Sheila // 3C/4A Natural Hair Style Icon

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Introduce yourself!
S:
Hi my rooted people, my name is Sheila Attah and I was born and bred in London, UK but I’m of African descent (Ghanaian to be precise).

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
S:
Well I didn’t ‘go natural’ as I have always remained natural, however initially it wasn’t by choice. I was so determined to relax my hair when I was younger, as that was the only way of combatting the stigma attached to my hair and lessening the pain of feeling like an outcast. My mum didn’t even give the idea a second thought and just like that my dream of looking like Rapunzel was shattered. Being a dancer really illuminated how much I wasn’t looking after my hair. I’m actually quite embarrassed to share this, but I’m hoping no one will judge me, lol. *Covers face* There were a few occasions where I would inadvertently leave my hair for weeks on end, total neglect. Please take a moment to imagine the amount of sweat and dirt accumulated in my hair from dancing, and we all know the effects sweat has on our hair. JUDGED!!! I saw how much my lack of care was damaging to my hair, and decided to take the necessary steps to deal with ‘natural hair care’. I soon learned how to embrace and love my napturalness.

How would you describe your texture?
S:
I would say my hair falls in between 3C and 4A. It is quite thick and dense. Mainly the back of my hair is 4A, as it is a lot thicker back there. I do have a few straight strands here and there, but I believe my hair is still recovering from heat damage.

Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
S:
My main protective style is twists, yaaaay to my twisty tresses!! My hair takes forever to put in twists so I have to prepare myself mentally and physically. *Breathe Sheila* I always twist on washed hair. I start off with sectioning my hair into about 8 parts and then apply one of my three main oils (coconut oil, avocado oil and jojoba oil) or my shea butter mix, and comb out with a wide tooth comb before twisting the 8 sections. Lastly I wrap with my satin scarf overnight, ready to put in twists the next day – I would actually consider this as my stretching technique. When twisting my hair the next day I seal my ends with my homie Shea B!!! I love experimenting when my hair is in twists, to doing fancy updos, or putting it in bantu knots and curling rods just to give my twists a hint of undulation and groove. If my twists are looking a bit dated I will turn it into a twist out do. So before taking out the twists I mildly spritz my hair with my aloe vera water mix just to revive my hair, then I will apply some oil to my finger tips and gently take out the twists. This is mainly to help smooth down the frizz. Once all the twists are out I will style it to get my desired result and there we have it, Twist & Out!! If my hair is not in twists or a twist out then my hair is in the famous bun. I think I am known for always having my hair tied back in one with the ends tucked in to ensure they are protected. Sometimes if my hair doesn’t want to go in a bun then I will just leave it out, it’s so stubborn. I am also a massive fan of head wraps as it makes me feel somewhat regal until I take it off and then I’m just plain old Sheila again lol.

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What does wash day look like for you?
S:
I have to dedicate a whole day to this… Okay, so I start off with a deep condition. The state of my hair that month determines what sort of deep condition will be considered. So it could be a protein boost, which would be my typical egg, mayonnaise, honey and avocado oil, or I would use Rhassoul clay, or my staple conditioner Aussie. Before I put in the conditioner I spritz my hair mildly with water, not too much water otherwise it becomes very messy, but just enough to help with the detangling. Once the conditioner has been distributed evenly across my hair I cover my hair with a plastic bag (yes I said plastic bag, I’m trying to economise here) and then wrap my satin scarf on top. I will then prance up and down my house for about 45 minutes to 1 hour before rinsing out. If I’m using the egg mayo concoction then I will rinse my hair with luke warm water so that I don’t end up with scrambled egg in my hair. After rinsing out the conditioner, I will wash my hair with Crème Of Nature Argan Oil Sulfate-Free Shampoo and comb my hair with a wide tooth comb to comb out the last knotty parts of my hair. I know that a lot of naturalistas finger detangle, but I have noticed that it doesn’t really work for me and I end up getting my hands tangled up in my hair, very dignifying. Next, I use the Aussie as a leave-in conditioner (my hair is unequivocally and undeniably in love with Aussie). Lastly I section my hair into 6-8 parts and apply my homemade fluffy shea butter mix (which contains shea butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and a drop of peppermint oil) to my hair and twist the sections before wrapping with my satin scarf. If my hair isn’t in dire need of a wash but needs reviving, then I would rinse my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) mixed with water and then co-wash with the Aussie Conditioner.

Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
S:
My quick go to hairstyle is tying my hair back in one. If I want to be a bit experimental then I will do a quiff to jazz it up a tad.

How do you combat shrinkage?
S:
I used to blow-dry my hair to combat shrinkage, now I don’t use it at all and if I do it will be once a year. Now after washing my hair I put in 8 large twists and then wrap my hair overnight. To be honest I actually don’t mind shrinkage as it reminds me of the many wonders that my hair carries, such as versatility, flexibility and resilience. The beauty of shrinkage is that there is that element of surprise when I blow-dry or straighten my hair. Who would have thought that those tight curls by your ear lobes could end up half way down your back!

What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require special care and attention?
S:
The front of my hair in comparison to the rest of my hair is very thin. As you’ve all learned already I have a habit of tying my hair back a lot. This can cause a lot of trauma to the front of my hair resulting in receding of the hairline. So now when I tie it back I use a Ghanaian medicinal hair balm and apply that to my edges just to take the pressure off.

What are 2 do’s for your texture?
S:
I have to make sure that I use my satin scarf when going to bed otherwise I wake up with tangled hair and it’s a lot harder to deal with. It is also a must for my hair to be moisturised (especially when I’m at dance) otherwise it is prone to breakage and we can’t have that now, I’m trying to retain length.

What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
S:
My main ‘don’t’ for my hair is just not to neglect it, listening to my hair, and responding accordingly is vital otherwise it spirals out of control – literally.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
S:
My sister and I just recently set up a Vlog on YouTube called Hair The Beat. This is our space to have fun, incorporate our love for the arts and most importantly to share our hair tips and experiences: www.youtube.com/hairthebeat. You can also find us on Twitter @hairthebeat_.

Also I’m calling out all my house lovers and dance lovers to come and join me at my weekly Afro House class where we touch base with Africa. It’s all about taking it back home, with music that will reveal your inherent groove, footwork that will navigate the way and grooves that will remind you of your roots. Class updates will be on Twitter!! Embarking on this journey has not only taught me about my hair, it has become more of a lifestyle and has permitted me to embrace myself as a whole. Lately I have been really sensitive to the ‘misconceptions’ that are considered synonymous to natural/afro hair. Many women shy away from embracing their natural hair due to a lack of information and negative connotations that surround it. The easiest option is usually to conform to the colours of society, to ensure acceptance, and to avoid the complications attached to natural/afro hair. These misconceptions will continue to exist if we feel threatened to be the very person that we are meant to be. To be honest the question is not if natural hair is for us because we were born with it, the question is whether we are willing to embrace our hair in a society that frowns upon it. Curlfriends don’t be afraid to be you, because we are all beautiful.

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Meosha

Meosha

Just another lover of natural hair and expression. - Style Icon Coordinator for BGLH

 
  • mimi

    you are beautiful!!!! man im lovin the natural hair movement its brought together sisters from every corner of the globe. As a South African living in Australia you mos def stand out and being different was not always fun. But for the first time in my life im rockin my kinks, celebrating this African goddess that I am and lovin every bit of me girl..we are a great creation its time we own in!

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    • Sheila Attah

      Preach it sister!! Love that!!

      Much love to you xx

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  • http://modeltheface.tumblr.com Carla

    Yes to using plastics bags! I haven’t purchased conditioning caps in what seems like forever now. Save that money girl :) Gorgeous woman and beautiful hair!

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    • Sheila Attah

      Lool!! In this economic climate, saving is everything right about now.

      Blessings to you sister x

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      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003453148394 Gemnia

        Singing and dancing along at my desk and sinonwog over this vintage glamour! And yes – perfectly normal and not unhealthy in any way – I share your obsession with Fashion Week (and fashion in general). I hope you have a fabulous day, Julie! Sending you big Valentine’s smooches! XO

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  • eve-audrey

    ok i want your hair right now! lol

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    • Sheila Attah

      Lol! I know you have gorgeous hair too sister xx

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  • BIVY

    This. Hair. Is. Amazing.

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    • Sheila Attah

      Thank you so much beauty xx

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  • cynthia J

    You are beautiful darrrrliinnnggg>>> Love your comments and attitude

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    • Sheila Attah

      Thank you so much Cynthia J.

      God bless xx

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      • http://masterdegreesonline.net packet increases

        Wow! That’s a really neat answer!

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  • sara

    your story is so inspiring. i am also a young black girl who lives in london that has danced since the age of 9. not only does my hair accumalate a great amount of sweat and dirt but i hate that my whole class was full of white girls with long flowing hair and braiding eachothers hair in between break but never would go near me. i have only ever had my hair straightened once in my life and my goal is to keep it as minimal as possible and grow my hair out healthy. :)

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    • Sheila Attah

      You are inspiring!! xxx

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  • sara

    i am also Ghanaian descent :)

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    • Sheila Attah

      Eti sen! Lol! x

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      • Renee Asamoah

        Aww! Do you guys speak Twi very well haha?
        I am of Ghanaian descent also, however I live in America.
        We also have the same hair type! Will def. try some of the styles that you have posted Sheila :)

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  • Sheila Attah

    Hi guys,

    A massive thank you to everyone for your lovely comments, very much appreciated. Its amazing to know that women from every corner of the world are also embracing their naptural roots, very inspiring!

    Also I don’t know if you guys have checked out our youtube channel, if so I apologise for the paucity of video content lol. Technology hasn’t been on our side of late but dont worry we are in the middle of sorting it all out – videos will definitely be going up very soon. Don’t hesitate to drop by and ‘hair the beat’ with us. In the meantime you can catch us on twitter!! If any of you beautiful women have a youtube channel/website please let me know so that I can also support, its all about hair share here. Let’s grow together!!! Much heart xx

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    • http://heyiwaswondering lionelle nsarhaza

      hi i really wanna start growing my hair do you know any hair growth products that are really good and that work ? please reply via emial asap thank you.

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  • Carmelicious

    I just want to say ladies, that you do not want to go for weeks without washing or co-washing because the hair will have an unpleasant odor to it. With active lifestyles and cooking odors and such these odors will adhere to the hair and cause an unpleasant aroma. I would suggest you ladies clean the hair more often , even if you just use conditioner if you do not use a sulfate-free shampoo. Product buildup and outside odors, for example, cooking and the great outdoors can get in the hair and give it a funky odor, so remember to clean or clarify at least twice a week if not more. Natural hair should not be funky hair!!!!!!!

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    • Sheila Attah

      So true. Thank you Carmellcious.

      Much love x

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  • Carmelicious

    The more water you use on your hair, the more hydrated it will be!!!!! Stop going for weeks without wetting the hair, even if you choose to do the bantu knots and the twist outs. make sure you are hydrating the hair, otherwise it will not grow the way you want it to.

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  • http://Www.13covetstreet.com Dania

    Your hair is beautiful! And you are so gorgeous

    Love from jamaica

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    • Sheila Attah

      Thank you Dania

      Sending love to you in Jamaica x

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  • Mins

    Beautiful girl with beautiful hair. Love your regimen and I’m so glad to see a fellow London natural featured they’re so few and far between.

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    • Niccy

      I’m in London currently– just visiting and I’ve seen so many naturals. It’s inspiring and I’m glad that we black women are finally seeing the beauty in ourselves.

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      • Mina

        I agree! I wish I could see more natural haired ladies around my area.

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    • Sheila Attah

      Thank you Mins, its amazing to see many women young and old embracing their natural hair especially here in London. Its inspiring!

      Love xx

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  • http://vertmoot.blogspot.com D.K.

    The styles are so imaginative! Love the very second pic, and especially the ending paragraph. Us girls need to hear every day: “WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL!”

    vertmoot.blogspot.com

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    • Sheila Attah

      That’s right we are all beautiful & we shouldn’t rely on others to tell us, we need to believe it and nurture it ourselves. Stay beautiful D.K.

      Sending you love x

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      • Sheila Attah

        I will definitely be checking out your blog too x

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  • Michelle

    Your hair is fabulous!!

    OMG, you made me laugh talking about scrambled eggs in your hair. I actually ended up with cooked oatmeal on my hair once. I love home conditioners and when I was younger, I concocted one with oatmeal, mayonaise and some other stuff I don’t remember. I don’t remember if I sat under a heat cap or a dryer, but I do remember than the mixture cooked on my head. It too my mother HOURS to slowly remove it from my hair. Haven’t tried anything with oatmeal on my hair since.

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    • Sheila Attah

      Lool. Oh the joys of home made concoctions. xx

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  • http://www.twitter.com/t3pps Mika

    Absolutely love her hair! Great interview too.

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    • Sheila Attah

      Thank you so much xx

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  • Madi

    What is the name of the Ghanaian medicinal hair balm pls?

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    • Sheila Attah

      Hey Medi,

      The balm is called ‘Wontorlagbloe’ made by Grandma. Im trying to find out what exactly is in there, the main ingredient is Shea butter and that is all I know at the moment. Once I find out what else is in there i will be sure to let you know so that you can make it too. Well seeing as she passed away Im sure someone has to continue making it, that person might have to be me. Let her legacy live on!! x

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  • sheila

    I was checking out BGLH site and noticed my name went across the screen with my same exact hair type 3c/4a hair…I’m like hold on, I don’t believe I signed up for this site yet…how does it know me! lol!!! But then I clicked on your name and read your hair story. Nice to meet another beautiful Sheila.
    [img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/bglh.JPG[/img]

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