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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

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

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!!

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