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Featured Naturalista: Tipharah (Island Essence)

Featured Naturalista: Island Essence  

Introduce yourself. Let us know your name, where are you from and anything else about yourself that you would like to share.
My Name is Tipharah, also known as IslandEssence on YouTube and other social media. I’m from Kingston Jamaica. I love my African heritage and hate anything that defiles it.

Lovely Black Woman

How long have you been natural?

It has been 4 years and 5 months since my big chop

Did you Big Chop or did you transition to natural hair and When?

I transitioned for 6 months with braids and weave then I chopped the relaxed ends off to rock my TWA.

What made you decide to go natural?

When I became an adult and I was able to think for myself I started to see that there was something wrong with what I was doing to my hair (myself). I couldn't find an acceptable reason for me relaxing my hair. I often asked myself “what’s wrong with my hair the way it grows from my scalp?”, “why do I need to do this?” I also felt proud of my black and thought straightening my hair to be a huge contradiction. Additionally, I didn't see any benefit to my hair. It was stringy, dry, and stunted. After a few years of battling my conscience I decided it was time to free myself. 

Did you have a support system? Explain the level of support that you had.
My support system initially was weak. My friends and family discouraged me…Told me I would lose my beauty. My boyfriend was happy with whatever made me happy. He would have been fine with relaxed hair as well. I don’t consider that support for natural hair. I found much support in the natural hair community on YouTube. I had many sleepless nights watching video after video. I fell in love with natural hair….more like obsessed lol.

Do you have hair length goals or is hair health is more important to you? Elaborate if you like.

I don’t have hair length goals. I believe that’s another form of mental slavery. Of course I want my hair to look and feel its best but that doesn’t translate to long hair. What is important to me is that my hair is natural/Kinky...that it looks like African hair. So I let my hair be…It is what it is. My hair helps me to make a statement about who I am and how we ought to be as African women. It is my contribution to breaking this self hating cycle that our sisters seem to be stuck in.

What are your favorite hair products?
I am in love with the Shea Moisture pink label line. I've tried many products and I’m yet to see a comparable line of products. I really like the Aussie moist conditioner…I’m never without a bottle. I love the 14-in-1 leave-in by Hawaiian Silky. Eco styler gel is great for defining my curls. I am also in love with two all natural Jamaican brands; Tropic Isle Living and Ettenio. My favorite is the Ettenio crème de la crème moisturizer. African black soap and shea butter are must-haves for me. I’ll add to that anything that’s ok and CHEAP. 

What is your regimen?
I don’t have a regimen. I do what I feel in the moment.
Playing Around with Havana Twists

What advice would you give to someone who is considering to go natural or a newly natural sista?
To women considering going natural, I say what are you waiting for? Lol. It’s the best thing a black woman can do for herself in this time. Cuz after the physical change there is mental growth. It’s far more than just hair. It’s who you are! To new naturals I say stay natural! Let it mean something to you. Try to see the bigger picture. Otherwise it’s just a hairstyle for now.

Where can we find you?You can find me on YouTube: 
Twitter: @IslandEssence
Instagram: @IslandEssence 
FaceBook: Island Naturals at

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