Tendayi of Africanhairblog is from Zimbabwe but she lives in South Africa, she loves healthy hair and it shows because she has lovely texlaxed/ relaxed hair. Tendayi also has her own african hair care blog where she shares her hair journey and also helps other women on their journeys to healthy hair. We asked Tendayi about her hair journey and here is what she had to say. I hope this inspires you to start your own hair journey.
1. Are you relaxed or Natural?
I am relaxed (actually texlaxed. I now deliberately under process my relaxers to make my hair thicker).
2. What is your hair type? Describe your curl pattern
My hair is 4b/c. In its natural state it is very curly / kinky.
3. What was your starting length and what is your current one?
When I started my hair journey I was shoulder length. I had never grown my hair past shoulder length. I am now armpit length.
4. Describe the status of your hair before you started your Healthy Hair Journey…(include pic if possible)
My hair was thin and constantly breaking before I started my hair journey. It had never grown past my shoulders. My hairline was also non-existent from braiding and weaving back to back for 4 years.
5. What inspired you to start a HHJ and when was it?
I was inspired to start when I relaxed my hair after being natural for 4 years. I didn’t want my hair to break as it has done previously. I then began researching and reading up on hair and realised just how much information is out there.
I began relaxing my hair when I was about 17. In all the years my hair never grew past shoulder length. I never really knew how to take care of it. My hair would often break and I could never figure out why. I tried changing relaxers but it made no difference. This went on until 2005 when I became pregnant with my first child. I decided to go natural as I didn’t want to use relaxer while I was pregnant. I underwent a ‘big chop’ where I simply cut off all the relaxed ends and remained with short natural hair. The problem was that I didn’t know how to take care of my natural hair so I resorted to braids and weaves. I wore braids and weaves continuously from 2005 until 2009. In that time I had my second child. In January 2009 my family relocated to South Africa. Just before we relocated I went to a hair salon and had my hair relaxed. My reasoning was that I was moving to a new country and I would struggle to find someone to braid my hair. I (mistakenly) thought that relaxed hair would be easier to deal with in a foreign country. As I relaxed my hair I made a decision that I would take measures to ensure it did not break like it had done most of my relaxed life. This is when my interest in hair started. I began reading up on all things African hair. Getting my regimen right took me a long time though. In Jan 2011 I tweaked my regimen and also began blogging about my journey. This helped me to focus as well as to be consistent with my hair care.
6. How easy was getting into a regimen, knowing the right products etc?
It was not easy because it took me a long time to figure out what was best for my hair. I spent a lot of time copying other womens regimens and hair products on the internet. I would read a blog of a woman with waist length hair then I would go and buy the products and use them. Once I realised that this was futile I then focused on what my hair wanted. It then became easier to figure out which products were best for me.
7. Is this ‘regimen thing’ complicated?
Not at all. The key is to choose a simple regimen that goes with your lifestyle. It then becomes a part of you. The same way that women wash, tone and moisturise their faces twice a day without even thinking is the same way that I wash, condition and moisturise my hair twice a week!
8. How soon into your HHJ did you start seeing results?
I began my hair journey in earnest in January 2011. In February 2011 I could already see a visible change in my hair.
9. How long has it taken you to reach your current length?
It has taken me from January 2011 until now to reach the length I am. This is the time I have really looked after my hair. The most dramatic change was in the beginning.
10. Do you think what you achieved would be possible without learning the Proper techniques necessary to grow African hair long?
Without taking proper care of my hair I would still be in the cycle of a little growth then lots of breakage. Using proper techniques is what has made the difference in my hair.
11. Do you believe anyone who adapts the correct techniques can grow fabulous hair or is there such a thing as bad hair?
I think everyones hair responds to proper care. Our hair problems mostly stem from not taking proper care of our hair and not using the correct products. ‘Bad’ hair does not exist, just hair that is not getting proper care!
12. How many people have been inspired by the length you have gained and decided to start a HHJ?
I am not really sure. Since I started blogging as well as the facebook page I am now more in touch with others. I receive hair related emails daily but I am not sure how many people I have inspired.
13. What is the most heart-felt advice you would give to other African ladies thinking about but not so sure about starting a HHJ?
Keep it simple. Make sure your regimen goes with your lifestyle. The most difficult part is starting the hair journey. Once you begin to see results you will be hooked!
14. What would you advice a Newbie NOT to do?
Do not jump on every product you read about. Find what works for you.
15. So are you hoping to grow your hair to ankle length? what are your short term and long term goals?
My next goal is bra strap length. I am still far from there! My ultimate goal is blunt cut bra strap length.
Extra comparison pictures!!
5/02/2011 & 27/08/2011 respectively