My 3 Biggest Hair Challenges

This past week, I celebrated seven years of being completely natural. And while it’s something I don’t necessarily always celebrate, I felt like quickly writing about it this year. I’d been looking over some of my photos from over the years and been reminiscing on my journey to get to where I currently am. So I wanted to mark the occasion somehow. Considering I’ve asked you to spill the beans on my Instagram and tell me what your hair issues are at the moment, I found it fitting for me to start the conversation with mine. So, here are three of the biggest hair challenges in my journey so far.

1 Feeling beautiful

I’ve shared on here many times that just because I’m a known natural hair blogger, doesn’t mean I don’t have insecurities. And feeling beautiful especially at the beginning of my journey was one of them. Most of the time, I’d handle criticism or backhanded compliments by not saying anything and internalising it. That led me to feel the worst at month 3 of my journey where I didn’t even take photos of myself. Cutting my hair forced me to look beyond it as a source of my beauty. It allowed me to focus on my face, my spirit and character. What I’ve now realised is that it forced others to do the same, and that requires more energy than just judging someone at face value, something many people these days are too lazy to do. My latest big chop again forced me to love my hair and myself, no matter the length. I know that’s something that plagues a lot of people and still to this point, I believe that there’s a preference over long natural hair and that of a certain curl type too. It’s taken me about 6 years into my journey to get me to the point where I can say that for sure, I find it and myself all beautiful. I am not my hair.

2 Moisture

By now I’m sure you know that our hair is naturally very dry. The tighter the coil, the drier it tends to get. Never mind living in a very dry city like Johannesburg. I’d say it took me a good year or so to get my routine figured out and know how often I have to re-moisturise my hair. And of course, edit my routine to suit the different seasons. I had to relearn all of that after my latest big chop because I had completely forgotten how dry a TWA can get. I, just like many of you have battled to find products that have helped to keep my moisture levels up and become a product junkie because of it. I’ve been using the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus on and off over the years but very consistently for about a year and it’s cemented itself as one of my must-have lines. I’ve added the Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo, masque and leave-in to my mix. They’ve both never failed me when I need my hair to feel soft and spongey, just the way I like it.

3 Shrinkage

I think the thing I’ve taken longest to get over is shrinkage. I know I’m not alone in this. Going back to the challenge of growth, shrinkage is definitely something I’ve publically ‘battled’ with. It’s taken me a very long time to come to terms with it, especially…mostly because when I was on my growth journey, I wanted to show off  my length and shrinkage of course doesn’t allow you to do that. What it does do, is it tells you that your hair is healthy because it’s got elasticity, and it also provides versatility in hairstyles. One week I can rock my hair stretched and in all sorts of more complex styles, and the next it looks like I’ve got a short fro again.

So those are my top 3 hair challenges. I’m looking forward to helping you with some of yours tomorrow. Catch me live at 4-4.30pm South African time on Shea Moisture South Africa’s Instagram page. See you then!

*Sponsored by Shea Moisture



  1. Zandile
    June 18, 2018 / 5:48 pm

    Hey Mrs O, I just wanted to thank you for inspiring me to love and be comfortable in the mane God gave me. I absolutely love your Outlook on life, love, family and everything Fro-icious. I had my big chop in August 2015 and have followed you since then. I don’t have an instagram account though, but I’ll admit to viewing your account and blog every single day* busted;)* I just wanted to send you some love. I hope I get to meet you one day

    • Aisha O'Reilly
      September 10, 2018 / 1:14 pm

      Hi Zandile, thanks so much for the love, it’s very much felt and received! Here’s to meeting one day 🙂

  2. MrsFF
    June 12, 2018 / 9:06 pm

    I’ve been fully natural for three years and I have to say I’m loving it considering I went natural unintentionally- “lazy” new Mama who just couldn’t find 4 hours every other month to get her hair fried 🙂 and I’m glad because I’m now raising a Little lady with natural hair and it would be weird if my hair wasn’t natural

    I’ve always used a combo of products but recently I find us using more Shea Moisture and I’m loving it ( though my pocket not so much

    • Aisha O'Reilly
      September 10, 2018 / 2:17 pm

      A lot of us go natural ‘unintentionally’ but look at the rewards! Your daughter will have a different understanding of beauty from the get go.

  3. June 6, 2018 / 2:13 am

    Yho darling. Natural hair will teach you a lot about yourself hey. Kinda forces you to confront yourself. 7 years! Here here girl. So sad i missed the insta Q and A. Exams are insane. Loved the post.

    Mvumikazi | Urban Mnguni

    • Aisha O'Reilly
      September 10, 2018 / 2:34 pm

      Thanks hon, I’ll probably do another Q&A soon, look out for it on my socials 😉

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