Today we have Serati Maseko in the house, giving us a glimpse of her natural hair journey and regimen. Yaay!! I have known Serati for some time now and she has such a sweet presence and a real pleasure to be around. She is so humble, easy going, very friendly and so beautiful. So is her hair. Read on and enjoy, comment, share and like. Share the love.
What’s your name and where are you from?
What is your hair type?
I would say I am 4C, meaning the kinkiest of all hair types. It is much finer on the side edges and the back, and thicker in the front and middle. I am, however, still learning about my hair, and still figuring out how it reacts. I battle with dryness, so I don’t know if maybe if my hair was at it’s optimum state of moisture if it would still be this texture, or if my hair would be more of a looser curl; I suspect that it would.
When did you go natural and what made you do it?
I went natural in 2009 when I was 17, so it’s been 5 years. When I decided to go natural I was completely unaware of this large community and online presence of tutorials and natural hair blogs and pages; so I really did it on my own with very little knowledge of my hair or what to do with my natural hair. I had had another bad experience at the hair salon, I had relaxed my hair and done braids and the women had completely over-tightened them; and I think I was just tired of that whole experience. Nine months later I still had those braids in (yes, nine months- I did say I was completely uninformed!), and I was interested in doing Sisterlocks. I took the braids out, and cut off all my relaxed hair, I had a lot of growth from having my hair in a protective style for so long, and I slowly started learning about how to care for my afro.
What was the most challenging thing about going natural?
This is a difficult question, I can’t pinpoint one. But I’d say one of the things would be trying to figure out my hair, what it likes, how it reacts in humidity, waking up and battling to get it to do what I want. Just basically learning about my hair, a lot of us have never had our natural hair out as a child, it was either relaxed or in braids ALL THE TIME, and that was my experience; so I had no clue. I’ve come to the point where I have accepted my hair, it is not the kind of ‘get-up-and-go’ hair, at least not yet, it requires time and patience, and I’ve come to love my hair for all of that; and be gentle with it. The joys far out weigh the challenges because I love knowing that when I look in the mirror it is all me, and I can look at myself and appreciate all that I see.
photographer: Kobus Snyman
What are your hair goals?
Right now my hair goal is healthy hair. That’s it. I am enjoying every stage of my hair, every length. Lately I’ve been enjoying doing different styles, being creative and experimenting- our hair is so versatile! I am learning to utilize more and more protective styles, daily, weekly, so as to retain length. I want to grow my hair, but mostly I want beautiful healthy hair at all lengths.
What is your weekly regimen?
I am trying to gain a more relaxed approach to my hair, because I used to obsess about it, which was tiring. So, my weekly regimen at this point is just that, relaxed, it’s flexible. I wash my hair every weekend, and moisturise during the week as it needs it. I need to start doing pre-poos and hot oil treatments more consistently. But I feel like I used to have my hands in my hair all the time doing this and that, and it was more handling than necessary; so I’m trying to keep it minimal.
What does your “wash day” involve?
It’s different every time. Sometimes I will do a hot oil treatment, say olive oil and castor oil- I love that combination. Other times I’ll do a Mayonnaise treatment, it’s cheap and I always have it, and it leaves my hair super supple. And then I have been using Mixtress in the Kitchen’s mud wash and spritz. AND I have fallen in love with Natural Moisture’s Shea Butter to seal- it gives my hair such stretch! I After washing my hair with either Mixtress in the Kitchen’s mud wash or plain old bicarbonate of soda mixed with water, or Tresseme Naturals Shampoo (which I tried yesterday for the first time), or Natural Moisture’s Black Soap (which I love), I’ll condition with either apple cider vinegar diluted with water, or an alternative conditioner. Then I spritz with my home-made black tea, castor oil and olive oil spritz (which gives my hair such shine and lustre, and Mixtress in the Kitchen’s Black Vanilla Blossom spritz. I leave my hair to dry a little, and then seal with Natural Moisture’s Shea Butter, and then I do two or three braids each side to stretch it.
How do you wear your hair most days?
I always wear my hair in an afro. It is simple, my hair grows up, so it makes the most sense to just let it BE. I like being creative with it, doing up-dos, I love seeing the different creative styles I can come up with to look classy or funky or retro. But daily it’s just out, in an afro.
What is your “go to” hairstyle?
My go-to style is an afro, it involves the least amount of struggle to get it in a particular way. If my hair is dry and really refusing to behave then I usually just tie it back in a puff, this is actually also my go-to style when I’m dancing because the shrinkage I get from sweating is just annoying- it’s better to have it stretched.
Do you use heat on your hair at all?
I never personally use heat. When I’m working, at a photo shoot, then hairstylists will sometimes use heat, but so far, albeit one tragic experience, it’s pretty minimal; and just to give it more volume and length. But I do cringe each time they have to use heat on my hair.
Wide-tooth comb, finger de-tangling or Denman brush?
I prefer finger combing at all times. I don’t think my hair needs to have a comb be able to go through it from root to tip, however I do use a wide-tooth comb occasionally, when I want to get rid of knots; but I don’t comb when it’s not necessary; and I only comb when it is wet.
Is your hair normally loose or in a protective-do?
I had my hair in braids back to back for three months a few months ago, because with modelling I have to have it out all the time, they don’t like braids- so I really wanted to give it (and myself) a rest. Mostly it’s out in an afro, but lately I’ve been trying to do more protective styles day to day, keeping the ends tucked.
What are your “must have” products?
I love castor oil and olive oil- the combination just works for me!! Also, the stretch and sheen that Shea Butter gives is awesome!! I use it all the time now. But I have struggled with Shea butter in the past, I bought one that says from Kenya, and it just made my hair hard, the Natural Moisture one is amazing!!
Have you ever had a hair tragedy? What was it? How did you recover from it?
I have had a hair-tragedy, and that is what inspired to start my Facebook page Afro Hair In Fashion. I made the mistake once of being a model at a ‘hair show’. Now at hair shows the showcase hair, they showcase products, but the focus is not on healthy hair, it’s on the style. They basically burned my hair: started off with blowing it out with a hair dryer, and then they did about 3 styles over the course of the day and each time they would use curling irons and straighteners. The hairstylists had never worked with black hair, one of them got visibly frustrated with my hair when the comb would not glide through it. It was a nightmare!! And this was for two days!! And I had had my hair braided for a while just before that so I felt like I had lost the length that I had gained, and instead gained a whole lot of split ends; so I had to trim quiet a lot of my hair afterwards. I decided never to do a hair show again!! And now I always make sure I know what they will be doing to my hair before a shoot, and always put in heat protectant just in-case.
What’s your biggest tip for maintaining healthy or long hair?
I’d say moisture is a big one!! We all know this, but it’s a big stumbling block when you first go natural, and it’s why people think natural hair is not beautiful because they don’t realize that when it is moisturised it is supple and malleable and really really beautiful!!
Any social sites where people can find you?
I have a page on Facebook called Afro Hair In Fashion- it’s about tips and products, but more than that it’s about the psychology of natural hair and the politics of natural hair. Our hair has a painful history and so I think giving tips on how to maintain it is well and good, but if we don’t have a love of our hair, more likely than not it’s because we don’t have a love for ourselves; and this is deeply ingrained. I seek to debunk the myths and misconceptions surrounding black women’s hair. I am also a musician, and I have a music page on Facebook as well called Serati. I am also on Instagram- @gypsidaze. And twitter @Serati_cherypie.