Nearly Hair
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TFK: Ajoke's Edition @ajwitafro

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hey there, I go by the hair alias “aJwitaFro” (aj with a fro) online but my real name is Ajoke. I’ve been active in the natural hair online world for quite a number of years and I’ve had the privilege of seeing the community grow and evolve over time. It wasn’t until I recently decided to take my hair journey seriously (in like April) that I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog about natural hair care, sharing my hair journey, and other things related to living your best life.

Currently, I’m also a Bachelor of Commerce student and aspiring entrepreneur alongside running my blog.

When did you decide to throw the relaxer out (if you did)?

Well, interestingly enough I was natural until I was 10 when I got a relaxer for a wedding. I got relaxers until I was around 13 or so but due to the fact that I really didn’t like the way my hair looked with a relaxer, it never grew passed a certain length and I didn’t know how to take care of it properly, I decided to transition back to my natural hair.

I ended up getting a texturizer back in 2007 which forced me to do the big chop. Now, here I am in September 2010 and minus a few setbacks I have fully natural collar bone length hair.

What was your support system like once you went natural?

I literally had NO support system when I first went natural. I was going into the eighth grade at the time and although my mom was/ is natural, she’s very relaxed about hair care so there wasn’t really anyone to “show me the ropes” when it comes to proper natural hair care practices.

Thankfully, I wore my hair in braids most of the time and when I was fully transitioned, the only style I knew how to do with my natural hair was an afro puff.

How would you describe your hair journey so far?

Well, I can say that looking back I’ve made a lot of mistakes mostly due to a lack of proper information. Simple things that make such a big difference for my hair like wearing a satin bonnet to sleep or only detangling while your hair is damp/wet with product only came into my hair care regimen within the last like year of being natural. At this point, although I have definitely made some positive improvements with my hair I still think I have a lot to learn and my hair journey isn’t complete. I still want to learn a lot more styling techniques and try out products specifically made for curly, black natural hair.

Right now, I use a pretty basic set of products. I do try new products often but I wait until the containers are empty (usually) before I buy something else to try and I always have my staple products handy. Here are some of my go to products right now:

  • Shampoo: Organix Coconut shampoo
  • Oils I like: Extra virgin Olive Oil, virgin Coconut Oil, & Castor Oil. I have a lot of other oils lying around that I do use from time to time but these are definitely my staple oils.
  • Deep Conditioner: homemade mix of HEHH, olive oil, vegetable glycerine, and coconut oil. This mix is actually super moisturizing and I highly recommend it. There is a rough “recipe” for it on my blog ;-)
  • Conditioner: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration for co washes and detangling Leave-in: Carefree Curl Gold Curl Activator or Garnier Fructis Sleek n Shine

I also have a shea butter mix that I made with my Garnier Fructis Sleek n Shine, it’s good but the product could definitely use some tweaking. I’m very interested in making a perfect homemade shea butter mix for twists and sealing in moisture.

I’m also very interested in Ayurvedic hair care practices so I use body art quality henna in my hair ever 1-1.5 weeks. I will definitely be trying a lot more oils and powders to see how they work with my hair.

When it comes to your hair, what do you find most challenging?

I think that not being lazy with my hair is definitely a challenge, it’s easy to pass out on the bed without wearing your bonnet every so often but those little mistakes add up especially when you’re trying to achieve hair goals. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that as well. I’m also not a very high maintenance person so although I like to look cute, I don’t like taking excessive amounts of time to style my hair. Again, I’m sure there are people out there who can relate to this but I know that it’s important to practice styling my hair because it becomes easier over time with practice.

Lastly, working with multiple curl patterns/ hair textures is a challenge. The curls at the very back of my head or “the kitchen” as it’s also referred to is much looser than the curls on the rest of my head. It’s kind of like a 3c while the rest is a mix of 4a/b textures. The curls hang really loose so it makes my hair harder to style sometimes when I want to leave it out because it just acts differently than the rest of my hair.

But aside from that, I’m pretty well versed at the basics of caring for my hair and treating it well.

What keeps you motivated (pertaining to life/work/or hair)?

I think it’s really important to have goals in all areas of your life. A lot of times we want to achieve things or become this great person but if you don’t specify what it is you want to accomplish it makes it that much harder to get there. I find this hard to keep up with sometimes but I’ve seen how it has helped to not only keep me motivated but make it easier to achieve certain things.

So, my advice would be to lay out some specific goals that you want to accomplish, they may be related to hair or other things in life; for example, “lose 6lbs in the next 3 weeks” or “reach shoulder length hair by December 31st”. Make sure that these goals are specific AND realistic. You won’t achieve your goals or even move close to them if they’re not realistic because you won’t believe you can actually achieve it and therefore you’re likely to give up before you even try. It’s also important to layout an ACTION PLAN for how you intend on achieving all of your individual goals so you can actually see what you need to do daily, weekly, monthly, etc to get there.

Have worthwhile goals and surround yourself with people who believe in those goals/ dreams to keep you motivated. If you don’t have friends around you physically who are motivational, then find people online that you can connect and grow with.

Your hair is so beautiful, but what is the craziest remark you have received about your hair?

Haha, this is a good question. I think it’s really funny when people ask me if I have dreads when I clearly DO NOT have dreads. Like I have nothing against locs at all and I think they’re beautiful but I don’t understand how someone can confuse normal natural hair with dreadlocks, it just doesn’t make sense to me lol. But well, people are funny and they enjoy their ignorance. It’s entertaining for me sometimes too but sometimes it can be a bit much lol.

I also have just had people make really rude or negative comments about my hair maybe if I didn’t style it super nice or something. I think we’ve all experienced this at one point in time or another; it’s kind of inevitable when you’re surrounded by people who are literally uncomfortable with even the idea of natural hair. But I just think that people should really learn to be nice about it and not make outwardly rude comments to your face.

Any advice to the aspiring successful natural haired women out there/closing remarks?

Stay confident along your hair journey, set hair goals, try and learn about hair care in “edible” quantities so you don’t get overwhelmed, learn from people who have a similar/ the same hair type as you and make sure that you stay strong and ENJOY the journey!

A wise someone once said, “I want to become a millionaire, not for the money but for the person I’ll become”. I believe the same thing can be applied to natural hair, the journey isn’t easy but you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you and it’s a great opportunity to grow as a person. Use the opportunity to change your life in more ways than just hair.

Where can we find you on the net?

My home on the web is my blog: http://www.ajwitafro.com everyone is welcome to leave a comment and come say hi :-D

I’m also VERY active on Twitter so feel free to follow me and converse about hair or just general chat: http://www.twitter.com/ajwitafro

I really enjoyed this interview, thank you so much for featuring me! Good luck to everyone on their individual hair and life journeys.

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