Mane Envy: Faridah Shiku

Jun
2012
16

posted by on Kaya Curls, Mane Envy

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Z: Please introduce yourself:

F: My friends call me Faridah, which means unique in Arabic. I am an Afropolitan – I’ve grown up around a mixture of cultures in the USA, U.K. and Kenya, making me a global citizen. I’m currently based in the Washington D.C. – the American Capital. I am definitely a big city girl and I love to travel.

Z:  How long have you been natural? 

F: I have been natural for 4 years now…almost 5.

Z: What inspired you to go natural?

F: I actually went natural by mistake (laughs). In 2006, I dyed the front of my hair a reddish/brownish tint. I loved it! It was trendy at the time and me being me, I wasn’t going to be left behind (laughs)! Soon after I got the color, my hair started shedding at the speed of light. The color proved to be too difficult to take care of and the so I decided to grow it out. To my surprise, the new growth was soft and manageable. I met and fell in love with my REAL hair and in that instant; I decided I wasn’t going to perm it. So that’s what really happened, but when people ask me, I tell them: ‘Going Natural’ was a new year’s challenge to myself! But when I think about it, I was really also tired of being bound and defined by a European standard of beauty. Especially being from Africa, I just wanted to stop conforming and hiding my God given, beautiful hair.

Z: What was your transition like? Did you big chop or cut it all off?

F: I was a little nervous about cutting everything off all at once, so I trimmed the ends little by little as it grew. My hair was half straight and half curly and I couldn’t style it to save my life! So I wore braids for a year until I got to my desired length then I finally chopped off all the residual relaxer.

Z: What has the experience of being natural been like for you?

F: Well I’m a trendsetter, so it’s been positive in that regard. But when I first went natural, it wasn’t easy.  They’re were very few naturals at the time. Now I’m used to my look and rock it with confidence! In the past few years so many people have gone natural. It’s almost like a fad now! There’s a lot of afrocentism in the air, which I love! Because I’ve been natural so long, I’ve become somewhat of an expert among my peers.

 Z: You’ve lived in both Kenya and the USA. What’s the difference between being natural in Kenya (here) and being natural in the States?

F: Great question! I am originally from Kenya and in 2009; I had a great opportunity of study abroad for a year in Kenya. It was a great experience for me, but for my hair it was ‘hair suicide’ – especially because I decided to go to Kenya without my hair products. I actually did that because I thought I would find ‘better’ hair products in the motherland. Worst idea!!! I couldn’t find anything. To my surprise I didn’t meet any natural haired girls. It was completely the opposite of my assumption that Africans stay natural. It was torture for my hair. In USA, it’s a lot easier to go and stay natural because they’re a lot of stores that carry natural hair products. They’re also lots of tutorials on Youtube.

Z: Your hair is so healthy. What’s your regimen and what are your fave products?

F:  Thank you! I try diligently to stick to organic products. I use paraben and sulfate free shampoos. Currently, I wash and condition every 2 weeks with Nature’s gate shampoo and conditioner. I also condition daily with rose water and Cantu leave in conditioner, then I seal it with an oil concoction of shea butter, coconut oil, castor oil, vitamin e oil and rosewater, which I recently whipped up on my blender. I like to wear my hair in a fro hawk or a beenie with the front out because my hair is super curly (4a textured). I am pretty lazy, when it comes to styling though – I can admit that (laughs). The longer my hair grows, the more styling options I have, so when it grows to my desired length, I will do a lot. For products, I love Carol’s daughter and I spoil myself once in a while with the hair milk to define my curls.

                                      Faridah’s hair treats

                                      Faridah’s face treats

                                        Faridah’s body treats

Z: You wear your hair in protective styles a lot, how do you keep your hair moisturized and prevent breakage when it’s braided or weaved up?

F: That’s a tough one! I’m not a weave person but I do wear micro braids and half wigs from time to time. When I’m wearing braids, I give myself scalp massages with oil periodically and depending on the type of hair I might wash it and do my regimen as if it we’re my natural hair.  With the wig I take it off at night and do my regular routine, then I braid my hair into a round French braid, put on my satin cap and retire for my beauty sleep.

Z: What’s the most damaging thing you’ve ever done to your hair?

F: Besides getting that first perm, I’ve been very safe with my hair. I am experimental in other areas of my life, but not with my hair! The color I got in 2006, was the most damaging thing I’ve ever done to my hair, but something positive came out of it hence the saying…mistakes are just but lessons and opportunities in disguise!!

Z: What’s the best thing about being natural?

F: The attention of course! (Laughs) For example this interview – just kidding! Well, honestly, I feel like I’m being true to myself, to my heritage. I get a lot of compliments for being bold. America is quite diverse but white standards of beauty still prevail. Kinky hair is shunned compared to straight hair. Light skin vs. Dark skin – I believe, there is a lot of self-hate and self-sabotage among some black people in this country and that’s why being natural is a very big deal. I love being natural and would urge women of color to really start embracing themselves and raise their children to love EVERYTHING about themselves. We are wonderfully made! (Sorry for going on that tangent)!

Z: Apology accepted (smiling)! Okay, let’s talk about skin care. You have pretty great skin. What’s your routine and what products can’t you live without?

F: Aww stop it!!! Now I’m shy (blushes)! I had acne like any other teen with flaring hormones!! As I got older and started really taking care of my skin, it improved tremendously. I have combination skin, which is oily in my T-Zone and dry on the edges. I have recently just started doing my regimen twice daily. In the morning, I wash with Burts and Bees face wash and toner which are natural. Then I apply a moisturizer with SPF 30 by Estee Lauder. The moisturizer is kinda expensive but it’s great for sunburn protection. Before bed, I use a nutrasonic facial cleaner (its a small spinning brush) which uses sonic movements to deep cleanse skin. I follow that up with a toner and then a night cream made out of carrot oil and retinol to replenish my skin. Once a week, i’ll exfoliate with a scrub from Estee Lauder and I also use a clay mask periodically. I firmly believe that if you take care of your body, it will take care of you!

Z: What causes are you passionate about?

F: I am passionate about philanthropy and I believe in giving back to the community. I am especially passionate about women and children’s causes. Feminist or not, women hold this world together and they should be treated with dignity and respect.  Children are the future and if much is expected from them, then a lot must be invested in them. I also enjoy creative ventures such as filmmaking, photography, fashion and blogging. I flourish anywhere my creative juices are allowed to flow and that’s why I studied Communications in college.

Z: Anything else you want us to know about you?

F: I am very opinionated and I am one of those people who have an opinion on everything, which makes me feel that I made the right decision in choosing a career in the media! I am currently interning at the Voice of America and I feel very grateful to God that my dreams are coming true. I believe family is everything and I spend a large portion of my free time with my siblings and family. I am a lover of life and believe what you give to the universe you will get back! As for natural sistahs, all I can say is, lets do this!!!  Thanks for this interview and stay blessed!

 Z: Thank YOU Faridah!

 

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