Hello, #BellaStylistas! We are excited to bring back our hit series BN Fro Friday! Every month on www.bellanaijastyle.com, we will be celebrating the beauty and diversity of our African hair in all its glory by putting the spotlight on some of our favourite Naturalistas who share their hair story and journey with us. If you’d like to be featured, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have never felt tempted to go back to relaxed hair because I wouldn’t have variety, and I especially don’t like how thin it makes my hair, says beauty vlogger Angelica Bwalya.
Zambian beauty vlogger Angelica aka Angie Bee has been posting beauty content on Youtube for half a decade, documenting her hair journey and teaching people how best to take care of their natural hair.
With multiple curl patterns, Angelica is not bothered about hair typing, this is because she believes hair porosity, and using the right hair products should take precedence in a healthy natural hair journey.
Angelica talks with BellaNaija Style for #BNFroFriday about her natural hair exploration.
BNS: Tell us about your hair
Angelica: I have type 4 hair, and maybe a little 3C at the front. I am Zambian mixed with a little British and Greek. I’m not too concerned about curl patterns because they have little to no relevance in hair care. It also creates an unnecessary divide in the natural hair community. Porosity is more important and I have low porosity hair.
My natural hair colour is a blend of a dark and light shade of brown. I coloured and relaxed my hair multiple times when I was younger. I also experimented with a ton of boxed dyes, hennas and texturizers.
BNS: Why did you decide to go natural?
Angelica: I decided to go natural because I was very interested in working with my natural curl pattern, and because I had used relaxers for a very long time, I had no idea what my natural curl pattern would like. I also loved the versatility of having a huge afro one day, defined curls the next, or straightening my hair completely. My biggest motivation has always been having very long hair, and I figured less manipulation and chemicals is the best and fastest way to retain length.
BNS: How did you make the change?
Angelica: I transitioned for 1 year, growing out my natural texture before cutting off processed and damaged ends, so I could go natural without doing the big chop.
BNS: Did you ever hide your natural hair?
Angelica: I didn’t necessarily hide my hair, but I did wear lots of protective styles like braids, wigs and head wraps, mostly because my hair was at an awkward length and very hard to style to my liking, and I was still learning how to manage and keep it healthy.
BNS: How long have you kept your natural hair?
Angelica: I have had natural hair for almost 2 and a half years now, and I only trim 2 – 3 times a year. Recently I used regular scissors instead of professional cutting shears, this resulted in a barrage of split ends, so I cut 4 – 5 inches off because I always go for health over length.
BNS: How does the climate where you live affect your hair?
Angelica: The climate I live in is great for hair growth because it’s usually warm or humid or both. On the flip side, humidity can make my hair frizz up much quicker since my hair is naturally prone to frizz. Winter over here lasts for just 2 – 3 weeks, so that’s the only time I can enjoy wearing my hair straight without worrying about my hair reverting.
BNS: Do you have any other hair problems?
Angelica: My hair is naturally dry and coarse, so adequate moisturizing is a must in my hair routine.
BNS: How do you deal with the negative effect of climate and the hair problems you face as a natural?
Angelica: Protective styles answer almost all of my problems because less manipulation is best, I am also a full-time content creator so I work from home, and I don’t have to style my hair every day. The game-changer for me has to be adding indirect heat to my moisturising stage, just like my deep conditioning stage. My favourite protective styles are large braids, large twists, cornrows and head wrap.
BNS: What’s your stance on natural vs chemical products?
Angelica: I love natural and chemical products equally because as much as ingredients are important, the way a product works on my hair and the shelf life is more important because time is money, honey! lol. I just use what works, which is a mixture of both. Currently, I have more “chemical” or store-bought products in my routine. After all, products including “natural” products are also chemical products.
BNS: What’s your daily, weekly and/or monthly hair routine?
Angelica: I have been washing my hair once a week for the last 10 days. My current favourite shampoos are the Kure Shampoo from Amika and my favourite co-wash is also from Amika. I alternate between co-washing and shampooing depending on what my hair needs.
I deep condition every time I wash my hair, and my favourite deep conditioners are the Shea Moisture‘s manuka honey mask and the Amika nourishing soul food mask. I use rice water 1 – 2 times a month on my co-wash days. I moisturise 1 – 2 times a week using the African Pride moisturising cream or the Amika velveteen dream smoothing balm. I oil my scalp on my wash days, 2 – 3 times during the week using my moringa oil mix, then I style or braid/twist it for the week.
BNS: What advice would you give to people thinking of going natural?
Angelica: Don’t do it for anyone else but yourself. Also, if you are going natural because you think it will make your hair longer, but you stick to the same old habits and routines that damaged the current hair you have, you will still have the same problems.
Do your research, find what works for you and do it in your own time. You don’t have to do the big chop if you don’t want to, you can transition slowly. On the other hand, if decide to get a big chop or even go bald for a fresh start, go right ahead. And lastly, you are allowed to change your mind because it is YOUR hair. If you want to go back to relaxed, heat trained, bleached or whatever, you are free to do so.
BNS: What do you like best about your hair and being natural?
Angelica: I love that it is so thick, full and healthy and so versatile. I also love being natural because my hair is at its healthiest, and I know that my hair can handle it if I want to experiment with tools and products. I also love that I have embraced my natural curls to the fullest.
BNS: What are your favourite styles to rock?
Angelica: One of my favourite styles has to be high puffs because I can enjoy my curls and keep them protected as well. I also love fluffy braid outs because it stretches my hair with no heat, and allows me to enjoy my hair length without shrinkage. For protective styles, I love wigs and braids.
BNS: Do you have any hair crushes?
Angelica: Yes, Ebony from Ebony’s Curly Hair TV would be at the top of my list, as well as Amber Ansah and the Glam Twins. My hair length and health goals for sure.
BNS: Are you particular about sleek edges?
Angelica: I am particular about not having sleek edges because it’s a lot of work and quite unnecessary. However, if laying edges caused absolutely no damage to my edges, I would probably lay them more, but because it’s damaging, I prefer not to. When I do occasionally lay my edges, I get the best results by spraying them down with some water mixed with any conditioner. I then add some Cream of Nature argan oil edge control and I top that off with Eco Styler Gel.
BNS: What hair accessories can you NOT live without?
Angelica: A tangle teaser, satin scarf, sectioning clips and hair ties/satin scrunchies.
BNS: If you were stuck on an island, what 3 hair products would you take with you?
Angelica: I would bring the Amika soul food nourishing mask, the African Pride leave-in cream and a satin bonnet. I’m sure I can figure out a way to make a DIY shampoo from whatever I find on the island lol.
BNS: What’s your remedy for a bad hair day
Angelica: A hat or a head wrap is my best remedy.