Carice is also one of the five Healthy Hair Gurus – a group of women sharing their passion for healthy happy hair. Last year the group organised the first Healthy Hair Indaba, which was so well received that they’re currently looking to expand it.

She is passionate about helping black women grow, preserve and love their hair. Carice has been natural for almost eight years, including a second ‘big chop’ in 2009, and her goal is to achieve waist-length hair.

Why are you so interested in hair? 

I’m passionate about uplifting and empowering all women to live their best lives, and a big part of that is how a woman feels about her physical appearance. For black women, a huge part of our self-esteem is wrapped up in our hair. I once heard someone say “the black woman’s hair is like the white woman’s body” and that really resonated with me.

So many South African women are spending a lot of money on their hair, but aren’t getting the results they want. I really want to help them get a return on their investment and make their hair look the best it can. I believe that when a woman feels good about the way she looks she presents herself to the world in a more powerful, confident way. That’s my wish for all women.

Tell us about your own hair journey.

Like most of the girls I grew up with, I wore my hair straight, using a hot comb (also known as ‘pressing’) until I was 14, at which point I begged my mother to get me a relaxer. I had all sorts of hairstyles: a classic bob, a Halle Berry crop, even highlights, but I’ve also experienced breakage, chemical burns and thinning around the hairline.

My sister went natural in 2002 and at first I thought she was crazy because no one I knew wore their hair like that. I’d never seen my hair in its natural state before, so I had no idea what it would look like. But when I saw how long, beautiful and thick my sister’s hair was growing, it really inspired me to try my natural hair. I was also tired of the chemical burns from relaxing!

I did a big chop in 2004 when I moved to a new city to start graduate school, and I did another one in 2009 after my hair was damaged by heat. I recently had my hair shaped using the Deva Cut method, a revolutionary method for cutting curly hair. The hair is cut while dry, curl by curl, which allows the stylist to sculpt each client’s hair according to their individual curl, look and style because no two curls are alike. This curl-exclusive cut can only be done by someone who has received special training. I hope to reach waist-length hair by December next year.

How has the transition to natural hair been for you?

It hasn’t been a completely smooth journey and I’ve had plenty of missteps along the way, such as heat damage from too much straightening with a hairdryer, wasting money on products that didn’t work for me and not knowing what products to use to give me exactly the look I wanted. I learnt that it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out what works for my hair. Even though a product might work brilliantly for someone else, it won’t necessarily work as well for you. But I’m so glad I stuck with my natural hair because I love it now!

What’s your current haircare regime?

First I detangle my hair with a conditioner like Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner* (R175) or TRESemmé Naturals (R80) and a wide-tooth comb. Then I wash my hair with a non-sulphate shampoo such as Dr Miracle’s Rehydrating Shampoo (R70), or Clicks Kids Detangling Shampoo (R30).

Next, I separate my hair into four sections and apply a generous amount of Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner* before covering the hair with a plastic cap. I sit under a steamer for 30 minutes, then let my hair cool naturally. Finally, I rinse all the products off with the coldest water I can bear and style it into two-strand twists using As I Am Twist Defining Cream** (R300).

Carice

What are your must-have products?

My favourite conditioner is the Joico Moisture Recovery Conditioner*. It can be used to detangle, co-wash and condition the hair. I’m also a huge fan of mixing my own leave-in conditioner. I combine aloe vera juice, castor oil, and jojoba oil, which I purchase from my local health food store and I always keep them on hand.

* Available at Bijan Hair Salon or visit www.joico.com to find your nearest stockist.

** Available at www.theperfecthair.co.za.