Meet Shahira Allen from AfroGlory
1. Tell us a little about you?
My name is Shahira Allen and I am the woman behind Afro Glory. Afro Glory is a natural hair blog where I enjoy talking about all my hair routines and products in order to keep my hair healthy and to grow! I also like to discuss general points of interest like films I’ve seen, events I’ve attended, my favourite places to eat, my stationery addiction and important people in my life.
I am a qualified graphic designer having obtained my Masters degree in 2014 #BlackAndHooded I have been working to become a business owner and hopefully will be launching my new Etsy shop next month. Where I will be selling art prints relevant to black culture.
I have lived in London for 1 year and in my spare time I love discovering the delicious foods London has to offer from around the world!
2. Are you a natural? How do you feel about your hair?
I am 100% natural but haven’t always been. I grew up not understanding my hair and how to take care of it. The majority of my friend were Caucasian and I just wanted to wake up, brush my hair and go about my day like them. As a result of all those factors I spent years chemically relaxing my hair until 2.5 years ago. Now I love my hair how it grows and I nurture it. I feel a sense of strength and personal value from having natural hair. I’m no longer afraid of the rain drops, now I welcome the moisture.
3. How long have you been natural?
I went natural in December 2014 after transitioning for 4 months. I remember around November that year my hair was due for a relax. I just didn’t want to do it anymore… the burnt scalp, the itching and flaking, the brittle hair and the breakage. I just decided in a moment I would give myself a chance with what I had to offer without mental or physical hang ups! For 2.5 years I have been chemical free and proud of my beauty.
4. Why did you go natural?
As I mentioned, I just couldn’t be bothered with the relaxer anymore. The physical and mental damage that relaxing my hair was doing no longer had pros. Having chemically straightened hair didn’t make me feel any more confident, it just took a little while to notice that. I went natural because I wanted to see if my hair could grow and to improve my self-care.
5. Was anyone against your decision? If yes, how did you surpass it?
Funny enough, no one really had anything to say when I first cut all of the relaxed hair off. I got the fleeting comments of ‘I love your hair!’ and ‘wow, cool afro’ but until recently no one had an opinion. I was recently told I was just trying to make a political statement by embracing my natural hair which kind of upset me but one comment in 2.5 years… I can live with that.
My mother has been very supportive and proud of me for embracing my natural hair.
6. What’s your hair type and How do you manage your it?
I’m not sure on my hair type specifically but I believe it is 4c or 4b. I have a very thick and tightly coiled afro. My hair tends to get dry really quickly so I look after it based on how it’s feeling. I like to wash my hair once every 2 weeks. I do this because my hair has a chance to create natural oils that it needs to grow and strengthen. I like to use a deep conditioner with a plastic cap every 2 or 4 weeks again depending on how my hair feels. I try to exclusively use products that don’t have parabens, sulphates or silicones. I regularly trim the ends of my hair to prevent splits travelling up the hair (I do this every 6-8 weeks).
I think the main thing that helps me manage my hair is enjoyment. I love doing my hair because I love my hair!
7. How do you keep your hair moisturized and healthy?
I like to keep my hair moisturised by following a routine. After I have washed my hair I apply leave-in conditioner, detangle and twist. After the conditioner has mostly been absorbed I seal in that moisture with Jamaican castor oil. If my hair is feeling dry during the week I will apply small amounts of leave-in conditioner to sections of my hair. I try not to put too much product into my hair as this can cause build up and an extremely itchy scalp!
I always use water to soften my hair before brushing it or detangling it. Afro hair is most likely to break when it is dry.
8. What are your goto natural hair products? Are you a DIY fan? Do you have hair goals?,Care to share some of them?
My go to products are:
Cantu – Cleansing shampoo for natural hair
Lush – Revive & Balance (R&B)
Jamaican Castor Oil
RedKen – 04 Heat Styling Satinwear
Dax – Dry hair and scalp treatment – super light pomade
ORS – Replenishing conditioner
All of these products are the ones I use on a regular basis. I still like to try new things but these are my goto products for definite!
Combs & brushes I use are:
Tangle Teezer – Aqua
Tangle Teezer – Thick & Curly
Tangle Teezer – Detangling
Wide Tooth Comb
The Tangle Teezer range is incredible for natural hair. I can’t stress this enough! There brushes are designed without little baubles on the end. The baubles you find on the end of hair brushes can cause breakage very easily. The brushes are plastic, so when you have finished combing your hair with all the products in you are able to simply wash and dry your brush.
9. How do you style your hair?
- What’s your favorite protective hairstyle to do?
Protective styling is very important to avoid causing unnecessary damage to your hair. It protects it from all the elements (rain or shine)! I like to wear dutch braids as my easiest protective style.
I do however think my favourite protective hair style is braiding! I am currently wearing braids in order to give my hair some rest. You can mix up the colours even getting ombre braids.
11. Do you use heat on your hair? How do you prevent heat damage?
I do use heat on my hair but very sparingly. I use Redken 04 heat styling satinwear to protect my hair from heat damage. I don’t use flat irons or any other straightening tool like them, I only blow out my hair occasionally. I make sure that I have deep conditioned my hair and sealed in moisture before any heat is applied. I also make sure I use the coolest setting on my blow dryer.
12. Do you hairxperiment?, How crazy can you go with your hair?
I honestly feel like the last 2.5 years have been a giant hairxperiment! I didn’t have a blog like Yeka’s or my own to reference for hair tips so it was all trial and error. I’ve learn what items not to use in my hair such as hair bobbles with metal attachments and hair section holders with small teeth.
I’ve recently tried a new deep conditioning method using Mashooq magic hair oil mixed with my ORS replenish conditioner to get a really deep condition and a great seal.
I think all natural hair men and women should be hairxperimenting to find what works best for them.
13. Have you faced any challenge as a natural?
I’ve faced a lot of challenges as a natural hair wearer. Coming from the kind of place where everyone knows everyone, when you make a change it suddenly becomes everyone’s business. I’ve had some negative side comments and experienced some comments that could be considered racist. At the end of the day I love my hair and I’m not going to “tame” it to please anyone!
14. How do you manage bad hair days?
I just like to go with it! I don’t do head wraps very well so I just get lots of moisture in my hair, pik it out with the afro comb and pull it into a large fluffy and well moisturised bun on my head. Since going natural though, I feel like I have significantly less bad hair days than when I was relaxing.
15. Can you share with us your thoughts on natural hair and relaxed hair?
My thoughts on natural and relaxed hair are: that they are personal. By that I don’t mean I won’t share them with you, I mean that we are all entitled to our own thoughts on natural and relaxed hair. I think I have made it pretty clear that relaxing wasn’t for me and that I love my natural hair. This however doesn’t mean I don’t like relaxed hair. If relaxed hair works for you and natural hair doesn’t then you go for it (whoever you are reading this). Who am I to judge?
16. What hair rules have you stuck to as a natural?
Always cover your hair at night! If you can’t find a silk pillow case and your head wrap keeps coming off at night… get an old pair of sheer tights and put them on your head. Use the length of the legs to wrap around your head and secure. Using cotton pillows sucks the moisture out of your hair and this can lead to dryer hair more prone to breakage.
17. Can you share with us some pics of you counting your coily strands?
- Where can we find you?
My Twitter is: AfroGlory_
My Instagram is:Afroglory_
My blog is: Afroglory.wordpress.com
My Facebook is: AfrogloryBlog
Please like and comment to let me know what you would be interested in seeing me test or explore with natural hair.
19. What do you have to say to the new, upcoming and already naturals?
My advice if you’re new, upcoming or already natural is to be patient with yourself and with your hair. To never compare your success to someone else’s and to never listen to anyone who tells you your hair less than beautiful. Enjoy every second of your journey and don’t be afraid to ask your community for tips!
I hope that you guys enjoyed reading this and please do follow Yeka for more amazing natural hair tags.
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