The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Natural hair takes time to grow. There really is no magic formula to it - Interview with Tayo

Meet Tayo, a young lady who is generous with her knowledge of natural hair. She encouraged Eki (read interview here) when she was going natural. We call her our O'Naturals HAIRoine. Enjoy!

Name? Tayo.

Where are you from and where do you live? I’m from Nigeria and I presently live in London.

What do you do? I’m currently a student.

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural? Where do I begin- I’ve been natural for about 3 ½ years now and for a while before I decided to go natural, I noticed (or what seemed to me at the time) that my hair wasn’t growing. It had become very thin and straw like.
This baffled me, because I always seemed to have thick new growth that needed to be relaxed. So I started to do some personal research on healthy hair and hair growth and I guess it was a coincidence that a friend of mine at college (Shanon) who by the way, had the prettiest hair I had ever seen, was encouraging me to go natural. She had been natural all her life and her hair-about a 4a/4b texture- was extremely long and healthy. So, one day during that time, after reading some great reviews online about women who had gone natural/ were transitioning, I decided to go natural.

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? I started growing out my natural hair mostly through kinky twists and braids and at the time I didn’t realize it, but I attempted to keep my hair as moisturized as possible which really helped my hair stay strong and healthy. I however didn’t want to big chop and I didn’t know too much about transitioning, so although I did attempt to trim-off - a little at a time- my relaxed ends, after some time of not following up on the trimming, my relaxed ends broke off.

And I had a lot of encouragement, although not directly. When I started going natural, a lot of vlogs started appearing on YouTube. There were many women with different textures and densities of hair and from different backgrounds sharing their experience and what they were learning each day about their hair. This reminded me constantly that I wasn’t alone, especially when I hit a wall and just didn’t have a clue what to do with my hair. I also used blogs, posted questions to women happy and willing to share the experience they had gathered, and bought books on studies of natural hair.

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? Honestly, I try hard to stay away from any direct influence on how to handle my hair. I do have many women who I believe have gorgeous natural hair and who I’ve gotten tips from, but I try to only gather ideas and suggestions from them. The reason I say this is strictly because; when you have one person or a few people who you try to imitate in terms of hair care, you may get lost on what works for you and set yourself up for disappointment. 

We always have to remember that everyone’s hair is different, and even though my hair looks very similar to that of certain hair “gurus”, what they use and certain parts of their regimen doesn’t work for me at all.
Gather information and by all means use what you learn from others as a guide to see what can work for you, but be careful about setting someone as your mentor, this may slow down the process of you personally understanding your hair and how to build a tailor made regimen for you.

Eki told us you really helped her when she just started her natural hair journey. So we are calling you our “O’Naturals Hairoine”! *clapping* What made you be such a big support to Eki when she first went natural? Did you even know you were helping her? Lol! You are far too kind. *Takes a bow*

 Eki is a very dear friend of mine and at a point in time on her own accord, she become very inquisitive about my hair. To be honest, I was at first surprised because she had very thick and long relaxed hair (which was the complete opposite of my hair’s state when I decided to go natural), so at the time, I couldn’t really comprehend her reason for wanting to go natural if she decided to.But slowly I began to realize she had become tired of the constant relaxing, and the lack of versatility that she had and wanted a change. 

I also noticed that she had never actually experienced what her natural hair was like and was curious to see the behavior of her chemical free hair. So when she had made her decision, I was honest with her, I let her know that I loved my hair and wouldn’t relax it again but it was a lot of work. She didn’t seem to mind though, and took it all in good stride lol. She asked a lot of questions about building a regimen, different hair styles and sites that offered good information about products. She also asked about my own regimen to see what would work for her. 

And what really made me support her was simply the fact that I wanted her to have the chance to experience her natural hair. I kept in mind though that it was however, ultimately her decision and even if she decided not to go ahead with it, I would have been fine with her choice. She and I have discussed many times about people constantly changing their minds about whether or not to go natural, which is perfectly ok. And I believe, we as naturals need to remember that it is ultimately that person’s decision. I encouraged Eki when she got tired or fed up with her hair, but I also gave her room to make sure it was what she wanted.

What’s your natural hair regimen? I am forever changing my regimen. As my hair has gotten longer I’m constantly trying to make sure that the products and techniques I use are aiding me in maintaining length. However, at this present time, my regimen goes thus:
 · I detangle my hair every week.
· I deep condition and oil condition at least once or twice a week (depending on the state of my hair as it gets dry easily).
· Instead of shampooing, I clean my scalp with apple cider vinegar and herbal essence hello hydrating conditioner every week.
· If I do shampoo cleanse at all (because of stubborn build up), I do this once every month with a sulfate free shampoo.
· I keep my hair in protective styling at least 90% of the time.
· I keep my hair as moisturized as possible by constant conditioning and spraying of water and aloe-vera and least once a day or once every two days.
· And I always seal moisture into my hair - particular my ends- with coconut or olive oil. (Any carrier oil is pretty good though).
 I may alter my regimen as time goes on, but one thing I will never change, is being as gentle as I possibly can with my hair while handling it. It’s great to have good products but I realized that I tend to suffer more breakage when I man-handle my locks than at any other time.

 How do people react to your natural hair? Are they positive or negative? I tend to get a lot of positive reactions from people. Sometimes, I have people coming to meet me, to question me about my hair style or how long I've been natural which is always nice. I haven’t yet experienced any nasty comments.

If you get negative comments who are they from? To be honest, I believe the reason I haven’t received any negative comments is because I aim at all times to keep my hair as neat as possible. I think, when most people react badly to natural hair, it’s less about the fact that the person is natural and more about the presentation of their hair.

Comment about natural hair in school. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to school? Not at all, In fact for the past two years, I haven’t worn a weave or used extensions in my hair. This is because, I got to a stage that although my hair was growing, because I’d been hiding it away in braids and what not for so long, I didn’t really know how to handle it. So when I decided to focus on my hair it was like starting from scratch, but with 6 to 8 inches of natural hair.

Since then, my focus has been on growing my hair to its full capacity and learning how versatile it can be.  I’m still learning, but I know now a little more about what my hair needs when it acts or reacts in a particular way. I will say, although I’m completely comfortable with my hair now, when I first started wearing my hair out, I was very conscious of people’s reactions around me. In fact, I was very nervous about how it would be accepted. Lol, it’s amazing the perceptions we create in our minds. When however, I had personally accepted my hair, I just stopped caring what anyone else thought.

 What do you like best about being natural? The versatility of my hair, the fact that my hair is bra-strap length :D, the thickness of my hair and my hair texture. I have the strangest hair texture. It seems to be a mixture of 4a/4b at the crown and sides of my hair and then 3c at the back of my head. I was actually shocked when I realized this. 

 What do you hate most about being natural? SHRINKAGE! And I say this not just because it tends to hinder showing the actually length of natural hair (what can we do), but because it aids in single strand knots and tangling. This is the only part of natural hair-for me- that can be very frustrating.

 What do you say to students like you about being natural? Make sure it is what you want to do, before going into it. Do your research; speak to those around you who have natural hair about difficulties they faced and how they overcame those difficulties. Try to research about good products and PATIENCE! Have plenty of patience. Natural hair takes time to grow. There really is no magic formula to it. If you want to have back-length hair in a year then you've already setting yourself up for disappointment.  Focus more on maintaining healthy hair, considering that hair grows on average six inches every year, if your hair is kept in the best condition possible, the length will come with it.

Also, look forward to your natural hair journey because that’s exactly what it is. You will learn a lot about yourself in the process and will probably become a lot more health conscience. I will recommend one book to those wanting to go natural, because I feel even after my several years of gathering info, nothing can compare to all the information available in this one book: The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Davis-Savasothy. This lady has created a natural hair bible as far as I’m concerned. And if you’re completely lost on where to start or you want access to some more information, she has cut out 70% of the work for you.

 Where can we find you online?
Feel free to email me at I’m happy and willing to answer any questions

Last question: shoes or handbags? Lol, SHOES! Bags may come and go, but a good pair of Louboutins will last forever!

Keep it natural!

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