GIVEAWAY! Win one of two Tresemmé Botanique Hampers

tresemme botanique, robyn ruth thomas,

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


NB:

  • 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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Hair Growth Challenge finale: Six months done and dusted!

natural hair growth, robyn ruth thomas

I can’t believe that it’s already been six months.

Three years ago, sitting in a kitchen, having lunch at my job, I decided that I was going to cut out everything that didn’t feel worthwhile in my life. One of them being the effort that I’d made to get my hair straight and looking appropriate.

“To hell with that,” I said to myself.

And here I am, now, writing to you about a natural hair growth challenge that I’ve just completed!

What an experience.

I’m nervous and excited about my final length check. I’ll be having my hair blow dried and flat ironed for the first time in years.

The gentle blow dry and flat iron will give me a more accurate idea of how long my hair has grown since I started my challenge in January 2017.

Where you can see my hair growth results:

I’ll be getting my hair done at Style Studio, one of the few hair salons who know how to care for natural hair in Cape Town.

I’ll be sharing the results in a vlog style video which you won’t miss if you subscribe to my blog.  If you aren’t subscribe yet, simply enter your email on the right-hand side  of this post so that my next blog will be delivered straight to your inbox.

I’ll also be posting photos on Instagram.  You can check out Iive instastories as I’ll be posting snippets of the results there first.

Has my hair grown at all?

In January 2017,  my hair was 45 cm (16 inches) long, and my hair growth goal was to reach bra strap length. I haven’t trimmed my hair in 6 months, which has been a bit tricky since trimming is highly recommended for avoiding single strand knots. However, I didn’t want to compromise my official length check and will be getting a trim at at Style Studio as well. The growth results will be shown in the video.

Looking back at where it all began:

I recently matched-up a photo taken before my transition (in 2012) with a newer photo shot in 2017,  and many people were stunned. They couldn’t believe how much has changed; even my posture was different. What do you think? Here’s that pic:

natural hair growth, robyn ruth thomas

I began my transition from chemically treated hair to my naturally puffy roots, just to see if I could cope with what my hair really looked like.

I’d never actually worn it in it’s natural state before transitioning, even when it was wet – it didn’t curl because of the Brazilian treatment that I had continually done.

This journey is phenomenal. The more I nurture and embrace my hair’s natural state, the more I feel that this journey is not only about hair. In changing my mind about my hair, I’ve changed my perception of myself and  improved my entire life in the process.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Please show some love by commenting below. Also chat to me during the week by connecting on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you. 

Rob x

4 struggles that every kinky curly girl can relate to

kinky curly hair be whole

When I chatted to big-time hair blogger, Carly-Robyn about her hair journey, it turned out that I’d experienced the same problems that she’d faced after her big chop.

If you’re a kinky curly girl also working through a natural hair journey, read some of the points she listed below and let me know if you can relate?

“In 2016, I was invited to a natural hair event, where hair bloggers like Own By Femme and Fro Girl Ginny from the UK, shared their natural hair journeys.

I’d been planning to get a Brazilian treatment but decided to wait until after the event.

When my sister and I walked into the venue, I was basically the only woman in the room with pin straight hair and that was rather uncomfortable.

As the ladies began to share their stories, I felt a connection. I had to make a change. They spoke with such boldness and confidence about themselves and that made me realize that I no longer have to hide behind the straight hair or go by what society wants me to be. I could finally be myself and embrace the real me.”

Post Big-chop:

“Being natural for just over a year now, I wouldn’t change a thing because my journey has been nothing but rewarding. Not only has my hair journey changed how I look on the outside but more of what I feel on the inside.”

Can you relate to these four kinky curly girl struggles?

kinky curly hair be whole
YouMeNaturally.blog

1.     So much frizz

To combat frizz, Carly usually uses low-manipulation hairstyles like flexi rods that are only untied once they’re absolutely dry. Flexi rods will give beautiful bouncy curls without any frizz if you make sure that your hair is completely dry before removing the rods.

2.     Going through tons of products

Hands up if you use A LOT of product. Our hair needs moisture and we’re always on the lookout for better, more hydrating products.

To avoid being a product junkie, Carly and I both rely on product reviews from other kinky curly girls to determine what will work best for our hair. It’s best to try products yourself because your hair is unique but learning about what your hair’s needs, will help you narrow down the products.

3.     Struggling to maintain that day-one hair

This is literally the worst feeling if you’ve washed and styled your hair but you’re not going anywhere! Your hair always looks a little less bomb the following day.

Using a sleep cap when your hair is short, or a head scarf to pineapple your hair if it’s long are great ways to maintain definition and protect your hair from cotton’s drying effects when you’re sleeping.

4.     Sticking to a full maintenance routine

Sometimes your sleep cap slips off during the night or work deadlines cause you to miss that full wash-day routine that gets your curls popping. The best way to make sure that you’re always looking after your hair is to jot down your reasons for going natural as well as your hair goals. This will motivate you to keep up the routine even when you’re too tired to put on that satin head scarf.

Johannesburg based blogger; Carly Robyn from You Me Naturally has been busting out natural hair videos since 2015. She’s a fashion and natural hair blogger who recently started her own You Tube Channel. Follow Carly on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube  to watch her natural hair tutorials and product tips.

 

5 tips to start a natural hair journey – Life as Leslin

leslin jones bewhole natural hair journey

When I met vlogger, Leslin Jones of Life as Leslin at a hair event in Cape Town, I  was naturally drawn to her flare for adventure.

She recently went skydiving and by the look of her photos, you can tell that the experience was exhilarating.

I’ve left a link for you to check out her skydiving experience at the the end of this post.

She says, “I love adventure and life! I love travel so much that I decided to travel the world for 10 years. Through my journey I’ve seen amazing places and met amazing people. I was also a dancer and that’s how I’d met Nelson Mandela.”

She stirs a whirl of inspiration for things that she’s truly passionate about, and natural hair is one of them.

She notes that her natural hair journey allowed her to discover the woman that she could be and to her mind, was supposed to be.

“I have never felt more beautiful and confident. Growing up, I’d look at other girls and wanted long, straight hair. I always wondered why my hair was so different – why I was so different.”

And then she started relaxing (chemically straightening) her hair. She said that she felt beautiful for a while until she’d have to fork out more money to relax her re-growth.

“When a colleague pointed out to me that my hair was falling out, I knew that I had to do something about my hair… It wasn’t healthy; it was breaking off, thinning, and not growing.

That’s when I decided that I’d had enough. Why was I doing this to my hair? For what? For who?” So she transitioned to her natural hair. It wasn’t a tough decision at all because she’d always been fascinated with curls. And now that she’s learned how to maintain her own hair, she’s determined to share her knowledge with or aspiring naturals. Take a look at her tips tips below:

Leslin Jones from Life as Leslin natural hair journey
Leslin Jones from Life as Leslin

Leslin’s Top 5 Tips for starting a natural hair journey:

1. Protect your hair

Get a satin bonnet, sleep cap, head wrap and/or satin pillow case. This will help to prevent breakage and tangling your hair.

2. Welcome more water

Invest in a water based moisturizer and eave-in conditioner (petroleum/mineral oil free). Water is the key ingredient to moisturized hair.

Start by applying a water-based moisturizer to wet hair. By the way, a good conditioner can do the job of a shampoo.

3. Know your oils

Your hair needs oil, just like your car. My favourites are,olive oil and coconut oil. These types of oils are great for dry hair, especially because it’s nourishing but doesn’t weigh the hair down.

4. Be patient with your process

The longer your curls get the more care they’ll need. Think washing, detangling, and then styling.

For your ideal look we’re talking patience and commitment. A lot of the time you only see the successful wash and go’s, braid outs and twist outs. What you don’t see is that in the beginning there will be more fails than successes, so patience is key.

Try not to manipulate your hair too much and stay away from heat. Have regular trims and keep your hair moisturized.

5. Develop a winning wash and go routine:

I co-wash (conditioner wash) once a week and use a sulphate free shampoo when needed. On shampoo days I use a scalp massager and then condition (using my wide tooth comb to detangle).

A wash day is never complete without a weekly deep conditioning treatment. My favourite treatment is Dr Miracles Deep Conditioner.

I always follow with a leave–in conditioner. My favourite is the Cantu Leave-in Conditioner. I then finish off the look by applying a curling cream and a light oil.

Did you find these tips useful? Drop us a comment in the section below to show Leslin some appreciation 🙂

Click here to watch Leslin’s skydiving experience and other natural hair, travel, and beauty endeavours from her blog, Life as Leslin. 

ByLungi’s 4C big chop story

Lungi was one of the first South African natural hair bloggers that I’d followed when I began my natural hair journey.

Like me, she’s a big DIYer. She enjoys creating blog and Youtube content; she loves getting dolled up, and making things from scratch.

She also recently gave birth to a baby girl.  I’ve included a link to her birth story at the end of this post if you’d like to watch it.

The journey to amazing 4c hair:

“I currently live in Durban,” she says. “Since discovering the world of healthy hair, I had always wanted to grow my natural hair but I didn’t know how to maintain it and ended up causing a lot of damage.

I also believed that 4c hair was hard to manage and that it was impossible to have soft natural hair. When I eventually went natural, I wanted to see the potential of my natural hair once it’s been cared for.”

4c hair by lungi be whole
Photo/ bylungi.com

She said that one of her biggest challenges was maintaining moisture in her hair. “No matter what I did, my hair always seemed dry.”

It took some time, but eventually with consistency, she was able to retain moisture. “Styling short natural hair was also a challenge for me, when I had a TWA [teeny weeny afro], I felt that I could only rock my hair in a few styles.

Products that work well for 4c hair

Lungi swears by the following products and the results are evident in her photos:

  • AfroBotanics Repairing and Strengthening Treatment: I use this as a protein treatment once a month. I love how it makes my hair feel strong without making it too hard.
  • Design Essentials Naturals Curl Stretching Cream: this is my go to for twist outs; it gives my hair definition, hold and moisture.
  • Garnier Ultimate Blends Conditioner Nourishing Repair: I love this product for detangling my hair, it does a great job.

    4c hair bylungi be whole
    Photo/ bylungi.com

Two things to know if you have 4c hair and you want to go natural:

  1. Be patient with your hair.

Natural hair needs a lot of moisture especially 4c hair.

  1. Develop a simple hair regimen

Your hair regimen does not have to be complicated and long.

To see how 4c hair can be styled, head over to www.bylungi.com or search for @bylungi on all social media platforms. You can also watch her birth story, here.

Natural hair chat: Amanda Cooke from Cape Town Curly

Proudly Capetonian, dedicated to her family, and committed to helping others return their hair to its natural state, Amanda Cooke co-hosts the fast-growing Cape Town Naturally Facebook group, blogs at capetowncurly.com, and helps to organize natural hair events within the Mother City.

Her journey began in 2012, while doing her final relaxer.

Applying the chemicals to her hair, she recalls asking herself: why are you doing this Mandy? “The next day I walked through Cape Town station with my freshly relaxed hair and every. single. woman of colour looked exactly like me. I needed to break free. To know the true pattern of my hair. To accept myself for who I really was. And return to my natural roots for myself, and for my daughter’s benefit. It’s sad to think that at that time, I was pushing 40 with no clue as to what my natural curl pattern was.”

She transitioned for a year and then big chopped  on 4 December 2013.

I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing.

She remembers following a few international vlogs and blogs, but couldn’t find anyone local with whom she could relate, so she started her own blog, recording her  return to natural hair.

What you must know before you go natural:

“It’s a lifestyle change so do your research before taking the plunge,” Amanda says. “Talk to other naturals who have been on the journey for a while. It’s always good to turn to a curlfriend in times of need. And listen to your hair – you may think this is crazy but trust me, your hair is constantly telling you what it needs.”

Amanda’s top 4 hair products:

  1. Water – Water is one of the top two things that actually moisturize your hair (the other being glycerine).
  2. Aloe juice – assists with hair growth, alleviates itchy scalp and is a natural conditioner.
  3. Avocado oil – penetrates the hair and locks in moisture. It makes detangling hair relatively easy because it softens your hair making those nasty knots a breeze to work through.
  4. The Mandy Mix  – a recipe I concocted based on an old South African hair growth remedy. It helps with hair growth and all round hair health. (Ooh, we’ll have to pop over to her blog to find out what’s in it.)

Learning about Amanda’s story and the experiences of so many other women who’ve begun to embrace their hair, it’s clear that chopping off those treated ends is so much more than getting a new hairstyle or even gaining confidence, it’s breaking away from societal views that have boxed and stunted personal growth.

To find out when the next natural hair event will be hosted in Cape Town, or simply to admire Amanda’s beautiful mane,  visit www.capetowncurly.com or @capetowncurly on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

VIDEO: Super defined curls – my wash and go routine

define curls - bewhole

Before sharing the method I use to define my curls, I want to stress the importance of understanding that each of our hair types are different.

Some of us don’t have curly hair. The goal of a natural hair journey should be to embrace your hair in its natural state – not obsess about getting your hair to form a certain type of curl.

With that said, if you’ve recently begun your natural hair journey or find that your hair has curls when it’s wet but is frizzy once it’s dry, this video will be quite helpful.

There are many ways to enjoy wearing your natural hair and a wash-and-go is one of the most popular styling methods. I’ve put together a quick tutorial to help you achieve super defined curls:

For this style, I used my old-faithful, DIY flaxseed hair gel for curl definition and hold, but made sure that my hair was clean and hydrated before applying any products.

I start off on freshly washed hair. I allow my hair to partially air dry to retain length because if I apply product to wet hair, my hair takes forever to dry and shrinks quite a lot.

My hair has grown quite quickly by simply applying the methods that I’d mentioned in my hair growth challenge post. I’m excited to see how long my hair will grow within the next three months (when the challenge ends in June.

Step 1

Once my hair is 70% dry, I apply a leave-in moisturiser. For this tutorial I decide to use the My Natural Hair leave-in moisturiser. I quite liked the results of my twist-out after using this product so I was eager to see whether my wash-and-go would be super defined as well. It was.

Step 2

After applying a leave-in moisturiser, I usually apply an oil to seal in the moisture. This time I’ve used the My Natural Hair strengthening oil instead of my go-to (olive oil) since the strengthening oil contains a mixture of several nutrient-rich oils such as grape seed oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and avocado oil.

I apply each product starting at the ends and then working the product through my hair from the root. The ends of my hair are the oldest which means that it needs the most moisture and care.

Step 3

Finally, I apply my DIY flaxseed hair gel liberally to eight sections of hair. I apply the product to my ends, work the product through my hair from the roots and ensure that my strands are fully coated by clasping my hands through my hair from roots to ends.

Once I’m satisfied with the results of applying my gel, I allow my hair to air dry or use a hairdryer on cool or medium heat to make sure that I’m not leaving home with wet hair.

If you liked this video, share the link with someone you know would enjoy watching a natural hair video. And let’s keep in touch on social media. Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you.

Local hair products for naturals in South Africa

Sitting in my lounge with a cup of green tea and my feet up – I’m transported back to the swanky beachfront restaurant in Clifton, where I’d met Catherine Williams.

I remember her as strikingly beautiful and composed; waving hand gestures as she let us (bloggers) in on the hair products that she’s been developing.

“My Natural Hair is the first retail range of its kind in South Africa,” she says… “As a connoisseur of every available product range for Afro, ethnic or curly hair; I couldn’t understand how there were no local ranges for African women to choose from.”

catherine williams, be whole, natural hair products
Catherine Williams introducing the products at her event in Clifton. Photo/ My Natural Hair

More women across the globe are embracing their natural hair and it’s become a movement of selfhood, rather than a fashion trend.

The prices of hair products have increased dramatically and even with a low maintenance routine like mine, finding the right products at an affordable price can be a mission.

Naturals look forward to high-quality hair care that’s not expensive. Many of us tend to go this route because our hair requires a lot of product in one usage. I have thick, dry hair. I finish a 750 ml bottle of conditioner in four uses. What we all need is for a brand to create performing products that don’t break the bank.

Catherine stands firm that My Natural Hair  does just that.

I chatted to her ahead of the product event to find out more about what led to the creation of range.

Here’s what she said, below:

I started transitioning in 2008. I was curious and had also started working-out a year or two before. [Frequently] flat ironing and blow drying my roots straight was becoming a nightmare.

In 2009, I started working as a flight attendant. This made transitioning easy as I wore my hair in protective buns all the time.

I noticed how healthy and thick my hair had become but I hardly wore it curly. My hair was also longer than it had ever been was before.

It was only when I returned to South Africa from Qatar in 2012, that I really became involved and knowledgeable about the natural hair movement. And I fell in love with my curls.

There are too many ranges on our shelves that claim to be natural or good for your hair but actually only offer short term results.

I worked with chemical formulators to get the right formulation that I wanted. I briefed them and then we sat and worked out the details. It had to be free from certain key chemicals and full of goodness. But also within a certain cost range to ensure affordability.

I work with local manufacturers that have good manufacturing processes. It’s a long process but the moment you see that final product, is for me, the prize.

Knowing that what you’ve brought to the market has integrity, a high standard of quality, and is offered at an affordable price range, makes it so worthwhile because it’s not only accessible to a small portion of Africans as many of the international brands tend to be. The integrity of this range is very important to me.

Which hair products to look out for:

Instagram/ @_mynatural_hair

Currently, the base range: the Nourishing Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner, Strengthening Oil and Moisturizing Butter are geared at type 3 and 4 hair.

Anyone with type 1 – 4 hair can use the shampoo and conditioner. Many women who do Brazilian blowouts on their type 1 hair use our shampoo because it’s sulphate free. But because of the oils, type 1 hair will find that the butter, oil and conditioner could be too rich.

I swear by the Strengthening Oil as part of my LOC method for my wash and go. I have type 3 hair.

The butters work great on type 4 hair as an alternative to hair food on a daily basis.

We’ll be launching a curl cream, a leave-in conditioner and a deep treatment mask with more products to follow in late 2017. These will also be geared towards type 3 and 4 hair types.

My Natural Hair is also available at select Clicks and Jetmart stores – nationwide. Use the promo code, ‘MY NATBEWHOLE’ to get R 100 off your products when you buy for R300 or more via the My Natural Hair website. You can use the code for an unlimited amount of purchases until 31 March 2017.

Do you know of any other affordable natural hair products that the tribe may want to try? Scroll down to the comment section and let me know your thoughts right now 

 

 

WATCH: 3 ways to get natural volume in your hair

volume in natural hair

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“How did you get you hair that thick?”

“What’s your hair volume method?”

“Which products are you using to get your hair this big?”

The answer to all these questions are simple:

Pick.

Shake.

Defuse.

I love me some volume (in a high pitched American accent).

I can’t imaging reverting to straighteners and relaxers after discovering all that I can do with my hair in it’s natural state. My hair is naturally thick; after washing, it rises like a home baked bread but when it’s completely wet, it hangs on the sides of my face like Cocker Spaniel ears.

Can you relate?

There are ways to add body to your hair without perms, chemicals, and extensions.

If you hair doesn’t seem to volumise on its own, you should watch this video:

Continue reading “WATCH: 3 ways to get natural volume in your hair”

2017 Natural Hair Growth Challenge

hair growth challenge

My first ever hair growth challenge is here! I’m going to be using some strict hair care methods for 180 days, and I can’t wait to share my routine with you.

It’s been a long road.

I’d big-chopped in 2013. I experimented with tons of products, protective styles, low-manipulation hairstyles, and even DIY products, which have become my favourite.

How I grew my hair to armpit length

This will be the first time, throughout my natural hair journey, that I monitor my hair growth. Before I went natural, I was really attached to the length of my hair and I honestly believed that it wasn’t possible for my hair to grow past my shoulders. I guess that continuous straightening and chemical treatments caused so much damage to my hair that it refused to grow any further.

Watch the steps I’ll be taking to retain length over the next 180 days:

Are you thinking about going natural or reaching a hair growth goal? Maybe this is the perfect time for you to transition.

Join my Natural Hair Growth Challenge

Membership limit reached

 

The day that I’d big-chopped, I was standing in front of my low-lit bathroom mirror, exhausted by having to manage my limp, chemically treated ends, along with my thick, natural regrowth. I didn’t know that I was going to cut it all off until I had the scissors in hand. It was my most liberating experience. No exaggeration.

I’d had enough of trying to get those straight ends to curl and pushing all my cute curly strands to the fronts of my head. That was it; and here I am – absolutely amazed at my own hair texture.

I want the same for you.

Each of my tips are methods that I use on my own hair, weekly, if not daily. My hair growth goal for this challenge is to retain 7 cm of length in 6 months.

According to an in-depth article on how fast hair grows, scalp hair can grow up to 1.25 cm per month! That means, in 180 days, our hair could be about 7 cm longer than it already is. Granted that we’re diligent with our routine.

My hair is currently 45 cm long (16 inches). In photos, you can’t see the true length because I experience a lot of shrinkage. How long is your hair currently? Leave me a comment in the space below – and tell me what your ideal hair length is.

Everyone’s hair grows differently. You may have slower or faster growth spurts than I do. Use the stats above to develop your own growth goal and try to choose your ideal length, according to the reality of the challenge time frame.

Don’t forget to sign up by filling in the form on this page and connect with me on Instagram, where I post all my latest lifestyle pics.

This hair growth challenge was inspired by Youtuber, Curly Proverbz.