WHAT'S YOUR BACKSTORY?
Matlhodi: Besides blogging, I'm an account executive for an IT company; married with two small kids. I live in the east/south of Johannesburg and am currently studying towards a Communications degree. I also own an African hair salon.
Nangamso: I live in Centurion, Pretoria, and I work for an academic publishing house as an editorial coordinator. I am married and a mother of two small boys. I am very passionate about all things natural hair. I am also a foodie - I enjoy cooking and discovering new restaurants to try out!
WHAT IS YOUR BLOG ABOUT?
Our blog is mainly about natural hair. Every now and then we post random things on beauty and fashion but we're mostly about celebrating natural hair, sharing tips and experiences; product reviews; featuring celebrities and everyday people with fabulous natural hair.
WHAT ORIGINALLY PROMPTED YOU TO CREATE YOUR BLOG?
Initially there was little to no online natural hair information available locally. We had been following a couple of American natural hair blogs for a while and learnt the basics of natural hair care. The challenge was that the products they used were not available locally. So we saw a gap and ran with it.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON ITS NAME?
We basically played around with the words 'Afro' and 'Chic', and we then decided to drop the 'a' on afro and leave it as 'fro' since afros are affectionately called fros.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT YOUR BLOG?
We're proud of the fact that a lot of type 4 naturals (hair with tighter curls) can relate to our hair textures and the tips on the blog are quite helpful. We tend to use a bit of South African slang on our posts and our readers love that. We're also proud that it's relatable and has a local feel to it (or so we've been told several times). We've caught the attention of a couple of magazines, TV shows and radio stations and that tells us our work is not a waste of time.
HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY OFF YOUR BLOG?
Occasionally through advertising and PR articles.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS WITH IT?
We've just brought new hair, fashion and beauty contributing writers on board so our readers can get to read fresh posts written in different style from ours.
WHERE DO YOU FIND THE TIME/ENERGY TO BLOG?
We don't have a structured submission schedule on FroChic as we both have families, businesses, studies and full-time jobs. So we basically blog whenever we get time.
WHAT OTHER BLOGS HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
It was mainly an American blog called Black Girl With Long Hair (BGLH) by Leila Noelliste. We found that we related to her hair type as well as that of the ladies she featured.
WHAT IS THE SURPRISING THING YOU DISCOVERED THAT YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU STARTED BLOGGING?
That blogs aren't as well-received here. Most Africans still don't have easy access to the Internet. So, we still get questions like 'Sorry, what's a blog?'
FroChic are on the following platforms:
E-mail: [email protected]
THE REALITIES OF GOING NATURAL
Ditching the weaves, wigs and relaxants may seem lower maintenance but there are challenges, says FroChic in this edited version of one of their posts.
Welcome to the natural hair community. It's an exciting, yet overwhelming world of pre-poos (pre-shampoos), oil treatments, deep conditioning, stretching, protein boosting, shrinkage, leave-ins and a whole lot of... natural hair.
Growing healthy natural hair is no walk in the park, but it's one of most rewarding journeys filled with a whole lot of mistakes and discoveries.
Right, so you cut off your relaxed hair, then thought 'Now what?'.You read natural hair blogs and saw a whole lot of YouTube videos in the hope of learning to grow and take care of your hair.
You found yourself drowning in a whole lot of information, rushed to the shops to buy all those products you read about online, then POP went your balloon as you discovered very few are available in our South African stores.
1. There's a high chance that the hair you saw on that YouTube video is not even the same texture as yours. Unless you're a type 3 (loose curls), get the Tracee Ellis hair image out of your head!
2. Some of the people in your life will HATE your hair. Your man might turn out to be one of them. This is where you have to put your self-confidence panties on and walk with your head high. Hey, there will also be a bunch that will go gaga over your naps, so you're alright.
3. You will have bad hair days. Some days you'll go to bed with a twist-out still intact and wake up with a head full of matted chunks of hair. That's alright. Once you get to know your hair, you'll come up with your own damage-control methods.
4. Your hair will shrink. One day you'll be on some Pearl Thusi trip and two days later you'll be back to a Lira length.
5. Your hair will get dry and 'groff'. This is when you need to play around with moisturising methods that work for YOU.
6. Your hair will shed. That's normal.
7. You may struggle to find products that work for YOUR hair type which will subsequently turn you into a PJ (product junkie). That's how we all learn.
8. DO NOT set yourself unrealistic goals. Your hair won't grow at the same pace as the next natural.
9. DO NOT force your hair to look like that of Pearl Thusi or Corinne Bailey Rae when you know for a fact that you have a Lira texture.
10. Get the basics right; pre-poo, wash, deep condition, apply a butter/cream that works for you and seal with an oil of your choice.
11. Don't drive yourself crazy with frequent length checks.
12. Every now and then you'll have your hair braided, plaited or weaved - whatever you do, please take care of your hairline. Once it's gone, it's not easy to restore.
l For a while you'll look strange to other shoppers as you spend a good 5 minutes going through the list of ingredients on hair products.
My intention is not to scare you off but to curb those false expectations.
I wish you all the best in your journey.
COMMONLY USED TERMINOLOGY
BC: Big Chop
Deep Conditioning: I'm pretty sure you've met tons of hairstylists who've made you pay that extra R100 for 'treatment'. Make that a thing of the past as you can do that yourself. There are a number of deep conditioners out there you can play around with, for example, ORS Replenishing Pak Deep Conditioner and Dr Miracle's Deep Conditioner. You can even spruce them up by adding an egg or a few spoons of olive oil.
Detangling: self-explanatory. This is unravelling the knots at the tips of your hair either by comb, finger, needle, etc
LOC/LCO method: Liquid>Cream>Oil or Liquid>Oil>Cream. This is the order in which you apply the above to your hair. This helps to keep your natural hair soft and moisturised.
Pre-poo: applying oil (coconut, olive, etc) to your hair before shampooing. Some people will leave the oil on the hair overnight with head covered in a shower cap/cling wrap/plastic bag before putting on a doek (head scarf). Others will only keep the oil on for a few hours before a wash. This helps soften your hair and protects it from dryness after shampooing.
Protective styling: any hairstyle that helps to protect the tips from breaking, for example, twists, braids, tucks, etc
Shrinkage: self-explanatory. This is when your hair shrinks after a few days of a good stretched length.
Stretching: Many naturals prefer a stretched look. Some go to bed with hair braided and then take down the braids/plaits in the mornings.
TWA: Teeny Weeny Afro (I call it the Lira length).
Bantu Knots/Amagoda: you get the idea. This is also a brilliant hairstyle that can give a dry-curl look when undone (Bantu knot outs).
Twists (with own hair): another protective hairstyle.
Twist-out: the above twists unravelled to form nice wavy curls.