Season One: Episode one
Hair is not a discussion for me. I mean it.
I am however a great talker, chochocho like radio. What is a poor babe to do when people keep throwing hair into my discussions? I would never have thought it possible that we would see a serious increase in the number of African women *returning* their hair to its natural form. Relaxers were the template, weaves follow, braids, any other thing was welcome apart from that tough looking hair that we have.
The Story has changed.
Women are really and seriously quitting the relaxers and embracing the natural hair. I enjoy the private natural hair tutorial sessions I run for my friends and any other person who asks; in person, e-mails, twitter and facebook chats. (I still don’t like to talk about hair, they make me do so!)
So yours truly decided to attend a crash course in Toasting a woman 101. I aced it. How else can you explain my successive wooing of four beauties for my new mid-week natural hair series? These hair series will run for a month after which I hope nobody tempts me into further hair discussions.
Chineze Anwunah is a 2* year old dental school aspirant currently living in the great
armpit hole state of Texas, USA. She loves to cook, make crafts and read for leisure. She loves travelling…hates flying.
How long has your hair been natural?
My hair has been natural for about 3 years.
Major drive to returning natural
I was tired of how limp, weak and lifeless my hair looked and felt. I had experienced shedding/breakage at such an alarming rate that something had to be done to rescue my hair. I thought cutting it all off, letting it sit natural for about a year and reintroducing it to relaxers was the way to go. Boy, was I wrong! So basically, the major drive was the search for hair that looked and felt healthier than the one I had.
Reaction of family, friends, strangers.
My mother was not exactly happy about it. She thought it made me look rather unkempt. I don’t recall getting any negative reactions from my friends. For the most part, I think they all understood why I chose to chop off all my hair and start over again.
Any personal moments of doubts?
I definitely had plenty, especially when my hair was too short to be manipulated into anything even remotely stylish. I resorted to wearing braids so as to give my hair time to grow and also to keep myself from shaving it off every week out of frustration.
There is this sterotype that natural hair is for members of a certain religious body or people in the arts (e.g writers,musicians)
That is absolutely rubbish. Nothing in or on our bodies given by God is ever reserved for any one person or group of people. They chose to keep their hair free of harmful chemicals, so have I.
Take on natural hair and the opposite sex
Some see “natural-ness” as not cute, others see it as nappy. However, some also appreciate it. My significant other loves it so that’s all that matters 🙂
Some women love it while others try to understand how I can just carry my hair about like that without using something that would supposedly make it easier to manage. i.e. A relaxer.
So far, I would say my hair (and life) have been easier being relaxer free. *Shrug*.
For women considering returning natural
For anyone thinking of starting down the road of being natural, I advise that you take the time to think about all it entails. It requires a lot of planning and at the same time a lot of spontaneity. Be prepared to waste some money in search of the right products that work well for your type of hair.The Internet, especially YouTube is your friend in terms of finding out how to manage your hair. There are also a lot of other websites and blogs that share tips and guidance on how to care for and manage your natural hair.
It should go without saying though that you should not believe everything you read off of the Internet. Be sure to apply good judgment to some things.
Work towards knowing your hair’s characteristics or “behaviors”. Knowing your hair type is a big plus. It will help you in finding other people and resources that will make your hair process easier to manage.
Moisturize, condition, moisturize and moisturize.
Treat your hair like a baby but don’t overdo it. Try to stay away from heat (dryers, flat irons and the likes) as much as possible.
Take time to care for your hair and enjoy it. Flaunt it!
Your hair care regimen
I try not to have any complicated or rigorous method of caring for my hair. I just try to make sure she (yes, it’s a girl) is healthy and growing well.
I take out time to check out and try products I feel would do my mane some good.
I wash my hair as necessary and when I do, I make sure to use sulphate and paraben-free shampoos and conditioners; my current favourite brand is Renpur. It cleanses and softens my hair perfectly without drying it out too badly. In addition to the Renpur conditioner, I use Carol’s Daughter TUI Moisturizing Hair Smoothie as a final in-shower moisturizing conditioner.
In between washes, I alternate Miss Jessie’s hair products (I use samples. That thing is way too expensive for words!) and Carol’s Daughter products. I favour Carol’s Daughter’s Healthy Hair Butter (comprised mainly of Shea and Cocoa butters)
Dryness is the bane of the existence of my hair, so to counter it, I mix some aloe-vera gel with a little vegetable glycerine and try to get it all over my hair from roots to tips. Once, I tried a product called Oyin Handmade Hair Dew and that did wonders for moisturizing my hair. I just wish I could stand the nutty smell. I also have a concoction made up of extra virgin olive oil, tea tree oil, jojoba oil, vegetable glycerine, basil oil (it’s really olive oil with essence of basil. The basil essence gives it a yummy smell), almond oil and vitamin E oil that I use after moisturizing with the aloe-vera and glycerine. I have this in a spray bottle which makes it easy to get the oil down to my scalp. I try not to get too much of this on my hair itself because the oil always runs down my face.
I get my hair trimmed roughly about every 6 weeks and try to go without braids or manipulation of any sort for about 2-3 weeks, just to give it room to recuperate.
Your top three Haircare products
Carol’s Daughter, Miss Jessie’s and Renpur
Photo Credit: Chineze Anwunah
Special thanks: To Chineze Anwunah, for responding so sweetly to my advances, hence this piece.
Caveat: Biri ka mu biri (Live and let live)- Oliver de Coque…
This basically means that this is in no way intended to insinuate that natural manes are better than relaxed manes or that relaxed manes are better than natural manes.
The earth can contain all of us.