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January 22, 2013

Natural in London: Sharron’s HairStory


by Shelli of Hairscapades

Who are you and from where do you hail?
Hey all! I’m Sharron from London, England.

What do you like most about your homeland?
I think London is a great place to be in the summer … such a nice atmosphere being in the heart of London when the sun’s shining. I also like that it’s very multicultural.



What is the hair norm for black/brown women where you live? If natural hair is not the norm, is it becoming more prevalent?
There’s definitely more weave and relaxer wearers than there are naturals. But, I see a lot more natural ladies nowadays. It’s no longer perceived as an oddity to wear your hair natural. I love seeing someone wearing their natural hair; I always give a little smile. I just find all the different styles you can achieve by wearing your hair natural refreshing.

What was your hair like during your childhood and teen years? How did you feel about it? How was it perceived by others?
I remember my mum doing ‘chiney bumps’ (similar to bantu knots?), when I was younger and I remember her greasing my scalp with Dax, lol. My hair flourished under her care. When I started doing my hair myself, I use to do some crazy stuff to it. I actually cringe when I think about the abuse I bestowed upon my poor head!! I used a hell of a lot of gel … nasty, alcohol-ridden gel. I would use hotplates to dry my hair from damp as I didn’t have a blow dryer at one stage … *shudder*. Let’s just say, I’m surprised I still have hair. In my era, everyone had natural hair anyway, so it wasn’t an issue wearing my hair natural.




If you relaxed your hair at some point, why did you (or your guardian) make that decision? When and how long were you relaxed before you decided to go natural?
I relaxed my hair at the grand ole age of 18!! The only reason I relaxed my hair was because it wouldn’t ‘hold’ a style. I would straighten it all nicely and then as soon as I left the house ‘poof.’ What I didn’t realise then is that my hair was doing what it was suppose to do … curl up. I was trying to force my hair to go against type. If I knew then what I know now … how many times have we all said that?? I was really excited when I got it relaxed and was actually amazed when I stepped outside and my hair didn’t ‘grow.’ I remember bopping down the street with my new Janet Jackson windswept hairstyle.



What prompted your decision to go natural?
I always say my decision to go natural wasn’t a conscious decision, it was forced upon me!! I love colour and curls, so even when my hair was relaxed, I would constantly colour and curl it as I didn’t like limp flat hair, I like big hair. I would put ringlets in my hair and rarely wore it straight. No one told me that you shouldn’t really use heat on relaxed hair, so I was not aware I was damaging it. To be fair, my hair is very strong, because it was years before it finally started to break and say, ‘enough is enough woman!!’

I decided to put it in a weave as I couldn’t think of anything else to do with it as nothing would stop the breakage … ApHogee treatments, nothing! I gradually snipped away to maybe 6 inches? At the time, I think it was bra strap length. As I was wearing a weave, cutting it didn’t bother me. I honestly thought I would be wearing weaves for the rest of my days as I didn’t ever consider wearing my hair natural as I couldn’t imagine it would look ‘smart’ enough.

This is where the decision was made for me. One weekend, I decided to remove my weave myself and do a treatment before getting it put back in on the Monday. When I removed my weave, I saw that I had a patch, no, a landslide where I’d been constantly wearing the same parting!! From that day, I stopped wearing weaves and was forced to deal with my hair in its natural state.

What has your natural hair journey been like? How has your decision been received by family, friends and people in general?
As I was forced to go natural, my decision wasn’t discussed with anyone. I will say that the last 3 years is when I’ve really learnt what works for my hair and how to get it to do what I want it to do … now I’m not working against type.

What do you see as the challenges of being natural? Are there any things that you think are unique to where you live? If so, what and why? How do you think they can be overcome?
I honestly think looking after natural hair requires more effort than relaxed hair. It takes longer to wash, detangle, then you have to twist/braid it if you wear twist/braid outs. Luckily, there are more products targeted for natural hair now, although not as much as in the States.

What is your regimen? Do you use/prefer commercial or natural products? Are the products that you like and want to try readily accessible and affordable? Where do you purchase them?
My regimen is quite a lazy one. I’ve taken to doing clay washes recently as it requires less effort then shampooing and conditioning my hair. When I do clay washes, I can get away with not conditioning my hair you see!! Lazy! I also try and henna once per month, but as we’ve previously discussed Shelli, henna loosens my curls to the extent my hair looks like heat damage in parts. I make my own Hair, Bath & Body products. So, I use my leave-in conditioner, a bit of flaxseed gel and JBCO & Nilotica Balm to seal, and then twist my hair.



Are there salons that cater to natural hair where you live? Are stylists trained in handling natural hair? Do you go to a salon?
I have never been to a natural hair salon, but my friend took her daughter to one to have her hair straightened (they used a hot comb). When she washed her hair a couple of weeks later, her gorgeous curls had heat damage and was straight and stringy in places.

What do you enjoy and/or love about being/going natural? Has the journey taught you anything about yourself?
I love not having to run from the rain, I love not having to worry about my hair sweating out at a club, I love the versatility and I love that I’m not smothering my scalp in chemicals. So, my landslide was a blessing in disguise.



Do you have a Hair Crush?
I love your hair Miss Shelli, Curly Nikki and Teyana Taylor (with and without bits added).

Who do you follow online?
You, Curly Nikki, Fusionofcultures (I think she is the cutest thing ever with great hair). I’m sure there are others …

Anything else that you’d like to share?
I can be found at my blog: www.fortheloveofkinks.wordpress.com
My products can be found at: www.sheadecadence.co.uk
Twitter: @shea_decadence and @theloveofkinks

Thanks for having me and keep up the good work!

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