Vol.1: Hair Diaries X No Knot Co
Welcome to the first interview of our Hair Diaries X No Knot Co series; a blog that aims to inspire and uplift as we explore the natural hair journies of our favourite influencers and their advice to other wavy, curly and coily babes. To start off this series we had the privilege of interviewing Ioni. She is a curl-fluencer that documents the reality of her curly hair journey and she will be sharing with us all her go-to hair products, how she feels about the impact of social media, and how natural hair is presented in the media. Keep reading to discover the hair journey of @CurlyMunday.
What is your hair type?
So, I think the way I describe my hair really- in terms of curly, coily, wavy; it is curly. And it's high porosity. So, when I wet my hair it soaks up all the moisture. It works really easily. And in terms of the numbering system, I'd normally say 3B or 3C. I don't tend to grade my hair very often. I don't find it personally that useful. But a lot of people ask me so. Yeah.
How would you describe your relationship with your hair growing up, in comparison to now?
When I was younger, I think my hair was more of a nuisance, like it was something that made me stand out, but in the wrong way. I think when you're growing up, most people I think, tend to want to fit in and want to just kind of hide, you know, don't want to stand out too much. And that's how I was, and my hair was soooo different to all my friends (I grew up in a neighbourhood that was predominantly white). Everyone had caucasian straight hair. And so, I kind of resented it. It was really I think, in 2013 when I decided to go natural, and then ever since then, it's been a massive part of my identity. It kind of sounds a bit cringey, but it's almost like a crowning glory now. If it didn't have my hair, I wouldn't feel myself. So, it's completely changed, like completely 180'd. And I think that's a lot to do with the media and how things have changed in that respect as well.
Did you ever feel pressured to straighten/relax your hair? Any types of pressures of any form, with social media, or the people around you?
Yeah, I think it was more of a media in general, you don't realise it’s happening, but I think because I was trying to fit it, I did straighten my hair for most of my teenage years. And looking back, I kind of think, why did I feel like that? And I think it's because you know, obviously at school everyone around you. Like I said- were white, they had straight hair and I didn’t. And then you come home and look at adverts on the telly, or magazines and even Disney Princesses, they all look a certain way. And it kind of perpetuates the image that to succeed…you have to look a certain way. Because everyone is successful looking, you know, with straight hair, then you think oh, well, I have to do that myself. So, I think it definitely affects you. And I think it's improved a lot though. Even just things like Instagram and social media in general. Now, there's so much more diversity. So hopefully, you know, young girls and guys today don't feel like that, that much.
What are your top three go-to hair products at the moment?
Okay so, I think all the time I always recommend a silk or satin pillowcase. There's no way I would ever go to sleep without one. Anytime I know I'm going to stay over anyone else’s it will be with me. That's a must!!! At the minute I'd say moisture milk, I'm using the Camille rose moisture milk, which is perfect. I think it's glycerine free. And because the air is really dry [at the moment], it's sort of drawing out all the moisture from my hair into the air and then leaves from my hairdryer so I'm using stuff that's relatively glycerine free. So, the Camille rose gel and moisture miracle at the minute are saving me. Those are my staples, I think.
What natural hair tips/advice would you give your younger self?
Okay, so I think it would be; to be content and comfortable with what you're given. Because it's exactly what's meant for you. And also, my big, big big one is I wish I documented products I use on my hair or like took more photos of different days of my hair. Because otherwise I think you’d look back and you will start to think “oh my hair, I have a bad hair day”. “Oh, I hate my hair or whatever”. However, if you see how far you've come, then it's easy to appreciate, I guess where you are now and like how much your hair has developed and grown. And yeah, just look at yourself, it's obvious, and it's cheesy, but it is so true. It's sad to think that young girls will think that their hair is not pretty, or cool, or beautiful. You know, the way their friends are. Yeah, that’s my advice, I think.
When growing up, did you have any have role models?
No, I don't think I had any, but I thought if I was growing up today, if I was at my sister's age, who's 16, I think [one of] the girls today that I'd look up to would be Leigh-Anne Pinnock from Little Mix. Yeah, she's kind of rocked her natural hair. She also wears wigs and, you know, weaves and braids. But she does all the varieties of hairstyles. I like that. And also, Amanda Stenberg. She's in the Hunger Games. She had a pretty cute name (Rue) . She's known for kind of just wearing her hair naturally and I think those would be mine because they’re someone that looks like me in the media. And you think oh my gosh, if she can wear her hair naturally then so can I.
I think it's so important if you're represented when you look at others and you look at any advertisement campaigns like even when you just go to the shops on the high street and see people in clothing, to see someone that looks a bit like you, it's important.
How long do you typically take to wash your hair? Talk us through your steps, from beginning to end?
It's a long one, so long! It’s a whole afternoon to the evening process, I don't usually like to do it in the morning mainly because after, if it's wet, you can't really go out after it. So, it's kind of like you have to do it at the end of the day.
Pre Poo & Shampoo
If my hair is particularly dry, I'll do a pre-poo as well as put some oil on my scalp just on the roots, sometimes on the ends. And then I'll get into the shower, and I'll use a shampoo to cleanse my scalp and take my hair mask out of any product build up. Then I will normally go in with a deep conditioner. And sometimes I use a normal rinse out conditioner to detangle first.
Deep Condition & Leave-in
Then I condition, I leave the deep-in the conditioner for 20 to 30 minutes, and I'll get out of the shower. And I'll put like a plastic cap on and maybe heat as well depending on how I'm feeling. And then I'll go back in and I will rinse that out. And then I'll use my leave in or moisture milk and I use a towel. I'll pop my hair up, always pop it in a cotton t-shirt. Nothing expensive, literally just an old pyjama top and just pop it in a cotton t-shirt. I could never style on damp hair, it wouldn't work for me. I have frizz everywhere, unfortunately.
So, I'll pop that on and then I leave that in my hair for 20 minutes as I just get ready and moisturise. Do whatever in the house. And then I will lay it out and then I'll just let it air dry on my shoulders and that's the longest bit. That'll take you know, three hours. So that's what tends to happen, even the whole process takes long. I know…it sounds long but it's the drying that takes the longest I could diffuse if I wanted to.
If I don't deep condition it, it's not that long. And then you can diffuse as well, which is quite long; It's like half an hour sometimes because you're meant to defuse it slow and cool. So, there's no heat. And then it's not that fast. It's just like, ahhh, but it's fun!!
What kind of protective hair-styles do you use? And what styles are your favourite?
So, I'm actually not very creative with my hair. I wasn't much when I was younger; I didn't learn how to do cornrows. That's my biggest regret. I wish someone had taught me because I'd love to be able to do that. So, I'm very basic to be honest about protective styles. And I do twist sometimes literally just to try and twist and I'll leave them in a couple of days. My go-to ones are like just two buns. Like two low buns at the side because and then it's just slicked back in. And tucked away nicely and protected, and then I've started to do like single braids.
Single plaits, or two low buns are on my go-to’s. They’re basic and they're easy.
What advice would you give to all your fellow Curl friends that are starting their natural hair journey?
The big one to me is literally going in on it, whether you're writing it in a diary and taking photos physically and putting them in there, or wherever you're putting them in your notes on your iPhone, or your Android, whatever you choose. Whether you end up creating an Instagram blog or an online blog or whatever, just track your progress. Because 1) it will give you a boost because you're saying “oh my God, I've come so far.” 2) the most important thing I've realised is taking a picture of yourself on a certain day and then saying I used X Y Z product. And then in future when you need to go to have a good look for a certain event or whatever, you know the products that work.
You can start to notice patterns of things that don't work. If you start to use a product with, let’s say coconut oil, and your hair always comes out without definition, for example, you might think, well, maybe my hair doesn't like coconut oil. So, I'll change my products up. You need to journal your hair. I think it's like a journey, journal your transition journey, document it. That's my biggest advice. I think that's the main thing!
Who is your hair inspiration now?
There's been someone on Instagram that I follow since the very very start. Well, when I first realised there was a curly hair community on Instagram and her handle is @CurlyGallal. She's absolutely lovely, but her hair is gorgeous, she's got like a big fro and it's just so full of volume and she just is a genuinely lovely person. So, I love to follow her and she inspires me, she has a lot of tips, a lot of advice, and I learned a lot from her. So, she's always been my inspiration in that respect. Also, cheese again, but just myself because you can't compare yourself to anybody. If I'm looking constantly at someone that's got 4c hair, or 2a hair, there's no point me getting too hung up on what their hair is like, it's never gonna be my hair. And then you might end up feeling like “oh, my hair's not like theirs.” That's rubbish. And it's not something that you'll ever be able to achieve. It’s [just] different. So, I think just get into a stage where your hair on a good day is your hair inspiration. I think that everyone should be their own hair inspiration.
If your hair journey was a song, what would it be?
I think you've heard of it, there's a song called “Video” by India Arie and then from the lyrics, it's basically about loving yourself “I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me” - I like that because it just means that you know what you are, how you’re meant to be. [An]other one is “learn to love myself unconditionally because I'm a queen.” So, I love that song. I think everyone should listen to that. It’s a happy song.
Make sure you Follow Ioni @CurlyMunday on Instagram!
- No Knot Co x