Hello everybody! My name is Irene Odipo Loderick . I hail from Kenya in East Africa and will be celebrating my 37th birthday soon!
What inspired you to start growing natural hair? How long have you been fully natural? What styles did you wear before this decision?
I decided to go natural as in a nutshell I was tired of being just another weaved up clone walking down the street or in a room already consisting of a tapestry of seemingly the same weave! All Black women were beginning to look alike with seemingly the same wig plastered on their heads and I just wanted to break free from the ‘norm.’ I just wanted to be free to be me and not worried or paranoid if someone was sat or stood behind me trying to discern my tracks. At my age it was just really important for me to become comfortable with who I truly am and that meant embracing every aspect of myself. I have now been fully natural for three years now after slowly transitioning and cutting off my relaxed ends.
Before I embarked on my natural hair journey, I was the reigning Queen of ‘Weave-O-Rama!’I was Naked without my weave and always found I had newfound powers to conquer the world after having a fresh, sleek and flowing new weave securely sewn onto my head! My weaves were always very convincing and left my husband very confused when I stopped wearing them!
What were the responses you received in response to your natural hair decision?
Everyone I know was initially in shock that I was ditching the weaves and relaxer after so long! I was notorious for always looking very sleek and polished in the hair department and people could not help but be a little alarmed at the sudden change! A lot of my girlfriends would just try to ask me as politely as they could manage: Why???? My response to the negative was always: And Why Not? I think my age might have had a lot to do with it as well because I had just reached a point in my life where I was finally accepting of myself warts and all and other peoples’ opinion did not sway me as much anymore. I had decided to go natural and that was about it. In their own time, they came around and are slowly falling more and more in love with my hair as I already am!
How often do you wash and style your hair? What are your favourite styles to wear?
I wash and condition my hair every week. My hair is usually in a bun almost 90 percent of the time. Sometimes if I have a special occasion I will do a wash and go using just whipped Shea Butter. Am not too big on styling products any more as over time I have watered it down to the point that now am almost back to just the basics. I wash my hair, when it’s damp, I mist it with Aloe Vera Juice and seal it with whipped Shea Butter infused with Almond Oil, Coconut oil and Olive oil and just leave it to dry. After about two hours, I have a nice fluffy wash and go which I wear just for the occasion but once am back home, my hair goes straight back into a bun.I am however not impartial to styling my hair and recently started my YouTube Channel where I share a lot of original styling ideas.
What products do you use in your hair?
I wash my hair once a week and condition it after every wash. I usually prepoo the night before using Vatika Oil or in the absence of this, I use just plain old coconut oil. The next morning my hair is already softened some so I go ahead and finger detangle my hair. I then go on to wash my hair using Creme of Nature Sulfate Free Shampoo, I rinse this off using warm water and then twice a month I will condition my hair using a mixture of Full Fat Natural Yoghurt and Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner for about half an hour under a shower cap or I use Vitale Hair Mayonnaise to deep condition again for half an hour under a shower cap. I rinse my conditioner off using cold water,spray aloe vera juice onto my damp hair and seal with my whipped Shea Butter mix,infused with Almong oil,Coconut oil,Vitamin E oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Once a month I however do not use my Sulfate Free Shampoo but instead use Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo to wash my hair just to make sure that my hair is cleaned quite thoroughly of potential build up,it does not affect my hair negatively so am quite happy with that.
What are some things you have learnt about your hair during your journey?
I have learnt at whatever stage of my journey I was at,that my hair needs its balance of moisturising and protein treatments.There was a time was only administering moisture treatments to my hair and believe you me,my hair spoke out loud and clear to me by splitting at every ridiculous angle it could manage to break off.After several trims I learnt my lesson and now know just how important Protein treatments are in helping to prevent damage to my hair strands.
I have also learnt as my hair gained a little more length, never to attempt detangling on wet hair! Once my hair and water come into contact,a Yeti is born and trying to detangle that thing is a series of unfortunate events!
What advise would you give to women contemplating growing natural hair?
No two heads are the same! First you have to accept the hair that you have been blessed with fully and stop letting envy get in the way of your loving and caring for it as it deserves. Only when you have managed to do this, will you truly enjoy your hair and embark on this journey with a spring in your step!
How do you feel when you see other naturalistas?
Words cannot even begin to explain the utter joy I feel when I see other natural women! I am overwhelmed because it finally means that more and more of us are beginning to understand just how important it is for us to love ourselves naturally so that our daughters will also be able to love and accept themselves, without feeling that we are less than any other race in regards to the beauty of our hair.
What are 5 hair items/products you can’t live without?
1) Coconut Oil.
3) Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner.
5) Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
How can you be contacted?
Come see me at my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/KenyanMystic