please join us and become one today!

First of all let's see who is Africa Brown, in her own words:

"Hi, my name is Africa and I am here to share my  journey with you. I am in my early 30's and enjoy working out (kickboxing, aerobics), going abroad to far away places and spending time with my family (8 nieces and nephews). I am a big natural hair lover, who embraced her kinks just under 4 years ago. I work full time as a manager, in an independent living unit for adults who have learning disabilities,  I really enjoy what I do. I love to relax by going to the local spa and sauna and by going for walks in the park"

This is my girl, in her favorite outfit! Pretty girl doesn't play! Look at that diva stare!!! She said she does kickboxing so watch out now! This is a fierce girl right there! ( I am just messing with her)

Now that I made this little introduction, here are all the questions I drilled her with! Again I am not even going to edit anything, I will give it to you raw ( & N'natural ha ha ha), so here's my real, N'natural, conversation with Africa...Oh before I get into it, since I asked her a lot of questions I classified them as general questions, hair maintenance questions and social & personal questions! I actually asked them in the order they are presented below, what you will see in purple are her answers!

How long have you been natural?

 I have been natural for 4 years
What made you decide to become natural?
 My regular hairdresser moved away, I was getting burns and my temples were thinning out.
What was your biggest motivation to be and stay natural?
 The first time I wore my hair out I felt beautiful. I got a very positive response from my family, all of who are relaxed. (apart from an aunt and my sister) I want to show black people that natural hair is beautiful and can grow. I feel blessed that I am able to be a part of this.
(Ok, let me throw my 2 cents in here while we are on the subject, I share below, way below. a picture of the first time she wore her hair out and ooh I must tell you, the picture is hot! I mean something about the wonder she felt beautiful that day, you can tell she FELT beautiful, you got to feel good in your skin to be truly attractive to others don't you think?! Alright let's go on, sorry for the little interruption but I just had to say that, you know...)
How did you go about being natural? Did you transition for a while or did you cut your hair short  as soon as you made up your mind to be natural? How was your journey?
The last relaxer I got was a disaster so I put my hair in to braids for a while. I went to get a steam treatment and just decided there and then to big chop. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders!
What was the biggest challenge for you in being natural?
 My biggest challenge was finding the right products for my hair and being able to find the right styles to suit my face
Some say that it takes much patience because it’s sometimes frustrating to transition. Is that true?
 My transition wasn't intentional so you could say it was easy as I didn't even know I was doing it. I do agree that transitioning can be frustrating but I believe this is sometimes due to impatience and lack of  knowledge. It took me 3 years to discover exactly what my hair needed. There was a lot of cost and trial and ever involved.
I was very curious about the way she maintains her hair and her beauty tips so since she was willing I kept going...
What’s your typical hair care regimen? Daily, weekly or bi-weekly, monthly… I maintain my hair on a weekly basis. I henna my hair monthly.

I moisturize my hair then seal with an oil. This is very important. I only cut my hair if I need to. (usually 3 times a year or less)
I wash and condition my hair once a week. I like to deep condition my hair each time I wash it but if I am busy I will just co-wash. (conditioner only wash)
I apply coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil for 30 mins (pre-poo) !  ( I love coconut oil and use it daily in my diet as well as in my beauty regimen, you will actually find 2 posts under the label coconut oil that show ways I use it! One of the post has a cool video of a face mask you might like to try on your face and guys you can try this too
 I wash with Aubrey Organics shampoo
I apply my fresh deep conditioning mixture, which consists of 3 very ripe avocado's, coconut oil, evoo ( Extra Virgin Olive Oil) , almond oil ( I have a few on almond oil, it's a very good oil so check the blog to learn more interesting things about almond oil) , Shea butter and Castor oil.
I sit under the steamer for 20mins then rinse out. I do a final rinse with Tresemme Natural's conditioner

I apply my Cecelia's Rosemary Creamy Hair butter; hairwegrownatural.moisture spritz and healthy hair butter; almond oil and Shea butter

I started asking her some additional questions but slowed my rolls here because this seems like a lot of work doesn't it?! So I asked her...
How long does it take to do your hair?

When I henna, it takes me a full day, which is about 15 hours as I leave the henna for 8 hours then do a deep treatment for another 7 hours. When styling, say twisting my hair, this takes me about 2 to 3 hours.  When I just have my hair back with a hair band it takes me 10/15 minutes from start to finish to moisture/seal my hair then pin it up. I plait in to large braids before I go to bed (5mins)

Hum I don't know how someone like me will care for a 15 hours treatment done by myself! I don't even like to shampoo my own hair, being treated at the salon is so much better to me but let's keep going here...
Do you braid your hair often?What’s the biggest advantage you see to braiding your hair?
I braid my hair after I have washed and conditioned it. I no longer blow dry, unless it is for a special occasion. Since I have stopped blow drying so often,  I have seen the condition of hair improve greatly and I have length retention. I braid in to 4 cornrows and wear braid outs!
Ok, can you show exactly what you use on your hair?

It's avocado in the blender!!!

Come on need squinting your eyes to check the label, here we go:

Now moving on to my next question to Africa.
What’s your favorite way to style your hair? 

What products worked best for you? What products have you tried that did not work for you?!
Cream based products have been perfect for my hair, as well as vegetable glycerine and aloe vera juice.
My hair has responded negatively to protein and water based gels. I spend on average 5pounds a month on my hair. I buy my Shea butter, hairwegrownatural products and Cecelia's Rosemary Hair Butter  in bulk (approx every 4 months). I buy my oils when they run out and fresh avocado's weekly so I 'd say my average monthly spend would be around 5pounds.
I buy all my products from black owned businesses. I have my own steamer and hood dryer so I save money by not having to go to the salon.

I show below  some of her favorite styles and that's how she styles her hair for work!

I personally like this one a lot, it's creative isn't it?!

Well, giving my 2 cents in here my favorite style of her hair is this one below...

 and I like.... yeah I am still adding my 2 cents in here....I like the picture  below too!  Remember when I mentioned earlier that I had a picture of the first time she wore her hair out and how she said she Felt so beautiful ...well... We were talking about the picture below! It was taken the first time she wore her hair out!...There's something about this picture, maybe it's the red in the background and her look that make the picture!  But one thing is clear, you can sense from the picture that she feels confident and beautiful! What do you think?   

Now, besides caring for your healthy hair what are ways you care naturally for your body? (I asked because I believe that healthy eating affects the health of our hair and nails).
 I have stopped eating fast food and have started eating more water based foods, such as watermelon and cucumber. I have also upped my fruit and veg intake.
Any beauty tips and techniques you would like to share? Listen to your hair. If it doesn't like something, stop using it and vice versa!
I noticed that some naturals like to accessorize their hair with flowers and that eye make-up is very  important to some! What are some of your favorite accessories and best beauty techniques?
 I love to accessorize with flowers and hair bands.

(N.B: 4/7/11 link to my new post with my  floral designed hair accessories

I do not wear a lot of make up apart from a little eye shadow and mascara.

Now, natural does not mean blah right! It's natural to accessorize, so I asked her to send me pictures of her favorite accessories ....

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps as far as keeping their hair healthy?
Finding the right products and low manipulation. Protective styling is also important. This is where you put your hair in to style for a minimum of a week, so that you don't have to comb it etc. The hair is then left alone and any length is retained.

 I have been transitioning for some months now and I was told that deep conditioning every two weeks was very important! Is there anything else besides deep conditioning that we should be doing?
Wash your hair weekly if not bi-weekly. Our hair needs moisture to grow and be healthy. Moisturising and sealing is the most important thing of all. Do not trim/cut your hair unless you have split ends. 
Watch Youtube videos and find those that have the same hair type/texture as yourself so you will have a better understanding of what your hair can do!
Well all those questions about hair maintenance are fine and all but that's not always what other people worry about! Some people's concern is not maintaining their hair but how it might affect other people's idea of them. So I had some social and personal questions for her,  but let's take a break and have you come back for part 2! What do you say?
 Make sure to come back for part 2 because she has some interesting things to share and some of her friends are sharing their natural looks as well! For now, please leave some comments, become a Follower if it's your first time here and LIKE Goodhealthdiva page on facebook!

Sooooo....What do you think? We talked about her hair regimen, what about yours? If you are a natural how long have you been natural and what products have worked best for you? What's the one thing you used on your hair that you will never use again? Why? Have you been caring for your hair as well as she has? Please share your tips!  Any guy around here? If you are a man reading this do you have a preference for natural girls? If your woman wanted to be natural would you support her?  



  1. Very Nice Post! I enjoy seeing what products/created products others use on their hair. I loved Africa's hair in the up-do & twist.

  2. Thanks Keianna! I love the styles you have on your blog they are amazing!

  3. Thanks Keianna! Thanks also to Goodhealthdiva for allowing me to get my hair story out there! x

  4. Love it!! Your style is really cute and also the accessories you use. You've got to tell me where you get the Africa earrings from!! Beautiful journey <3

  5. Loved this interview Africa!!! an amasing journey and packed with great info and products. <3

  6. Thanks for the comments guys! xx

  7. I know I'm late but this is perfect timing considering I just missed your story on Saturday.

  8. I really enjoyed this, as it is very informative on a personal level. Keep up the good work!!! Shalom

  9. @ Crystal Afro and Maureen thank you for your comments
    @ Maureen thank you for your encouragement I am glad you enjoyed this post!

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  11. Very Nice article. thanks for sharing very useful tips
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