Heritage and Hair Inspiration

“We’ve hit a hair revolution as black females.”

When it comes to beauty and hair, for black women in particular, there is no denying that for a long time the visual cues and messages seen in popular culture have not exactly embraced the full range of possibilities and styles. However, we are starting to see a wave of change as more and more black women are embracing the diversity of black hair, from the fairly straight forward straightened or natural styles, to familiar braids and plaits, and all the way through to the intricate and avant-garde. “I think we’ve hit a hair revolution as black females. We’re unapologetic about rocking different styles and I am inspired by that,” says creative director and stylist Bee Diamondhead who began her own natural hair journey earlier this year.

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“I met ethnic hair specialist, Tina Wiklund, owner of Mmuja Healthy Hair Salon in Parkhurst, Johannesburg; there was an instant connection and great vibe, it felt like a sisterhood. It turned out that Tina and I are from the same city in Zimbabwe.” Bee then approached Tina about collaborating on the hair shoot you see below. “Together with her team she re-created these iconic hair styles based on our heritage,” adds Bee.

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Together with photographer and frequent collaborator Aart Verrips (read our interview with the duo on page 68 of our July issue), Bee started working on the shoot: “I did a sort of ‘street’ casting. I wanted to use very fresh young girls, and to give them an opportunity to shine. I put out a Twitter blast asking girls to DM me if they’re interested in modeling; that’s how I found Zandile, she’s never modeled a day in her life; Bonolo just started modeling and I found her via a friend who just started training new models. I wanted the hair to reflect where we come from as a people, but the styling to reflect a cool young woman.”

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The result? A stunning showcase of intricately braided hair that complements thoroughly contemporary styling. Bee and the team from Mmuja Healthy Hair Salon have extended the love revolution beyond the self, combining it with their shared heritage. Says Bee: “This is out way of paying homage to where we come from. The message I guess is to give credit to where we come from.”

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Treat, treat, treat

It’s important to do a treatment before and after doing protective styles. It helps your hair stay strong, prevents breakage through the process and repairs it once your protective style is removed.

Scalp love

Ask your stylist not to pull your hair too tightly when braiding to prevent damaging your scalp, hairline and hair.

Soak it up

Moisturise hair while it’s in a protective style to prevent breakage and knots. This also ensures that your natural hair remains nourished and healthy. For hair hydration, we love using True Curls Moisture Boost Daily Spritz, R150. It’s perfect for daily use, especially in the dry Johannesburg climate. It also keeps your hair moist when you have a protective style. Seal the moisture with a butter or an oil. When applying the butter or oil, focus on the length of the braid where you estimate your hair ends. We like mixing Nilotiqa’s Deep Moisture Butter, R150, with African Black Castor Oil from Naturally Me, R250. Raw shea butter, which we get from Ghana, is also amazing for deep moisture.

Dare to be you

Most importantly, be creative and have fun with your style!

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Follow Mmuja Healthy Hair on Instagram and Facebook

Contact: tina@mmujahealthyhair.com or 087 151 1970

Production: Bee Diamondhead/Mmuja Healthy Hair

Photography: Aart Verrips

Make-up: Zipho Ntloko

Photographer’s assistant: Simz

Production & fashion assistants: Don Zondo, Amy Zama

Models: Zandile Gangxa (unsigned), Bonolo Modingwana (unsigned), Eve Segone (Boss Models)