Seems everyone is wearing a natural afro- textured hair except me. Once upon a time, it was ‘a million braids and skull caps’, also synthetic weaves then it transitioned to human hair of all kinds (Brazilian, Indian, Peruvian, Mongolian), now it has transitioned to natural Afro-textured hair. Your very own African hair. The way everyone is chopping off (The big chop) their hair, it is looking like this is not just a trend but a Movement of self awareness and confidence of the African woman. ‘Natchy’ as we used to call it then, is no longer just a ‘Deeper Life Sister’ style. Wearing your natural hair now is so trendy, even their protective styles are cool. If you spot a woman wearing her natural hair, she is termed Confident, Real African beauty, Bohemian, Unconventional.
So what happens to people like us who feel overwhelmed at the thought of going natural? Or just do not have interest in carrying one? I’m surrounded by friends who have ported to Team Natural and I have been tempted so many times to do it cos I admire it on them so much. But I keep telling myself the real truth. My truth- E no easyyyy for me! I live vicariously through my daughter’s natural hair. She’s got the long and full fro! I know the ritual I carry out to prep her hair and I keep wondering whether I can dedicate such time and effort to mine. I only love the hair when it is wet. When it is dry, it’s a crying feast. I hardly flaunt her hair because it’s always plaited. If I let it free for a day, it’s war. I do research on how to make the hair routine easy-breezy but I still end up with a distressed toddler. So it even scares me more to try the natural hair myself , then I remember how painful it used to be combing mine when I was little. I’ve also seen some ladies who just don’t take proper care of their natural hair. So is the natural hairstyle for everyone?
If your hair is so tough that you are almost in tears every styling session, then rethink.
If you are too busy to take care of your natural hair, rethink.
You don’t have to be under pressure to join ‘Team Natural’ , although some people have even pressured me into it. Your hair choice is yours. All yours! Ladies go natural for many reasons. If your only reason for going natural is because you are losing strength and length in your hair but still can’t maintain your fro, I can share some tips on how to maintain that ‘relaxed’ hair and bounce it back to life.
I’d say my hair has got a decent length. My hair length is a midget compared to the Arabs’ and Indians’ here. But by Naija standards it can be termed a ‘long hair’. I get ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ on its length and thickness in salons in Naija, and they keep asking me how I maintain such. Here are pictures of my ‘natural’ hair. (Sorry, these pictures don’t really do justice to viewing the hair but it was the only fair shot of my hair I’ve got. Click on it to zoom in)
How do I maintain the length and fullness? Here’s how:
- I do not straighten my hair with a relaxer for 3- 4 months.
- I cover my undergrowth hair with weave extensions/wigs and style it to cover my hair line e.g wearing bang styles. I only expose my hairline when I do braids.
- After retouching the hair, I don’t use rubber bands to pack my bun. I use silk or silk-ish hair bands. That way I don’t cut my hair when removing bands.
- I never hold it tightly. I pack it whole, do a whole twist and cover it with a silk turban/ scarf before I sleep.
- I use hair serum (By Vatika) to prep it on my way out and a very little oil for shine. Oils are good but can be heavy on hair. I only use it for shine but use Hair Mayonnaise for moisture. Natural Afro hair can just use water for moisture. But not for you.
- If I want curls, I braid it the night before, and loosen it when ready, leaving big curls.
- When I see my hair is wearing out, I just wear weave extensions, that way my hair is in a protective style and resting.
- You basically give your hair real TLC from combing, to styling and beyond.
That’s basically it. So while you are still contemplating on going Natural or you just feel going Afro natural ain’t for you. With these tips, you sure would maintain a healthy looking relaxed hair. Remember, “I am not my hair”. Your hair does not define who you are, or reflect your political or religious views. How you wear it should be as you please.
By the way, I should seriously learn how to start taking lots of pictures oh, Instagramers , Please epppp a sista out!
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