The topic of ‘natural hair’ has been excessively discussed almost to the point of exasperation. However, I sit here compelled to write about it because I believe this is still a very important topic to talk about.
I decided to ‘go natural’ 5 years ago not because of any movement, black pride, or desire to have healthier hair. I went natural purely because my relaxed hair was breaking, and I wanted to grow it out so that I could relax it again. I now find it ironic that the reasons I did not go natural for in the first place are the exact reasons my hair is still in its natural state today. I won’t bore you with my ‘journey’, but after five years I have decided to ask myself what I have learnt, and the list is as follows:
5. It grows!
I know, I know. I was very ignorant (and stupid) to believe our hair doesn’t grow, but let’s be real! How many of us have been reluctant to cut our hair because we were too afraid we were not going to get the same level of retention? I know it’s not just me. I can’t promise that what I am about to say next is going to come as too much of a surprise, but IT GROWS! Do not let the big chop frighten you because the hair on your scalp will grow back the same way the hair on your legs grows back after shaving it off.
Natural hair is not for the faint-hearted. No longer putting chemicals in your hair is simply not enough. The last couple of years have made me aware that investing in my natural hair, in terms of both time and money, is probably the best thing I can do. Use protective styles such as braids and twists, as well as buying a shampoo and conditioner better suited to your hair. Additionally, moisturise! Do not over manipulate your hair; this is often a mistake people make because they can’t keep their hair down for a few days. That tight ponytail you want can wait, girl!
3.Know your hair.
Everyone’s hair is different. Get to know yours. I spent a great deal of time aspiring to have hair like some of these Instagram models and you-tubers. I would get so frustrated because my hair wouldn’t do what theirs did so easily. I finally came to the not-so-shocking realisation that my hair is different to anyone else’s, and I have to listen to it instead of looking at what Amaka is doing with hers. Only then did I appreciate that the hair that frustrated me a great deal before wasn’t so bad after all.
I have had various comments about my hair. While most of them have been overwhelmingly flattering, a few have been upsetting. I have been told that my afro hair is attention seeking, interesting (and not in a good way), and weird. It is the ‘attention seeking’ comment that bothered me most. Surely, if I chemically manipulated my hair into some sort of outrageous style then that would be attention seeking, right? So how the way my hair grows naturally without any manipulation is perceived by some to be attention seeking is beyond me. This has, nonetheless, made me develop a stronger character. I am more confident in who I am than I was five years ago. I don’t have to explain the hair that God gave me to anyone. No one has to like it but me. I can now proudly say I am part of the natural hair movement. My hair makes me proud of my African roots. It is my crown. It is my identity.
1.Finally…it is absolutely gorgeous!
One of the reasons I love this hair is that I can style it any way I want to – be it braids, dreads, weaves, twists, cornrows, afros, you name it! Maybe it’s all mine, maybe it isn’t. Its versatility is what makes it so amazing and beautiful. My hair never bores me, and by God’s grace I can instil this pride in my future daughter. Love it. Cherish it. It is all yours.