Feature Friday: Meet Joanne from Grow African Hair Long!

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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)

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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

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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