Natural Hair Journey: 3 and a Half Years After the Big Chop

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It's been just over 3 and a half years since I last had a big chop where I cut all my hair off and, over that time, my regimen has evolved again and again.

I recently took a few pictures documenting a length check and different stages of my typical cycle between washes. View them all on my new natural hair journey showcase  (set one up too and send me a link – it will only take minutes, once you've got your content together, and it's free!).

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3 Years of Afri-love: Top Posts from the Last Year

I am embarassed to say that Afri-love's 3rd anniversary just slipped by me! On June 11th, I was on a train back from London after modelling in the Shape Custom Creations Afrika Milele show (one of the most exciting fashion shows I've experienced – the epitomé of good vibes!). In my exhaustion, I forgot what a great moment it was.

As they say, better late than never. It's quite timely actually because, after 2 months or so of travelling, returning, catching up and getting back to 'normal' routine, I'm finally back in the groove of things. You may have noticed that post frequency is starting to pick up again! It's fitting that we get things going with, first, some thanks – a HUGE THANK YOU for reading and interacting with me, here on the blog, by subscribing and via Twitter and Facebook too – it all makes this labour of love so much more satisfying and; second, a little reflection with a look at the top 5 posts from the past year. In reverse order:

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5. Interview with furniture designer Yinka Ilori

A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!

Afri-love-Top-Posts-2011-2012-African-Inspiration-on-Pinterest-from-Artist-Robyn-Gordon

4. African inspiration on Pinterest from artist Robyn Gordon

Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.

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3. Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty

The passionate Amina, aka sheroxlox, is one of the lovliest people I've had the honour to meet in recent years. Find out what drives her. 

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2. Interview with fashion designer Adele Dejak

I've been working with the East Africa-based designer for a little over a year now and I feel so lucky to be collaborating with somebody who creates beautiful things and has such a good spirit too. Today marks the launch of her new website and online shop, created by yours truly and the rest of the Asilia team.

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1. Dream Homes: Swahili-inspired architecture and interior design in Lamu, Kenya

One day I will finally visit Lamu in person (and hopefully before the new port is built as, I worry that it will change the nature of the town). Until then, I will lust over all the beautiful homes I've discovered, thanks to my best friend, the internet. More Lamu finds on the blog.

What posts did you enjoy most over the past 12 months?

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For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time: 

  1. Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
  2. Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
  3. 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, Andrew Mugoya

The best of 2011: Afri-love commentary

Commentary highlights from the year spanning identity, culture, design, technology, entrepreneurship, natural hair and more …

Rise of the Afropolitan

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The V&A Afropolitans Friday Late event earlier this year was a major event. The "world's greatest museum of art and design" dedicated an evening to contemporary African and African Diaspora design and culture. Over 5,000 people attended proving that there are a lot of people who either identify with the term or are at least intrigued by it. Record label exec – Yemi Alade-Lawal, journalist, poet and writer – Tolu Ogunlesi, author – Hannah Pool, blogger – Minna Salami and I participated in a great panel discussion that went by way too quickly. Some great questions arose and I took the opportunity to expand on some of my thoughts on the blog: "Is there any use for the term 'Afropolitan'".


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A test of strength & patience: the cycles of managing natural Afro hair

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In wearing your hair natural, you will experience cycles of manageable & why-am-I-putting-myself-through-this! That’s my story at least. It’s been just over 14 months since my last big chop and there have been several moments already where I’ve either mourned my locks or been tempted to chop my baby ‘fro off, all over again. But now, I’m glimpsing some light at the end of the tunnel and patting myself on the back for my resolve.

The big chop – a true taste of freedom
You can actually try this thing they call everyday washing without having to devote an extra half hour to shower time. You can literally wash ‘n go (as opposed to wash, detangle, deep condition, load up with product, style and then go).

Less-than-a-week-after-the-big-chop

Having your hair so short brings another flavour of liberation: it forces you to be as you are. There is less for you to hide behind – hair can be an amazing crutch. This was one of the reasons behind my last big chop and cutting my locks did actually have the results I desired. I look at pictures of myself 14 months ago and grimace at how big I’d become under that heavy mop of hair. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my locks but, they were giving me an excuse not to take better care of my body.

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