Naturally Fierce Feature: Araba Apau

My name is Araba Apau, and I am a 19 year old college sophomore. I was born and raised in Yonkers, NY.

How long have you been natural?
I embarked on my natural hair journey in April of 2010, and have been natural for 3 years now. I transitioned from relaxed to natural hair for about 8 months, then finally decided to big chop the rest of my relaxed hair off because I was curious to see my natural hair texture.

What motivated you to go natural?
What inspired me to go natural was different from many others. One day after school, I came home to watch the Tyra Banks show as I always did. The particular episode that was airing that day happened to be about African American women, and the way they feel about hair. I was moved by the comments that were made by one woman who had relaxed hair. She believed that African American women are not beautiful with their natural hair, and thinks it’s only appropriate to wear our hair straight, and that we are not beautiful with our hair in its natural state. This upset me dearly, being that my parents are from Ghana, West Africa, and I consider myself an African. I loved and still love my African roots, and I knew how beautiful my people were and can be with our natural hair. So that very day, I decided I was going to go natural. I didn’t exactly know how, but I knew that I wasn’t going to relax my hair anymore. I wanted to prove to everyone and even myself, that the way my hair naturally grows, is the way it’s meant to be, and that it is beautiful. I was 15 years old at this time.

How would you describe your hair?
My hair can be described in so many ways. It’s big, soft, kinky and thick. Even when I was younger and natural, I’ve always had big, thick and kinky hair. Many would describe my hair as a 4A texture, but I’m honestly not into hair typing. It takes the fun away from being natural! And I don’t want any categories, I just want my kinks!

What are some of your favorite natural hair websites, YouTuber’s, or blogs?

My all time favorite youtubers to watch are Naptural85, Taren916, Haircrush, and FusionofCultures. I love that my hair attracts attention.

Any memorable reactions from family or others since going natural?
It seems like ever since I went natural, I can’t be in a public place without someone having to do a double take and someone complimenting me on my hair. It inspires other people because they become curious and fascinated, and as a result they want to achieve the same look too.

What is your hair regimen (including fav products)? Maintaining and taking care of my hair throughout my journey has not been easy. When I first went natural, I went into the whole thing blindly. I was too old for my mother to do my hair and I felt like she was the only one who knew how to handle my hair. I pretty much learned what to do through trial and error, doing braidouts and twistouts using shea butter, until I discovered YouTube. YouTube probably changed my life!

As for my hair regimen, I like to keep things real simple. Now don’t get me wrong. I do indeed own a lot of products. But there are a few that are my staples, and are a MUST have. I for one love me some pure African Shea Butter! It makes my hair incredibly soft and moisturizes it for days. I also love that it is one of the few, if not the only product that allows my hair to stay in a stretched state. I also love Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie. Although it doesn’t do much as a styler, I find that when I combine it with my Cantu Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Repair cream, it gives me an awesome braidout that is very soft and voluminous! For hair oils, I absolutely love Olive oil on dry hair. It softens my hair and adds a healthy glow. Another great oil I use is Africa’s Best Herbal Oil. That oil has a blend of natural oils that are great for a hot oil treatment. And as a deep conditioner, I use just pure honey. I’ve stopped using regular deep conditioners a while ago, not because they don’t work on my hair, but because honey just makes my hair feel so much better and softer.

Anything you want the readers to know? Inspirational words? For those who are natural or who are aspiring to go natural, I just want to encourage you to stay strong and stay focused! The journey won’t be easy, but it’s definitely all worth it. My hair journey has not been easy, having to endure heat damage and split ends and breakage all because I didn’t know how to properly take care of my hair. But with educating myself and reminding myself why I went natural in the first place, I have gotten back on track, and I have fell in love with my hair all over again! Learn to love your hair the way it is. Once you understand and know your hair, you will know how to care for it, and you will love it, because it’s yours and no one else’s.

Where can people find you for more information? Follow me on instagram @Blackrose_forever for pictures and updates!

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