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Meet Ursula Stephen and Nthato Mashishi

17 Oct

Ursula and Nthato

About two weeks ago I had the privilege of interviewing celebrity hairstylists Ursula Stephen (‘US’) and Nthato Mashishi (‘NM’).  Ursula is best known as being Rihanna’s hairstylist though she has styled many celebrities including Keisha Cole, Monica, Kerry Washington, Iman, Mary J Blige and more.  Nthato on the other hand has styled for many magazine covers and worked with Bonang, Bassie Khumalo, Terry Pheto, Lira, Nhanhla Nciza and many more.  It was a great interview, more of a conversation really!  We spoke about all sorts of things hair related.  Here are their thoughts:

On weaves …

US – You need to realise that celebrities don’t look like that every day.  They are styled to be photographed for functions and events.  Off camera they look ordinary just like everyone else.  Celebrities do not look like that every day.   Stylists create an illusion when it comes to celebrity’s hair and the illusion is very difficult to match.  Remember, there is a whole team behind a look, including the right lighting and the best photographers.  Don’t think that what you see on a magazine is what a celebrity looks like every day.  Don’t just follow celebrity hairstyles blindly.  You need to choose what works for you based on your lifestyle, personality and budget.

A full sew in weave is one of the best weaves because it protects your whole head.  You do not need to worry about flat ironing and combing your hair every day to blend your hair with the weave.

When you see celebrities with red hair one month, blonde the next and then black the next month – remember that stylists are using extensions to achieve those different looks and colours.  We do not colour the hair each time to achieve the different looks.  Do not colour your hair frequently to follow trends!

NM – The hair underneath the weave needs to be taken care of.  Weaves are an accessory and should be seen as such.  The hair underneath the weave needs to be nourished.  Women tend to relax when they get weaves / braids.  This is often the cause of hair breakage and hair loss.

On relaxers…

NM – Do not take short cuts with relaxers.  They involve chemical reactions.  Do not take chances.

US –There is a lot of overlapping of relaxers.  Only relax the new growth.  That’s the main issue I found in South Africa, a lot of hairstylists are overlapping relaxers.  The problem is that you do not see issues / problems from overlapping relaxers right away so sometimes you will not associate these issues with overlapping relaxers.  Education is important.  That’s why we have been doing master classes in South Africa, to educate hair stylists.

On how celebrities maintain their hair…

NM – It’s a team effort.  Celebrities also look after their hair at home between stylist visits.  Celebrities also have hair problems when they neglect their hair.  They are not immune to hair issues.  Treating hair is crucial for healthy hair.

On hair colour …

NM – There are two types of colour – semi permanent and permanent.  Permanent hair colour contains peroxide.  Know which one you are using.  Leave 3 to 4 weeks in between relaxer and colour if you are using permanent colour.  Sometimes permanent colour is used after a relaxer on the ends of the hair as highlights.  This can work if the colour is kept only on the ends.

On choosing a good hairstylist…

NM – a good stylist knows his craft.  He knows the products he uses.  He educates himself about latest trends, products and ingredients.  He follows the guidelines of hairdressing.  Find a good hair stylist through word of mouth.  Get recommendations from happy clients.

On maintaining a cropped cut…

US – Wrap a short hairstyle at night.  Unwrap the hair in the morning and use pomade / gel to pick the hair and shape it the way you want.  A short cropped cut is actually low maintenance.  Just make that you get a great cut and also get regular trims to maintain the cut even as often as every 2 weeks.

On Minnie Dlamini’s hair…

Minnie’s hair at SAFW

I asked about Minnie’s hairstyle on the South African Fashion Week ramp and whether they had added a hairpiece to make her perm rod set fuller and longer.

NM – It’s all her hair.  There is no hair piece or extension!  The spiral curls have been pulled up and teased so that the hair is high.  The perm rod set can be done with different lengths of hair and different perm rod sizes can be used to get different looks.  You can add a hair piece to achieve the style but we didn’t add any to achieve that particular style on Minnie.

On Rihanna’s latest short cropped hairstyle…

Rihanna’s latest hairstyle

US – That is Rihanna’s own hair.  It’s relaxed.  We wanted to create something simple so we could give her hair a break.

On Rihanna’s next hairstyle…

US –wait and see!!

On their accessibility as hairstylists…

NM – I render my services to anybody who can afford them.  If you can afford my services I’m happy to render them to you.

US – I agree.  With anything in this world, there is a market.  If you can afford my services then I will provide them to you.  Often though I am booked way in advance and cannot accommodate someone on short notice.  I cannot take them on as a client not because I only service certain types of people but because I am already booked.

On the inspiration behind their celebrity looks…

US – Inspiration comes from all over.  I make sure I keep up with what’s happening in fashion etc.  I collaborate with stylists.  I also know my clients and know what they can pull off.  A style I would do for Rihanna would not necessarily work for Monica because they have two different personalities.  I have a mental list of things I’d like to try, for example, on the red carpet or on certain clients.  I dream hairstyles!  I always have magazines and constantly check websites – that’s how I educate myself and keep up to date with my craft.

NM – There is also pressure to deliver.  There is pressure from the public to see what’s next.  We are constantly thinking and following trends.

On getting into the celebrity hairstylist industry…

US – Immerse yourself with everything hair.  If you have to push a broom, push one at a salon.  When I started I was working as an assistant in a salon and not allowed to touch hair but I was in the environment where hair was being done.

NM – I started working in salons on school holidays, prepping and shampooing clients.  Never stop learning and always be hungry to learn.  Equip yourself with knowledge to stay on top of your game.   Also think of it as a business – you are a brand.

On their favourite styles that they have done…

American Idol performance 2011

MTV Europe Music Awards 2012

Back of the hairstyle

Kids Choice Awards 2008


Bonang Matheba

True Love Magazine Dec 2011 (same weave as above, just flat ironed straight)

18th SAMA awards – pieces were added to the weave to create volume on the side

How to get hold of them:

Twitter: @NthatoMashishi

Twitter: @UrsulaStephen

Nthato’s manager : email –


Meet Gail Nkoane

27 Aug

I am so glad Gail agreed to answer questions for the blog.  I have been admiring her hair from afar!  I first knew of her when she made it to the top 10 in season six of South African Idols (2010).  She had her signature short hairstyle even back then.  She currently stars as Lelo Sedibe in the soap opera ‘The Wild’.  It airs on Mnet and on Africa Magic.  She has got to be one of the most beautiful women on South African (and African?) television!  I’m sure you will agree.  I asked her a few questions relating to her hair.  Take a look at her answers:

   1.       Where are you from?
I’m a proud Kimberlite 🙂  (Kimberley, South Africa)

 2.       Do you relax your hair?  Which relaxer do you use?
Oh, definitely 🙂

 3.       How do you take care of your hair day-to-day?
That’s the fun thing with short hair, it’s the easiest to maintain… so much so that some mornings I literally just wake up!! 🙂  I use bees was for daily styling and to help with texture.

 4.       How do you achieve your short crop style?
Hmmm… I have my hair cut in that style.  🙂  I wash and condition my hair, then I wrap it with wrapping lotion and sit under the hair dryer.  Once the hair is dry, I either style it with my fingers or with a straightening iron!

5.       What are your favourite hair products?
None in particular but I use hair silicone and bees-wax regularly.

6.       Do you have a particular hairstylist who does your hair?
Yep, besides myself, I have two 🙂

 7.       How do you keep your hair healthy with the daily styling required in your acting career?
As mentioned, because my hair is short, it does not require daily styling, so it is naturally healthy as it’s not exposed to heat on a daily basis.  I also do regular scalp and hair treatments and keep my hair and scalp moisturised daily

 8.       What’s the longest your hair has ever been?
About shoulder length, but I felt and looked much older  😀

9.       How often do you trim your hair to maintain your cut?
It really depends on how long I want it to grow.  Sometimes I’ll trim it monthly and sometimes I let it grow longer.  It really just depends on how I feel.

 10.   You started off in ‘The Wild’ with long weaves.  What brought about the change to short, cropped hair which your character now wears?
I’ve had my hair short for six years now, so having to wear a weave was a tad uncomfortable.  Then I tried wigs because it allowed me to be myself when I’m not on set.  For me, there is just too much effort in maintaining a weave or wig, so I suggested to our head of hair and make-up to start using my own hair from Lelo’s ‘wedding day’.  They agreed and I never looked back.

Lelo’s ‘wedding day’

 11.   There have been debates about whether you sometimes wear short weaves / wigs that resemble your short crop hairstyle.  One such debate centred around your hair in an interview you did for the current season of Idols.  Do you sometimes wear short cropped weaves?
Nope, whenever you see my hair short, it’s always my own hair 🙂  (view the Idols interview here).

 12.   We heard news that ‘The Wild’ is being cancelled – any plans in the pipeline for life after ‘The Wild’.
Oh yeah, I’m always excited about my growth and development both as a performer as well as an individual.  Apart from being offered various roles and exploring business opportunities, I’m excited about going back into studio and working on my music.  I’m working with some of the country’s greatest producers and creative and cannot wait to be on stage again performing my own material.

 13.   Any hair care / style tips for someone wanting to try your short crop style?
The biggest challenge is finding a hair stylist who knows how to cut hair.  Once its cut, you can pretty much go wild.  With short hair, there are no rules!!!  The best thing is to learning how to style your own hair, that way you can play around and explore.  Take care of your hair, it’s just as important as your face.

Read more about Gail in this interview from Women’s Health magazine where she was on the June 2011 cover.  You can also follow Gail on twitter.

Take a look at other interviews with featured guests here.





Anna’s story

16 Apr

Hair on 2 April 2012

Please find below Anna’s* story in her own words.  She asked to share her hair story anonymously and serve as an inspiration to others.  I hope her story inspires you to carry on with your hair care and realise that it can be done.

I wanted to share my story and to encourage African women to start taking better care of their hair.  Even if your aim is not to have long hair, let’s all strive to have healthy hair.

I’ve always been interested in hair care, even when I used to do all sorts of things to my hair.  I hated having so much hair all over my back and on the floor after combing it in the morning.  However, my hair seemed to grow despite everything I did to it.  I would experience periods of “long” hair, then it would break off or I would cut it all off and begin again.  It was a cycle.  I used to cut off my hair in an effort to have healthier hair, but this never worked for long because I still continued with my unhealthy hair habits.  Before I started my hair journey, I wasn’t interested in having long hair, I just wanted healthy hair.

In the beginning of 2010 when I started university, my hair was around shoulder length.  I started weaving and braiding it more often than I did when I was in school, and because these were protective styles, my hair grew longer.  Even though I used less heat, I was still using way too much heat.  My hair was still unhealthy.  Apart from that I had colour in my hair, which meant I was supposed to go the extra mile with taking care of it, which I didn’t do.

In 2011, I started reading up on hair care on the internet.  I watched YouTube videos as well and was inspired to take better care of my hair.  I wanted to grow long hair too.  My current hair goal is mid-back length (mbl).  I finally started my hair journey in October of 2011.  I didn’t do a big chop (bc) but rather a trim.  I started rehabilitating my damaged ends which were the part of my hair which had colour.  I decided that I will take care of my own hair instead of going to the hairstylist and asking her to grow my hair for me.  Besides, I have a theory that hairstylists care more about how your hair should look, rather than how healthy it is.  I joined Hairlista and The Science of Black Hair.  I also read up on posts on many other forums and even blogs.

Before I try anything on my hair, I always read up on it first, from many different sources.  When I try something, I don’t try too many new products at once, because if a product is to give me problems, I won’t know which product it is.

My current regimen:

  • Cowash 1x a week ( 3x a month) (Pre-poo before)
  • Clarify 1x a month (egg and extra virgin olive oil  protein treatment before and hot oil after)
  • Deep Condition  1x a week, after my washes
  • Scalp massage whenever I have time and while doing my hot oils and pre-poos
  • Use heat 1x a month to straighten my hair so I can lightly trim my ends
  • Trim after every relaxer, unless it’s not necessary
  • Dry hair via air drying, roller-setting, saran-wrap method (to straighten)
  • Use wide-toothed combs and go to sleep with a scarf on
  • Moisturise and seal every day, but I avoid over-moisturising hair

My current oils:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Amla oil

Recently I decided to give braids and weaves a break.  I’m going to try and deal with my own hair “as is”.  This is because I don’t like weaving and my braids start looking old very quickly and they aren’t always kind to my hairline.  I’m a little bit anxious because now I’ll have to deal with my new growth since I won’t be using braids and weaves during my stretches.  I’ve also realised that I am not very good at de-tangling my hair and babying my new growth, so those are my current hair goals.  I’m also looking to start using honey in my deep conditioners, especially when my new growth gets hectic, since it is a humectant.

I’m still learning and I am hardly an expert at this, but I hope my story (so far) will encourage ladies to get started and keep going.  Happy hair journey everyone.

*not her real name

Hair on 17 January 2012

Meet Lira

2 Mar

Please meet Lira.  She is a multi-platinum, award winning South African Singer/Songwriter.  I have always been curious about her hair.  She has kept it natural for years now in an industry where the majority of women wear weaves.  She is always the example I give when someone says to me they want to go natural but they are afraid they will look like a boy!  Where do I even begin with Lira?  To say I am a huge fan is an understatement.  I have ‘met’ her a few times at concerts but I got to talk to her, albeit briefly, when we did the Destiny Magazine Power Cover photo shoot. I asked if she would answer a few questions for the blog and she graciously agreed.  Here are the answers to the questions I posed to her:

1.       Where are you from?

I grew up in in the Daveyton township, Johannesburg’s East Rand section in South Africa.

2.       Why did you choose to keep your hair natural, especially in an industry where the majority of women wear weaves?

You know, sometimes I get asked if I’m ‘finally’ going to wear a weave now that I’m launching my career in North America.  Clearly it’s not necessary.  Keeping my hair natural has been the best thing for me and my hair.

My hair has since become my trade mark.  It is really the easiest hair style to have.  My hair is thick, healthy, soft and beautiful.  I can rock it with any kind of look.  I don’t feel restricted by it.  It reveals my face and neck and allows me to play around with accessories.

I keep my hair natural because it’s just ‘happier’ this way.  It is completely hassle free and virtually costs nothing to maintain.  The best part is that I can enjoy a head massage at any time, I can jump into the pool whenever I want and I can enjoy being outside in the summer rain if I choose.

3.     Have you ever had a relaxer / perm?

I did keep my hair relaxed and braided for about 10 years.  While I was in College, I made extra cash by running a hair salon from my room at the student village.  My own hair had to be on point so I always had it relaxed, styled and sometimes I put highlights in it.  I kept a Halle Berry type of boy cut for about 6 years.  It got to a point where my skull was lifeless and my hair became like plastic.  It became thin and weak.  I then kept it hidden by braiding it.  I kept this up for another 4 years.  In 2006 when I finally decided to reveal my real hair, I found that it was badly affected – it was dry and brittle but there was just enough ‘growth’ to start anew.  I was recording my second album Feel Good at the time so I was always in the studio.  During the first week, I started liking my natural hair, I loved the fact that I could just get up and go.  The first week passed and my hair seemed to be responding well to being left alone, so I kept it natural.

4.       How do you take care of your hair day to day?

I have a really get up and go hairstyle.  It’s very low maintenance.  I get my hair cut twice a year and give it a good wash about once a week as well as a deep conditioning treatment like once a month.  I just work to keep it clean, moisturized and soft.

On a day when I wash my hair it’s a 2 hour affair – because I leave the conditioner on so long.  But overall, my hair is so low maintenance it’s an absolute pleasure to care for.

5.       Do you foresee yourself ever relaxing your hair or wearing a weave in future?

I don’t see myself ever relaxing my hair again.  I may wear a weave if a movie role required it, but at the moment I don’t have the desire to.  I do enjoy braiding my hair from time to time and I also like corn rows but that’s as far as I’ll go.

6.       What are your favourite hair products?

I use Soft Sheen-Carson Sta-Sof-Fro natural hair products.  They keep my hair soft and shiny without making it greasy.  There is a lovely gel and braid oil moisturizing spray that I use.  I also really like Organics deep conditioner, it leaves my hair very soft.

7.       Any hair tips for other women who are thinking of going natural?

Keep it clean, keep it short and keep it neat.  Those three things stop hair from misbehaving, leaving hair very rich and thick.  I think one of the reasons women are put off by natural hair is the fact that it can get hard, but when you keep it short and moisturized it stays nice and soft.

8.       How do you do the style you have in most of your public photographs (the wash and go look!)?  It always looks so neat!

Believe it or not, I comb it out with an afro-pick and then create the messy afro look using circular hand motions.  This prevents it from locking and helps keep it manageable.  I then pat it neatly so that it becomes a more organized mess 🙂

9.       What is your favourite hairstyle?

If I don’t wear my natural hair then I really like my corn rows.  They are even less maintenance and assist in growing my hair.  I have discovered though that my hair is “happier” when it is left alone.

10.  Do you have a stylist?

I feel that there is not much one can do with my hair because it’s so short, so there’s no need for a stylist.  I do however have a lady who does the cornrows for me, and we do experiment a bit with that.

Ok, the next two questions are not hair related but I just had to ask!

11.  Where do you get the dresses you wear to your shows?  You are always on point!

I wear a lot of local South African designers to award shows including Stoned Cherrie, Sylvester Falata, Gert Johan Coetzee, David Tlale and Bongiwe Walaza.

11.   What do you do with the dresses after you have worn them?  I have not seen you wear a dress twice, especially the performances I have been to!

Through Facebook and some of the national newspapers, I find a few students who have great school results but cannot afford dresses for the Matric Dance(Prom).  I have them write a motivation for why they deserve a dress, give us an indication of what their future plans are and submit their term results.  We make a selection and then they get to choose one of my dresses.  Sometimes the sizes are not right and we have to get them altered or get brand new dresses.  This is fun and gives the girls a sense of value.  We have recently included boys as well in the last year.

Lira has graced the covers of numerous fashion & lifestyle magazines and has won a multitude of accolades from The South African Music Awards, MTV Africa Awards, Channel O Awards, Metro FM & MOJO Awards as well as Glamour Magazine South Africa’s 2008 “Woman of the Year.”

LIRA is the first African artist to release a full HD DVD in Blu Ray (3x Platinum) and she is the highest selling vocalist in South Africa. She has released five platinum selling albums on Sony Africa: All My Love (2003), Feel Good (2006), Soul in Mind (2008), Live in Concert; A Celebration (2009) and Return to Love (2011).  She is preparing for the release of new LP Rise Again (2012).

For more information on Lira visit her website, facebook page and twitter profile.

Ladies in Kenya – Lira will be in Nairobi on 4 March 2012.  See her website for details.  Go to her show and see why I love her so much  🙂

Meet Mwedzi

6 Jan

Early 2011

I came across Mwedzi while browsing the internet.  Her name is mentioned in many forums when members list women with hair that they admire.  What struck me initially was that her name means ‘moon’ in Shona.  When I got in touch with her asking (ok begging!) to do a feature on her hair I learnt that she has spent some time in Zimbabwe!  Im really glad she agreed to answer some questions for the blog.  Her hair is absolutely stunning.  She also wears the most beautiful accessories in her hair.  I hope she provides some motivation, especially for readers with natural hair.

1. Where are you from?

I’m from California, USA, but I now live in Maryland, USA.

2. How would you classify your hair?

I am a type 4b

3. How long is your hair?

My hair at its longest points is 18 inches (45 cm).  This is about waist length on me when straightened.

4. Do you have a hair regimen? What is it?

I don’t have a well-defined regimen.  I struggle along, trying to find something that will make my hair easier to deal with.  My hair is really difficult to me.  In particular it is very time-consuming.  So in general, I don’t recommend that anyone try to copy what I am doing, because there are plenty of other women with beautiful hair whose regimens are well-defined and who would be better role models.

That said, what I usually do is wash once a week.  Before washing, I detangle my hair.  I divide the hair into about 10 sections.  Then add water and oil or conditioner to a section and detangle with a wide-tooth comb.  Every now and then I use my Goody Add+Shine brush to brush the hair as it helps remove shed hair.  I have a VERY difficult time removing shed hair from my hair without breaking it.  The hairs are always wrapped around each other and the shed hair does not slide out easily.  I have to unravel by hand frequently, and this is why my hair takes such a long time to do.  Weekly detangling takes about 3 hours.  After I detangle each section, I twist it up.  Once I’m finished with all sections, I get in the shower and wash with my hair in the twists.  When I get out, I style.  This may be doing twists on the wet hair or blow drying and doing a chunky twist out on the blow dried hair.

5. Have you ever had a relaxer / perm?

I had a relaxer for maybe 5-6 years.  From around the age of 11 or 12 to the age of 16 or 17.  So I haven’t had a relaxer for at least 16 years.  Even then I did not get relaxed regularly.  Most of my family straightened their hair with heat (a pressing comb) rather than with chemicals.  I did not start trying to care for my hair, however, until 2007.

6. Do you ever have bad hair days?

About half my days are bad hair days lol!  I just put a pretty accessory on and hope that detracts from the mess.

7. Have you ever thought of cutting your hair?

Not only thought of it, I’ve done it.  I’ve cut my hair a substantial amount (cutting at least half off) twice.  I just got angry, went to the kitchen, grabbed the scissors, and hacked a bunch off.  But after doing that twice, I realized it didn’t help much.  I would cut off 50%-75% of my hair, but the time it takes me to do my hair would only be reduced by 25%.  I think in order to have my hair be easy, I’d have to cut to less than 3″ (7.5cm).  I don’t want hair that short, so I don’t cut like that anymore.  I have, however, cut smaller amounts (3″/ 7.5cm or less) on multiple occasions.

8. What are your favourite products?

My favorite shampoo and conditioner are from a store called Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa shampoo and conditioner.  They are very affordable, the shampoo is gentle on the hair, and the conditioner softens my hair.  My favorite deep conditioner is Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Treatment.  I deep condition once per month.

 My current favorite leave-in is one I got from Kimmaytube on Youtube.  It is basically equal parts Kinky-Curly Knot Today, aloe vera juice, and oil.  Usually the oil is coconut oil as that is my favorite oil, but if not that, castor or olive oil.

9. Do you have a favourite style?

My favorite style is a twist out done with big twists on blow dried hair, with hair from the sides pulled back by a clip.

10. Do you have any women whose hair you admire?

I admire Sera2544 on Youtube.  Her hair texture is just like mine, but her hair is longer and bigger.  I admire Kimmaytube’s diligence, patience and meticulousness when it comes to her regimen.  I also admire LongHairDontCare2011, whose hair is unspeakably impressive.

11. What do you attribute to your hair growing to the length it is now?

I’m not sure, but I comb gently and use my fingers a lot.  I’m tender-headed, so I have to treat my hair fairly gently or it will hurt.

12. Do you trim your hair? How often?

I trim my hair 3-4 times a year.  I blow dry and just go section by section trimming off a little bit of the ends.  In the past year, I’ve gone a couple of times to a salon, which is something I haven’t done regularly since my teens.  Reniece is my stylist and she trims my hair when I see her.

13. Have you ever had a major setback where your hair is concerned?

Does cutting my hair with the kitchen scissors count as a setback?  If not, once I put in twists and washed my hair and allowed the twists to dry without undoing them or combing them out.  They matted up so tight after just the one wash that it took me a week to undue them all, and I cut a fair amount of hair off at that time.  Even this year, I tried the Tangle Teezer, which was wonderful in that it made my detangling time so fast!  But it gave me tons of split ends and I and Reniece had to be quite aggressive in the trimming to cut out all the damage.  Setbacks happen to me all the time.

14. Any hair tips you can share?

Even though many people seem to like my hair, I always feel like I am really not the best person to give someone hair advice because I struggle with my hair myself.  I guess the only advice I can give is to know that everyone’s hair is different.  So while you can take general tips from someone whose hair you admire, know that there is no guarantee that your hair will respond in the same way.  Pay attention to your own hair whenever you try something new so you can adjust it as you need to.

You can see lots more pics of Mwedzi’s hair in her Fotki albums or view her videos on Youtube.

Meet Gerry

5 Aug

I met Gerry Elsdon at a function I attended about two months ago.  She was the MC at the function and looking gorgeous as ever.  I had posted her picture in the ‘celebrity hair to inspire’ album on the facebook page and I had wondered about her locs and if they were all hers!  When I saw that she was MC’ing the function I was attending I was over the moon and wondered if she would agree to answer some questions for the blog.  I went over to talk to her and to my surprise she gave me her details and asked me to get in touch!  About a month later I saw her on the cover of True love (South Africa) magazine and my heart sank.  Would she make time for a tiny blog like mine when she was busy with interviews for glossy magazines?  I’m glad to say she did make time and allowed me to ask her some questions about her hair:

1.          How long have you had your locs?

I have had my locs for the last 20 years

2.          What method did you use to start your locs?

I have no clue, I did not know there were methods, my hair was short and natural and I simply started playing with it.

3.          How long are your locs?

My hair is down to the middle of my back.  I trim it 4 times a year to keep it at that workable length.

 4. How often do you retighten your locs?

I retighten my locs every 2weeks, I salon treat only, and when I tighten I style as well.

 5. Do you sometimes add extensions to your locs to make them longer?

No.  I find no reason to.  My hair is strong and grows exceptionally well.

6. How do you take care of your hair?

 On a weekly basis I use a moisturising spray and I oil my scalp.  Every 2 months I do a colour rinse to make my hair look refreshed as locs tend to easily become dull.

 7. What hair products do you use?

I only have my hair salon treated and therefore use salon specific products.

 8. How do you prefer to style your locs day to day?

I prefer my hair in an up style out of my face.  When it is down I prefer it curled so it has more body.

 9. What advice would you give other women planning on starting locs?

My advice would be for women not to think of it as a quick solution or a lazy style.  Locs are just as much hard work as any other hairstyle and they are not for the faint hearted.  Without a commitment to allowing them to grow as they should, you will soon find yourself cutting your hair and changing your hairstyle.

 10. How do you manage to find time for hair care in your busy schedule?

I make time.  I make it part of my routine.


For more information on Gerry as well as lots more pictures of her gorgeous locs visit her website:!/pages/Gerry-Elsdon/374913376336?sk=wall


Meet Joanne

15 Jul

I met Joanne on the internet on the Keepitsimplesista website.  I was drawn by her picture that showed long healthy looking hair.  The fact that she comes from Kenya was a bonus too 🙂She kindly agreed to answer some questions for the blog even though she is in the middle of preparing for a big exam.

 1.      Where are you from and where do you live?

I was born in Nairobi, Kenya and I have lived in Kenya almost all my life.  At the moment I am a student in Germany.

2.   What is your hair type?

I am not very sure but I guess it´s 4a/ 4b.  The back of my head tends to be a lot softer than the rest of the hair on my head.

3.   How long is your hair?

My hair is BSB (*africanhairblog note – BSB is below shoulder bone length.  Some use BSL – bra strap length).  This is the longest my hair has ever been.  Caring for it has really made a big difference considering I was shoulder length before starting my hair journey.

4.   What is your regimen?


I moisturise with S curl Activator Moisturiser and seal my ends with coconut oil.  I love protective styling so my hair is often in braid outs or buns so I don´t need to comb my hair at all until my next wash day.  I always protect my hair with a satin scarf at night to keep my hair from losing moisture.


I wash my hair with any sulphate free shampoo, and follow with a deep conditioner.  I alternate many deep conditioners mostly between Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner and Lustrasilk Mango Shea Butter Conditioner.  The former is a protein conditioner while the latter is a moisturising conditioner.  Most of the time I mix the two together and add some olive oil to the mixture.  Even though I use a sulphate free shampoo I still do pre shampoo treatments with coconut oil before I shampoo.  I always air dry.


I use a clarifying shampoo – Organic Root Stimulator Uplifting Shampoo.  I also use an egg mixed with olive oil as a protein treatment.

5.   What products do you use?


  •       sulphate free baby shampoo(any)
  •       Organic Root Stimulator Uplifting Shampoo.

 Deep Conditioners

  •       Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner
  •       Lustrasilk Mango Shea Butter Conditioner

 Leave Ins

  •       Scurl  Activator Moisturiser
  •       Homemade Glycerin Spritz


  •       Scurl Activator Moisturiser
  •       I have also used Kids Organics Shea Butter Moisturiser and I liked it too.


  •       extra virgin olive oil
  •       extra virgin coconut oil
  •       Argan oil( moroccan oil) this is great to seal the ends.  It makes hair silky straight and it´s even more amazing on skin and nails, it has made my nails harder and my skin smoother
  •       castor oil
  •       peppermint oil
  •       tea tree oil

 Heat Protector

  •       Organic Root Stimulator heat serum

 6.   How do you style your hair day to day?

I try to do protective styles as often as possible.  Buns and braid outs are my favourites.  I flat iron my hair after every relaxer so I can take pictures to compare length.

 7.   Have you ever had any hair problems or setbacks?

Since the beginning of my hair journey I have had two major setbacks due to protein overload and not detangling properly after a weave.

 8.   How long has it taken for your hair to get to the length it is?

It has taken me one year and about five months.   February 2010 – June 2011.

9.   Any hair tips you can share?

-First and foremost I advise everyone on a hair journey to just find out what works for them and not just take over other people´s regimens.  Just listen to your hair and in no time you will know what your hair likes and what it doesn´t like.

-Never go buying all the products you see other people using, just get yourself one of everything that you need for a start.  Give the products time to work and then change if you don´t like them.

– Stay away from too much heat.

– Be patient, growing healthy hair takes time don´t go taking pictures everyday to compare.  Every three months is good.

-If you relax your hair try to stretch the relaxers for at least 8 weeks.  I stretch mine for 12 weeks and this time I´ve made 16 weeks but I think I´ll stick to 12 weeks since I have experienced breakage during this stretch.  Also don´t stretch just because someone else did it and got good results.  Stretch as long as you can but when you start getting too much breakage just go ahead and relax or else you could suffer a setback.

– Don´t relax previously relaxed hair.

– If you get your hair braided or weaved make sure it is done gently.  You don´t need too much tension.  This causes breakage.  I have been nursing a bald spot caused by braids being done too tight in September 2010.  Thank God it has grown back.

– Never start doing your hair if you don´t have enough time or if you have to be somewhere else.  I once took out my weave and had an important exam the following day.  Before detangling I got into the shower and washed .  BIG MISTAKE!!  My hair was so matted and tangled.  I got so angry and I literally cried seeing all that hair coming out.  I had to get my boyfriend to help me detangle so that I could study for the exam.  This was the major setback I mentioned earlier on.

– If you get a product that works for you don´t change it.  Stick with it.

– Know that products do not grow your hair.  They just help you to maintain and retain your growth.

 10.   How do you manage to find time for your hair?

Since I don´t have much time during school days I only wash my hair once a week.   I then thoroughly moisturise and seal after air drying.  As for the rest of the week I just moisturise in large sections to save time.  At the beginning it is a little bit difficult but after you know exactly what to do it goes a lot faster.

 11.    How do you take care of hair in winter vs summer?

My hair regimen stays the same during both seasons but I tend to moisturise more often in winter.  The cold really dries out my hair.  This winter I will get myself a lace front wig as a protective style.

Joanne before embarking on her hair journey