Ida Ceesay might be a girl-in-ICT but her knowledge of the finer details of the world of beauty is no less impressive. In this exclusive interview, she talks insightfully about why and how Gambian women can sensationalize their hair styling without donning wigs. And to women, whether you want to braid it up, wear it down or let it grow, read below for healthy get-beauty tips and talks from a woman who’s already on a healthy hair care journey.
What’s On-Gambia: Tell us briefly about yourself?
Ida:My name is Ida Ceesay and I am proudly Gambian. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree at the University of The Gambia and currently working at Central Bank of the Gambia.
Bachelor's Degree in what and what is your job at the Central Bank?
Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. I am an IT officer at the bank.
Nice! Are you also a catalog model?
(Laughs) I do that only when I am free. Part-time!
In what magazines have you appeared so far?
Senegalese diaspora magazines.
How were you identified for the job?
I am a very close friend with the guys managing the company way before I started appearing on them. We are actually like family!
Now to the big questions: Why did you dump the wigs to embrace your natural hair?
I’m still using wigs as protective styles for my natural hair. I feel that most of us ladies do not have the confidence to come out in public with our natural hair. We need to build some confidence in order to embrace the beauty of our natural/relaxed hair by good hair care practices.
So you are still a fan of wigs?
It does not really mean you should actually stop wearing the Brazilian hair and others. I wear wigs myself, but I take off the wig at night to moisturize and seal my hair. I never missed a night since I started my good hair care practices. Let's try to give our natural hair some attention. Hair is like a plant, if you do not give it what it needs, you will never see it healthy and retain length. Our hair responds to what you do to it and how you treat it.
We need to start taking more care of our natural Afro-textured hair than we do to our Brazilian hair.
But why are you not going out natural in public?
I am on a healthy hair care journey right now. I am building my confidence to be able to come out in my own natural hair. I will start coming out in public with my natural hair once I get it to look exactly how I want it. This journey is all about building your confidence. You can use several protective styles while on your healthy hair care journey. Example of these protective styles is large box braids, wigs, twist, and so on.
When did you decide to go natural?
The word "Natural" when it comes to black hair can be interpreted in two different ways. It can be hair that has never been chemically relaxed with cream relaxers (we call that Afro) or your own natural hair. My hair is chemically relaxed but I decided to grow it out and make it healthy when I stumbled upon black women and their hair growth journeys on the Internet. I did a 3-month research on the science of black hair and why it does not retain extra-ordinary lengths like white people’s, Asian’s……
Are you still spending money on wigs?
I used to spend thousands on wigs, but I have enough to help me protect my hair while I try to grow it out.
Any estimate how much you spend on wigs?
Not so sure, but quite a lot of money.
Maybe D30, 000 or more. So you see, that's one of the reasons why I decided to start growing it out.
Who was paying for your wigs? (Laughs)
(Laughs) You can buy a wig for D3000 or more maybe every 2 months or so, by the time you know it, you have spent huge amounts of money on them.
Back to the question: Who was paying for it?
(Laughs) Are you serious? My self of course!
How often do you wash your hair and what products do you use?
Now that's a good question! I wash and deep condition my hair every week, and then use water or any water based moisturizer and 100% pure organic oils to moisturize and seal it every day. Hair is something that needs to be washed frequently to see it grow long and healthy.
What are your favorite hair products?
Mainly organic products. I am so much in love with my organic oils and butters. Some of them are even edible. They are free from chemicals that may dry out the hair. Honey, avocados, Shea butter, olive oil, castor oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil are all products that I use. They are excellent for black hair growth and length retention.
Finally, why do you think it’s important for Gambian girls to go natural?
I want some of the Gambian ladies to actually prove that our hair can grow long. You do not need to be a Fula or Half Caucasian to grow long and healthy hair. Our hair is consistently growing from our scalp; we just find it hard to retain the length. My advice to the ladies is to do a research about black hair and create their own healthy hair care regimen. Just start a hair journey and you will definitely see dramatic changes in your hair.