Note from BW of Brazil: In Brazil today, what one could call a natural hair revolution among Afro-Brazilian women continues to grow. The hair of African descendants in Brazil has long been (and for many, still is) a source of shame, ridicule, jokes, discrimination and insensitive ads or showcases. But over the past several years a number of Afro-Brazilian women and groups have boldly moved taken steps to appreciating their natural hair, encouraring and giving tips to others who want to do so and challenging those who continue to make a mockery of black hair. Previously, BW of Brazil featured an interview with the founder of the Meninas Black Power group and blog and today, courtesy of the Eu Quero Ser Fabulosa blog, we bring to you an interview with another influential promoter of natural black hair: Rosângela J. da Silva from Angra dos Reis (state of Rio de Janeiro) of the Negra Rosa, Rosa Negra blog. Rosângela has 796 followers on her blog and 3,864 subscribers on her You Tube page where she give tips on hair care, makeup and makes recommendations on various products. As black women are routinely made invisible in the Brazilian media, it’s great to see another sista who decided to “just do the damn thing!”
The interview below was conducted by Andressa Souza Santos from the capital city of Brasília. Check it out!
Since May 2012 I’ve been wearing my hair natural, a little more than a year, and I can say it was the best decision I ever made for my well-being and self-esteem, my husband and I cut it at home and it were moisturizing it, letting it grow and seeking tips on the internet on how to care for this my new hair and was in this search that I found the Rosajorosa You Tube channel of Rosângela of the blog Negra Rosa, Rosa Negra (meaning Black Rose, Black Rose), who is an expert on the subject, because she also went through the transition and was discovering way to take care of and appreciate her cabelo afro (afro textured hair) and today shares with girls throughout Brazil everything she learned and what she has been trying, like hairstyles, moisturizing, and international and imported products and she takes a stand that it is possible to have a natural, beautiful and well taken care of hair!
So there’s nothing better than for her answer some questions for us, huh? I say this was great just to chat with her and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂
When did you decide to wear your hair natural?
Rosângela: I decided to stop using chemicals in April 2009
Which did you find easier to maintain and care for, natural or straightened hair?
Rosângela: I never straightened my hair, wait, does chapinha (flattening iron) count as straightening? Because when I was 7 years old my mother was using a chapinha on my hair (the one you put on the stove), then at age 11 I did a Permanente Afro (1) and Relaxamento (2).
So when I wore my hair straight I was very young and my mother was combing my hair, I don’t remember the work of maintaining it and I believe that at that time it was only to wash it (laughs). I believe that to maintain beautiful and healthy straightened hair a lot of care is necessary, yes, a little more than maintaining the natural.
Did you suffer any kind of prejudice or think about giving up at the time of your transition?
Rosângela: I didn’t suffer any prejudice that I’ve noticed of course and at no time did I think about giving up. I was very excited about knowing my hair.
What is your routine hair care?
Rosângela: I wash my hair twice a week and always moisturize it, I leave a moisturizer leave in it for at least 30 minutes. I also like to use a humectant, I don’t use it every time I wash it. Before bed I like to spend put oil on the strands, like making a nighttime treatment. In the morning depending on how my hair is I’ll just run my fingers through my hair and make a hairstyle, when it gets really messed up, I spray a little water on it to to loosen the curls.
Do you encourage other girls to stop straightening their hair?
Rosângela: I think that I encourage by showing my hair, my trajectory, I haven’t used chemicals for 4 years, it’s not a fad it’s a personal choice. And I think at least once we should know and take care of our natural hair, then if you don’t like it, choose what is best for you. The most important thing is to be happy with our choices.
I have two sisters and two nieces that are relaxing, and I’m not criticizing them and saying all the time they should leave the hair natural, what I do is help with product tips I use to keep their hair healthy and beautiful. Nothing that is forced has a good result, it has to be a personal quest to succeed.
What do you think of this curly revolution in Brazil, are we being more accepted?
Rosângela: I think we’re still far from acceptance, there are still a lot of jokes and such, but it’s that we have achieved a lot. More products for curls are coming out and that’s cool. I still feel a lack of Afro/crespo (kinky/curly) hair products, as there are in the USA, in this regard we still have a very long way to go indeed (3).
Now a question about makeup, I’ve seen you invest quite a bit in lipsticks of different colors and tones. What kind of makeup do you recommend for girls who wear black power (afro)?
Rosângela: All makeup! We can use all the colors, you only need to find the tone that matches the skin of each person. One makeup that I find it easy for all to do is the outline with a red lipstick. Red is very divo (divine)!
And finally leave a message for girls who want to get back to natural hair.
Rosângela: For you who really want to have your hair natural: perseverance, dedication, patience, a routine of care and love. Many will try to make you give up, but stay firm in your purpose, it is very nice to see our hair appear and flourish.
Source: Quero Ser Fabulosa
1. The Permanente Afro is a technique of the relaxing and curling of kinky/curly hair. This treatment, due to ammonia, which leaves the strands with the open scales, needs in the day to day some maintenance product in order to close these scales and constantly being moisturized and therefore tends to a higher degree of dryness than the relaxation. The style is very similar to the so-called Jheri Curl that became in black communities in the United States starting in the late 1970s. Source
2. Relaxamento is a treatment for curly or wavy hair that leaves the hair with curls more defined and looking light and natural by decreasing the volume and give more movement to the hair. Source
3. In regards to this question of products, Rosângela elaborated more with the Meninas Black Power blog. Question and answer below:
Meninas Black Power: You use many products in the posts and videos, as much for hair as for makeup. You think that, mainly speaking of treatments for cabelo crespo (curly-kinky hair), this is accessibility to good products
Rosângela: I think that Brazil is very weak on the issue of natural afro hair. Unfortunately it is not prepared for the necessities of black women with natural hair. We are adapting ourselves to the existing products on the market. I say this in relation to the American market. It’s impressive how many new products for the so-called kinky curl hair are coming out and in Brazil nothing! All of my Brazilian products are for curly hair and the text of curly hair is quote different than my hair. My hair needs more emollient products, more moisturizing. I don’t think that these products are tested on natural afro hair. I am a positive person and I have hope that this changes in the quicker way, because we see that there is an increase in the offering of products for curly hair. The products that I have for afro hair, like those to make twist out, are imported. These products are not sold in Brazil and when we find someone that sells it the prices are very high.