Posts in Natural Hair

SA’s biggest Natural Hair Fest #CTNHF17

What a turnout!

The queue to enter the Cape Town Natural Hair Festival lined from the door, right into the parking lot.

More than a thousand people attended, making it the biggest natural hair fest hosted in South Africa.

Mothers and daughters, couples, friends, brands and media jam-packed the venue in Parden Eiland as the gusty wind blew us inside.

The atmosphere was incredible.

“What a time to be alive,” I said to a vendor who was selling natural hair colouring books for kids by the Light House Kids Books. Someone’s daughter is going to grow up loving her afro, I thought. And just as I turned around, a little girl was proudly standing with her hands on her hips and head tilted to the side, posing for a photo.

The event had everything you’d expect a festival to be and more. From local and international hair care vendors selling discounted products to clothing with inspirational quotes, jewellery,  live entertainment,  styling demonstrations, food, and drinks – the festival catered for a full day of fun for families in Cape Town.

Here are some pics of the 2017 Cape Town Natural Hair Fest:

If you’d like to see more pics, search the hashtag #CTNHF17 on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

View full size images above by pausing the slideshow and right-clicking to open the image in a new tab.

Please credit me (Robyn Ruth Thomas) for any pics reposted 🙂

Guy VS Girl natural hair tag with Malik Einero

Highly Requested!

Thank you so much to all of you who requested to see this video via my Instagram poll.

When I’d first met, model, Malik Einero, I’d had so many questions about how he maintains his hair and vice versa. I thought that it would be cool for us to share a bit of that conversation and most of you agreed.

Click on the play button below to watch the video:

We answered some of our most frequently asked questions and this video was originally inspired by the Youtuber, Shanel Inspired.

These questions include the worst and best products we’ve used, our go-to hairstyles, hair goals, routines, and some throwback pics of our earliest hair-journey memories.

It’s so refreshing to see a guy who’s embracing a natural hair journey too, as well as to see the differences and similarities that guys face with their hair.

Let me know if you enjoyed this video by posting a comment below and if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them directly at

Rob x

Featured On CTInsider

Review: Buuya Hair and Body Butter

Woah, this product smells amazing.

It actually began melting between my fingers before spreading it all over my arms this evening. We’ve had a good couple of hot days in Cape Town this October, so the heat from my fingertips easily liquified the ingredients.

Have you used Buuya before? Let me know in the comment section below. 

I’m a sucker for beautifully fragranced products. This reminds me of those expensive scented candles that people keep in their bathrooms but never use. It’s likely the rich vanilla essential oil and shea butter that you’ll get a whiff of first.

Shea butter is my go-to for full-body hydration from hair to face and body, so I was eager to try Buuya’s blend of African and tropical butters.

Texture and packaging:

buuya beauty be whole

The butter comes in a 125 ml resealable hard plastic container. The packaging is quite earthy and neutral-looking which would suit the bathroom setting at a luxury nature reserve.

The ingredients are said to be whipped into its rich, buttery texture, which explains why it melted so easily onto my skin as I applied it.

Experience as a styling cream: 

First of all: don’t use a lot. I’d read the direction on the container before using the product and was expecting a much creamier texture to style my hair. I’ve tried twisting my hair using unrefined shea butter before and my hair literally frizzed within an hour of untying the twists. I really had no expectations for this butter.

My hair was freshly washed – damp – and had absolutely no other products on it before applying the butter. And with only one product applied after twisting, my hair dried quite quickly and was 90% dry when I woke up the next morning.

Tip: Your twists should be completely dry before untying them otherwise your hair will frizz. Click here to watch my twist out video tutorial. 


Once I untied my hair, I did have a bit of frizz but I was really impressed with how shiny and defined my twists looked, especially since achieving a defined style with a butter is extremely difficult with my hair type (3c/ 4a). The twist out lasted me three days with the help of my sleep cap.


I used about a R5 coin size amount on each half of my hair, which is a lot for a butter but a little for a styling product (on my hair).

At the touch of my hair, I could still feel an oily residue on my hands by day 3. This was of course because I’d used too much product, but also because one of the ingredients, likely the coconut oil, wasn’t being absorbed by my hair follicles. I’d recommend using an almond size amount on each half of your hair if you have type 3 or 4 hair, and much less for type 2 hair.

Experience as a body product:

buuya beauty bewhole

I definitely wouldn’t need to wear any perfume when using this butter on my skin. `Since it blends some of my favourite natural ingredients to use on my body, I liberally applied it from my hands to my feet. It’s rich but doesn’t feel heavy on my skin and a little goes a long way.

I’d recommend using this as a body butter in the evening, after a shower, since the use of oils as a daytime moisturiser can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

What’s in it:

Unrefined shea butter, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, olive fruit oil, Mongongo seed oil, Mafura seed butter, vanilla essential oil blend, and pure vitamin E oil.

Price Range: 

With the caliber of ingredients in this butter, I’d say that it’s a massive bargain for R125. A tub of each ingredient on its own would cost much more.

Buuya offers a variety of other hair and body products, which you can find on their website via this link.

buuya beauty, be whole, natural hair

Save on natural haircare products at Clicks

Hey hun!

Clicks is running a massive promotion on beauty products until 11 October 2017. If you buy three beauty products in the same range, you get the cheapest one free.


All the haircare brands that were at #ClicksCurls is on sale.

(Fetch me a basket).

You can even buy the products online and just collect them in-store when you have a minute.

(Girl, are you serious?)

Let’s just say that it’s been a beautiful morning. The doorbell rang with a heavy press drop and it brightened my day.

Here’s what I received:

clicks beauty fair be whole

A box filled with haircare products that I’ve never reviewed. And all of them smell really good. Plus: SALE. A four-letter word that lights up my eyes.

There, in the box, among the haircare products, I find a Clicks Beauty Mag, listing all the products that are on sale at the moment. Brands like Tresemme Botanique, Shea Moisture, Auntie Jackie’s, Dark and Lovely, Cantu, Twisted Sista, Design Essentials, My Natural Hair, Hask – and so many more are available for less that you’d normally pay –  at the beauty fair.

I love a good sale. And I was even more impressed that I could skip the queue to buy my favourites online and collect them when I have time – without missing the discount.

There’s more:

It’s not just haircare products that are on sale.

(Wow, she cares about other things too.)

Skincare, make-up, body products – even the Sorbet facial cleansing brush that I’ve been raving about since I bought it last year, is on sale right now.

If you’re a Clubcard member, you get 10% extra off colour cosmetics like those Revlon ColourStay lipsticks that’s perfectly matte but doesn’t feel dry at all.

Here’s the online catalog: 3 for 2

You can also stand a chance to win a Spring beauty box worth R 5000. Simply head to Instagram and search the hashtag: #Clicksbeautyfair for more details on how to enter.


PICS: Clicks Curls Cape Town 2017!


Before you go any further; can I just say how beautiful it is that the natural hair community is growing so rapidly and that products which could only be imported in the past, are now so easily accessible?!

Three years ago, I would have had to trek to the lowest level of the Golden Acre to buy a tub of Auntie Jackie’s Curl La La. Now, I step into one aisle and I’m spoiled for choose on what to treat my hair with .

Thank you, Clicks.

I arrived at Spier Wine Farm just after 9 AM, beating the rush of women lining up at the entrance of the venue by 10.

I wear a sleeveless burnt orange playsuit and leather ankle boots – the weather is always warmer in Stellenbosch, so I don’t mind the slight draft against my shoulders, on my way to the estate.

When I step out of the car, I give my partially wet hair a shake and thank the heavens that the sun is at its zenith.

Siv Ngesi and Amanda Du-pont lead us into the day’s events and it’s a line-up of giveaways, laughter, demos, and product education by the biggest brands in the natural hair industry.

My friend Danni and I spend the first two hours of the day greeting ladies we’ve connected with on our hair journeys.

Nearly everyone pulls through. This one flew in from here; that one came all the way from there; naturals from Cape Town have been looking forward to this day for weeks. And it’s finally here.

900 of us show up.

A vendor tells me that the attendance target was 500 people. There’s something going on in every corner of the venue and none of us are ever bored, unimpressed or ready to leave.

The estate is scenic and the patios peaceful, even with the buzz of ladies queuing to collect products at all of the kiosks. The conference room where brands had set up reminds me of a farmer’s market with all the greenery, natural lighting, and fruity scents hanging in the air.

Here’s a snap of the programme for the day:

And here are some pics of the naturals who attended Clicks Curls:

Clicks curls robynruththomas
Danni Bowler and Genovese Julies
Clicks curls robynruththomas
From left, Sammy Perkins, Diamond Stafford and Michelle Perkins

Unfortunately some attendees walked away empty handed since the event was packed and products were handed-out on a first-come-first-served basis. But other than that, this was hands-down the most entertaining and informative natural hair event of its scale in Cape Town.

Clicks managed to educate, entertain, help us connect with people who share similar interests, and gift us with products from our favourite brands.

Clicks curls
Liesl Singer and I
Clicks curls robynruththomas
Ayanda Dlamini and Darian Roman
Clicks curls robynruththomas
Catherine Williams
Clicks curls
Donna-lee De kock and I


I know that many of you struggled to get tickets – they were sold out twice and some who attended didn’t get the products that they’d hoped they would. So here’s your chance to grab the goodies you may have missed out on.

Stand a chance to win a R 500 Clicks Gift Card to spend on any
merchandise in-store!

Simply follow the instructions below to enter:

1.Subscribe to my blog using the sign up form below.

2. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @robynruththomas

3. Comment what you would buy with R 500 to spend at Clicks in the comment section at the end of this post.

Competition ends on the 2nd of October 2017. 

Terms and conditions:

This competition is valid for South African entrants only.

One winner will be announced on Instagram and contacted via email.

This R 500 voucher can be used to buy any Clicks merchandise excluding airtime and cellphones.

This voucher can be used at any Clicks store, nationwide and must be redeemed by December 2017.

Good luck loves! Share this post with someone who’d like to win this prize.

02 October 2017 Update:



3 great hair gels for natural hair available in South Africa

I’m one of those women who doesn’t really like shopping.

I would never go to a store to browse through items if I wasn’t looking for something specific.

I usually walk into a store to collect and pay. Most items would already have been researched, compared on PriceCheck, and tracked for stock in-store via telephone by the time I enter the aisle. It seems dramatic, but it helps me save A LOT  of time and money.

I only REALLY browse through beauty product aisles. LUSH. Oh, my hat. I will never pass a Lush store without walking in to smell the bath bombs and hair products.

They’re amazing.

BUT at Clicks, the amount of heavenly scented hair products placed in one aisle always has me losing track of time. I scan the labels to see if the ingredients are just right; I’ll lift lids – no touching I promise – just stealing a whiff, and usually picking up the products with packaging that looks beautiful – like a lot of thought went into making it.

How do you choose products? I’d love to know. Comment at the end of this page.

One time, I stood in a beauty aisle for so long (with one product in each hand), that a security guard came to ask me if I needed help. “Just having a look, thanks,” I awkwardly replied, putting down the products to avoid looking dodgy.

By this time, I had already read the labels of products on the top shelves and was now squatting to reach the products closest to the ground.

Needless to say the hair gels below have been scanned and compared with a critical eye. There are a few that I’m eager to try and review, especially the retail store aloe vera and flaxseed gels. Let me know if you have any favourites. I’ve also had some seriously bad experiences with gel. Gosh.

Once, I had a photoshoot and I decided to try a new gel the night before to set my wash-and-go. Big mistake. My wash-and-go looked amazing and this was a gel known for not getting crunchy so I was ever confident that the hairstylist would be able to style my hair easily. As soon as the gel had dried and the stylist touched my hair, it began to flake. I was so embarrassed. She was blowing at my scalp, wiping flakes off my shoulders and you know when you over-explain so that you can convince people that you’re telling the truth? I was doing that.

Why use gel for natural hair?

It’s taboo. I know. Naturals with type two to three hair could splash water on their hair and their curls will pop. Mine does that too. But because I have a combination of type three and four hair, my hair tends to shrink quickly and frizz as it dries. I usually rock my frizzed afro but when I’m in the mood for a super defined wash-and-go, gel is really the only product that will hold my hair types.

Here are the three hair gels at the top of my list for when I’m too lazy to cook up a batch of oh-so-good-for-your-hair, homemade flaxseed gel.

Each gel is free from drying alcohols.

Revlon Flex Maxi Styling Gel Extreme Hold 150 ml – R 4295

Flex Maxi Styling Gel Extreme Hold 150ml

This is one of the first gels that I used while I was transitioning and doing Bantu knots to disguise my limp chemically treated ends. I needed a Hercules hold and this did the job.

It does have a major crunch and by that I mean, your hair will be hard but If you love low maintenance life, a week could go by and your curls will still be defined with this gel. The only disappointment is the baby packaging  – a lot of hair needs a lot of product so hopefully, Revlon will up-size them.

Dis-Chem Hair Styling Gel Firm Hold 1ltr – R 3895


Products at Dis-chem are just generally more affordable than other retail stores so this 1-litre pot is no surprise. I’m honestly skeptical of cheap products sometimes because I ask myself, why are the ingredients so cheap?

But get this; Dis-chem pharmacy cleverly clones more expensive products and creates generic products that include the same quality ingredients but didn’t require as much effort since the original product creator did most of the work. That’s why generic products are cheaper. When you buy expensive pharmaceutical products that have identical generic products available, you are literally just paying more for the name of the product. Compare labels, hun.

 I’m still trying to find out whether this product is generic but it works really well. It has great hold and no white flaking – hallelujah, but you have to use quite a bit of product as well.

This should have been called edge glue because, honey, it performs. I recently braided by hair and wanted to complete the look with perfectly laid edges.  I was really impressed.

My initial thoughts that edge tamer was a waste of money if you could use gel, have just been squashed.

It’s really only meant for your baby hairs though. The hold of this gel is so intense that it would actually stiffen up the rest of your hair if you used it. I did finger test and it’s like having prestik on your fingers if you tap them together.

It’s rather pricey for a hair gel but it will last a really long time considering the hold and tiny amount of hair that you need to cover.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these before and/or if you have an interesting hair gel story to tell. I’d love to chat to you.

Feature photo: source


This transitioning hair story will make you want to big chop immediately

Actress, model, photographer, and occasionally a DJ, Roxanne Kalie is the kind of woman who can have you willfully inspired by her ambition, and bursting into laughter at the same time.

She has a knack for telling every story in a way that evokes emotion. So naturally, when I learned of her first public transitioning hair experience, I couldn’t resist having her share it here, with you.

Here’s what she had explained happened:


My mom began relaxing my hair when I was about 9-years-old. It was to ‘tame the bush’ and make working with my hair more manageable for her.

I thought that my hair was ugly because it wasn’t straight. From the word go, the long, straight blow-out was more acceptable and at school I felt the pressure to fit in.

At 15, I represented Cape Town in an International World Youth Festival that took place in Europe.  On the 5th day there, my blow-out had puffed up and no longer looked ‘presentable’. I did a ‘wash-and-go’ style and let my hair air-dry (because diffusers didn’t exist at that time) and as the days went on, my afro naturally grew in size, making it impossible to miss.

People stopped me in the street to touch it, compliment me, and even to take pictures! I felt so confident, even my walk began to change. I felt beautiful and that’s when I made the decision to return to ‘natural’. Upon my to return to South Africa and back to school, it became a problem. Teachers saw it as me ‘trying to make a statement’.  They thought had I’d done something unnatural to get my hair like that! They even called me a clown on some days.

I was told that as a result of me not abiding by the school rules, I was giving my peers permission to do the same and on a few occasions I was even made to sit on the floor as punishment.

I then changed schools at the end of Grade 11 and ended up at a private school in Cape Town’s CBD, where I was respected and treated as an individual. My hair was not up for debate and I wasn’t going to revert back to chemical treatments and hours under a hooded dryer to make my teachers feel comfortable.

Wearing my hair in its natural state was a choice that no one could take away from me. I still experience some challenges around my hair in my field of work. But it boils down to the ignorance of hair and/or makeup artists who chose not to educate themselves on the correct styling and maintenance of ALL hair types.

Hec-tic. Find Roxanne on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as @Roxcizzle, to see more photos of her natural hair, inspiration, and behind the scenes shots of her life as an actress.

Roxanne Kalie  (photo/ Caylin Wilsnach)

Her go-to hair products:

  • Currently using L’Oreal Paris Elvive Curl Nourishment – Love the texture and smell of the products, the no foam shampoo is a crème that gently dissolves impurities without stripping the hair’s natural oils.
  • Aloe Vera – (raw plant or store bought) It repairs skin cells on the scalp, leaves my hair shiny and smooth and promotes hair growth.
  • Luster’s S-Curl Texturizer gel  – I get this in the States (hopefully there’s a good one locally) the only gel that lays my edges beautifully and any unruly hair if I’m doing a pineapple or sleek look. This gel holds everything in place – with NO white residue, NO hardness and as soon as I’m done with a particular look, I brush it out and I’m able to re-style! 

    If you enjoyed this post, was inspired by it, and can even relate, let me know in the comment section below 🙂


3 hair journey tips from a natural hair stylist

I chatted to singer, actress, blogger and natural hair stylist, Genovese Julies of Genna doing things, to fill you in on what most newbies to the journey struggle with.

By caring for her own, as well as other women’s natural hair, Genna’s list of things to note before your start your hair journey is pretty on-point.

She says that she started transitioning by accident towards the end of 2014. She was playing a diva in a musical who needed big hair and since she’d already planned to go natural, that was just the push she needed.

She would plait her hair into lots of braids on nights before her shows and take them out, hoping for a defined look.

Then she started researching other women’s hair journeys – learning the meaning of a pre-poo, co-wash etc… Concepts that was foreign to her at the time.

Here are some of her most important things to note:

1. Get to know your OWN hair

Many natural newbies think that once they decide to go natural that their hair will magically be goals. It took time, patience and a lot of trial and error to get my curls to what they currently look like.

Even after transitioning for 9 months, I decided that it was time for the big chop. I had magical loose curls, I was on cloud 9 thinking I had naturally 3A type curls. But the healthier it got, the tighter my curls had become.

2. Resist the pressure to straighten your hair

I avoided heat for a few months after the show and my curls slowly started to bounce back but my family and friends were shaken.

I had my 21st coming up and everyone pressured me to blow dry my hair. I eventually blow dried it but only because my curls weren’t ready to debut on such important pictures yet.

I straightened my hair again for my graduation and then decided that that was it, “I’m done with heat!”

People seemed insulted by me wearing my natural hair but I was done – so done. This journey became so much more than hair, and I vowed that even if I stood alone, I would embrace who I truly am.

3. Don’t focus too much on growth

Your hair isn’t magically going to look like all the pictures you see on Instagram. Get to know your curl type and take a hair porosity test so you know what you need from products. Your natural hair will grow in size before length because it’s filling out and thickening. Just be patient.

natural hair stylist - genna doing things - be whole

Genna’s favourite products:

  1. Rose water – it’s a great moisturiser! I use it in my spritz bottle instead of water. It doubles up as a toner and is also affordable.
  2. Natural World Argan Oil of Morroco – I renamed this stuff hair crack because I’m addicted! It’s an amazing co-wash; it’s super moisturising, and (on a cheat day) it makes an amazing leave-in curl defining product.
  3. Curl Chemistry Curl Activating Cream – it’s affordable, enhances and holds my curls, has all the right ingredients, and is made in Cape Town!

And guess what – her name means wild wave! Let me know if you enjoyed this post by leaving me a comment in the section below.

Watch Genna’s hair tutorials on YouTube, or connect with her on Instagram and Facebook


WATCH: Before and after I straightened my natural hair

Aaargh! I did it.

I straightened my natural hair.

It feels more like I was getting a tattoo of a design that I wasn’t absolutely certain of.

If the hairstylist makes the wrong move, the entire hair journey goes to shit. It’s not even funny. You can’t recover from heat damage. The only way to treat heat damage is to cut it off.

This is what was looming in the back of my mind on the way to Style Studio in Canal Walk, where I got my hair flat-ironed for the first time in two years.

It’s a really long time for someone who’s lived by straightening her fronts before school e-ver-ry morning. My Vegas portable straightener was heated every morning before school and I had a ritual. I’d switch on the flat-iron, go and brush my teeth, make some tea, come back and the straightener would be hot enough for me to get started.

“You must suffer for beauty,” my aunt would say. And heaven knows that I did – having to sleep with rollers at night, getting some scabs from relaxer burns, and… oh the things we go through to fit in… I had to re-train my brain to think and remember that beauty isn’t one shape, size, or hair texture. And I’m so glad that I stood firm in maintaining my natural hair.

Straightened natural hair feels so different

The old office ladies weren’t joking when they said that your twenties go really quickly.

Time is flying.

I’ve been natural for more than two years already and in September (2017), I’ll be celebrating three years of change, three years of unconditioning my mind from one version of beauty, and celebrating the growth of my healthy mane.

At the end of my natural hair growth challenge in June 2017, I opted for an official straight length check to see how long my hair had grown.

My goal was to get to bra-strap length, which I’m happy to say that I achieved! Take a look at what the experience was like, and how Zaidah turned my hair from afro to sleek in over an hour, below:

What do you think of my straight hair look? I’d love to know your thoughts. Please leave me a comment below.

Let’s connect on social during the week: chat to me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

GIVEAWAY! Win one of two Tresemmé Botanique Hampers

Natural hair or not, Tresemmé has always been a favourite.

I was a big fan of the Tresemmé  Moisture Rich range before I went natural and continued to use it after my big chop. Since they’d launched the Botanique range – which includes a shampoo that has lowered sulphates and a conditioner that really seeps into your hair’s follicles – I haven’t been using any other shampoos or conditioners.

HAMPER INCLUDES: Tresemmé  Botanique Nourishing and Replenishing shampoo and conditioner, a trendy African print headscarf, and a pair of stylish wooden afro comb earrings.

How to enter:

Chatting to some curly girls recently made me realize how little our natural hair journeys had to go with switching up our hairstyles. Yes, the movement is trending right now, but I have learned so much about myself and so have you, If you’re a natural, I’m sure.

To enter simply comment on the giveaway post below, telling me what your natural hair journey has taught you. Use the hashtag, #longlivenaturalhair, and tag three friends.

E.g. My hair journey has taught me that there isn’t one definition of beauty.@definitelydonnalee @carissacupido@roxcizzle #longlivenaturalhair

Click on this photo to enter 

A post shared by Alchemist (@robynruththomas) on


  • Make sure  that you follow me –@robynruththomas and @tresemmesa on Instagram.
  • Two winners will be announced on 19.06.2017 at 20:30pm CAT.
  • Valid for South African entrants only.

More about Tresemmé Botanique:

Watch my full review of the Botanique range, here. The highlights would have to be that the conditioner affords my hair enough slip to finger detangle after shampooing.

I usually cleanse my hair twice, first to lift any build-up, and secondly to make sure that I’ve removed all dirt before applying conditioner.

I noticed that this shampoo lathers really quickly and generously even though I used about an almond size amount of shampoo. I can tell that it’s going to last me a really long time since I don’t use a lot of shampoo. My hair also didn’t feel stringy after my second wash which would normally happen even if I was using a sulphate-free shampoo.

The conditioner wins – obviously. I go through a lot of conditioner because I finger detangle my hair instead of using a comb and WOW. I’m still on the first bottle because it’s a 750ml. This is after five washes, two of which were co-washes. The bottle is less than half-way. This is a miracle to me, and also a gold star for my budget. The shampoo and conditioner are available for R79.99 at all major retail stores.

Have you already tried this range? I’d love to know what you thought of it. Comment what you think of the range below or chat to me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
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