Whilst browsing Onsugar- I was elated to find another British blog. I immediately contacted Dionne and asked her about her experiences. She has kindly taken the time to answer a few of my questions. Britisish Bloogers month is LIIIIIVE Y'ALL!!!!!!!
1. What inspired you to start POMPOMAFRO?
I had been increasingly more interested in natural hair blogs, vlogs and forums. It all started when I was living abroad and couldn't get access to my normal hair products (looking back it was a blessing in disguise). I discovered a site called Fotki. There was many women (and some men) who were achieving fantastic hair health and lengths that I always secretly thought was possible, but never actually committed to. Pom Pom Afro was a upgrade from my picture blog at Fotki. Pom Pom Afro is also my stance on celebrating fine Afro hair care in the UK. British Afro hair blogs/vlogs seem to be under represented, which is odd, cause we are out here!
2. In a paragraph, describe your hair journey.
Unlike many blogs out there. I never had relaxed hair before (shock, horror!!). I have always had natural hair (apart from a 4 months when I relaxed my Mohawk in 2004 - whoops!). I have, however, had a unhealthy relationship with the old blow dryer and (gulp) those hair GHD straighteners. I'd think nothing of rocking a skin head then growing a Afro and as soon as it reached around 6" or more, I'd attack it with heat!!! I did this mainly to stretch it, I suppose I must of got frustrated with waiting for it to grow, so would blast it! This cycle of growing, heating and breaking has been going on for some while now. Then I l discovered Fotki in late 2008 and was educated on the basic needs of Afro hair. I'm still learning, but I'm on the grow and my hair feels good.
3. Three products you cannot live without & why
At the moment my hair is braids. In fact my hair has been tucked away in either weaves of braid extensions since December 2009. So I recognise my hair products are much less then when my hair is loose. However there are few things my hair loves and needs.
1. African Pride Braid Sheen - This spray soothes the scalp when the braids are freshly done and I use it every couple of days to keep my hair moisturised.
2. Doo Gro Mega Thick Growth Oil - I always use this after I use the braid sheen, it locks the moisture in and my hair loves it. It contains no cones, mineral oil or parabens, however the same cannot be said for all Doo Gro products.
3. I've only used this a couple of times, but I think its a keeper, Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment - This is used in dry hair, I use it when I'm going swimming and I wanna give my hair some added protection against the chlorine
4. Is the 'Natural scene' in the UK a phase or is it here to stay?
I think its here to stay. I see more naturals out here at the moment. When I had natural hair back in 2005 people always assumed I was going to get my hair done and when I told them that was my hairstyle, they seemed a bit confused. I was actually told, that I shouldn't have my own natural hair, in it's natural state for my birthday, because it was gonna sweat out and just not look right :/ what was really strange, was that I wasn't asking her opinion.
With the likes of Rihanna's shaved hair, Janelle Monae's quiff, Solanges' Braids, Jill Scott's re-occuring Afro puff etc we're constantly shown more styles that seem acceptable for Black women to have. We're not only limited to a Beyonce weave or that Jamelia ponytail piece - like come on!!!
Now I see women really making a statement with their natural hair. In fact most of my black female friends and family members have natural hair (even if it is hiding under a weave). I really think it's here to stay. Once we understand how to work with our own hair and lean to love it no matter what, we'll start to achieve great hair health and lengths, PAK is gonna start losing some money......
5. You mentioned in one of your vids that you have lived abroad- what was the natural scene like in the Crete?
I did live abroad in Crete. It is the largest of the Greek Island and although it's closer to Africa than London, UK is, the number of Black people in my neighbourhood were about 7 and of them, maybe 4 were women. Sooooooo there wasn't much of a scene lol.
Most of the Black people there were immigrants from Sierra Leone or Senegal and the women had long, tiny twist extensions. The scene was therefore very ethnic, very African and I don't think they ever understood how a 3rd generation Jamaican woman came to be there :D
I bought most of my hair products from natural product stores. I had to make everything myself, so I would buy Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Henna, Glycerin, essential oils etc and mix them all up at home, with the help of vlogs/blogs. I don't do this as much anymore, but will start again soon, probably at the end of the year when my protective styling challenge comes to an end (2 years in a protective style).
6. You have mentioned on your blog that you have fine hair, and you don't feel that your hair is well represented on natural hair blogs (I agree) How have you learned to deal with your hair in light of this?
Yeah, I do have fine hair and I suppose it was originally bought to my attention when my mum would do our (me and my sisters) hair and she'd get to mine and complain my hair was too slippy. To make it worse she believed it never looked neatly done, even after she'd just done it :( . When I started to do my own hair, I had nothing to compare it with, so in my opinion, it felt normal - I was right.
When I started my natural hair journey, all the blogs/vlogs were of bouncy, coily, kinky Afro manes. I think there is a global misconception that natural Afro means thick hair. It doesn't mean this at all.
As my hair has grown and I deal with certain problems specific to fine hair i.e breakage, thinning etc I found that there wasn't a Youtube Channel or blog dedicated to fine hair in particular. So I thought well, I'll try and find out how to deal with my slippy hair myself and share the knowledge.
For example, my fine hair in general really likes protein. It makes it stronger and less prone to break. I also found out that although no hair likes heat, fine hair hates it!!!! I did not know this, no wonder it broke in the past.
Most of the time, info found online regarding Afro hair is applicable to my hair, but it's not just info. Its also good to actually see women with fine hair. My blog will hopefully get women to celebrate their hair no matter what density.
My hair is very soft, has a nice curl pattern and can be shrunk and stretched pretty easily. However, it's never gonna be thick without a little help from some tracks at the back!!
I'm learning to be thankful with what I was given and after watching one of my sisters (with silly thick hair) get frustrated with her tresses and take to cutting it to manage her care regimen. I can quite smugly say, that my hair will never give me that problem :)
Thanks oo much to Dionne for sharing her story and having another great UK blog. If you have not already done so pleae check out POMPOMAFRO.