Global Post Lifestyle met up with ‘fro activist’ Tapiwa Gachala whose passion for natural and healthy hair is more than contagious. Now brand ambassador to Hairitage—a local brand and movement dedicated to dismantling eurocentric standards of beauty, she tells us how her journey started.
- When did you begin your hair transition? What motivated you to embark on the journey?
- I chopped my hair off in October 2013. To be honest, I just wanted a different look and at the time and I was just curious to see how my natural hair looked because I had never grown it before. Plus I was fed up with chemicals on my hair, my scalp couldn’t take relaxer anymore. The rest is history!
- How has relearning your ‘kinks’ been?
- It has been a tedious journey, yet so fulfilling. I had to binge off natural hair articles and YouTube videos, but once I started understanding the basics of how to care for my hair, that’s when the fun and my love story with my hair began. It’s also crazy how much I have learnt about myself through this journey and how growing my natural hair has had such an impact with the direction my life has taken and the awesome people I’ve met.
- You give talks that inspire young girls and women to understand that natural hair is manageable. How has that been?
- It has been an amazing thus far. I thoroughly enjoy giving talks on natural hair and natural hair care and will definitely continue doing so. Taking care of natural hair can be quite overwhelming and a bit complicated for a newbie, so I try my hardest to simplify all the “rules” and guidelines when I give talks and I absolutely love how I later get positive reviews of how my advice has helped and see fros flourish! It’s incredibly rewarding!
Q.Is transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair challenging?
- It is definitely challenging. I am an advocate for the big chop if you plan on going natural, mainly because when you are transitioning you’re basically managing two different hair types (the relaxed part and the growing natural hair) and that can easily become a nightmare. With that said, I know and have seen other people manage to transition into their natural hair by only trimming off the relaxed tips once they were comfortable with the natural hair length. So I’ll say it is doable but do your research beforehand so you know what you are getting yourself into.
- What are some of your personal highlights as a ‘fro enthusiast’
- Reaching the multiple hair goals I set for myself annually, like length goals and maintaining healthy hair. Being featured on international and reputable natural hair pages on instagram and blogs like @4chairchicks, @myhaircrush and @africansgonenatural and local pages as well such as @nhbots!
Also seeing the fruits of my advice whether from public talks or my Instagram page has been great.
- Are there any projects you are currently doing?
- I have recently joined the Hairitage BW family as a brand influencer. Really excited about that. Hairitage BW is a brand and movement dedicated to dismantling eurocentric standards of beauty. It seeks to encourage women to embrace their natural beauty and their afrocentricity. One of the ways Hairitage BW will be doing so is by educating females on natural hair and hair care through social media campaigns and events as well. We also have pretty dope Hairitage BW merchandise. Follow us on FB – Hairitage BW and instagram – @hairitagebw for more info. I’m also working on my personal blog and I’m hoping to launch it soon.
- Which products and methods do you recommend for someone with natural hair?
- Disclaimer: There is a wide range of natural hair products and what works for me might not work for the next person.
Right now I am really loving products from the Ludo Beauty range (local brand) and Afrobotanics. Both brands are very affordable and are amazing for keeping your hair moisturized and healthy! With products my advice is to go for the organic and natural ones, our hair loves those. Stay away from products with parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and petroleum.
The methods that I swear by and incorporate into my hair care regimen are “the L.O.C Method” and “Maximum Hydration Method (MHM)”. Google has plenty of detailed articles on these methods and their reviews. In essence, MHM helps restore your hair to its optimum hydration/moisture levels and the L.O.C. Method helps seal in moisture.
For more on Tapiwa’s hair journey, check out her Instagram page (@tapiwa_gachala)