Guest Bloggers

Going Natural in an African household

In recent years, more and more women have made the conscious decision to let
go of their relaxed hair and return to their natural roots. People tend to associate the natural look as being a throwback to Africa; celebrating the natural beauty that comes from the continent rather than conforming to Western ideals. African actresses such as Lupita Nyong’o have showcased to the world just how beautiful natural coils can be. However, what is it really like going natural in an African household? A dear friend of ours – who has asked to remain anonymous – shared her personal experiences of going natural in a Nigerian household…

Having spent a total of 4 years relaxing, my hair was far from the condition I was used to. I suffered extreme breakage and thinning, and was left with overall bad quality hair. Researching the damage that the relaxer was doing to my hair, and talking to friends around me who maintained a healthy natural hair regime, inspired me to give up the creamy crack and proceed with growing the relaxer out and going back to my natural texture.
    After about 6 months fighting with the new growth and relaxed ends it all became too much to handle, and I made the conscious decision to go for the ‘Big Chop’. It was something that took a lot of courage to do, and it was definitely something I thought about thoroughly as many factors such as not feeling pretty, or considering how people would perceive me was hard, but I have no regrets and think it was the best decision for the health of my hair.
Natural Beauty Portrait    One thing that I found the toughest once I had done the big chop was not the fears I had preconceived before hand, but the reaction from the Nigerian side of my family. I was made to feel like a black sheep; ugly, and I had no support with the decision I made. I would continually be made fun of and no matter how much I tried to educate them on why I went natural and did the big chop, they simply just refused to understand.
In their minds short curly hair was ugly.
The women on that side of my family till this day sport weaves, use relaxers and think thats the only form that beauty comes in, and anything else is considered a malfunction. If it wasn’t for the support of my good friends and the encouragement I had, I can easily see myself reverting back to what was consider the ‘norm’.
    Two and half years later I can confidently say that my hair is healthy and LONG, and today when I’m in the company of the family members that critiqued and judged me, look at me in disbelief and jealously for the health and the length my hair is today.
Almost at bra strap length and proud!

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