Feature Friday: Meet Joanne from Grow African Hair Long!

Bun on air dried hair fave protective style (Joanne Grow African Hair Long)

1. How long was your hair when you started your hair journey? What made you embark on a healthy hair journey?

I started my hair journey in February 2010 which makes it almost three years since I started my hair journey.

I actually stumbled across hair journey videos on you tube and at the time I just couldn’t believe that black hair could grow long. My hair had been shoulder length for as long as I could remember and in my opinion, that was the longest I thought it could get. Starting a hair journey was fascinating and I proved to myself that my African hair could grow long with the right care.

Feb 2010 beginning of my hair journey (Grow African hair long - Joanne)

February 2010

2. What is your current length?

Since starting my hair journey, I have been able to grow my hair to mid-back length which was actually my long term goal, but I recently had to cut off my ends because they were too thin. Now I am back to below shoulder blade length and I hope to have a healthy mid back length.

My hair before and after trim Jan 30 2013 (Joanne Grow African hair long)

Joanne’s hair before and after trim Jan 30 2013

3. Please share your relaxed hair care regimen for growth. What do you do daily, nightly and weekly, to care for your hair?


I moisturize and seal daily. The moisturizer I am currently using is the Hairveda whipped crème ends hydration and I seal in the moisture with either coconut oil or regular sunflower oil.


I always cover my head with a satin scarf after moisturizing and sealing.


I wash my hair with a sulfate free shampoo and deep condition with a mixture of Organic Root Stimulator replenishing conditioner and Lustrasilk mango shea butter cholesterol. I also add some glycerin, olive oil and sunflower oil or whatever oil I have at hand.


I use a clarifying shampoo once a month to wash my hair.

4. How often do you touch up/relax?

I normally wait 12-16 weeks to texlax my hair but this time around, I managed to go 25 weeks. I will go back to texlaxing every 12 to 16 weeks to avoid unnecessary breakage.

Joanne's texlaxed and relaxed hair (Grow African hair long)

Read more

Hair care: popular terms & lingo

5. How do you maintain moisture levels and manage breakage?

I just make sure that my hair is moisturized daily and if it feels dry before my washday, I sometimes squeeze in a co wash.


6. How do you detangle your hair to minimize breakage?

I only comb and detangle my hair once a week after my wash, this way I reduce damage to my hair due to manipulation with the comb. For the rest of the week I will simply detangle using my fingers. I have also recently discovered silicone serums which really help during the detangling process since they make the hair so smooth.

7. What is the best tip you have learned to protect your ends?

I would say that the best method I use to protect my end is simply to hide them under protective styles and keeping them well moisturized.

8. How often do you wear your hair out vs. protective styling (buns, etc.)?

My hair is in a bun most of the time, almost 99% of the time.

Bun on air dried hair fave protective style (Joanne Grow African Hair Long)

9. Do you use direct heat? If so, how often?

I do use direct heat once in while maybe once or twice in 12-16 weeks.

10. You’ve made some huge progress with your hair journey. What do you attribute most to your success?

Joanne's ponytail comparison (Grow African hair  long)

The most important lesson I had to learn was that there is no magic product, and the moment I realized that, I knew that I had to work for the kind of hair I wanted. It takes diligence, patience and lots of research.

11. Have you had any setbacks/trouble along the way? How did you overcome your setbacks? And your favourite product?

Oh yes! I have had two major setbacks in 2012. The first one was in April when I started texlaxing my hair: I didn´t realize that my hair was breaking at the line of demarcation between the texlaxed and relaxed hair. I ended up with a W shape at the back of my hair. The only way to solve this was to trim until the hair even out. So I ended up staying at bra strap length for the whole of 2012. My second setback was in Dec 2012, I had done mini twists and they looked great, but on unraveling them my hair was so badly tangled that I ended up losing a lot of hair. This was the actual reason for my recent cut.

12. What’s your signature style?

I do lots of buns! I find that they really protect my ends well and they keep hair from flying all over the place.

13. Do you do anything additionally to support your hair? (Nutrition, vitamins, exercise)?

Not really. However, I do try to eat healthy just to keep myself healthy. I believe that vitamins should only be taken if there is a deficiency, otherwise the body will just dispose & get rid of it.

14. You’re stuck on a desert island and you can only have 3 hair related items with you. What would they be and why?

Now that´s a difficult question. I think I will take my satin scarf to protect my hair from the sun and sand; a moisturizer; and an oil to keep my hair moisturized.

15. Looking back at your journey so far, is there anything you would do differently? Or wish you would have done sooner?

Oh yes! I wish I had started texlaxing earlier: texlaxing gives me so much thickness and I just love the texture. If I had done it earlier I would never have had trouble with thin relaxed ends.

16. Is there anything else would you like to share that I haven’t asked you about? Or any links you would like to share?

If anyone is interested on learning more about my hair journey check out our sites

Blog: www.growafricanhairlong.blogspot.com

Website: www.growafricanhairlong.ning.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Grow-african-hair-long-GAHL/263419917008359

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/momethan1


17. Someone is reading this right now who’s about to start her hair journey. What advice would you give her?

If you are starting a hair journey, then it is very important for you to understand that products will not grow your hair, good products will help you maintain your hair and help you retain length but the rest is up to you, how you handle your hair will make all the difference. Be patient because hair does not grow long overnight, don´t compare your hair to anyone else´s. everyone’s hair is different and has different needs. Find out what your hair needs and give it exactly that. In no time you will see a positive difference in your hair.


Profile- Joanne's hair journey (Grow African hair long blog)

Profile of Joanne’s hair journey

About the author

Joanne is from Kenya and she blogs with her sister, Evelyn at Grow African Hair Long blog. Their simple passion is healthy, longer African hair. They love to share their hair experience and hear other women´s experiences. They are also the creators of a social network for all women with African hair

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35 Comments to Feature Friday: Meet Joanne from Grow African Hair Long!

  1. hossana says:

    Please is this also applicable to virgin hair?

  2. LaQT/ Ty says:

    Inspiring. She’s so right, products and pills do not grow hair. Its ultimately about care, handling and styling choices. Great read.

  3. Jenny says:

    Greaattt! I just really love those buns! Off to her blog

  4. Wow! She made a lot of progress in her first year. I get really excited when I see other Africans on hair journeys. It’s inspiring.

  5. Abimbola says:

    hello,I have been an on the side avid follower of your blog and I want to let u know that u have inspired me to start my own personal hair journey, I wish to know what products could recommend in this process,thanks.

    • Dr_fomsky says:

      Hello Bimbo…I’m glad to hear that you’ve been inspired to start your own hair journey. That is my goal for this blog.. what is your budget and how thick or long is your hair? That will determine what products I recommend.

  6. Beeba says:

    I love the point she made about products, I think it’s important to know that when starting because I for one have made that mistake in the past. Now I know it’s more about what you do. Great feature!

  7. Veronica says:

    Wuzup doc? Lol, sorry I can’t help it lol…long long tym but great feature once again and thank u. Iv already added their site to my favourites n so glad to find more africans growing. SoOO jus to update u doc, d journey so far has bin gr8 apart from d late nyts here n ther of wen I start my wash or condition late. But its all now become a way of life. Iv made various hair discoveries n its bin a blast. I managed to stretch to 13 or 14weeks tho I felt abit like a cave girl coz I was tryin hard to figure out how I cld make stretchin easier coz I hv abandoned braids and weaves…enter my january hair discovery…diy wigs!!!! I am definitely d cat dat got d cream (or whateva they say) laughin all d way to d hair retention bank. Wen I’m havin one of em days I pop em on…I dnt know a lot of d care dat goes into apart from the whole moisture seal motto, but I do make sure to not bobby pin too tightly and rather use hair clips in hidden areas. In addition iv neva worn 1 for more than 5days tho I obviously take them off at nyt. Doc evry1 thinks I’m totally nuts esp wen I announced I was making my own wig…til they saw it. Eish now I’m gettin boastful. Ok lemme stop, haha. Ok other things iv discovered is I hav some sort of olive oil allergy or sumthin. Ors relaxer made my scalp mushy after I relaxed. Which was actually accidental texlax due to keepin to d instructions n coating ends wit castor oil, but I’m happy wit d result, I love d thickness. Olive oil itself made my hair hard so I passed dat off to my mom. I take biotin and the pimple reactions r inexistant now so I guess my body adapted but err I dunno if its jus d good hair practices or dat and d biotin dat hav helped me out but dis hair is growing 😉 yay also iv turned into a product junkie as well lol. I do however wanna get ur take on the VO5 give me moisture range coz I wanna try the shamp, cond, hot oil mix (alrdy hv the leave in which jus smells gorgeous) as soon as my tresemme split end therapy shamp and cond r done which shld be in d nxt week. 😉 ok ok verbal diarrhoea doc but since im catchin up on my fav sites sharing is caring I hope and I did promise to update u teeheehee. Hope uv bin awesome tho doc? :)

    • Dr_fomsky says:

      Should I just say that I would love to meet you in person. You sound like a very lively gal! I love you already. When I saw your epistle, I just couldn’t help laughing and I said I have to take my time to read through to respond properly so here goes!
      Glad to know that your journey has been great. So happy for you that you’ve been retaining length. Pele about the late nights: I hope it’s not more than twice a week?
      DIY wigs? You go girl… I’m going to need some when I go further in my stretch… for my last stretch, I bought myself one. Sorry bout the allergy to olive oil… I’m surprised olive oil made your hair hard…but what works for one might not work for another..you know I also stumbled on texlaxing last year but I straightened out my hair a little bit more this year because i couldn’t handle all that texture. It did make my hair thicker though like you said so it’s pretty nice.
      I believe that although biotin might have helped grow your hair, the practices matter more because with them, you are retaining more.
      I’m so sorry but I’ve never used the VO5 give me moisture range so i can’t tell you much about them. However, google it and I’m sure you’ll see some reviews here and there. Take care.. Hugs.. I’m doing well by the way!!

  8. Olivia says:

    Hey veronica,

    thumbs up girl.. you sure have done what i was so lazy to do.. i was watching how to make your own wigs on the internet but still not convinced with their fast forward formula…could you plllleeeaasssee fill me in…. i wana start my au naturale journey next month..Dr. Fomsky…sorry, i didnt start last month as expected… but hey, looks like am gonna start taking biotin…wasnt so convinced about it, until a client got it to grow her lashes…anyways…i just need to make my wigs and then am on a rebound…that hair just must grow back to being very full, thick and hey, long..
    Veronica, please share the wig making love…
    Dr. Fomsky…thumbs up and enjoy your weekend.

    • Dr_fomsky says:

      Yes oh to Veronica… I really admire her for learning how to make her own wigs! Olivia, thanks for the thumbs up.. take care!

    • Veronica says:

      hi ladies, sorry for the late reply. firstly i hope you are both doing well and your hhj’s r progressing and congratulations olivia on starting your natural one. well olivia, sharing is caring….i discovered all this by accident but its great to now hav the knowledge…firstly i suggest u watch a few videos before you evn think about making your own. and the trusted youtube is the best place in my opinion to start. these are a few of my favourite hair making diva’s….absolutely amazing. search for peakmill, thomasadrianna and fabulasityisme, iv also jus seen another lady called ‘ love4ghanastar(she seems to be on a hair journey as well and evn shows how to make clip in extensions. the first video i watched was peakmill’s on making a half wig. and i think this is the best type of wig to start with as it gives u an idea of how long it will take for you to create the wig. what you need:

      1) a wig cap (store bought some beauty stores depending where you are sell them complete with the straps on the side already attached) or u can use a spandex cap, alternatively u can use a weaving cap. you may also use an old wig n jus cut off the old random ‘im so over it’ hair lol. (thats wat i did wen i made my u-part wig) used my moms old dead wig, cut off the hair, washed the wig cap then used it.
      2) a weave (the weave with your brilliant choice of hair will be stitched or glued onto the weaving cap)
      3) mannequin head(this you will need to end up with an accurate result as ul pin the wig cap or weaving cap to the mannequin head before u start sewing. some ppl glue their weft on their head but they make sure to put a shower cap on prior.
      4) others…pins, needles (a curved one as ul see in the vdeos) thread, scissors , small clip in combs or that you can stitch or clip to ur wig incase u want a firmer hold wen rockin your wig.or you may choose to do the quick version…by using glue. then ul needa shower cap, hair glue and i recommend hair remover a incase u make a mistake and need to correct it.

      i havnt tried the glue thing completely tho… so first things first ul need to fit the wig cap onto your own head to check the fit…nxt pin the wig cap to ur mannequin n make sure u do this tightly. begin by sewing or gluing ur weft to the bottom of the hairline ie nape of neck. ul sew along and curve the weft wen u reach the end of your row, cutting creates to many ends whilst continuous sewing makes the wig hav to many ends attracting hair shedding. as u go higher up to the temple’s hair line you’l need the gap between each weaving row to get less. once ur done fasten the ends well un pin your wig n test it out on your head…
      wow this reply is long but it outlines the basic way to make a half wig esp…please please please watch the videos first i recommend about 5 befor u evn start. also make sure that you hav a hairstyle that you are certain suits you already…u can start experimenting once uv happily made n rocked ur first 1. happy wig making olivia…xoxo

  9. Kristie says:

    Hi,I’m just starting my hair journey you are a great inspiration to me I was wondering can you tell me where can I purchase the moisturizer that you mention I have heard great things about it but can’t seem to find the hairveda whipped cream

  10. sian says:

    Hi. Can you apply the relaxer when pregnant?

    • Dr_fomsky says:

      Sorry for my late response…in my three pregnancies, I did apply relaxer. And I’m sure a lot of other women have. if you feel that you can’t wait, don’t leave the relaxer for too long and protect your scalp with Vaseline to reduce absorption into the body.
      However, if you feel that you can wait till after that the baby, that might actually be better.

  11. sian says:

    Thanks so much for the reply. I did apply the relaxer as i couldnt wait,but i will wait until after baby to do it again.

  12. Chinyelu says:

    Hello dear, I must confess I’ve been wowed by all I’m seeing and hearing. Sounds so good to be true. But they are. I’ve been inspired to join the band wagon in the hair growth process.
    My hair is actually shoulder length. However, the strands are thin that they break away easily. Moreover, they are uneven in length too. How do I start? What products do I need? How I can I get them?

    • Dr_fomsky says:

      You can start by trimming off the dead ends. The next step I’d to commit to deep conditioning your hair at least once a week. Then try to moisturize your hair every day or every 2 days. It’s also important to protect your ends every day. For your products, it depends on where you live, your budget and what is easily available.

  13. Chercher says:

    I am soo inspired by this blog so next month i decided to finally respect my hair coz i put it thru a lot… Its thin, dry n brittle. I ws so silly to actually relax ma hair aftr a wk put permanant dye then the followin week braid, so i cnt imagine wts waitin for me wen i undo my braids……do u think i can do CPR on ma hair wthout the need to chop

  14. Becca says:

    I love this article, so sad that I just found it!
    It sounds rather easy, but 1? Would this method work for nonrelaxed hair as well as relaxed?i can’t find any relaxer that won’t have any chemicals in it. My sister and I r wanting to try it, but don’t know if it would work, because our hair are not relaxed, and we are trying to go as natural as possible!

    • Dr Fomsky says:

      Wow! I am sorry I just saw this comment and don’t know how it slipped by me. Yes this regimen will work for all hair types but all relaxers have chemicals in them.

  15. maxmilian says:

    this is lovely.I relaxed my virgin hair for the first time yesterday.I want to start my hair journey now

  16. […] The relaxed hair journey of Joanne from Grow African Hair … – Read Joanne’s relaxed hair care regimen for growth that has helped her hair reach just below her shoulder blades […]

  17. vivian says:

    im so inspired! thanks for all tips but my hair is so thin,scanty and short. i live in Nig. n i dont know d products to use

  18. Michella says:

    M really more dan impressed. I jux started my hair journey two days ago. my hair s a lil above shoulder length. Must I moisturize every two days, nd can I use shea butter

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