Zimazile Amanda Manka, known just as Amanda Manka on social media is a fast-growing haircare content creator and an ‘advocate for healthy relaxed hair‘.
We had a chat with the bubbly content creator about her hair journey, myths and stereotypes about relaxed hair, life as the mommy of her little girl and some of her favourite past brand collaborations.
Hey Amanda, introduce yourself!
“I am a 26 year-old single mother to my beautiful daughter. Currently besides being a content creator I am a ESL English teacher.
Growing up I was very shy, I couldn’t even hold a conversation without feeling like I wanted to faint. But starting my YouTube channel in my first year of varsity helped me be more confident in myself and slowly break out of my shell. I am now what you call a very introverted extrovert who loves to talk.
I’ve had relaxed hair for as long as I can remember. From the age of 13 I started experimenting with relaxing and braiding my own hair. It wasn’t pretty. I remember spending the whole night braiding my hair the day before I had to go back to boarding school only to get there and have one of my friends comment that she too didn’t get her hair done just to come back to school and had had her braids in for a months at that point.”
How did you get started creating hair content?
“So the 2020 lock down had just started and suddenly I was all alone with all this free time. I decided to start a YouTube channel to show off what I believed was my beautiful hair and maybe help a few ladies achieve what I had with my hair. Turns out my hair was badly damaged, jokes on me right?! 😂
The more I looked into gathering information for my channel and creating content around my hair the more I realised how thin my ends were, how my split ends were riding up the shaft of my hair and how every time I would comb my hair it would break off into a million pieces. This is how my hair journey began, and I documented every step in the form of content creation – from finding a routine to self relaxing and learning to care for my hair. That’s what’s led to were I am now.”
What are some misconceptions you’ve heard about relaxed hair or women who relax their hair?
“Woman who relax their hair do not love themselves and/or are trying to be white.”
“I love myself, I love my race, I love my hair and all its kinks and curls but I just don’t have time to look after it in its most natural state.”
“All relaxed hair is thin.”
“Yes relaxed hair can get to a point where it starts to look thin, flat and lifeless. But there are many potential reasons for that – it could be as a result of your natural hair type, how your relaxers are applied, how you look after your hair and/or what products you use for your hair. Not all relaxed hair is thin. If you struggle with thin or lifeless relaxed hair, send me a DM and I can help you work on yours.” 🙃
“Relaxed hair is cheaper.”
“All hair can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be in my opinion. I know natural hair ladies that spend nothing on their hair and use the body wash as a shampoo and that’s that. I know relaxed hair ladies that get their hair relaxed at the salon, get home and forget about their hair until their next appointment.
However when you actively look after your hair and do regular washes, treatments, trims and protective styling the costs start to build up regardless of whether you relax your hair or not. Relaxed hair requires the same treatment as natural hair, just with an extra cost for relaxer services. So how is that cheaper?”
What are your top 3 rules for handling your hair?
- “Detangling your hair before you start your wash day is a MUST. Trust me, I learnt this the hard way and lost a lot of hair from it.
- Don’t comb your hair when it is wet. Relaxed hair tends to be weaker when wet so by trying to comb it before it dries you risk breaking off a lot more than you bargained for. It’s the complete opposite with natural hair I’ve seen.
- Only relax your new growth. ONLY. I repeat ONLY. Reapplying relaxer to hair that’s already relaxed will only make that it weaker resulting in thinning, breakage and/or excessive shedding.”
What brands have you loved working with and what brands would you love to work with in the next few years?
“I have loved working with Dark and lovely. As a child who grew up using their products I would have never guessed that I would one day be working with them on a consistent basis. Working with Masodi Organics was also an amazing experience and just what I needed to know that I truly can be a content creator.
Now I have my eye out on an ORS and Creme of Nature Collaboration.”
What does a typical day look like in the life of Amanda the Content Creator?
“I am a mom and I find having a day or 2 of batch shooting is a MUST.
🌅 A typical batch shooting day involves me waking up in the morning, getting my daughter ready for the day and getting a trusted caregiver to look after her for a few hours.
👩🏽💻 I then sit down and jot down any deadlines, content ideas and content pitches I may have lined up.
✉️ I then go through my emails and respond and send pitch ideas.
📸 I then get right into content creation whether it be 1 or 2 YouTube videos a couple of reels then some pictures, I tend to work through that until I’m done.
🌄 By now it’s noon(ish) and I remember that I haven’t eaten anything so I get something to eat, wrap up any videos I needed to do then go collect my child and resume being a mom! 😂
🌃 I work on editing my content when the baby sleeps and at night before I sleep on the days that follow.