1. Tell us a little about you?
Hi, I’m Estella from Estellaskitchen.com where I blog about my love of homemade food and share recipes. As well as being a foodie, exercise and hair are also big passions of mine.
What do you do with your spare time?
As a working mum, it’s hard to find much spare time however I enjoy cooking and making treats for my family and friends, satisfying my hair porn addiction via YouTube and Instagram, catching up on the latest TV drama and working out.
2. Are you a natural? How do you feel about your hair?
I am a natural - my hair is my crown.
3. How long have you been natural?
Since birth. I have never chemically processed my hair, a fact I am very proud of.
4. Why did you go natural?
Let’s rephrase – why did I stay natural? Mainly because I never saw the need to conform to other people’s standards which I very much owe to my maternal Grandmother. From a young age, she told me that I should never ‘relax’ my hair as I didn’t need to and it would cause damage if I did. Seeing those around me process their hair from a young age felt like a rite of passage, something that you ‘just do’. Despite this, when entering my teenage years, I never had the desire to follow the crowd something, I am accountable to my Grandmother for. Her words have always stayed with me, to the point where I have never experimented with wigs or weaves, as I haven’t felt the need to do so.
5. Was anyone against your decision? If yes, how did you surpass it?
Being a natural has never been an issue for me. I have always worked in corporate environments and for many years I was in a client facing role. Never once have I felt pressure to process or hide my natural hair; in fact, I am often complimented on it by my colleagues, clients and superiors.
6. What's your hair type and How do you manage your it?
I’m not a fan of hair typing, probably because I have never been able to properly determine my own! If I had to define it I’d say that I am a 3C to 4A. Most of my hair is extremely coily however when stretched it takes on a much straighter appearance. There is a section to the front on the left which irritates the hell out of me as the curls are a lot looser and frizz easily – no amount of moisturiser or gel can tame them! I have, however, learned to accept it!
7. How do you keep your hair moisturized and healthy?
I co-wash bi-weekly and try to deep condition every weekend. In between washes I apply leave in conditioners and moisturizers, some of which are homemade. I also love Henna which I treat myself to roughly every 4 months however most recently I have been doing Henna Glosses which are easier to manage than Henna alone. I sometimes use sulphate free shampoos but I much prefer to clarify with ACV or bentonite clay.
8. What are your go to natural hair products?
I cannot be without my oils – Olive, Coconut and Jamaican Black Castor Oil are definite staples. I co-wash with either Herbal Essence or Tresemme Naturals which I love! For leave in’s I use Cantu’s Argan Oil Leave Conditioner, Paul Mitchell’s The Conditioner or Giovanni’s Direct Leave In – the latter I can attribute to beautifully defined curls when wearing a wash and go. Cantu’s Coconut Curling Cream is by far my favourite moisturiser and I just love Cantu’s Deep Treatment Masque for deep conditioning. Oh, and how could I forget! I cannot be without Eco Styler Gel – Argan Oil is definitely my favourite!
I wouldn’t call myself a product junkie as when I find something that works I stick with it but having reviewed this list I may need to take that statement back!
9. Are you a DIY fan?
Yes! I’ve experimented with homemade flaxseed gel but I wasn’t a fan of the results. I tried to use it to slick back my bun but as I like a firm hold it wasn’t adequate for me. I make my own whipped shea butter (Shea Cocomon) which I infuse with coconut oil and lemon oil – it smells amazing and is a beautiful moisturiser for my hair. I’ve achieved wash and go styles with a leave in conditioner and my Shea Cocomon alone, much to my delight!
Next, I will be trying my hand at a homemade deep conditioner made from banana, glycerine and coconut oil – no doubt I’ll blog about it!
10. Do you have hair goals? Care to share some of them?
To have healthy hair (I think I’m doing well with this one!), to trim wherever possible (search and destroy is my method) and to get a DevaCut. Recommendations on DevaCut specialists in London and the South East are welcome!
11. How do you style your hair?
I absolutely love wash and go’s and if I could I would wear them all year around. Being UK based this style works for me from March – October when the weather is mild to warm, during winter I prefer braid outs and buns.
12. What's your favourite protective hairstyle to do?
Probably the bun. I think it makes me look a little severe though!
13. Do you use heat on your hair? how do you prevent heat damage?
Nooooo! Heat is my enemy! I have used it previously (ceramic hair straighteners) but the smell of burning hair forever put me off!
14. Do you hairxperiment? How crazy can you go with your hair?
I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to my hair. I’d love to experiment with colour but the thought of peroxide and dry ends pains me. I’ll stick to my henna gloss rinses and colour tattoo eyeshadow (which I use in my hair) for that!
15. Have you faced any challenge as a natural?
Apart from the occasional frizzy coil, nothing else springs to mind (no pun intended)! If anything, it’s so easy being natural! I’ve been on many holidays with friends who relax their hair and have running jokes about them avoiding the pool and sea because of their hair. Being natural I’ve never had to limit myself to dry land – at the very least all I’ve even needed are some oil and a good conditioner to ensure that I can fully enjoy the holiday experience!
16. How do you manage bad hair days?
What’s a bad hair day? No seriously I don’t really suffer from these anymore. I think that with age I have mellowed and I rarely worry about strands being out of place anymore. However, if my hair doesn’t quite go to plan it can always be remedied with some gel, bobby pins and a hair band.
17. Can you share with us your thoughts on natural hair and relaxed hair?
I love seeing before and after pictures of naturals who previously sported relaxed / processed styles. Why? Because natural hair always looks so much healthier as it is often absent of harmful chemicals! I love seeing natural hair and wish more would feel empowered to embrace their true selves. Sadly, many who relax their hair have done so from a young age and so lack the skills needed to care of their own hair or the confidence to learn. I’ve had many conversations with women who don’t even know what their own hair looks like – crazy given that it’s what naturally grows from their heads. It concerns me that the cycle will continue if not broken and could impact on the mindset of our children. I do however see an increased presence in natural haired black women on social media so all may not be lost!
18. What hair rules have you sticked to as a natural?
LOC – I like to keep it simple and the Liquid Oil Cream (LOC) Method works well for me.
19. Can you share with us some pics of you counting your coily strands?
20. Where can we find you?
21. What do you have to say to the new, upcoming and already naturals?
Keep at it, it’s worth it! Whether you are considering embarking on a natural hair journey or are working towards your hair goals, just do it! A year from now you’ll wish you had started today!
If you would like to do a hair tag hit me up on - email@example.com