Whitney Madueke is definitely one those Instagram chicks who makes us fall in love with them through an exceptionally beautiful feed and witty captions. She’s a model, public speaker, YouTuber and has been a natural hair enthusiast for almost five years.
However, our society is only recently widening its stereotypical scope of beauty. We have not been very conditioned to love our natural hair, so how did the 23-year-old who had to give herself many pep talks after her big chop grow to love her kinky hair with so much passion?
I love the diversity and how cool it is! I love my afros, and the different styles I can pull off so well! That is really why I share my journey on Youtube, being natural is not hard as people think and it is really a beautiful experience.
Currently pursuing her dreams of becoming a Fashion Designer at Parsons, School of Design, Whitney refuses to be trapped under a facade of having a hair crush or someone to look up to as the ultimate naturalista. She understands that hair types are different and once you’re on this path, all that matters is the uniqueness of your hair and the ever-growing love you’ll have for it.
I am my own hair crush. How else do you expect to love yours if you don’t? No one has the same hair in all characteristics so my hair is my hair crush.
Whitney talks with BellaNaija Style for #BNFroFriday about her natural hair journey so far.
BNS: Tell us about your hair
Whitney: I have 4c natural hair, I have been natural since March 2013! I used my last tub of relaxer in 2012, and I have not applied any chemicals to my hair since then.
BNS: Why did you decide to go natural?
Whitney: Relaxed hair got boring and at that time, there was a lot of good noise around natural hair and I decided to join in. I needed diversity, something different and fun, natural hair ticked all these boxes and more!
BNS: How did you transition?
Whitney: I wanted to transition for a year, but 8 months in I got tired of having two textures. I went for the big chop, I had my twin sister cut all my relaxed ends off on one beautiful sunny day. I was so excited but by the time she was done, I had a frown on. I thought I looked ugly and regretted the decision but I then had to tell myself “I am beautiful” till I believed it. This involved staring at myself in the mirror and reciting those words till I believed it and I did, after a few minutes. I did not want my hair journey to be full of regret. Some people loved it and others didn’t but I didn’t care, I had already told myself I am beautiful so no-one could tell me anything! …They still can’t, haha.
Everyone with natural hair inspired me, I saw beauty in natural hair and it was my fuel to be a part of the natural hair world.
BNS: How long have you kept your natural hair?
Whitney: I have had it for close to 5 years. Besides regular trims and scissors happy moments, I have not done anything major. I try to trim based on how my hair feels but at least once every few months.
BNS: How does climate in New York affect your hair?
Whitney: Now its winter here in New York, so the air is pretty dry so I have been wearing scarves to protect my hair.
BNS: Natural vs chemical products?
Whitney: There are options out there for everyone, do what works for you!
BNS: What’s your regular hair routine?
Whitney: My daily routine, depending on my hairstyle would be to spritz on some leave in conditioner and let my hair soak it all up.
I love having regular wash days. Every weekend or 2, I wash my hair with a shampoo and/or conditioner followed by a deep conditioner. I let my air dry till its almost dry and then apply my products – leave in, oil and cream & butter. I then put my hair in twists and let it air dry overnight. I have stopped styling my hair on freshly washed hair, that’s still wet and has a lot of shrinkages. So I style my hair the next day or leave it in twists while I wear a wig or scarf throughout the week.
My monthly routine is pretty much non-existent again since I deep condition every week now instead of monthly. I try to trim after a few months if my hair needs it.
I’ve shared some of my favorite products in this video on my YouTube channel. It includes Shea Moistures Deep Treatment Masque and Jane Carter Solution Curls to Go Mist me Over. I love anything that keeps my hair soft and moisturized. I focus on products that feel and look good on my hair.
BNS: What advice would you give to people thinking of going natural?
Whitney: GO FOR IT! It’s just hair, try it now. If you don’t like it, there are wigs, weaves, and other ways as alternatives. Most importantly, try to enjoy and love your hair for what it is! It’s a new experience so you have to have the right mindset.
BNS: What is your favourite style to rock?
Whitney: My afro! A wash n go! I love how beautiful my hair looks with my afro out and proud. I love twist outs, afro puffs, and low buns.
BNS: Are you particular about sleek edges?
Whitney: Nope, I think to live a happier and healthier life, not all trends should be followed. You stress yourself over sleeked edges only to damage your hair because you didn’t listen to it. My hair doesn’t sleek down but I still apply gel and brush it to help keep my edges neat. I don’t stress it. I let it do it!
BNS: What hair accessories can you NOT live without?
Whitney: Clips! OMG, sectioning your hair when washing and styling your hair saves you from pulling out your hair. Handling your hair in smaller sections than one huge piece helps.
BNS: If you were stuck on an island, what 3 hair products would you take with you?
Whitney: Shea butter, Shea Moistures deep treatment masque, Jane Carter Solution Curls To-Go and Jane Carter Solution Untangle Me Weightless Leave-In. They keep my hair feeling and looking good!
BNS: What’s your remedy for a bad hair day?
Whitney: A scarf, a wig and bobby pins to create something out of nothing.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Whitney!
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