Natural Hair Feature | Jungle Spotlight with Afayah of Beauty Jamaica
My name is Afayah Prendergast, multi-facetted android from space J No really! I’m a trained junior Architect, currently working the 9 to 5 as an Urban Planner. But in my free time I’m a beauty and fashion blogger for Beauty Jamaica. By next year I’ll be starting on my journey to becoming a film actor.
WITJ – When and why did you decide to go back to your natural tresses and what was the process i.e did you big chop, transition etc? (please give as much detail as possible)
A – Well, up until the age of 17 I had natural hair. When I started university at that time I decided to straighten my hair chemically. I though, what’s the worse that could happen? I found out the hard way. I wasn’t mature enough or financially or mentally prepared to properly manage my straight hair so it fell into disrepair. I kept cutting it year after year until I had shaved the back off completely. The final step I took to figure out if I wanted natural hair or to keep processing it was putting in synthetic braids. I wore those for a few months before making my decision. Then in July 2009 I did “the big chop” to get rid of my processed ends and start from scratch with about 1 inch of hair.
I decided that I wanted to try locs so went to a natural hair salon where they started the locs with comb twists. I must admit I looked like a boy with worms on my head for some time. From what I can remember it took quite some time to actually begin locking. But, with constant visits to the salon I got it professionally maintained without much hassle. When my hair began to pick up on growth I got my hair tightened using the interlocking method and this is what I’ve done for the past 3 years. In that time I have experimented with various products and I have dyed my hair black twice. But I have never bleached my hair. Only since most recently have I decided to change my method of tightening to palm rolling simply because I’m still experimenting and learning about my hair.
WITJ – Has your locked hair always been well received by people around you?
A – Initially I got asked a lot of questions by some of my family members who didn’t understand the style. They asked questions like, “Can it be pulled out?” “Do you have to cut your hair to go back natural?” “How will you get a job?” “Why not try another style?” Aside from that, I also had other family members who were very welcoming of the idea. Choosing to have locked hair has not affected my school relationships or my work relationships. In fact, in Jamaica it seems that men have a lot of respect for women with locs. My experiences on an average day with strangers have been far more pleasant than when I didn’t have locs. For the most part I get referred to as an “Empress”, “Princess” or I get compliments from both men and women about my hair.
WITJ – Did you start your locs yourself of did you go to a professional and what was the process used? (please give as much detail as possible)
A – I started at a natural hair salon that also specialized in loc styles. So I went to the stylist (in this case this person is called a ‘loctician’) and they cut my hair, washed it and part it into small sections that would determine the size of the locs I would eventually grow. She comb twisted my hair and gave me instructions to keep my hair looking neat and clean during the locking process. Weeks later the interlocking method was used to tighten my new growth. This method incorporates the use of a latch hook to help tighten the roots along with locking gel/bees wax. And the same method was applied each time I went in to get my hair tightened.
WITJ – Could we please have a break down of what your hair regimen consists of? i.e how often do you wash your locs, how often do you re-loc etc
A – My hair regimen has changed often over the period I’ve been growing locs, mostly because of other things that have happened in my life as it relates to the amount of time I have to spend on myself. Currently, I wash my locs every two weeks. However, if I go to the beach or pool I will wash my hair no matter the week I’m in. I do a deep cleanse of my locs at random times when I’ve found a method I want to try out. I wash with Jamaican Mango & Lime Shampoo and Conditioner. I typically let my hair air dry.
I tightened my hair via the interlocking method once every two months; but since I’ve started to palm roll, I re-twist my hair once every two weeks after I wash. I use Carrot Oil all over my locs along with Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel on the new growth while I re-twist. Once a week I will moisturize with Jamaican Mango & Lime Shea Butter Conditioning Shine. I hardly ever style my hair because I prefer to wear it out; but whether I style or leave it as is I cover it before bed. I use a do-rag then a bandana for additional coverage. This keeps my hair neat and prevents frizzing while sleeping. It also prevents my hair from catching lint.
WITJ – Have you had any hair set backs and what most frustrates you about your hair and why?
A – I’m not sure if this counts as a setback but I pretty much used to slack off a lot as it related to my hair. It still grows but it doesn’t look as beautiful as I want it to sometimes. I never used to cover my hair and I learned about lint the hard way, so I’m still suffering from that a little bit. But while learning how to care for my hair on my own I’m rectifying the issue by implementing practices I never normally did. I also love black hair and I find that the sun and maybe other things have changed my hair colour a little over time. My hair is a very dark brown right now even though it looks black (but I notice it). This is the main reason I dye my hair black.
WITJ – What do you love about your locs and would you ever consider taking your locs down?
A – I love the versatility I have with locs without the chemical changes to my hair and the applied heat and the damage. There are so many cute styles that one can accomplish with locs and if you’re more laid back then you can just wear it out. It’s a hassle free hair style for the most part. It does take time to cultivate but I love how easy it is for me to maintain the majority of the time. I have considered cutting them but only to start on a different hair adventure. However, I think I am more interested in growing long locs. It’s an idea that keeps me interested and as a result of that I’m encouraged to continue on the journey that I’m on.
WITJ – What are your go to styles?
A – Straight and down. Otherwise from that I keep a messy bun on top of my head. I also really LOVE curls. It gives my hair a significant amount of body but it’s not something I do very often.
WITJ – Do you have any hair goal, if so, what are these?
A – I have two hair goals: to achieve a mid-back length by my 4 yr hair anniversary and to maintain healthy locs as I continue to experiment and find what works best for me.
WITJ – What advise would you give someone contemplating locking their hair?
A – My advice would be to do it! It’s something that is very manageable and can be learned to maintain on your own. Just ensure that when you decide to start you consult a professional. If you want free-formed locs then that’s even easier to do – just leave your hair to work on its own. And it’s just like any other style you may choose to do, whether you’re natural or have straightened hair or wear a weave, it will be fun if you take interest. Caring about the well-being of your hair is key in growing healthy hair.
WITJ – If you were stranded in the Amazonian rainforest which one product could you not live without and why?
A – I’d take nothing. In fact, I’d be happily stranded because I find that water is possibly one of the most essential things hair needs. I can’t think of anything else that I absolutely need to use. As long as my hair is moisturized with water it will thrive.
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