Cape Town is about to experience its very first Good Hair Expo this Saturday. Like me, I am sure you are quite eager to find out what to expect from this event. What I CAN tell you is that you can expect a few giveaways, tips on maintaining your mane AND a fashion show brought to you by Bantu Wear! I scouted around and managed to track down the ladies behind this event, Nini and Sisy, to ask them a few questions.
Tell us a little bit about who you are
Nini: I started an events business and I have always wanted to have a ‘kinks meet’ like the ones I see taking place abroad. I remember writing a blog post beginning of this year when I outlined my wishes for this year, which included a natural hair event… and here I am. My name is Nini Elam – and this is my first event.
I approached a good friend of mine to help out; her name is Sigrid ‘Sisy’ Ntokofrom Gabon. She’s fantastic. She deals well with my insanity, and it’s all the time. She’s a calm soul and I’m a creative… energy levels everywhere. She’s the Ying and I’m the Yang.
Sigrid is a beautiful relaxed head and I’m a gorgeous natural nappy head.
Sisy: I remember one day I was watching TV and I saw the movie “good hair” by Chris Rock; it was about hair, hair products, hair shows. I was really amazed and impressed with all the tips about how to take care of my hair, which products to use or not to use…
Nini Elam approached me and told me about the hair event she wanted to have and ask me to help her out and I said yes; and here we are having the first Cape Town good hair expo.
What is the Good Hair Expo about?
Nini: The Good hair Expo #ghe14 is about embracing healthy natural ethnic hair as good hair. For me Natural hair is the hair that naturally comes out of your scalp. Whatever you choose to do with it after is your business; we want to promote self love for hair within the black/ethnic community.
I started it to create a community for people who want to embrace healthy natural hair in Cape Town. However, we do not exclude relaxed hair/ chemically processes or altered hair as the basis for that hair is natural hair!
The Good hair expo was initially supposed to be about connecting ethnic salons with the community they service but I learnt very quickly that salons themselves do not have the basic knowledge of ethnic hair makeup, so they were either not interested or didn’t see the benefit of taking part.
Sisy: The good hair expo was a way for us to allow salons to interact with the community; we wanted to give the community the opportunity to know their hair, to understand how to take care of their hair (relaxed or natural); but we discovered salons weren’t interested or didn’t know anymore about good hair care than we did… So we decided to make it more intimate.
What is your hair care regimen?
Nini: Once every two weeks (on a Sunday) I shampoo with a sulfate-free shampoo, before the shampoo, I pre-poor with a coconut/castor oil concoction to further protect my hair from shampoo damage. After the shampoo I add moisturizing conditioner and finger /wide tooth comb detangle. Rinse my hair out with cooler water then pat dry. Add moisturizing leave-in conditioner, then lightly massage coconut/olive oil into the hair and scalp then I braid. I love the two strand flat twist or my go to style – Bantu Knots. After all that, I cover my head with a satin scarf and relax.
Then twice a week I co-wash my hair. Co-washing is washing hair with conditioner only and not shampoos as shampoo is harsh on the hair. A conditioner cleans the hair about 80% but not as harsh as shampoo, without stripping the hair of moisture. I finish of this routine with my coconut/olive oil concoction and braid as usual. – This happens on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Sisy: My hair can get dry quickly so I always moisturize it with conditioner and water and I like using oils such as: coconut oil or almonds oil…
Nini: My mother owned a salon so inherently I was always interested in hair – through her. I have predominantly been natural for most of my life, but when I moved to Cape Town I relaxed my hair after a class mate called my hair ‘Kaffir Hare’. When I relaxed my hair, it was shoulder length thick and the blackest thing people have ever seen.
I remember older women always asking me if I dye my, which I never did. When I started my first year in high school I remember the older black grade 12 girls always asking about my hair, which I never understood because for me it was just my hair.
When I decided to go back to natural less than two years after I had relaxed I caused quite a stir as people around me couldn’t understand why I would cut such long beautiful thick black relaxed hair. It was unheard of but I did it, because for me I always knew it would grow back. And it always did. From there on, I enjoyed my natural hair, in all its full glory.
|Love that colour!
Sisy: I’m not a naturalista, I have healthy relaxed hair and I love my hair.
|We LOVE your hair too, Sisy!!
How do you keep your hair healthy?
Nini: Keeping hair healthy is not as hard as people make it out to be. They just scare a lot of people from being natural. I drink lots of water and just watch what I use on it. I am in no way a product junky. Using too many products dries out hair. My hair grew even when I used incorrect products but eventually it would break, but now I understand why. Watch what you put in your mouth and on your hair. Eat healthy, fruits, veggies, protein etc. Your body knows what it’s doing, unless you have a medical condition but in that case your doctor will tell you what to use. Keep your hair protected and don’t touch it too much or over style to frequently. That’s it.
Sisy: Honestly, I don’t really have a regime to keep my hair healthy; I just make sure to protect them from breakage, always keep it moisturized and I wash my hair once every two weeks.
Which products can you not live without?
Nini: Water – Simple… But I do like StaSo-Fro 2in1 Moisturizing Conditioner Blend. It’s not natural but I add a little to my daily moisturizing spritz&go that I take with me everywhere I go (it’s homemade)… – By the way everyone will get one at the expo!
Sisy: The natural product I can’t live without is shea butter! I just love it and it has great benefits for hair.
Nini: Moisturizing Conditioner – When I do a wash and go I just use it lightly on my hair, sprits my hair with my spritz&go and leave the house… Combing, for who?
Sisy: The one-store brought product is Jamaican Mango and Lime!
What is your “go to” hairstyle?
Nini: Bantu Knots, even when it doesn’t turn out the way I hope for, I always find use for the curls formed, or I just pick it out with my afro pick and look gorgeous in my curly fro. Boom – done! People always ask me if I’m wearing a wig or if I’ve permed my hair… they never believe until they touch my hair.
Sisy: My “go to “hairstyle is the bun!! It’s quick, and easy
What advice would you like to give the readers?
Nini: I would like the reader to learn to embrace their roots. Natural black hair is the most versatile. I have never – in the history of ethnic hair – I have never heard a woman saying her hair doesn’t want to curl… it’s unheard of. We can do whatever we want as long as hair health is our no.1 priority.
Choose what you apply on your hair; don’t listen to everyone out there who is talking about natural hair. Not everything is for everyone. Listen to your hair; it will never lie to you.
Your hair loves you; it just wants some love and appreciation right back. Ethnic hair IS NOT HARD to manage; you are just not willing to lean! Give your hair love in the form of moisture, patience and lots on TLC, trust me you will reap the benefits. DO NOT BE A PRODUCT JUNKIE. Your hair will hate you for that and leave your head… aka… breakage.
Protective Styling, Protective Styling Protective Styling… I cannot emphasize that enough. Weave, braid, cornrow or wig it out… then watch your hair gain length… Thank me later… xxx
Sisy: To all the readers, I would like to say be proud of who you are; embrace your roots, you are your hair!
Nini and Sisy would like to thank the amazing sponsors of the Cape Town Good Hair Expo:
I will definitely be at the event and I am looking forward to meeting other curly girls. Look out for me and come and say hi… I’ll be the one with the fro 😉
Follow Nini’s escapades on the links below.