The content of each post is solely written by that contributor and only expresses the contributor's personal views. Each post does not represent the views of all the contributors or Women of Color Living Abroad as an organization. Each contributor is speaking from their own person experiences and/or perspective.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Home Again and Natural Hair Care

By Rukiya McNair

So...in the past few years, before I had a family of my own and after, I've bounced around quite a bit. Now, being fully transitioned back home in Pittsburgh, PA I am finding it to be a positive experience as well as a bitter sweet one filled with great memories of my travels abroad.

In the past 5 years I have been (not necessarily listed in the order of importance):

1.  physically thrown out of a bar simply because of the color of my skin (Jakarta, Indonesia)

2.  in a fist fight with a male taxi driver (Jakarta, Indonesia)

3.  bitten by a centipede (Christiansted, St. Croix)

4.  told by an 8 year old student that she didn't like Black people (Jakarta, Indonesia)

5.  told by the SAME 8 year old student referenced in #4 that Jennifer Hudson was beautiful like her teacher (i.e. me), the day after I had a conversation with her about her comments

6.  the Ambassador to all things Black in America (Jakarta, Indonesia)

7.  taught that the words cheeky, thick, and spiked mean something completely different in the U.K. (everywhere but the U.S.)

8.  sick from food poisoning more times than I can count (everywhere but the U.S. but primarily Jakarta, Indonesia)

9. almost in love (no comment)

10. out of almost love (no comment)

11. in love again (no comment)

Now that I'm back, there are a few things I am glad to experience...everyone speaking English, concerts, music and the variety of foods. I'd like to think those are all typical reasons for enjoying being back home. There are other less common reasons as well I suppose, like police sirens in the city, Mexican people, VH1Soul, face cream that doesn't contain bleach, terrible pop music, consumerism, oh...and proper hair care products. As a natural-haired African-American woman, those products can be hard to find abroad, if you can find them at all.

So, what does a woman do when she can't find her most prized hair care products abroad? Stock-up before you go, or order them from this magical place called the internet. Recently, I spoke with Gwen Jimmere of Naturalicious.net.
I asked Gwen what she thinks the most important natural hair care products are to take abroad she said, "It’s very important to take moisturizer with you. Our hair gets very dry and oils alone do not moisturize the hair. When hair gets too dry, it become brittle and it will break off like nobody’s business. Carry a good moisturizer with you at all times."

Gwen Jimmere, CEO of Naturalicious, LLC

I can say I learned this lesson the hard way when I was living in in St. Croix. I had locs for 10 years when I decided to chop them off and rock a small afro. I guess island life had me feeling a little too carefree because my hair began to break-off about 6 months later when we moved to Puerto Rico. I hadn't been moisturizing my hair properly (probably due to the lack of natural hair care products where I was living)...and I was paying the price! I was thrilled when I found the Naturalicious website because they shipped outside of the continental United States (and internationally) so easily!

While you are waiting for your products to arrive via snail-mail, one easy mix (depending on where you are in the world) is olive oil and shea butter, according to Gwen it provides,"great shine and excellent moisture."

For now, me and my hairs are going to enjoy our stay here in the U.S. and everything that comes with it.. for as long (or short) as it may be...


  1. Enjoyed your post! I had to learn to about the hair care dilemma.

  2. Hey, I used to live in the 'burgh! ;) Thanks for the natural hair care tips!

  3. Hi Rukiya. Thanks for your post. I am currently living in Indonesia now, for the past 6 months, and while I have yet to experience anything negative based on the color of my skin, its things similar to the points that you listed that scare me. How did you respond in those situations? But as someone living abroad who is transitioning, I will say that for myself, I guess that this is the perfect place to do that. Learning how to take care of my hair has been a learning experience...so youtube has been my friend.

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