Friday, 22 June 2012

Featured Curlie - Angela

 Angela is an inspiration not only as a Curlie, but also spiritually and physically. She has a such positive attitude while living with her disability. It's my pleasure to feature her. Thanks for being a part of my blog Angela!!!

Name: Angela Njoku     

Hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia

First year of curlieness: 1996

Why I went curlie: When I was sixteen, my hair was straightened with a chemical relaxer.  As I got older, I found the relaxer chemicals to be too harsh for my fine hair.  By the time I was twenty-five, I noticed that the colour of my hair was changing to a coppery almost blonde colour at some parts.  I figured that this was a sign of damage to the hair and possibly to my scalp.  I decided to go natural.  I waited until I grew about a centimeter of natural hair under the relaxed hair, and then went to a salon and had the relaxed hair chopped off.  The hairstylist was tentative about cutting off my hair because my hair was shoulder length at the time.  But when it was cut to an afro, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated.  As time went by, I noticed that my hair became stronger and healthier.

I kept my hair in a very short style that framed my face (about half a centimeter in length) for about five years before deciding to grow it out.  My biggest challenges with being natural were finding products for natural hair, finding a hairstylist who was skilled in handling natural hair, and figuring out different ways to style my hair. 

Seven years ago, my health deteriorated to the point that I became disabled.  I thank God that my hair was natural at the time because I became too sick to visit a salon or do my hair myself; if I still had the relaxed hair I would have had to cut it all off.  But I receive home care, and my home support worker has been taking care of my hair for me among other things.  For the last five years she has washed, combed, styled and occasionally trimmed my hair when I couldn’t do it myself.  She visits twice a month, and I manage my hair the rest of the time. Thank God that my health is turning around now, so I am able to do a little more with my hair and occasionally get out to a salon for a trim and conditioning treatment. The reason why I mention this is to encourage anyone who is considering going natural.  If I can keep my hair natural while dealing with a disability, you can do it!
Angela with a cornrow braidout.

Regime and products:
The frequency in which I wash my hair is based on its length and how my scalp feels.  It’s a little bit longer than shoulder length now, so it is washed twice a month.  (But when it was very short, I had to wash it every 2 days, and when it was chin length it had to be washed once a week.)  If I wash it too often, it becomes dry and my scalp itches.

Presently, I am using a natural shampoo called Hygenic, made by local hairdresser, Pauline Patten-Bailey of Hy-Style Beauty Care here in Halifax (website coming soon; see below for more information).  Pauline has developed a line of natural hair care products called Bailey Hair Care Products.   When I became disabled, I could no longer comb my thick hair.  But I discovered Bailey‘s Curl In Curl Out, which softens my hair so that it is a little easier for me to comb. I apply it every six months. 

One of Angela's favourite products from her stylist Pauline Patten-Bailey.

I also use Bailey‘s Bedew, a leave-in conditioner, after washing and as a daily moisturizer.  I use natural Shea Butter as a scalp and hair moisturizer.  It was given to me by a friend, but can be purchased in stores. The Shea Butter prevents my scalp from going dry and flaky during the winter months.  It also produces fantastic results when my hair is flat ironed.

I try not to fuss with my hair with too much combing, heat or product.  If it’s not dry or tangled but is soft and shiny, I know that all is well, so I leave it alone.  If not, I add moisturizer, condition it or use less heat on my hair.  (I try not to flat iron more than three times in one month.)  I make sure to get it trimmed every two months to prevent hair breakage and tangling at the ends. I also maintain a healthy diet, and try to eat carrots regularly to encourage a healthy scalp and hair growth.
Angela's wash-n-go look.

The best part of being curlie for me is: I like variety, so I have been one to change my hairstyle frequently. I love curly hair, because of the fact that it can be styled in many different ways with relative ease. It can be in its natural state or afro, locked, twisted, flat twisted, braided, flat ironed, straightened with thread, corn-rowed, you can add extensions to it, and so on.  Also, undoing a hairstyle (like twists or corn-rows) can create another hairstyle. An added bonus, I find, is that that curly hair (mine is quite curly) can hold a hairstyle for a long time, so it does not have to be changed every day if one wants to keep a style for a few days or weeks. My home support worker gives me a style that will last for two to four weeks.

One challenge about being curlie is that, no matter what style it is in, once my hair gets wet, damp or is exposed to humidity, it reverts to its natural curl.  I’ve lost a few hair dos after sweating or taking a bath!

Maintaining my hair in its natural state has been considerably less expensive than in those days when I used a chemical straightener, which to me, is another big bonus and reason why I have stayed natural all of these years.  Last, but not least, my hair is healthy, I am happy with it, and it looks better than ever!  That is the reason why I wanted to go natural in the first place: to have healthy hair that I could feel good about.

For you Canadian Curlies in Halifax, Pauline’s hair salon is located at 349A Herring Cove Road, Halifax; telephone 902.431.0556.

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