Tag Archives: international naturals

Natural in London: Sharron’s HairStory

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Who are you and from where do you hail?
Hey all! I’m Sharron from London, England.

What do you like most about your homeland?
I think London is a great place to be in the summer … such a nice atmosphere being in the heart of London when the sun’s shining. I also like that it’s very multicultural.

London

What is the hair norm for black/brown women where you live? If natural hair is not the norm, is it becoming more prevalent?
There’s definitely more weave and relaxer wearers than there are naturals. But, I see a lot more natural ladies nowadays. It’s no longer perceived as an oddity to wear your hair natural. I love seeing someone wearing their natural hair; I always give a little smile. I just find all the different styles you can achieve by wearing your hair natural refreshing.

What was your hair like during your childhood and teen years? How did you feel about it? How was it perceived by others?
I remember my mum doing ‘chiney bumps’ (similar to bantu knots?), when I was younger and I remember her greasing my scalp with Dax, lol. My hair flourished under her care. When I started doing my hair myself, I use to do some crazy stuff to it. I actually cringe when I think about the abuse I bestowed upon my poor head!! I used a hell of a lot of gel … nasty, alcohol-ridden gel. I would use hotplates to dry my hair from damp as I didn’t have a blow dryer at one stage … *shudder*. Let’s just say, I’m surprised I still have hair. In my era, everyone had natural hair anyway, so it wasn’t an issue wearing my hair natural.

If you relaxed your hair at some point, why did you (or your guardian) make that decision? When and how long were you relaxed before you decided to go natural?
I relaxed my hair at the grand ole age of 18!! The only reason I relaxed my hair was because it wouldn’t ‘hold’ a style. I would straighten it all nicely and then as soon as I left the house ‘poof.’ What I didn’t realise then is that my hair was doing what it was suppose to do … curl up. I was trying to force my hair to go against type. If I knew then what I know now … how many times have we all said that?? I was really excited when I got it relaxed and was actually amazed when I stepped outside and my hair didn’t ‘grow.’ I remember bopping down the street with my new Janet Jackson windswept hairstyle.

Windswept

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I always say my decision to go natural wasn’t a conscious decision, it was forced upon me!! I love colour and curls, so even when my hair was relaxed, I would constantly colour and curl it as I didn’t like limp flat hair, I like big hair. I would put ringlets in my hair and rarely wore it straight. No one told me that you shouldn’t really use heat on relaxed hair, so I was not aware I was damaging it. To be fair, my hair is very strong, because it was years before it finally started to break and say, ‘enough is enough woman!!’

I decided to put it in a weave as I couldn’t think of anything else to do with it as nothing would stop the breakage … ApHogee treatments, nothing! I gradually snipped away to maybe 6 inches? At the time, I think it was bra strap length. As I was wearing a weave, cutting it didn’t bother me. I honestly thought I would be wearing weaves for the rest of my days as I didn’t ever consider wearing my hair natural as I couldn’t imagine it would look ‘smart’ enough.

This is where the decision was made for me. One weekend, I decided to remove my weave myself and do a treatment before getting it put back in on the Monday. When I removed my weave, I saw that I had a patch, no, a landslide where I’d been constantly wearing the same parting!! From that day, I stopped wearing weaves and was forced to deal with my hair in its natural state.

What has your natural hair journey been like? How has your decision been received by family, friends and people in general?
As I was forced to go natural, my decision wasn’t discussed with anyone. I will say that the last 3 years is when I’ve really learnt what works for my hair and how to get it to do what I want it to do … now I’m not working against type.

What do you see as the challenges of being natural? Are there any things that you think are unique to where you live? If so, what and why? How do you think they can be overcome?
I honestly think looking after natural hair requires more effort than relaxed hair. It takes longer to wash, detangle, then you have to twist/braid it if you wear twist/braid outs. Luckily, there are more products targeted for natural hair now, although not as much as in the States.

What is your regimen? Do you use/prefer commercial or natural products? Are the products that you like and want to try readily accessible and affordable? Where do you purchase them?
My regimen is quite a lazy one. I’ve taken to doing clay washes recently as it requires less effort then shampooing and conditioning my hair. When I do clay washes, I can get away with not conditioning my hair you see!! Lazy! I also try and henna once per month, but as we’ve previously discussed Shelli, henna loosens my curls to the extent my hair looks like heat damage in parts. I make my own Hair, Bath & Body products. So, I use my leave-in conditioner, a bit of flaxseed gel and JBCO & Nilotica Balm to seal, and then twist my hair.

Kinky G

Are there salons that cater to natural hair where you live? Are stylists trained in handling natural hair? Do you go to a salon?
I have never been to a natural hair salon, but my friend took her daughter to one to have her hair straightened (they used a hot comb). When she washed her hair a couple of weeks later, her gorgeous curls had heat damage and was straight and stringy in places.

What do you enjoy and/or love about being/going natural? Has the journey taught you anything about yourself?
I love not having to run from the rain, I love not having to worry about my hair sweating out at a club, I love the versatility and I love that I’m not smothering my scalp in chemicals. So, my landslide was a blessing in disguise.

Flat twist

Do you have a Hair Crush?
I love your hair Miss Shelli, Curly Nikki and Teyana Taylor (with and without bits added).

Who do you follow online?
You, Curly Nikki, Fusionofcultures (I think she is the cutest thing ever with great hair). I’m sure there are others …

Anything else that you’d like to share?
I can be found at my blog: www.fortheloveofkinks.wordpress.com
My products can be found at: www.sheadecadence.co.uk
Twitter: @shea_decadence and @theloveofkinks

Thanks for having me and keep up the good work!

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Awwww sookie sookie now!! You had the Pleasure Principle cut Sharron!! Get it girl!! LOL!!

Are you a natural outside of the US? Want to share your “international kinky, coily, curly” HairStory? Then answer the “Naturals Around the World” interview questions here and e-mail them to me (with 5-10 pictures) at hairscapades@gmail.com 

Natural in Germany: Laxmi’s HairStory

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by Laxmi of LuckyCurls.com

Who are you and from where do you hail? Please tell us a little about where you live.
Hello, my name is Laxmi (the Hindus pronounce it ‘Lakshmi’). I’m a mother to two awesome little girls, a wife, English teacher and Entrepreneur.

I am originally from Ghana, went to college at USF in Tampa (Go Bulls! *lol*) and I’ve been living in Karlsruhe, Germany since the summer of 2006. Karlsruhe is found in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg’ and is located in the southwestern part of Germany, between Frankfurt and Stuttgart and close to the French border. It is shaped like a fan and this is because the founder of the city, “Karl,” apparently took a nap (ruhen- to relax) and dreamt of a city shaped like a fan – hence the name “Karlsruhe,” which loosely translated means “Karl’s rest.”

Karlsruhe Schloss, "The Castle"

This next picture is my street. I love my neighborhood, the west side or “weststadt” as it’s called here. It’s within walking distance to the downtown area or a couple of tram stops away from everything fun and interesting.

Germany, and Karlsruhe in particular, is a very orderly place. Everything works like clockwork over here. Coming from Ghana where almost everything is chaotic, and being a bit of a chaotic person myself, it’s good to have calm surroundings where everything works like it’s supposed to.

It’s very green over here and people are very “outdoorsy”/really into nature.

During the summer, the street side cafes and famous beer gardens open up, everything just looks so picturesque. This next picture is one of Karlsruhe’s landmarks, The Pyramid at the Marktplatz. This is the center of the city and the tombstone of the founder of the city.

This last picture is one of the things for which Germany is known – yummy bread and pretzels :)!

I know that you have an online shop for curly/natural hair products. Please tell us a little about that.
I recently started an online shop called luckycurls.com, because Germany is lacking when it comes to good, quality products geared towards naturally curly hair. I want to introduce German curlies to a better sortiment of hair products. My shipping rates are for Germany, but anyone outside of Germany can just e-mail me via laxmi@luckycurls.com, so that I can provide the shipping rate for their country. I usually tell people to check their country first for products because international shipping rates are crazy expensive :-)!

I also have a German/English blog attached (blog.luckcycurls.com) and I make a few updates during the week on what is going on with my hair and that of my daughters. I need to blog more often, but I’m hoping to be a resource here for other curlies, as well as moms with bi-racial and African kids who often have hard time dealing with their kids’ hair.

What has your natural hair journey been like? How has your decision been received by family, friends and people in general?
I have been 100% natural since June of 2011. I transitioned for a year and decided to start my 30th year with the big chop 🙂 and it felt so good to do that. I couldn’t stop touching me hair for, like, a week afterwards. Being a natural in Germany is great because everyone assumes that it’s normal/natural for one to want to wear their natural hair.

I have to say kudos to the curlies in the U.S. who big chop and everyone else that has to deal with negative comments and still continues to wear their hair with pride. I have wondered at times if I would have been so confident to rock my natural hair after my BC if I’d been in the States or in Ghana, my homeland. I’m glad I never had to find out. I’ve received nothing but compliments from family and friends since cutting my hair over here and I’m happy about that.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
The decision to go natural happened for a number of reasons, the first being that, I wanted to set a good example for my daughters. Prior to that, I was on a “long hair journey” and was learning how to properly take care of relaxed hair to retain length. That worked, but around that time, I started seeing more and more info on natural hair care just popping up everywhere :)! I stumbled upon CurlyNikki and read a lot on natural hair care and that was the final push that I needed. I can only say, I wish I’d done it sooner.

What do you see as the challenges of being natural? Are there any things that you think are unique to where you live? If so, what and why? How do you think they can be overcome?
I’ve got cousins and friends from Ghana who see photos of my hair on Facebook and the blog and compliment and say they would like to go natural too. So, I try to encourage anyone who shows interest. I don’t get pushy about it, I just give them the info that I have if they ask.

We had to cut our hair in high school in Ghana to TWAs, but it is expected of you to relax your hair when you’re out of school. I’m not really sure how to explain it. It’s almost like a right of passage, like something that distinguishes you from “the kids.” Although there are kids with relaxers too, I had my first one at age 12 and I had to beg my mom for a long time before she finally gave in. Just like America, the notion that relaxed hair and weaves are prettier than our natural hair, strongly prevails in our culture, but I have hope that it will change in the future.

What is your regimen? Do you use/prefer commercial or natural products?
My hair care routine consists of shampooing once a week and then deep conditioning (either before or afterwards). My favourite shampoos and conditioners are from the Aubrey Organics and Jessicurl line. They work really well for me and my daughters. I follow that with Kinky Curly Knot Today; if I’m not being lazy, I do the kimmaytube leave-in method. Then, I detangle, spray my hair with my glycerin/rosewater mix and seal with coconut oil in the summer and homemade whipped shea butter in the winter. Afterwards, I twist my hair (I can’t wear my hair in an afro unless I want to battle knots and tangles later on).

I used to think that the glycerin/rosewater mix was only good for the summer, but I started using it this winter after reading an interesting blog post on it by JC of ‘The Natural Haven.” As long as you dilute it with enough water, you don’t have anything to worry about. Sometimes, I also do the so-called “Oyin method,” which is spray my hair with my mix before taking a shower. The steam from the shower activates the glycerin and this keeps the hair well moisturized. At night, I sleep with a silk scarf, as a result, my husband calls me “The Pirate.” *lol*

Anything else that you’d like to share?
For anyone out there interested in going natural, I’d suggest researching how to properly care for natural hair, get to know your hair and do what works for you, because once you learn to respect your curls, you’ll never have a bad hair day :). Thanks.

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If you’re in Germany and having a hard time finding the curly/natural hair products that you want, don’t check out luckycurls.com! Maybe Laxmi will have just what you need!