by Antoinette of Around the Way Curls

When and why did you decide to go or stay natural?
In 2004 I was so fed up with my hair that was dry, brittle and felt like straw. I had just changed hairdressers and my new stylist strongly suggested stopping the relaxers. She did however suggest starting to perm my hair as the pH of the perm was more acidic and therefore less harsh! I fell for it and continued perming for a few months! Still had hair like straw though!!
Then I fell pregnant and changed hairdressers again (this time trying a stylist who was white) and she suggested stopping all chemical processes! And so my journey began!! So there I was, pregnant and transitioning at the same time!! Talk about brave, LOL

Did you big chop or transition? How did you manage your hair while going natural?
I transitioned. I would normally do a roller set and when dry, blow it out straight or flatiron straight!!! So, the damage continued even though my hair became allot healthier! I continued this for the next 2 years!!

Have you always been so confident and in love with your curls? What is your hair story?
Sadly, the short answer is no! Being born in South Africa as a person of colour with kinky curly hair made me feel inferior to Caucasian girls! Even in our segregated schools you were seen as inferior, less beautiful if you had hair that wasn’t either straight or loose bouncy glossy curls!! Anything tighter than a 2b was considered bad hair (“kroes” in my language) Therefore, I actually hated my hair and saw it as a curse.

I started embracing my curls when we moved to Cyprus (a little island in the Mediterranean sea). See, here the humidity reaches 90% easily in summer! Therefore, my hair would frizz and look like cotton candy even after flat ironing! So, I went online and stumbled upon a sight called “! What a Godsend!! And so my real natural journey started! A full 3years after stopping the chemicals! For the first time in my adult life I stood face to face with my natural curl pattern! In the beginning it was a ” love-hate-relationship”! But as I got the hang of it slowly my hatred made way for love and acceptance! Now I look in the mirror and say : ” damn girl! You sexy you!!” AND I LOVE IT!!

How do you think going natural has affected your life? For the better or worse? And why?
For the better! Now I can walk in the rain without having to pray to Jesus to PLEASE not let my hair frizz! “hallaluyer”!( said in my best Madiya (Medea) voice). Being able to look in the mirror and love what I see was a totally liberating experience for me! Also I feel so exotic now, just the way God intended me to be!!!!

What is your hair regimen and nightly routine?
I’m still struggling in this department as I don’t have access to any good products on the island!! I basically co-wash with Tresseme moisture intense conditioner which I also use as a leave in. Seal with either coconut -or olive oil or a whipped Shea butter and oil mix. Then I diffuse to about 70% dry and leave it to air dry the rest of the way. I do a deep condition treatment with avo, plain yoghurt, honey (shout out to aroundthewaycurls!!!), when my hair feels in need of moisture.

At night I sometimes do a pineapple, but only if my husband feels like playing the part of Homer Simpson!! LOL! Otherwise, I just do a low pony and end up with really fuzzy hair in the morning!!!

If you were stranded on and island and could only have 3 products what would they be and why? WE DIDN’T KNOW SHE ALREADY LIVED ON ONE!!! SMH! DUMB QUESTION! NO DISRESPECT TO OUR AROUND THE WAY ISLAND CURLS! IT’S A FIGURE OF SPEECH HERE!!!
I kinda am stranded on an island now, LOL ; ). I would probably take my coconut – and olive oil and my conditioner! Simply because I can’t live without my oils!

What is your go-to style?
I love my to the side bun with a deep side path!

What is the worst mistake you have made with your hair?
I once did a colour and a relaxer right on top of each other! And lost some hair around my edges! Thank God it grew back again!!

Who is your hair idol?
I don’t really have one particular person! I take inspiration from people like you guys!!

You also have absolutely gorgeous skin. I know everyone reading this will be thinking that. What is your secret?
Thank you! Well, I never go to bed with makeup or without doing my nightly routine of cleansing , toning and moisturizing! I also apply EVOO to my skin. Maintenance is key! I also avoid direct sunlight!

Any words of wisdom that you would like to share with the masses?
Self-acceptance is the key to real happiness! Love yourself and life will be so much easier! I also want to please encourage all mothers with little curly headed daughters to embrace them and their curls and hence empowering them from a young age so they don’t go through all the pain and struggles we had to endure!

Be sure to LIKE the new Around the Way Curls Facebook Page!