Give yourself gift of confidence

Personal stylist Loren Langenhoven with columnist Athina May.

In honour of Women’s Month, curly girls from all over Cape Town gathered at the My Hairstory ZA event on Saturday August 5, to share their natural hair journey and empower one another to embrace their scores, flaws and natural charms.

To say that I was in my element would be an understatement because mingling with like-minded people all wanting to find out how to embrace their hair texture, look after their bodies and achieve a glowing crown got me really excited.

The wealth of products and tips were immense, so I will try and cram the tidbits I picked up into this piece so that we can share in the secret to glossy locks and improved confidence.

Fashionista and personal stylist, Loren Langenhoven shared her three nuggets to being fashionable, which starts with the image we want to portray to those around us.

Think about the woman you want the world to see and the perception you would like others to have of you, then think of the wardrobe you would need to convey that image.

Do this next time you’re shopping for an outfit and you need inspiration or assistance in making an item decision.

Loren identified the second step as identifying your body shape which could be pear if you’re curvier at the bottom and have a small bust; apple if your bottom is heavy and your top is slim; strawberry if your top is broad and your bottom is slim; and hour glass if your waist is tiny.

Once you know what body shape you have it’s easier to shop and get dressed because you will be dressing your best features.

If you’re pear, you would embrace clothing that draws attention to your waistline and hips and if you’re apple shaped, you would wear clothing that draws attention away from your middle, is not too clingy and emphasises your bust.

Loren said once you know your shape, you know your strengths and weaknesses so you can play up these areas and learn to love your shape. Once you got this in the bag, step three would be confidence.

If you’re confident, you can pull off any outfit because individuals around you can sense the energy you exude. If you have insecurities about your looks, it will be easy to pick it up.

“Trends come and go, but we need something more valuable to pass on to our children. Confidence and knowing and loving your body are more important than trends,” said Loren.

Other tips she included for us not-so-tall ladies was to wear skirts and dresses which are above the knee to give the illusion of a longer leg.

She also mentioned embracing high-waisted jeans and boot leg jeans which give extra length, as opposed to skinny jeans which can detract from your height. A big handbag also makes one look shorter.

Internationally renowned trichologist, Elma Titus, who specialises in the scientific study of hair, also shared her insight on how to keep hair healthy from within.

She said throughout her travels, she had not encountered people as hair conscious as Capetonians.

“Hair is your crowning glory. Learn how to groom it and look after your natural hair.

“Every morning you brush your teeth because you work against tooth decay, but you still visit your oral hygienist. The same applies to hair.

“Your focus should go beneath the skin where the root is. Hair will behave according to what it’s like at the root. Stimulate the scalp and beneath. If you don’t, follicles will close and your hair will not continue to grow in that area,” said Elma.

She said scalp stimulation could increase hair length as well and said those with long dreadlocks see fast hair growth because the hair follicle was exercised when the hair is twisted.

Hair also consists of protein called keratin, so if hair is weak and brittle, we need to look at our diet and make sure we’re getting enough protein and iron.

If something is wrong with the hair, something is normally wrong with the body.

So check yourself before you wreck yourself and take care of your crown.

Outer protection such as silk bonnets, pillowcases and moisture sponges are also tools which can be used to keep locks looking lush, but I’ll dive into protective methods for hair care in the future.

You can email Athina May at