Inna Modja is a model turned singer with an amazing mane of kinky hair. She is of Malian-French descent and raised by both mother and father. Her father influenced her music with Otis Redding, Ella Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles which differs vastly from her West African roots in Bamako, Mali.
Inna began modeling at the age of 17 during a time when she didn’t feel pretty or good enough to be considered a beautiful confident fashion model. She enjoyed traveling to New York, Paris and other places to do fashion shoots and walk the runways but her true passion was always music which can be described as pop, soul, and folk.
So how does she maintain her mane while writing, producing and performing her music? Inna shares her hair struggles and triumphs with us during an interview. For more details visit www.blackgirllonghair.com.
Have you always been natural?
“I used to have natural hair as a kid but my sister is a hairdresser and she started relaxing my hair when I was 11. At the beginning I liked it because it was smooth and just like all my friends, then I started hating it because it hurt and even when I took good care of it it broke off.”
How long have you been natural and describe your journey of hair exploration?
“Seven years ago I thought, okay, I’m going to stop. I cut off when my hair, I didn’t even know that was called ‘transitioning’. I just let my hair grow and then I started cutting out all the relaxed hair gradually. It was difficult to take care of both textures, so I did a lot of braids.
At the beginning it was difficult because I was taking care of my natural hair like I used to take care of my relaxed hair, so I wouldn’t wash it very often because I was not used to that. When I was in New York I had a friend who was natural and she told me about what she was doing so I tried out different things.”
What is your hair care regimen now?
“When I’m working I use a lot of protective styles like weaves that I don’t keep more than 8 or 10 days. My hairdresser braids my hair underneath very loosely so that the front doesn’t break off.
I wash my hair once a week and I also wash when it’s really hot like, now it is in Paris. In the winter I shampoo every two weeks. In between shampoos I co-wash with conditioner.
I use Mizani products because before becoming their spokesmodel I wanted to try them on my hair to check if they’re really good, and they are. I also use Alba Botanica and Amazonia Preciosa products. I deep condition once a week before I do my shampoo using castor oil with rosemary, ylang, ylang (an essential oil that smooths my hair) and shea butter.
I spritz everyday with water, castor oil and jojoba oil. Before I go to bed I braid my hair, and spritz it. When I wake up in the morning I put some Mizani cream in and comb it or do a braid out.
As far as styling, sometimes I do twists and braids. If I’m wearing my real hair to a shoot I’ll do an afro or twist outs. Here in Paris it gets really cold in the winter, so I do a lot of protective styles.”
Check out Inna Modja with one of my favorite songs “Kinks in my Hair”.