the naturalista: chocolaty naturals

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Name: Yvonne Tumukunde

Dream Job: An entrepreneur in the fashion industry

Fave spots In Kampala: Café Javas and The Bistro

Passionate about: Learning, family, fashion and style

Currently listening to: A whole bunch of nursery rhymes because miss sunshine has them on replay; right now “five little monkeys jumping on the bed” is playing in my head

Photography: Papa Shotit IMG_1604

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your natural hair journey so far? 

I think that one of the best decisions I have made in the recent past was doing the big chop. Being a busy working mum, I increasingly found no time at all to go the salon. See, my hair has been relaxed for the past fourteen years or so. Back then when the demands on my life were fewer, I could afford weekly salon treatments and plaiting sessions that would last a whole entire day. At the beginning of this year, I took the plunge and cut off all my hair. Short hair is FREEDOM. First, I wash and shampoo my hair anytime, then I get to stand straight under the shower and also I enjoy a good swim because now I don’t have to worry about getting my hair wet.

The best part though has been doing away with relaxer! I remember when I had just got my hair relaxed in my form six vacation; my dad gave me a good lecture about the dangers of the chemicals in relaxers. It has taken me fourteen years to see what he was telling me. My scalp just couldn’t take it anymore. The other day I felt a breeze on my scalp as I was driving. It’s such a good feeling !!

What are your top tips for someone looking to do their big chop? 

Don’t over think it! Because then you probably won’t do it. Second, please don’t announce your decision to the world because all they will do is discourage you. When I made my decision I didn’t even go to my regular salon because I knew my hair dresser would try to talk me out of it. I just went to a random salon that I hadn’t been to before, where no one there felt like they had a relationship with my hair. Then you will ask yourself the big question “will I be able to look good with short hair?” I believe every woman can look great with short hair, you just have to find the right cut for your face shape. And if you don’t like it, you can always grow it out again. Lastly, just because the hair is short doesn’t mean you are now out of styling options. Just google “how to style a TWA” you will be amazed. The options are too many.

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Were there any influences that pushed you towards your big chop? 

Two things;my scalp and time. I just felt like my scalp was telling me enough is enough!! Every other retouch or braiding session only added more pain to the already sensitive scalp. My last braiding session made this decision more apparent. My scalp was in pain for four days straight, I couldn’t sleep moreover I was 7 months pregnant. That was like adding insult to injury. It seemed too much of a price to pay. The other issue was time, which has increasingly become a rare commodity for me. I just couldn’t find those hours to sit at the salon every weekend. Now all I need is 30 minutes tops every 3 weeks.

As a new mummy to a beautiful baby girl, do you plan on keeping your daughters hair natural?

Definitely, by all means YES! Right after I had my first daughter, I remember hoping that she would get the soft textured hair not the course hard textured hair like mine; because let’s face it, it is way easier to manage.What I have come to learn though is that any hair texture is manageable with the right routine and products. Coconut oil from (The good hair collective) and Luster’s detangler have made doing my little girl’s hair much easier. I hope that as a mum of two girls who might have varying hair texture, I will be able to teach them to each appreciate the texture of their hair and continuously remind them how pretty natural hair really is.

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I love your fresh look! Do you have anything or anyone that has been influencing you lately?

Thanks Karen, that would be Lupita Nyongo! She is so effortless. She has taken the fashion world by storm.

What do you wear when you’re dressing up for something special?

A good blazer and heels! I believe they are key elements to transforming any normal look to super chic.

Right now I can’t stop wearing vests and anything button up. They give me room to easily breastfeed my baby who can’t seem to get enough breast milk.

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Can you tell us about a place you’ve recently discovered and loved? 

Miso Garden. They have a great selection of both Korean and Japanese cuisines. Being a sucker for the latter I will definitely be visiting Miso garden more often. Oh, and they have generous portions.

What to you is the perception of natural hair in Uganda?

I am seeing a big shift in the perception of what good hair is.  So many ladies are beginning to embrace their natural hair.  I see more ladies taking the time and to learn about their respective textures through the internet and several natural hair forums and that we now have access too. However the larger number of women still believe that relaxing is the easiest way to maintain their hair. With this information and good products being more available, I believe more women will transition back to their natural hair.

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How has your style evolved over the past few years? Has there been a drastic change? 

I was your typical “jeans and tee” gal for the longest time until I went to study my Masters in Japan. I was amazed by the many fashion styles and cultures on the streets. I was hugely inspired by their expressive dressing. Style is what you make it. This led me to start a fashion blog “Chic Moments” where I share my personal style and journey. And I am not one to shy away from a good trend.

Happy new week,

Karen

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