Gorgeous singer songwriter Rachel Marete is a former Miss Universe Kenya 2005 who currently resides in Beverly Hills, California. I saw photos of her gorgeous natural hair on her facebook page and an entertainment blog and decided to reach out to her with a “natural hair feature” request and she was more than happy to oblige me. She has such an endearing smile that drew me to her, the kind of smile that tells you someone is a nice person and I knew deep down that she would say yes and she did:). Her niceness shone through in her messages to me she is such a lovely lady with a big heart! So without further ado here is all you need to know about Rachel’s natural hair;
|Red carpet fabulous!|
How long have you been natural?
I've been natural for two years now but I only took the leap into wearing only my natural hair out, sans extensions, about 3 months ago and I am loving it.
Why did you decide to go natural?
My hair was thinning from relaxers and I also started becoming painfully aware of the fact that something was wrong somewhere if I was not proudly wearing my natural hair out of the comfort of my home. I couldn't help but feel as if I was selling out somehow by constantly having weaves and feeling as if, to be seen as beautiful and acceptable here in Hollywood, I had to have costly weaves on all the time. I was spending so much to have someone else's DNA on my head! Why was I doing it? I also missed my strong natural hair and it was sort of a symbol of me taking a journey back to myself. Who I truly am at my core and embracing myself wholly. I think when we black girls go natural there's a lot more to it than simply changing a hair style. It's deeper and a sort of rebellion against societal standards that make us believe that we are better off trying to be as less authentically African as possible to be seen as progressive or "civilized". Somewhere along the line, westernization of the African became the new black and we lost ourselves to it more and more without realizing it. I think diversity makes the world beautiful and each race should express itself without feeling the need to conform to standards of another.
|Love this style!|
What is your current regimen like?
I wash my hair once a week with paraben, silicon and sulfate free shampoo and conditioner, use olive oil for shine and softness and also do a Brazilian keratin treatment once every 4 to 6 months to make my hair stronger and easier to manage. I have also started to trim my split ends every 8 weeks.
What products are your must haves?
I am honestly still exploring so I can't say I've found products that are strictly my go tos. However, I think a must have is certainly conditioner mixed with water that I use daily as a leave- in for manageability when combing to enhance softness and avoid breakage. I also only use a wide toothed comb for the same reason.
Current length and do you have an ultimate length goal?
I honestly don't know my length. I've never measured it. While I hope to see great length over time, it's never occurred to me to actually keep track of it by measuring constantly. I like to braid it in protective styling for about 4 to 6 months total a year and be surprised by noticing it appears longer than I last remember whenever I comb it out or straighten it. I'm more focused on having a full, healthy head of hair.
Do you have any challenges in your natural hair journey so far?
The challenge is relearning my natural hair and its ups and downs. Sometimes it's great and it behaves just like I want it to and other times it feels almost impossible to control the frizzing. It's like it sometimes has a mind of its own! However, lately I've learned that our hair is meant to be wild and not controlled to make sure every strand is in place because those are standards that were set based on Caucasian hair while ours tends to grow upwards and outwards. It's wild and it's beautiful. So nowadays, even when I hold it back in a bun or pony tail, I first off don't expect it to be a pony tail but a puffy rounded tail unless it's straightened and I also don't stress over it not laying flat on my head for instance. When I leave it out and it gets frizzy, I have learned to embrace that too and I will actually tease it outwards to make it even crazier because that's how our natural African hair wants to be and it's beautiful too. It's a sort of reprogramming of the mind and changing views of what we've been conditioned to accept as beautiful when it comes to our hair and just letting it be.
What's the best part about being natural for you?
The beauty that comes with simplicity. I feel more confident, more beautiful and even sexier because I am accepting of myself and I'm no longer fazed by whether or not, when I walk out the door, society will find me beautiful. It's a sort of "I'm fabulous hunty and I don't care what you, or you or you think!" type of attitude and ironically, I think people around you sense it and admire it and see beauty as well when in my weave wearing days, I wouldn't have necessarily thought I could be considered striking in my natural hair. I know. That sounds awful. To begin my journey however, I had to accept that I was a bit brainwashed when it came to my hair and how it should look. We all are, I think. In school we are forced to hold it back and make it lie as flat as possible and what's considered decent even in adulthood and work environments is having it pressed and straight. We were sort of raised to do everything but embrace our natural hair texture thanks to colonialism standards that we've kept. I'm glad to see many of us start to take back our power by going natural and being bold about it. I also love the versatility of my African hair. I love how it shrinks into tight coils when washed and how a little heat suddenly makes it straight and 3 times as long. I also love how our texture allows us to do so many fun things from twist outs to Bantu knots, etc. The fullness of my hair is also something I'm happy to have back.
How did your family/friends/colleagues react to your going natural?
Most were very supportive. I realized many of us African girls are actually constantly battling with whether or not to ditch the relaxers and go natural and therefore I was met with a lot of applause and support.
Any advice for ladies wanting to go natural but not too sure?
Yes. Just do it! Your hair is beautiful and it's begging you to show it some TLC and just let it be! If you think about it, we are being so mean to ourselves and our hair when we put harsh chemicals on it, tons of heat constantly, tag at it and destroy our edges with heavy weaves and altogether cover it up completely with non- African textured extensions just to achieve a look that's not natural to us. It's time to be kinder to ourselves and our hair. The freeing feeling you will get from it will be exhilarating and totally worth it! It will edge you a lot closer than you know towards embracing your inner goddess.
Where can we find you on the web? (Facebook, twitter etc)
Thank you Rachel you are awesome!!!
All photos are from Rachel's facebook page.