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Intro­duce your­self!
A:
Hi! My name is Ara­ki. I was born and raised in Paris, France with a Guinean (Conakry) and Malian her­itage, and an inter­na­tion­al mind­set. From age 19 I have lived, stud­ied and worked in France, UK, Chi­na and Cana­da. Today, I am cur­rent­ly based in Reyk­javík (Ice­land).

Why did you make the deci­sion to go nat­ur­al?
A:
The first time my hair was relaxed was when I was about 9 or 10 years old (against my mother’s will). My sis­ter and I, begged our aunt to help us have hair like African Amer­i­can girls on kid’s relax­er pack­ag­ing. Soon after, we real­ized the result was far from what we expect­ed, but we kept on doing it for years. We didn’t know bet­ter, and thought it was an inte­gral part of the nor­mal black hair care rou­tine, and espe­cial­ly want­ed to avoid the pain of deal­ing with our hair. I per­son­al­ly nev­er liked my hair relaxed. It nev­er looked straight and had no vol­ume, so I was most­ly wear­ing braid exten­sions and find­ing ways to hide it.

In May 2005 at the age of 18, I came across a French forum about nat­ur­al hair, which was a com­plete rev­e­la­tion for me! So, after spend­ing weeks read­ing through it, I big chopped my hair in the bath­room with­out telling any­one. When my fam­i­ly found out, they thought I was crazy and that my hair wouldn’t grow back. To stay moti­vat­ed, I kept on read­ing nat­ur­al hair blogs and shar­ing my hair jour­ney with oth­er nat­ur­al women around the world through the inter­net. I then let my hair grow from 2005 to 2013. The first years I was real­ly into tak­ing care of my hair and try­ing all kinds of new rou­tines, prod­ucts and all, but as the years went by, despite the growth, I start­ed loos­ing inter­est and became lazy to the point that I was only wear­ing exten­sion braids and twists. My hunt for low main­te­nance hair­cuts start­ed (laughs).

One day, I was look­ing through old fam­i­ly pho­to albums and came across amaz­ing pic­tures of my mom in the 80s/90s, when she was main­tain­ing a very short cut. Anoth­er rev­e­la­tion! It took me years to find the guts to cut all my hair off, espe­cial­ly after 8 years of nat­ur­al hair growth and not know­ing how it would fit me. But in March 2013, I walked in a South Lon­don bar­ber­shop and did it! The best deci­sion I ever made. Now I feel more fem­i­nine and con­fi­dent than with any hair­cut I’ve ever had, and it also helped me become more bold in my cloth­ing choic­es.

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How would you describe your tex­ture?
A:
My tex­ture is main­ly dense 4B, with a small 4A sec­tion on the top of my head and 4C on the back.

Describe your styling reg­i­men over the course of the month.
A:
My very first hair­cut with my short hair was done at a bar­ber­shop. I asked for a fad­ed look with a side part. As it grew, I real­ized it would be too annoy­ing to main­tain, so I decid­ed to buy clip­pers and shave every­thing off with no guard. I do it every 2–3 weeks and love it bet­ter when the length is around 1–2 mm. When it is close to 1 cm (which I rarely let hap­pen), I apply coconut oil. It is actu­al­ly crazy how quick­ly it grows and how few mil­lime­tres can change the look and feel!

What does wash day look like for you?
A:
When I had the fad­ed look I used to put some gel on my hair to get cute curls and was wash­ing my hair with SLS and paraben free sham­poos and con­di­tion­ers (Shea Mois­ture brand main­ly). How­ev­er today, because I bare­ly have hair, I just run water and some mild soap on my scalp dai­ly when I take a show­er, and it works per­fect­ly fine.

Describe your favorite go-to hair­style for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style.
A:
Hmm so bald is not enough?! Haha! Well, when I don’t feel like hav­ing a small head, I like wear­ing a head­wrap with what­ev­er fab­ric I find, a woolen hat (Ice­land weath­er peo­ple!) or a hat tur­ban that I found in my mom’s clos­et.

What are some of your prob­lem areas (if any) that require spe­cial care and atten­tion?
A:
It’s a minor issue, but I am still look­ing for the per­fect clip­per, which will allow me to get the exact length I like.

What are 2 do’s for your tex­ture?
A:
Spring and Sum­mer.

What are 2 don’ts for your tex­ture?
A:
Autumn and Win­ter.

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
A:
Yes, many!

Insta­gram: http://instagram.com/mademoiselleaki
Per­son­al Blog: http://mademoiselleaki.tumblr.com/
Pin­ter­est: http://www.pinterest.com/mademoiselleaki/
My Illus­tra­tion Port­fo­lio: http://arakikoman.tumblr.com/

I also run a Com­mu­ni­ty Blog called The Oum x Yuki Soci­ety, a fash­ion trib­ute to our immi­grant grand­mas, moms, aunts, and neigh­bours’ unique sense of style, and how it is shap­ing our aes­thet­ic tastes, our iden­ti­ty, and self-expres­sion.

Meosha

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

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32 Comments on "Araki // 4B Natural Hair Style Icon"

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ElleBella2011

Girl you look great!! I wish I could rock that look. I love a cropped hair style. Total­ly under-rat­ed, but that’s because every­body can’t make it work.

Blue

Final­ly! A woman with super short hair. I feel like short haired women are not fea­tured enough on this blog and that every­one focus­es on grow­ing their hair, or hair length. But this? This is amaz­ing and she is flaw­less… Annnnd her name rocks:)
“She woke up like dis! She woke up like dis!”

Diane

I just big chopped too! She’s gor­geous.

youngin girl

You are the “it” girl. Your short hair does fit your face shape and styles. Well, go to work girl. I’m glad to see a france-e-rel­la. I hope to see some from oth­er parts of Europe, is that right?

Samira

Masha’Allah! You are very pret­ty.

Leo

But of course. Look­ing for a solu­tion to my cur­rent excess of dan­druff, I come across the arti­cles on it on this blog, then decide to go around as it is inter­est­ing, and see YOU here xD.
Haven’t shaved in a month or so now. Glad I was part of your hair adven­ture. I want to come vis­it you this sum­mer, but let’s talk about this in pri­vate xD.
And stop fol­low­ing me :p. LOL.

Cynthia

You are such a beau­ty Ara­ki, inside and out! ??

Adeola @ The Mane Captain

you’ve lived in a lot of places! I love your head­wraps!

JenniD

Love the pic of you in the sun­glass­es. Tre chic as they say. Keep­ing it sim­ple I see and it suits you well.

Araki

Thank you so much every­one, your com­ments are so sweet! They made my day :)

V

Absolute­ly stun­ning and fierce style! :)

Jacky

She’s so cute and pret­ty! Also, ” So bald is not enough…” Aha­ha­haa­ha! But real­ly, I’m so glad to see that women can love, rock and express their fem­i­nin­i­ty even with a short cut.

Lydie

I love to see Ara­ki here. I used to fol­low her blog when I was younger (I’m french too), it’s nice too see peo­ple grow up.

Way to go Ara­ki!!

C in Colorado

Que bel­la!  Where can I get those cheek­bones? Saw the pics of your par­ents on your main tum­blr blog. Such style. Will have to check out the Oum X Yuki Soci­ety blog also!

mary

I love your don’ts. Fall and win­ter are major don’ts for my hair — just found out the hard way. Spring hasn’t been so hot for it either.

anastasia

Great inter­view! Won­der­ful sense of humor =) And of course, absolute­ly stun­ning!! Look­ing for­ward to check­ing out both blogs. Thank you for pay­ing homage to the those who have paved the way for us.

Jojo Satoes

You’re tru­ly a cit­i­zen of the world! Great style!

Pat

It fits your face. Great pics and I love that you’ve lived in so many places.

Iva

BGLH- I have to com­mend you for find­ing some real­ly cool and inter­est­ing peo­ple to fea­ture!

Great style and absolute­ly gor­geous!

Amma Mama

You’re beau­ti­ful with great skin!

Amma Mama

When I was 17 in 2005, I want­ed to go nat­ur­al too!! But I was too chick­en. Espe­cial­ly with senior prom approach­ing. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I ddn’t know many nat­u­rals {with hair like mines} and I didn’t know of any nat­ur­al hair blogs/forums either. I didn’t have any moti­va­tion or inspi­ra­tion.

norris

that pic­ture where you’re hold­ing the sparklers…gorgeous!!

Deedeemaha

You look amaz­ing. That cut looks great on you. Look like you are real­ly enjoy­ing your hair cut. You make hair LIFE look easy. As it should be. Thanks for the bold­ness.

Araki

My plea­sure! Thank you for the com­pli­ment.

Redseouls

You are gor­geous! Thank you for shar­ing your jour­ney!

LBell

LOL at the do’s and don’ts. :) I remem­ber when my hair was (almost) that short and how quick­ly it grew back. Great looks and pics!

Araki

Thank you :)

JamRock baby

Love your sense of style!!! The 2nd pic­ture of the gold scarf seri­ous­ly looks like blonde box braids!! or is it just my eye sight lol

Roberta

I thought so too, lol. If ever she decides to get exten­sions she should get them in that col­or because they’d look awe­some!!

Araki

Thank you so much ! It’s actu­al­ly a brown woolen snood, but you are right now look­ing at it, it actu­al­ly look like braids haha :)

Nappy 4C Rocks

You are TRULY a hair style icon! where can I pur­chase that brown woolen snood?

Araki

Thank you so much! I got that one at Pri­mark in Lon­don (men sec­tion), but I am sure you can find a long woolen snood in pret­ty much any oth­er high­street store like H&M, For­ev­er 21, Zara… Just not sure if they are still in store with the Spring/Summer col­lec­tions :)

You can see the snood bet­ter on my Youtube tuto­r­i­al here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGby2AuMupI

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