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.”

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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.

How to choose natural hair products that work for you

Finding the right natural hair products is a top priority of any natural.

It can also be the most frustrating and expensive process, since there are so many options available on the market today.

Here are some quick tips to choosing the right natural hair products, the first time:

Know that expensive doesn’t always mean quality

When I began my natural hair journey, I’d spent my first year just testing products. I bought every sulphate-free shampoo on the market, and experimented with several conditioners, hair butters, and gels. By the end of 2014, I’d accumulated a cupboard full of half-used products that didn’t work for my hair, and was just wasting away.

Let’s try to avoid you having to go through the same process.

Find out what your hair type is

  1. Straight
  2. Wavy (2a, 2b, 2c)
  3.  Curly (3a, 3b, 3c)
  4. Kinky (4a, 4b, 4c)
natural hair type natural hair products be whole
Chart by hair.knowfacts.org

If you don’t know what your hair type is, you can take this quick quiz by Blacknaps.org: Know your hair type

Learning the name of your hair texture is helpful to determine which products will suit you. Chances are that you will have more than one hair type. I have two – tight, thirsty 4a curls in the front, and looser 3a curls throughout the rest of my head.

Use products according to your styling method

You get out what you put in. If you wash your hair more than twice a week, you’ll need to replenish your hair with a moisturizer as frequently.  If you’re using a gel that isn’t made from organic products, ensure that you pay special attention to hydrating your hair. Low-manipulation hair styles like twist-outs and braid-outs are great ways to wear your hair untied but still retain moisture.

Read the labels on your products

It makes sense to choose a rich hair butter for thick, dry hair, or a light leave-in conditioner for curls that already retain a lot of moisture. Stay away from alcohol-based products. Choose gentle, clarifying shampoos, and pop into the food isle for some DIY moisturizers that may surprise you (olive oil is my go-to).

Don’t just buy products that other naturals are using

Your hair type is unique. I can recommended 1000 products that work perfectly for my hair but they may not give you the same results if your hair texture is different to mine.

Which products are you using for your hair type? I’d love to hear from you. Perhaps something you’ve been using is the product that’s lacking in my routine. Let me know below 🙂

FAQs:

What is my hair type?

3c, 4a

natural hair - robyn ruth thomas - be whole
Photo/ Luc Haupt

Which products do I use?

  • Shampoo:

Lush Curly Wurly Shampoo/ Dark and Lovely Moisture Replenishing Shampoo

  • Conditioner:

Tresemme Moisture Rich Conditioner/ Dark and Lovely Knot-out Conditioner/ Lush American Cream Conditioner

  • Mask:

Pantene Pro-V Intensive Hair Masque (Daily Moisture Renewal) /DIY honey and Olive oil mask

  • Leave-in Conditioner:

Dr. Miracles Leave-in

  • Daily Moisturiser:

Olive Oil (I swear by it. Also use as a daily moisturiser on my hair, body and face. It absorbs really well and leaves my skin glowing.

  • Styler:

For wash-and-go:  My DIY Flaxseed gel/ Perfect Touch Alcohol free gel (available at selected Dischem Pharmacies)

For Twist-outs, braid-outs, up styles: Dark and Lovely Afro Moisturising Butter, Cantu Curling Cream/ Auntie Jackie’s Curl Custard

Do you have natural hair and would like to retain length? I’m starting a hair growth challenge and would love you to join me. Leave me a comment in the space below for more information about my hair growth methods.

Feature photo/ Clay Simelane

WATCH: 10 tried and tested natural hair tips

Starting a natural hair journey is like owning a car. It needs continual maintenance and will cost you a lot if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Everyone’s hair is unique and what works for me, may not necessarily work for you but it’s definitely worth giving it a shot as it’s applied by countless naturals across the globe.

These are 10 of my best natural hair tips which I’ve tried and tested over the past two years as a natural:

1. Sleep with your hair covered

I don’t know about you but my type 4 natural hair is fragile. My hair loves breaking off. I’m just getting used to having longer hair now and it’s so gentle. Covering your head with a silk/satin bonnet/scarf at night is 0% sexy but 100% protective against friction and breakage.

Used by Naturally Quinn, Frogirl Ginny

2. DIY hair gel

I make my own hair gel. It takes about 10 minutes to make, I use Flax seeds which are rich in protein and super hydrating for your hair. I use a lot of gel and I really don’t want to dry my hair with alcohol based products so this is my go-to.

Used by Alyssa Forever, Naptural85

3. Babyliss Twist Secret

It’s lovely having a free flowing afro but my goodness it’s high maintenance if you don’t have the right tools. Sometimes, on a Sunday, when I’m washing my hair, the last thing I want to do is spend an hour and a half sectioning my hair into twists. And the wrist pains. No, thanks. Speeding up your twist method from an  hour and a half to just over 20 minutes, is a miracle. You can get the Babyliss Twist Secret for R399 at any Clicks store or online via their website at clicks.co.za.

natural hair tips - babyliss twist secret - be whole

Used by MademoiselleBlush, Shahnaz Saleem

4. Know when to trim

Hairstylists will tell you that you’re supposed to trim your hair once a month. And a lot of natural hair bloggers live by regularly trimming their hair for growth and overall health.  But if you consider that every person’s hair is unique, surely your hair has different trimming requirements? The best way to know when you really need a trim is when your hair starts forming knots at the ends, especially single strand knots. The easier your hair is to detangle when wet, the more manageable. Try to trim your hair about four times a year.

Applied by Curly proverbz, Nik Scott

5. Abandon your fine-tooth comb

Don’t bother trying to detangle your hair when it’s dry. It will take hours, if not days, and can easily damage your hair. I mostly use my fingers to detangle my hair. I personally don’t use a comb, except for straight sectioning hair. You can also use a Denman brush with soft bristles – ensure that your hair is completely wet for an easier run through.

Applied by Dephne Madyara, SunkissAlba

6. Low maintenance hairstyles

We all love wash-and-go’s. It’s the easiest to style, it offers the most natural volume on day#1 (for me), and it’s cute AF. The problem is that they only last for about 3 days if you’re not using extreme hold gel and excessive washing can also cause your hair to break off. This is why twist-outs are my favourite. My hair is protected in twists at gym and while sleeping with a satin bonnet. The Babyliss Twist Secret is such a convenient tool to have, especially if you like braiding your hair. Imagine how much money and time you’ll save twisting your own hair instead of going to a salon.

Applied by Samantha Pollack, Mini Marley

7. Get yourself a good turban

There will be days when you just can’t. A bun won’t look chic enough, your twist-out will be worn out, there may not be time for a wash-and-go or dealing with frizz. Just cover it. Rushana Isaacs has an amazing, easy-to-learn turban tutorial for taking your outfit from boring to on-point in a matter of minutes. Watch her video, here.

 natural hair tips - be whole

8. Monitor your diet

Everything that happens on the outside, is a result of what’s going on inside your body. I’d noticed that when I began eating healthier and taking supplements to improve my skin, that my hair began to grow much faster and is healthier looking.

Applied by My Natural Sistas

9. Use a mask as a conditioner

Naturally curly and wavy hair require lots of moisture. If you can’t find a conditioner that hydrates your hair completely, opt for a hydrating mask to swap out your usual conditioner. This requirement various from hair type to hair type so only apply this rule if you have super dry hair like mine.

Applied by Definitely Donnalee, Jaleesa Moses

10. Focus on your scalp health

A lot of naturals focus on the look and feel of their hair but neglect caring for the major source, their scalp. Your scalp and ends need the most nurturing so ensure that you’re clarifying your scalp frequently, hydrating it, and not suffocating it with too many products. It needs to breath. Have you ever noticed steam come from your scalp after washing on a cold day? That’s because your scalp works like your skin, look after it.

Do you have a tip to add to the list? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment in the space below or connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

WATCH: Protective styling | My twist out method for natural hair

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One of my go-to protective styles since I’d began my natural hair journey, is the twist out. It’s low maintenance and lasts me up to 5 days.

It’s also a style that you can try if you’re transitioning because having two different hair textures to style can be extremely frustrating. And it’s the main reason why I’d finally big chopped, two years ago.

Take a look at this video of my twist out tutorial:

For your twist out, you’ll need:

  • A wide tooth comb for sectioning
  • 4 hair ties or hair grips
  • A spray bottle with water
  • A preferred oil for your hair ( I use olive oil)
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Styling product (gel or cream)

How to apply your products:

  1. I start by sectioning my freshly washed, damp hair into four paths and using my hair ties (made from stockings) to tie my hair. I don’t mess around with elastic bands covered in cotton because my hair snatches those in three uses.
  2. Next, I apply my leave-in conditioner to each section, and tie it back into buns to hold the moisture. Apply the product from ends to root because the ends are the oldest and driest part of your hair – in need of the most moisture.
  3. After applying the leave-in conditioner, I apply extra virgin olive oil. I prefer olive oil because it absorbs easily and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. I start at the end and work the oil through my hair from the root.
  4. Lastly, apply your styling product, using the same method – starting at the ends and then working the product through your hair from the root.

Getting the twists right

Start by taking two sections of hair  – twist the first piece of hair (whichever one you choose) over the other section, ensuring that the original sides are always facing you . It’s like a u-turn. Twist both sections at the same time in opposite directions. Each hair strand must return to its original position.

Tip: Add some more product to the ends of our hair if it’s needed and finger curl so it doesn’t untie.

If your hair starts to dry, spritz it damp using your  spray bottle of water.

I make about 20 twists which takes me just over an hour. The smaller sections  of hair you use, the smaller your twists will be.

To dry – I air-dry, preferably overnight. But if I’m not able to air-dry my hair, I’ll usually diffuse my hair with a hair dryer, using medium heat.

And that’s it.

Ensure that your hair has completely dried before untying your twists to avoid frizz.

Finally, I add some olive oil to my hands before untying the  twists, which reduces frizz and gives added shine to my hair.

Did you enjoy this video tutorial? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment in the space below or email me directly to robyn@bewhole.co.za

Connect with me Instagram: @robynruththomas

Review: Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Range

dark and lovely au naturale haircare range - be whole

I’ve had my hands folding in prayer position since I began using Dark and Lovely‘s new Au Naturale range.

It’s amazing how much length I’ve been able to retain over the past two weeks of using these products, and while standing in the shower, washing, and then conditioning my hair, I kept thinking, “OMG! OMG! My hair has really grown!” Something all naturals with type 3 to 4 hair would celebrate.

Dark and lovely and I go way back. I can’t tell you how many boxes of relaxer I went through as a child. And when I began my transition to natural hair, I swore that a relaxer would never touch my head again. Since then, I hadn’t used any Dark and Lovely products, aside from a Blonde hair colour for ethnic hair because I wanted to go lighter and there’s only one stylist I trust do my hair, and she wasn’t available.

The colouring results worked out well, even though I have so much hair – one box wasn’t enough. I’d managed to DIY an ombre effect but steered away from using any Dark and Lovely product other than that. But now, since Dark and Lovely’s own transition to natural hair care, I was eager to try it out.

But now, since Dark and Lovely’s own transition to natural hair care, I was eager to try it out.

Take a look at my full review of each Au Naturale product below:

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Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Moisture Replenishing Shampoo –   R34.95 (250ml)

Features:

A slim, transparent bottle with a secure, flip lid. The shampoo’s fruity scents of mango oil and bamboo milk become more distinct as the product lathers, making wash day a fragrant experience.

Experience:

I generally use small amounts of shampoo, parting my hair in four sections before washing and then working through each section separately. A 250 ml bottle/tub of shampoo could last me over two months, even though I always shampoo twice on wash day.

The Moisture Replenishing Shampoo lathered my hair instantly in one use and got quite foamy. I used an almond size amount for each of the four sections and while massaging my scalp, felt that I could have used less product. I decided not to shampoo twice because my scalp felt clarified.

This is not a detangling shampoo so be sure to part your hair before washing, focusing only on your scalp or follow through with the Au Naturale Knot-Out Conditioner.

What’s in it:

Water, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide mea, sodium chloride, fragrance, phenoxyethanol, polyquaternium-7, polysorbate 20, potassium sorbate, glycol stearate, mangifera indica seed oil/ mango seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, polyquaternium-10, citric acid, sodium PCA, disodium edta, sodium benzoate, benzyl salicylate, linalool, benzyl alcohol, bambusa vulgaris extract, ci 19140/ yellow 5, ci 14700/ red 4, ci 17200/ red 33, ci 42090/ blue 1. f.i.l. d54782/2

Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Knot-out Conditioner –   R34.95 (250ml)

Features:

Identical to the packaging of the Moisture Replenishing Shampoo, the Knot-out Conditioner comes in a slim, transparent bottle with a secure, flip lid. The consistency is thick and mask-like which works well for detangling naturally thick hair, easily.

Experience:

I was surprised at how effortlessly I’d managed to detangle my hair using this product. The distinct fragrance of mango oil and bamboo milk perfumed my entire bathroom, which automatically put me in a good mood. Wash day can be pretty exhausting so spending less than 15 minutes detangling all of my hair was miraculous.

Wait.

This is big and literally no exaggeration.

I stood in the shower, looked at the drain, and shrieked; “is that all?!” Nearly no shedding! I was even a little concerned because my hair was retaining so much length and I thought that maybe the product had loosened my curl pattern. But nothing of the sort.

I used quite a generous amount of product as usual. By the end of my first use (during week one), the bottle was already half empty so I’m hoping that there will be an increase in the bottle size in future. You probably don’t need to use as much conditioner as I do but I’d prefer to coat my hair liberally for finger detangling.

For extra moisture, scrunch your hair from root to tip, leave for about 15 minutes, and then rinse.

What’s in it:

Water, cetearyl alc o h o l , e l a e i s g u i n e e n s i s o i l / p a l m o i l , behentrimonium chloride, parfum / fragrance, glycerin, phenoxyethanol, isopropyl alcohol, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, mangifera indica s e e d o i l / m a n g o s e e d o i l , c a p ry l i c / c a p r i c , t r i g ly c e r i d e , c i t r i c a c i d , c h l o r h e x i d i n e dihydrochloride, benzyl salicylate, linalool, bambusa vulgaris extract. f.i.l. d158442/3

dark and lovely au naturale be wholeDark and lovely au naturale haircare range - be whole

Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Plaiting Pudding Cream – R69.95 (250ml)

Features:

A transparent tub of thick, pinkish pudding with a creamy texture, gel-like hold, and a mild fruity fragrance.

Experience:

After first use?

Not so great.

I usually style my hair using the LOC method – applying a leave-in conditioner, oil, and then a cream to seal the moisture. This time,  while attempting a twist out, and following the Plaiting Pudding Cream instructions, I went straight from rinsing my conditioner, to t-shirt drying, and then applying the pudding.

Because I didn’t apply my usual olive oil seal, my hair became knotty again and the pudding’s gel-like hold worked so quickly that it was difficult for me to slip my fingers through my hair. The result was soft, wavy hair that frizzed after a few hours.

The next day, I’d applied more pudding, retwisted, and left to air dry for the entire day. The result was an oily residue and an undefined, frizzy head  of hair.

You win some, you learn some.

Don’t expect great results by applying generic instructions. Let your hair tell you what it needs because your texture is unique.

Once I’d washed again, reverted to my own routine, and then applied the pudding as needed – beautiful!

What’s in it:

 Water, glycerine, glycine soja oil / soybean oil, polysorbate 80, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, triethanolamine, oleth-5, carbomer, parfum / fragrance, phenoxyethanol, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, caprylyl glycol, mangifera indica s e e d o i l / m a n g o s e e d o i l, butylene glycol, benzyl salycylate, linalool, benzyl alcohol, limonene,  ci 14700 / red 4, geraniol, bambusa vulgaris sap extract, ci 19140 / yellow 5, citric acid. (f.i.l. d55311/4)

Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Afro Moisturising Butter – R69.95 (250ml)

Features:

A transparent tub of creamy, white butter with a refreshing herbal fragrance, centred on honey and Gaurana Root.

Experience:

*Closing my eyes and stretching my open hands up to the sky.

If you’ve been searching for a hydrating cream to give your hair the moisture and definition it needs, go out and get yourself a tub of this butter.

Parting my hair  into 8 sections, after washing, conditioning, and applying about a R5 coin size of olive oil to my hair, I carefully slid the Afro Moisturising Butter onto each section.  I start at the ends and then clasp the hair through my hands from root to tip. My curls were so defined. Take a look at what my wash-and-go results looked like below.

Style suggestion: Apply a coat of hair gel if you’d like to wear your wash and go for a few days. I use a Flaxseed gel that I make myself – it takes about 10 mins and you only need 3 ingredients. You can find the recipe, here.

What’s in it:

Water, caprylic /capric triglyceride, cocos nucifera oil / coconut oil, stearyl alcohol, glycerin, dimethicone, butylene glycol, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, stearic acid, palmitic acid, parfum / fragrance, steareth-100, polyacrylamide, phenoxyethanol, sorbic acid, c13-14 isoparaffin, steareth-2, limonene, hexyl cinnamal, hydroxypropyltrimonium honey, laureth-7, mannan, xanthan gum, paullinia cupana seed extract, methylisothiazolinone, citronellol, citral, geraniol, benzyl alcohol, linalool, ci 19140 / yellow 5, ci 15985 / yellow 6, ci 14700 / red 4, ci 17200 / red 33, ci 42090 / blue 1Defined curls using dark and lovely au naturale - be whole

To view more pics and join a tribe conversation, connect with me on Instagram: @robynruththomas

All products provided by Dark  and Lovely South Africa

*Available in major retailers such as Clicks and Dischem Pharmacy from October 2016.

Photos/ Lucienne Haupt

 

7 ways to retain moisture and shine in natural hair

I am really in love with my hair right now. If you’ve been following my natural hair journey, you’ll know that I’ve come a long way from being conditioned to hate my hair (and holding hundreds of scarfs and beanies captive) to now flaunting my thick, puffy curls.

One year, while working at a student magazine, our editorial team managed a photo shoot for Jeannie D. We were preparing her for hair and makeup when she’d said to Angie – the hair stylist, “honey, the bigger the hair, the closer to God.” Now, embracing my naturally thick hair, I swear by that quote.

One tiny problem, this puff is high maintenance. It’s not just a matter of get-up-and-go when creating the bed-head style, especially when you’re working with a hair texture that is naturally dry and fragile.

It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned to manage my hair, ensuring that it maintains a super defined curl and healthy shine. Take a look at how you can do the same with these 7 tips below:

Research your hair type
Most people have more than one hair type. Let me know what your hair type is the comment section.
Most people have more than one hair type. Let me know what your hair type is the comment section.

The last thing I want to do is to reinforce more labels to your hair but It’s helpful to know what your natural hair type is so that you can find suitable products and hair care styles. According to the Andre Walker hair typing system, I have a mixture of type 3C and 4A hair. With this information, I can determine which parts of my hair need more product moisture, and which parts don’t. Find out what your hair type is, here:

Stop combing your hair

No joke. There’s no need for a comb unless you’re using a wide-tooth afro comb to create volume. I prefer to finger detangle my hair. This reduces breakage, frizz, and promotes curl definition.

Find out which products work for you

There is a coconut oil craze for all hair types right now but unfortunately, it doesn’t do much for my hair. However, extra virgin olive oil works wonders for me. There are also certain gels that are too harsh for my hair and cause breakage while other women swear by it. Test a range of products to see what works best for your own hair as your hair texture may not receive products in the same way as someone else.

In the past, I’d wasted so much money on curl creams and conditioners, and now have a cupboard full of half-used products.  When you’re trying a new product, wait at least a month to see results.

My go-to hair products are:
  • Lush American Cream Conditioner
  • Lush Curly Wurly Shampoo
  • Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • Perfect Touch alcohol-free gel (Dischem Pharmacy)
Get a satin sleep cap

The Satin Sleep Cap (which you can find at selected Clicks stores) has been such a game-changer for me. I wear it to bed at night or even when I’m lounging around the house with my head rested. Cotton strips your hair and even your skin of moisture and can cause dehydration and breakage. If I really need to dry my hair, I will usually use an old t-shirt instead of a towel or dry my hair with a diffuser nozzle on medium to low heat.

clicks.co.za
Use sulfate-free shampoo or conditioner to wash your hair

Any products with sulphate components are harmful, even toothpaste – that’s why you’re not supposed to swallow the toothpaste. I prefer to co-wash my hair using my go-to conditioner rather than shampoo, and this really does clean my hair. People with normal to oily hair should not co-wash.

Protective style as much as possible

Thank the heavens for braids. When I’m having a busy month or travelling, I love having my hair braided or twisted into chunky Havana twist braids (also known as Marley braids). Chunky braids aren’t too tight or damaging to the hair. They don’t last as long as the three-strand braid or small strand braids but I personally prefer this style.
braids3

Trim your hair often

Pay special attention to the ends of your hair as this is your oldest hair. Once your ends begin to look dry and dull, it is better to consider having it trimmed to avoid higher split ends or worse, having your hair break off. I dread having my hair cut and I usually avoid having to trim for as long as possible but I get it done eventually.

Do you know of any other ways to retain moisture and shine in natural hair? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment in the comment section below or connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook 

Feature photo/ Donna- Lee Dekock