What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Sharifa and I am from Jozi, born and bred.
What is your hair type? eg. 3c, 4a, 4b, 4c or kinky, coily, curly.
Definitely in the 4c – category.
When did you go natural and what made you do it?
I have been natural for 10 going on 11 years. My hair was loc’d for 10 years and I am approaching my 1 year loose nappiversary in a few months’ time. I never liked relaxed hair really. I started relaxing my hair in high school Grade 9 if I remember correctly. I would go for long periods of up to 2/3 years wearing my hair natural, then relax it for a little bit, then cut it. In its relaxed state I would mostly have it in braids or cornrows. I repeated that cycle for many years until I decided to loc my hair.
What is the most challenging thing about being natural?
I have to say being loc’d was a breeze (that is after the initial stages of my hair not wanting to loc). Three years in, I had the science of locs down to the T. Once you know what your tresses’ likes and dislikes are, it becomes less challenging. The fact that there is SO much information out there regarding natural hair, to filter through all of it and find a regimen and products that works for your hair, I think that is the biggest challenge for me.
What are your hair goals?
Simple – to grow and maintain a healthy head of hair.
What is your weekly regimen like?
Sunday is wash day.
- Pre-poo with coconut oil for about 2 hours
- Wash or co-wash my hair – I’m loving Vatika shampoos and conditioners right now;
- Deep condition for about 20 minutes;
- Seal with my mix of oils and follow up with some shea butter;
- Band with hair bands / ponytail holders and Bob’s your uncle.
How do you wear your hair most days and what is your “go to” style?
After many painful months of trying to achieve the ultimate wash and go and the ultimate 2 strand twist‑out I have accepted the undeniable fact that it might never happen. So for now, a stretched afro is where I have found my happy place. Every night I section my hair off (approximately 12 sections), spritz each section with water, apply a little castor oil as well as a little of Ms Ruth’s Twist and Shine Shea Butter , then band it with hair bands / pony tail holders. In the morning I remove them, apply a little bit of my oil mixture and style. My oil mixture is a blend of my favourite oils and essential oils i.e. oils: coconut, olive, macadamia nut, avocado, grapeseed, sweet almond and vitamin e — essential oils: I’m loving rosemary, lemongrass and lemon at the moment and then lastly I add some bergamot essence which is believed to contain properties which assist in growth).
Do you use heat on your hair at all? If so, how often?
I used to when I was still hung up on wash and go’s. I would use a hairdryer on its lowest setting just to dry some of the product on my hair before leaving the house. In the recent past though, nope – not at all.
Wide-tooth comb, finger de-tangling or Denman brush?
All of the above, depends on my mood. I found this Denman type brush at The Body Shop with which I have started an affair with. Love it! Obsessed with it!
What are your “must have” products?
- A good deep conditioner;
- My concoction of oils;
- Ms Ruth’s Twist and Shine Shea Butter.
My favourite deep conditioner at the moment is The Body Shop’s Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter. This stuff right here, is the ultimate business. I have also recently tried the Almond and Henna deep conditioner from the Vatika range which I have fallen in love with. Vatika products are available from Indian shops in the Mayfair/Fordsburg area.
Have you ever had a hair tragedy? What was it? How did you recover from it?
I’m Muslim so during the fasting month (Ramadaan), I usually wear a head scarf every day. I wear the same scarves every year and for some reason last year, after Ramadaan, I noticed that my hairline had thinned considerably. The only conclusion that I could draw was that I had tied the scarves too tightly and as a result my hairline was compromised. Could also be because of the scarves not being 100% silk or cotton, I cannot really say for sure as I have worn them before, no problem. The result though is that I have two smallish bald patches. It is not really noticeable but I consider it a MAJOR tragedy. I apply castor oily on the spots twice daily and try and massage it as much as possible in an attempt to revive the follicle. I sincerely hope and pray that the damage is reversible.
What’s your biggest tip for maintaining healthy or long hair?
I’m still in the TWA stage so I can’t really speak on length. My main focus is the health of my hair. Deep conditioning — deep conditioning — deep conditioning – twice weekly if you can. It is what works for me and it is where I spend most of my money when it comes to products.
Words of encouragement…
Don’t give up on the journey. This journey is special. It starts out with natural hair but evolves into something so much bigger. It’s like a reawakening and rediscovery of sorts. If you feel like giving up because it’s too much work or for whatever reason, take a break, wear a protective style for a couple of weeks.
Any sites where people can find you online?
Not as yet – however I will be launching my blog soon God willing. I’m super stoked and nervous – both at the same time
And some more pictures.
Thanks Sharifa for giving us this interview. Many blessings to you and yours.
(Would you like to be featured on Natural Sisters? Drop me an email.)