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

transitioning hair roxanne kalie be whole

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

straightened natural hair, be whole, robyn ruth thomas

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

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.

 

On learning to embrace your fro – 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.