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M3B was designed with you in mind and we’ve decided to set up a series of blog posts about hair that are relatable, encouraging and informative .
In the following interview, we talk with the beautiful Tosin Koga, a medical student from Bristol University who has been rocking natural hair all her life.
Hello Tosin thank you for joining us today.
Tosin: You’re welcome.
Me: So you told me earlier that you’ve had natural hair all your life. Could you tell us why this has been the case and was there ever a time that you wanted to have relaxed hair?
Tosin: The reason I never permed my hair was because I wasn’t allowed to. My mom had this rule that you couldn’t chemically straighten your hair until you were 21 and I mean it seems a little extra when you think about it now but being young I thought my mom was the be all and end all of life. If she said no it meant no. So that was it and also, my mom wasn’t allowed to perm her hair until she was 21 as well because her mom thought it would damage her hair. Thing is my mom’s hair is actually permed so I didn’t think relaxers were a bad thing but the reason I never pressed my mom was because my mom was very good at taking care of natural hair. My hair was always washed, treated, conditioned and braided so it was always in a protective style. And she always did my hair pretty, like she would braid it and style it and I would be complimented on my hair so my perception of my hair was never anything bad. And also, I’m twenty so I haven’t actually reached the stage where my mom will let me perm my hair! But obviously I could relax my hair if I wanted to but the only reason that I would ever perm my hair was if I felt like I couldn’t take care of my hair but considering protective styling like braids and the fact that I do know how to take care of my hair due to Youtube videos, there’s no reason for me to perm my hair.
Me: That’s cool but you said you know how to take care of your hair. However many girls associate natural hair with memories of their moms yanking out their hair with a ruthless comb. What products do you put in your hair to make it easier to handle?
Tosin: One thing I always do to deal with pain is that I always detangle my hair wet – unless I genuinely do not have a choice. For example if I’m doing an afropuff and I want it to be full afro and not a shrunken one then I’d use an afropick lightly but generally if I’m taking out braids or another style, I’d always detangle my hair wet. Wet as in there might be a deep conditioner in it or a detangler in it or a prepoo, sometimes I use oil, water and a conditioner. Then it’s easier for you to remove knots without pulling your hair so I always detangle my hair from the end upwards because then I can remove the knots and remove them one by one as opposed to just pulling the comb down. I feel like if you get to a knot and pull your hair that’s what hurts. And always finger detangle your hair first as well so when you put a comb through it can glide through easily and you won’t be in pain.
Me: So how would you describe your hair texture and what habits have you had to develop to cater for your hair type?
Tosin: My hair type is 4c and in terms of habits, I leave my hair alone! My hair is generally only out in the holidays in which case I’m not at university so I have a bit more time but generally my hair is either in braids or a weave. The kind of hair I have, if I keep playing with it, it will break.
Me: Before the interview you told me that your hair is prone to dryness a lot. What products do you use to deal with that?
Tosin: The main thing that helps me combat dryness with my hair is deep conditioning. And I always look at the label to make sure it says water or aqua first. Moisturizing helps but also I use the LOC method which is liquid-oil-cream. So I start with water as the liquid and I use coconut oil or olive oil and in terms of the cream I use, I just find something really…buttery.
Me: So in terms of your M3B wish-list, you recommended the Jane Carter solution moisture nourishing shampoo, the hydratherma naturals protein deep conditioner, and the coconut sorbet. So could you take us through why you chose those products?
Tosin: As for the shampoo, it’s because I saw ‘moisture’ and that word always makes my eyes pop out of my head! Also, because my hair is in braids a lot or some kind of protective style for 4 – 5 weeks, I generally don’t co-wash because by the time I’ve taken out the braids I need a shampoo that’s going to take out all the junk and dirt from my hair and so it would be a good investment to use a shampoo that isn’t drying out my hair.
As for the hydratherma naturals, I chose this because I think everyone should have a protein treatment in their regimen. It’s important to balance protein treatments and moisture. So if my hair was out for two months or so I would deep condition two times in a month and use a protein treatment once. Ever since I started using protein treatments my hair has been stronger. Anything that strengthens your hair, stops it from breaking, adds protein, that is a good thing for you.
The coconut sorbet I chose because my hair loves coconut oil and I think it would be a good thing to seal with. You can’t just add moisture to your hair if you have 4c hair and walk away like ‘Okay I’m done’ because your hair is going to dry out and it’s going to look like you didn’t do anything to it. I use an oil and a cream to seal that moisture in and because this is a butter-type thing with oil in it, it’s almost like a 2-in-1.
Me: Thank you so much for speaking to us today.
Tosin: You’re welcome!