Friday, January 16, 2015

Hair Feature: Uzoamaka

Hey Loves,

I have another hair feature and its my wonderful cousin! At her young, not so young age, she is already so inspiring it makes me wanna cry happy tears!! Read below and you'll see why. She is definitely one of my inspirations!!! Love you Uzo!!!! 

1. A little about you?

My name is Uzoamaka Uwechia, I am an 18 year old college student from New York that works as a Pharmacy Technician part-time and does makeup on the side.  I am studying to become a pharmacist but also have dreams to be a successful studio artist.

2. Facts about your hair.

I am Nigerian-American, so my hair is the product of completely African/black genes.  I have natural hair comprised of a mixture of a 4b texture at my crown, 3c towards the back, and 4c towards the front (though it is more of a wavy curl pattern than zig-zag, but still quite frizzy).  I am currently at bsl (bra-strap length) but have lots of shrinkage so on the first day of maybe a twistout, my hair will stop about 2 inches below my ears.

3. When did you start your hair journey?  Why?

First wash and go after big chop!!
I got my first relaxer right before the first day of third grade, so I should have been seven or eight.  I remember that time very well because I thought that relaxer made me the ish, so much so that I refused to unwrap my hair for days (meaning I went to school with my hair wrapped and a du-rag on) as to preserve the style for as long as possible, which I now see didn’t make much sense.  I loved relaxers when I first got them, my mom had one and my older sister got one maybe a week before, so I couldn’t wait to join the club.  I stopped relaxing my hair in late June of 2010 without the intent to go natural at first, it was the end of the school year and so the freedom of not having to upkeep my hair came. 
Relaxed days!!

At this time, I was already a Youtube addict, so it was only a matter of time before I stumbled onto some hair videos.  I was watching lovelyti2002's videos on her relaxed healthy hair then saw her video about her journey to natural and it was like an epiphany.  I had been getting relaxers for so long that I had even forgotten about the option of not getting them.  I didn't grow up in a family that voiced negative sentiments about afro hair, and I lived in a predominantly white area so black/afro hair wasn't even a topic of thought or conversation, and so I wasn't too much exposed to the idea that afro was ugly until I actually started going natural.  After seeing lovelyti's video and beautiful hair, I marched downstairs and told my mother that I wanted to cut all my hair off in order to go natural, and she basically told me to go and sleep lol.  I am glad that she did not allow me since short hair would have only accentuated the largeness of my head, and I cannot say that I was someone who was confident and sure of myself at that age, especially enough to undergo such a drastic change.  So that day began my two year transition to natural and in late June of 2015 (I am not sure of the exact day), I will be 5 years post relaxer and 3 years natural.

4. What is your current regimen?

I don't so much have a regimen, more so an idea of things I should and shouldn't do to my hair, and roughly when I should do them.  I usually wear braids 4-6 months out of the year, and I will flat iron my hair once or twice a year and get a trim in that time.  The remainder of the year, I will wear my hair out, then when I get tired of it, I will put in mini-twists (no extensions) for a month and wear it's twistout for about two weeks.  As you can tell, my "regimen" is one of lots of protective styling and low manipulation styles.  For the times when my hair is out in its regular afro state, I will cowash when my hair feels crusty/needs the sort of rejuvenation that just a moisturizing crème and spritz of water cannot provide, that will be about once a week.  I will shampoo wash my hair when my scalp is dirty or my strands feel like they have product buildup, though I have virtually alleviated myself of buildup by switching my conditioner.

5. Do's and Don'ts about your hair

·      Section my hair before working with it, depending what I am doing, most times I will make 2-8 sections.
·      THROUGHLY comb my hair before shampooing, not doing this has resulted in lots of tangles and hair loss on occasion
·      Loosely finger detangle with oil before combing
·      Comb hair under running water (MASSIVE time saver, knots slip out a lot easier)
·      Apply oil right after shampooing (oil rinse), it seals in the moisture much more
·      Keep my hair in protective or stretched styles majority of the time, I definitely have the type of hair that likes to tangle and these styles minimize that.
·      Add some sort of moisture (water and oil, hair crème, etc) every or every other day
·      Deep condition before and after any big change in style (i.e. getting boxbraids, mini-twists, straightening)
·      Use a paddle brush to detangle; I barely use wide tooth combs since I find the brush to be easier.
·      Treat my edges with care.  My previous braid lady used a technique that would thin my edges after a couple sets of braids.  My new braid lady is gentler and uses a technique that never bothers my hair.  Also, I never keep a protective style in for longer than two months and don't use any gel or grease to braid (this creates those unbreakable wads of dirt that pull out your hair when loosening braids).

·      Don't wash your hair like the white girls in the shampoo commercials.  I don't think many black people actually do, and I don’t know who I thought I was trying to do it, but trust me it only makes things go really wrong.  Instead, I hold my strands taut while scrubbing my scalp so my hair is still stretched and tangles less, then rinse, add oil and conditioner, and twist to keep stretched.
·      I try not pull out single strand knots and opt for cutting them out.
·      Don't go too many nights without throwing in at least a couple big twists, braids, buns, whatever, to keep the hair stretched.

Straight hair evolution; current length on the right
6. What are your hair goals?

Out of curiosity, I am trying to see how long my hair can get.  Though I do enjoy the stage that my hair is in now, I would be thoroughly satisfied with mid-back length hair (while straight).  I have figured out how to keep my hair moisturized and feeling nice so I am not so worried about that. 

7. Staples?

·      A moisturizing shampoo
·      a tresemme conditioner (I used to use herbal essence or aussie moist which detangled well but left a film/buildup)
·      shea butter, olive oil, castor oil
·      shea moisture coconut and hibiscus milk
·      cantu shea butter leave in conditioner (for before I blow dry my hair)
·      a spray bottle with water
·      a heat protectant
·      a gel (I barely use gel so I've only tried ecostyler and it works)
·      Some deep conditioner, I used to mix coconut milk, honey, oils and cholesterol conditioner, and that mix was life itself, but I fell of my game so I just use whatever's around now.
·      Hair scissors
·      A paddle brush
·      A soft boar bristle brush for my edges
·      Bobby pins and ouchless hair ties/bands

8.  Share a hair experience

I think the best hair experience I've had was when I first met a little girl who quickly became family.  She walked upstairs with my little sister, and since my door is usually open, she came in to say hi.  She was excited and pleasantly surprised as she told me "Wow! You have the same hair as me!  Your hair is so pretty!", then went back downstairs to tell her mom.  That might not seem significant to many people, but hair is a lot than just hair for black women.  No other race would become excited to see that someone of their own race has hair like them, it would be of no surprise.  I am glad that she could find representation of someone who looks like her in me, and that she found that representation to be beautiful, because for young black women in America, that doesn’t happen often.

9. For those seeking advice about healthy hair.

I suggest lots of youtube and blog browsing, experimentation, protective styling and moisture.  Oil rinsing and the LOC method should really help with moisture.  Also, support those who look like you and whose purpose is to serve you.  This means watching videos of people who actually look like you and companies who devote themselves to catering to natural hair (esp black businesses), which will in turn grow them and allow them to better support you.  That may have seemed kind of unrelated but it creates more options and means for you to have healthy hair.

10. Where can you find me?
Instagram - @uziiu
Makeup and nail Instagram - @chi.amaka

Facebook – Uzoamaka Uwechia

Blow out growth!!

Fro Growth!!

Hope you enjoyed reading about her journey so far, and learnt a thing or two! I think this series helps enlighten us in a way that we learn about others and their heathy hair journeys, see whats similar to ours, and what isn't.

I would like to feature a lot more people, all textures and types, relaxed or natural, coloured or not! There is a lot to learn so why not share your story? Email me @: if you'd like to share your story!!


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