Origins and current location?
Originally from Pretoria, in a small township called Mamelodi, where most of my conceptions and definitions of beauty are rooted. Currently reside in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg where all those conceptions and definitions got, uhm, well let’s just say… refined!
What are you currently up to?
I am a Digital PR account executive, and a freelance Journalist.
How long have you been natural? Briefly take us through your natural hair journey.
My nappy coils are officially a year old! And I think I have a crush on my hair, I can’t get enough of it. But this wasn’t always the case, not to say I hated my relaxed hair, but other people liked it more than what I personally did. So I kept my relaxed for years because it pleased other people for my hair to be like that; I fit it; I was “normal”; accepted. But my hair got to a point where it became extremely brittle and frail but I still hung on it for dear life, hoping it would go back to normal cause I could not bear the thought of losing my long straight locks. Eventually the damage was too much and it had to go.
Why did you decide to go natural?
Besides all the damage I got from the chemicals and heat, I felt like the hair was some sort of metaphor for a much more significant way of thinking. I needed to shift my perspective of what beauty was and what self-esteem meant. It wasn’t easy; it took a lot of self-acceptance and introspection to re-define what “my kind of beauty was”. The more I strived to look “normal” just so that I could fit in…I slowly lost Me. As a 20-something year old trying to make a name for yourself you can’t afford to lose yourself.
What do you love about your hair since you’ve gone natural?
Everything! I never knew my natural hair texture, can you imagine! Touching my hair feels so good to me. I feel like I am rediscovering so many different things about myself through my hair. I love how versatile it is and how beautiful it looks on me. My hair gives me an attitude that I carry out in all aspects of my life. It might sound like I’m giving my hair too much credit, but it deserves it.
And what do you dislike about your natural hair?
People’s perceptions about it.
What are some of the challenges and advantages you’ve experienced?
The biggest challenge was dealing with my TWA. I say dealing because I literally had to sit and convince myself that I am still feminine and beautiful with very short hair. That means I had to break walls that I had allowed to firmly stand tall in my head. I had to accept my own face; I felt vulnerable. But then again having my short hair meant I had a few more minutes in bed in the morning
What does your hair care regimen look like?
I keep my hair well moisturised and conditioned and I don’t mind the few minutes I spend twisting my hair every night to keep it protected. I wash my hair once a week and co-wash my hair at least 2 times a week. I try to keep my hair in protective styles most of the time to avoid any breakage or damage. Even if that means I have rock my doek for a good week, I will wear it with pride!
What hair products do you use and where do you buy them?
Most of the products that I use I got introduced to by a good friend ( thank goodness for that) and are available from most retail stores. I use Olive Miracle Growth Oil from African Pride and I use a lot of Organic Root Stimulator products like their Hair Mayonnaise, Holding pudding, olive oil and tea tree oil. I also use Shwartzkopf’s Gliss shampoo and conditioner range.
What results do you expect from a hair product when you purchase it?
Quality ingredients. I expect to have real natural ingredients that will keep my hair strong, nourished and protected.
Do you struggle finding products that work for your hair or are you happy with the ones you’re currently using?
I am always on the search for better quality, but at the moment my hair is strong and healthy. I have used products that were very damaging in the past though…
Are you planning on locking your hair in the future?
No, I like the versatility of my hair and I like having the variety of hairstyles I can try out with this texture.
Any hair care tips you’d like to share with our readers?
Keep your hair moisturised, try to cover your hair at night and also read the back of that product you are about to purchase!
You can follow Mpumie on Instagram: @melissamagagula