Fro feature: Magical Messy merls

It’s like I get a buzz whenever I see/read or interact with another natural.

First I stare. I really drink how gorgeous they are (and I know it’s not acceptable but I can’t help myself… It’s impossible for me to look away) and then I marvel at how this hair “really suits” whoever the person is. Like they were meant to have this hair…

And then I get excited. I imagine their hair journey and the paradigm shifts that led them to this point.  I wonder if their hair decision was anything like mine. Sometimes I awkwardly say hello (Like that one time I met Wisaal in Kauai in the CBD and of course I literally said: “I stalk you on insta – k thanks bye”. I know right – how mortifying!) other times I keep my distance and promise to say hello next time.

One thing that stays constant is my sheer delight to see another person accept themselves for who they really are!

Several months back, I interacted with a fellow natural who was giving me so much love on Instagram… Marlene I see you girl and I thank you for the insta love! It makes me feel hard vet. As a result, I stalked her page, read her blog and promptly decided I was going to feature her on my blog.

Today is that day

Meet Marlene aka Magical Messy Merls

IMG_20170506_140616_620

Tell me about yourself – describe yourself just using nouns

My name is Marlene. Wife, mother, entrepreneur, and coffee- drinker.

 

Why did you go natural? Was it a sudden realization or did you always know you wanted to embrace your hair naturally?

I got the aha moment a few months after losing 20kg’s. I decided I wanted to be mindful of what I put in my body as well as my hair and skin.

weight loss

Was there ever a point where you regretted gong natural? What helped you push through?  Was your family/friends/boyfriend supportive?

Not at all. My soft coils that spiraled out of my scalp is what helped me to push through. I honestly didn’t want to squeeze into society’s mould anymore. Some of my family members were a bit skeptical but they soon got over it. My husband loves my natural hair.

 

How long are you natural for? Walk us through what your hair journey has been like…

I’m two years and four months natural. I felt liberated when I did the Big Chop. Returning natural took me back to my roots lol…It’s been a journey of self-discovery. At the beginning of my journey I got caught up in the natural hair cycle of routines, products, methods etc. I would spend hours watching videos and tutorials about natural hair. I learned by trial and error. I learned to master what works for me.

 

Describe your hair in as much detail as possible (if your hair was an animal or movie character – who would it be?)

Low porosity thick, coily and kroes textured. It would definitely be Garfield – ha! My hair is so unpredictable – the more misbehaved and messy my fro became, the more I loved it in that state!

 

Specifically, as a coloured woman, what does the natural hair movement mean to you? Hair is currency – how have you navigated this journey in a community like ours that’s obsessed with “straight hair”? Do you think we’ve delved into the politics of black hair enough?

As a coloured woman returning to natural hair helped me to also accept my quirks and imperfections. By embracing my natural hair I’m accepting who I am completely. Being a women living in South Africa does not mean you need to conform to a certain standard.

14938112_1175062739216009_5057369659973291993_n

What’s your thoughts on colourism, if any?

I think that Colourism is a bigger issue for women than for men because of beauty standards. We place so much weight on outer details, when the good stuff is inside. No matter what shade of brown you are – You are Beautiful…

 

The natural hair community in gowning in leaps and bound in South Africa – what’s your thoughts on this?

We are seriously on the forefront of a revolution!  The journey to self-love is a struggle but I know that in the coming years women will be wearing their natural hair with pride.

15541318_1221018741287075_8798251412506465206_n

 

Share your favourite style?

I love twists. They are simple and so versatile. Recently I’ve been playing around with wash n go’s. I just refresh with AfroBotanics Conditioning Moisturizer in the morning and fluff. It lasts me about three days thereafter I just ‘ puff n go’. Wash n go’s are great as a low maintenance styles as well.

 

What’s your hair regimen like (products, methods)? What are some of your favourite products that you can’t live without?

 

I have a weekly regimen. I sometimes adjust my routine as my hair changes. The day before I pre- poo. I use Parachute coconut oil. This oil has the ability to penetrate the cortex of the hair. I always warm the oil first. I lightly mist my hair  with water first then apply the coconut oil. I cover with a  shower cap.
The next day I cleanse.
I cleanse  weekly – with Dudu Osun black African soap or Bentonite clay. It depends on the feel of my hair.
I co- wash weekly.  Conditioner is my boo thang -(I have a variety of conditioners not all are silicone free).
I keep my hair happy by deep conditioning every time I wash it. Our type of hair is naturally dry so using a deep conditioner every time is very important. I alternate between the banana purity deep conditioner which my hair adores. I like to play around a bit. Honey, molasses, yoghurt and coconut milk are great treatments. I cover with a  shower cap and apply heat.
I don’t detangle. I use my fingers if I must.
I do tea rinses twice a month. I try to do an ayurvedic powder treatment at least twice a month for strengthing purposes. I like to play around a bit.
I always seal my ends.  I religiously use coconut oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, my diy amla oil and castor oil. I also do the Baggy Method quite often.
I absolutely cannot live without conditioner or Coconut oil.

15541062_1228029847252631_5164565351350120797_o

Lastly one – what makes your blog unique – why should other naturalists as check your page out?

I’ve created a space that is informative and positive. What makes my blog unique is Me! I offer myself – There is plenty of room for everyone as long as we give the best of ourselves!

Advertisements

Review: #MyNaturalHair

If you’re a newbie natural – can I be frank and say how jealous I am of you right now?

If you’ve only just embraced your God-given kinks and curls, you’re such a lucky fish because the local market for good quality natural hair products is booming right now!

We’re being spoilt for choice: I keep seeing see new brands of custards, creams and conditioners popping up that are locally made & produced – and I’m here for all of it. (Its about damn time too, don’t you think?)

One of these brands is the My Natural Hair range (currently available in Clicks).

Late last year, I got contacted to try their new range and yene was I excited. (I won’t even lie – guys I MOL for a surprise!)

my natural hair

The range consists of Nourishing shampoo (250ml), Hydrating conditioner (250ml) Strengthening oil (150ml) and Moisturizing butter (125ml) and when I received it, the professional look made me wonder will this finally be the natural product “holy grail” I’ve been seeking?

Looking at the outside of the packaging itself – the design is pretty, uncluttered & simple.  As the name #mynaturalhair suggests, the range is focused on all things natural. The colour theme on the packaging is very earthy: green, gold & brown. But does the outside match the inside?

I take a sniff test & the unassuming strengthening oil leaves me swooning. It’s like I’m camping along the West Coast. Like bottled nature. It’s such a pleasant smell I literally cannot wait to have it all over my hair.

Turning the bottle around & I’m happy to read that the all the products are sulphate, paraben, mineral oil, petrolatum & phthalates free. At approx. R100 per product (a little pricey but I’m willing to fork out IF the stuff is worth it) I’m further impressed. But is this too good to be true?

I bring wash day a little earlier to find out.

The shampoo looks, feels & smells clean. It lathers really well & leaves my locs feeling light. For someone with locs, finding the ‘right’ shampoo can be a bit of a mission but thankfully the nourishing shampoo seems to keep to its promise. (I’m currently  on my second bottle and its still holding up).

The conditioner doesn’t have as much slip as I’m used to (I understand slip as thick and gloopy) so the first time I use it, I put on a little too much wasting some of it BUT the result is that my locs are SUPER soft & my hair smells exotic. It also works nicely on my daughter’s hair. Its perfect for a mid-week refresh on three-day-old hair.

The strengthening oil is BY FAR my favourite. A little goes a long way. The base ingredient is sunflower oil I think -which responds very well to my locs, doesn’t leave it overly shiny & makes my hair smell fantastic for three days straight. My hair even feels stronger after using a little bit. I test it on my five-year-old daughter’s 3c curls and same result – so this will be in my shopping basket when I run out.

The butter doesn’t work so well on my locs. The way I understand it, the butter would be perfect for free natural hair (whereas mine is all matted up in my locs) as it soaks into the hair after a couple brushes with a normal brush or tangle teezer. I think it would work great on edges!

All in all I was super impressed with the range and how it made my hair feel and look. I’d give it 8/10.

This how my hair looks straight after a wash:

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and outdoor

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Image may contain: 2 people, outdoor

For more on the range, follow My Natural Hair on Facebook or give them some love on Instagram.

Have you tried the range? What did you think?

Which local product are you currently using?

Curls and Cocktails aka why natural hair meetups are “crucial” for selfcare 

You know how sometimes we get told about a must-see movie or taste-it-now pudding or one-day-only sale and immediately we feel like, ooo I’m gotta try that. So we make a mental note to do just that, right?

Right.

And then life happens and we get distracted and then we forget about that promised thing?

Right (stay with me).

And then that limited-time-only thing disappears and the opportunity is gone…

Then after the fact, we’re like “jare but I really was going to go/eat/do to that! Now I feel versin.”

Those were my exact feelings around the very first Curls and Cocktails event hosted by Cape Town Naturally back in 2016. It looked like such a vibe and I kicked myself for not being there.

Anyway that kak feeling of fomo (fear of missing out) made me vow to myself I wouldn’t miss the next one. Come hell or high water I’d be there.

Of course, just as luck would have it, the tickets were on sale while I was broke (FYI, Januworry is junk and the price of school stationery is from the devil)… and then when my payday eventually came around… the tickets were (yes, you guessed it) completely sold out.

By now my plak was completely gesak. I thought I’m not meant to go.

So God decided to intervene. (Or as Beyonce sings: If Jesus says yes, nobody can say no…)

After I had given up all hope … I got a whatsapp from fellow radio producer friend of mine, Kaylee Kruser telling me that she is going and asking me if I want to go with her…

(Seriously though, how perfect is that?)

I nearly lost my mind in excitement. I was finally going!

Two weeks later Shana Genever (writer and creator of ‘Just a Hoe with Babies’ and Into a Housewife) tells me she is going too.

Are the stars aligning? Why is everything falling into place… (so naturally)…

Saturday 25 March finally comes and I’m off to the Toad and Josephine in Newlands.

What I didn’t know was how “home”, safe and loved I would feel amongst these naturalistas.

I finally met plus-size model and businesswoman Justene Hillary Josias (someone I’d been stalking on Instagram for a very long time) and my admiration for her only grew further.

IMG_20170325_204750.jpg

She told us her hair story (making it so relatable through memes) and towards the end of her chat she said: “If you have a goal or dream go for it… It just might open the door to your greatness,” I swear it was like she was talking directly to me that I need to fulfill this goal I have. It couldn’t come at a better time.

This was followed by a chat by 7de laan actress Kay Smith (she played Tarryn, Errol’s love interest in the soapie) who spoke of a very important aspect on our natural hair journeys.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling

She reminded us that, your voice is the only voice you should be listening to when it comes to how you wear or style or express your hair – so if you decide to cut all your hair on the morning of a natural hair event (like she did) then do so. So what? Its just hair! This is YOUR journey! “Have a mantra every morning that you are more than enough. If you hair is kroeser than kroes, it’s your kroes – own it!”

I know right? Preach!

But wait there’s more…

My clear highlight of the whole evening was meeting up with a distant relative, Nadine. I won’t get into the details of how we’re related, but finally meeting and seeing my cousin – who is ALSO a natural – there is no greater joy! Don’t believe me? See these pics:

Image may contain: 2 people

Image may contain: 2 people, closeup

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

All in all, Curls and Cocktails was a full night of constant encouragement and natural hair appreciation that filled my emotional tank to the brim. When we need self-care, as naturals in a society that doesn’t always see our value and beauty … an event or “meeting of minds” like this can be the perfect antidote. A bos-kop boost 🙂

IMG-20170404-WA0011

Thank you to Cape Town Naturally  for hosting such a wonderful event

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing

I look forward to more and hope to see there

Keep it real

A

 

 

 

Coiled up/ Back to my roots/ Why I cut all my hair off

This is the post excerpt.

My natural hair journey started nearly five years ago with a number 1 haircut (big chop), lots of faux courage and too much self doubt. I was just as scared as you may be feeling/ felt right now.

In fact, if I look back…I wasn’t really ready for the gravity and ramifications of this massive hair decision.  It didn’t think this through like I usually do.

All I knew was that I needed authenticity.

So I cut all my hair off.

And then all my childhood fears came rushing to the fore…

I’d made a promise to myself to document this journey… but when I saw how “raw”, “coarse” and unnerving (in other words…how “kroes”) my hair was I changed my mind. My confidence was at an all time low. At the time I kept thinking, there is no way in hell I’m going to share  my most vulnerable part of myself to others.

And this blog was put on hold.

To be honest – I think the reason why I didn’t start (or want to start) writing about my hair was because I scared. Fear stops us from so much.

I was grappling with so many emotions back then: Regret, anxiety, fear. And I thought (at that time) that opening myself up to others would of compound those emotions.

It seemed too much and so I backed out. (Now I see what an excuse that is).

Instead I privately took time to build myself up and chisel away years of self-hate. I read, researched and unlearned a lot.

As my hair flourished, my confidence grew and I started reconsidering this blog.

Fast forward to today and now I think I’m ready.

Welcome to my hair journey…

A