Tress Talk With Rachy

August 19, 2014 in Interviews, UNCONDITIONED ROOTS by mkabba

Hair Talk with Rachael of UKnaturals

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Hey Natural Nubian… Kindly introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about UKNaturals!

Hey, my name is Rachael Sealy, Rachy to some. I am a 26 years old creative. I have my hands in a bit of everything. I am co-founder of UKnaturals, owner of blogazine UKafro, fashion jewellery boutique Fairytale Jungle and an artist, Justrachy art.

UKnaturals is a youtube channel and social medium sharing and embracing the love of natural hair.  The aim is to educate and inspire, whilst challenging the industry about their involvement in the world of natural afro hair.

What inspired you to start UKnaturals? Are there any other liberating and encouraging projects you’re currently working on? If so please do tell! And what motivates you to continually expand the Excellency of your platforms?

I started blogging in 2009, via my own open diary and have always had a passion for natural hair. I started my own youtube channel just documenting my healthy natural hair journey for a year and then Naomi and myself decided to start UKnaturals. It was started because all of the natural hair websites, youtube channels and blogs were American. There weren’t anything aimed for people in the UK, which was frustrating, especially when we don’t have access to a lot of the products, the bloggers would talk about.

I recently finished a 6 city UK tour called Natural Hair Week, where I was a panellist, talking about current issues in the natural afro hair industry and from that it has really made me want to be more involved in uplifting women on their journeys. I have recently started a tour called the I Define Me Tour with US blogger, Kala Garner from the KG Lifestyle. Our aim to to help empower and uplift women of colour on their journeys of hair and beauty, as we feel it can be very challenging for us to be accepted in this world, just being ourselves and beauty starts from within.

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Have you worn your Natural Hair since birth? If not how long have you been natural and what spurred you to return to you natural tresses?

I have always been ‘natural’. I have only really used the word natural to describe my hair in the last 5 years, I just used to call it, my hair.

I like to call you the QUEEN of Colour *covers face* I’m in absolute awe by the colours you’ve put in your hair; love the burgundy and the honey blonds. How have your colour treated hair experiences been? What are your GOLDEN TOP TIPS for looking after colour treated hair? And what advice would you give to other ladies considering taking that bold and beautiful step of adding colour to their tresses?

Haha! Blame pinterest, instagram and tumblr,I get a lot of colour inspiration from there, and I have a few more I want to do this year, so watch this space! A lot of people are scared to add colour to their hair, in fear of damaging their hair, which is understandable. I was exactly the same, and made sure to do my research 1st. I spent about a year researching before dying my hair. I henna’d my hair for a year and a half, for the conditioning properties and the hint of red colour, but it was only noticeable in the sun, so I wanted something more vibrant. I first got a red tint done at the Aveda salon in covent garden in April 2012, then after about 6months, I got bored and wanted a change. So I decided to get my hair bleached at the ends for an ombre effect at the Darren Scott Salon. Then last year I bleached my hair again from about 3inches away from the roots. I was so scared to do it a second time, but I did and nothing terrible happened.

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I would advise everyone considering colour to get a consultation first, no matter how well you know the salon or stylist, also make sure it is with the colour stylist of that salon, as they have the most knowledge. Also ask every single question you have concerns about, and if they can’t answer it, don’t let them do your hair. You want someone you can trust doing your hair, because if it goes wrong, its your hair, not theirs.

I haven’t experienced any damage to my hair, no breakage and my curl pattern hasn’t gotten looser and I think that is due to the condition my hair was in prior to colour. I deep condition my hair weekly and do light protein treatments. The protein treatments help strengthen my hair, and I make sure my hair is moisturised to prevent dryness.

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In your experience would you say managing natural hair is mentally and or physically demanding?

Not at all, and that is because I enjoy my hair, always have done. I love to create new styles, looks just by playing in it. The key to making your hair easier to manage is to learn and accept what it can and cannot do. Once you do that, it is so much easier to work with and look after. I think the reason a lot of people struggle with their hair is down to trying to make it do, what it doesn’t, and that is the frustration.

Kindly tell us your 3 most HOTTEST must have hair products?

My top 3 must have products are

Tresemme Naturals conditioner

Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Flaxseed gel

What’s the most popular questions you get about your natural hair? Pros & or cons?

Haha! Where to begin, ‘how do you get your hair to curl like that?’ ‘are you mixed-raced?’ ‘what product makes your hair curl like that?’

The funny thing, people never ask me, what do you use to moisturise, or condition or maintain your hair. It is always about my texture. It does get annoying to be asked those types of questions, but at the same time it shows me that there is a lot of work to be done, for people to understand that natural afro hair comes in different hair types. I get questioned a lot about my heritage because of my hair type, and that again shows me that people need to understand black women come in many different shapes, shades and looks. I do understand my hair type is desired by some, but just because my hair is a looser texture, does not mean it is any better, or easier to manage. Different hair types do different things, and have their own pros and cons. Some people say they would love to do wash n gos, I would love to do twist outs, but my hair doesn’t hold a twist without unravelling, its all about understanding what your hair can and cannot do and not forcing it.

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*SNIP SNIP SNIP* How often do you trim your hair?

Whenever I feel my ends need a trim, I trim. I don’t have specific dates or times, as it all depends on how my ends feel and how they behave. If they are looking limp or feel dry, or when I am detangling and I find a lot of small little hairs, it’s time for a trim. I trim my own hair, because I have had too many hairdresser horror stories.

What are your TOP TIPS for healthy, lengthy, successful hair growth?

Care for your hair like a plant. Feed it what it needs and let it grow. I don’t do much to my hair. The most important part of my routine is the washing and conditioning part. I have to make sure my scalp is healthy so my hair can grow.

Making sure that your hair is moisturised, dry hair equals to breakage and split ends.

Deep conditioning is vital as well as it helps to nourish and condition the hair.

Let’s talk Hair Typing! Necessity or Nuisance? What’s your hair type and what are your views on hair typing? What hair care advice would you give to newly naturals with you hair type?

I don’t use the hair typing system, it doesn’t benefit me in any type of way. I think it is just another system of divide. I could have the exact same hair type as someone else and our hair will react differently to products. Hair typing does not consider, dryness, porosity, strength.. it is based on textures. I think it is beneficial for styling, as different hair types hold different styles better than others and such.

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What are your favourite MUST HAVE staple products for the following (those that apply)

Conditioner: Tresemme naturals

Deep Conditioner: still looking for a good one

Sealant: coconut oil or rice bran oil

Scalp: I don’t use oils on my scalp

Shampoo: black soap

Protein Treatment: vatika egg protein treatment

Styling: Shea Moisture curl enhancing smoothie, Kinky curly knot today, Giovanni direct leave- in conditioner.

Heat Protection: I don’t use heat often, in the past I used one by L’oreal in a gold bottle.

Let’s talk HAIR REGIMEN! What does your current/staple hair regimen consist of? How does your hair respond to this?

I currently wash my hair once or twice a week. I use black soap to cleanse my scalp and every 4/5 weeks I use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of build up from hard water. I condition with Tresemme Naturals and deep condition or sometimes I will steam my hair. I need to steam more often, as it really helps with moisturising. I then apply my styling products, leave-on conditioner, styler and gel. It all depends on how much hold I want and how big I want my hair to be, less product, bigger hair.

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Do you believe returning back to natural to be a statement? If so of what sort?

I think it depends on the person, to some it is more than just natural hair, its returning to their true self.

Have you made any mistakes/ experienced any natural hair disasters? If so what? And what advice would you give to other naturals?

I haven’t had any major mistakes or hair disasters.

Has being natural dispelled any myths you previously had of “black hair?”

No.

What is your go-to hairstyle and how do you achieve and maintain it?

My go to style is a wash n go, it’s so simple and gives me the big hair I love. I maintain it be refreshing it with a little water and a moisturising product, such as shea butter.

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Coupled with your SUBLIME hair, you rock some GORGEOUS lip colours too. One of my favs being your infamous purple/pink 😀 So what’s your all-time favourite colour?

Funny enough I only started wearing lipsticks this year!! I am not a make-up girl and I now have a range of lips sticks!! I am in love with purples, I have a few red ones, but they can be a bit too bold for me. I have been wearing a matte purple from H&M and MUA Academy do a great lip lacquer, which is always sold out!!

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What one piece of advice would you give someone who’s considering going back to their natural hair?

Do it for you and not because you feel left out of a trend, as this is your hair. So if you aren’t ready for the work it may take, or the difference in your look, then maybe, it isn’t your time. I have never forced any of my friends to go natural or even asked them to, and now all of my close friends are transitioning, it has to be for that person to do for themself.

Latterly where can our readers find and reach out to you (Online)?

Instagram, twitter, facebook: @UKnaturals www.youtube.com/user/uknaturals

My blogazine UKafro: www.ukafro.co.uk

Fashion jewellery boutique: www.fairytalejungle.com

Artwork on instagram: @justrachyart

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