For several decades women and men of African descent have been made to feel that their hair in its natural state is unfashionable. Kinky and curly hair has been referred to as unkempt and unacceptable and stories of children being bullied at school are rampant on social media. a lady shared a story on howshe was to attend a meeting with her boss only to be refused simply because she had her natural hair out and himclaiming that her hair was unkempt!
The cosmetic industry has benefitted most from this façade and have come up with several products to aid the African “blend” into society, magazines and TV. adverts carry their definition of “beautiful” hair or socially acceptable hair to be soft, luscious and must be bone straight or soft curls.
Many products have been introduced to straighten women’s hair and most of these are harmful to the skin,most have adverse effects like burning the scalp and skin. its ironical that the beautician applying it to the head wears gloves to protect the hands but continues to expose the scalp to the same chemical he is protecting his hands from!These chemicals are blamed for the rise of cancer!
Chemical hair treatment is a continuous process which involves relaxing the hair, applying conditioner, treatment, steaming shampooing and the hair is then put in rollers and exposed to heat under a dryer.
To allow the hair rest, the client can weave or braid the hair using synthetic hair or human hair like the popular Brazilian and Indian hair for those who can afford it.
However, Africans are embracing their identity lately and this includes their hair in its natural state, chemicals are blamed for the rise of cancer and other underlying diseases. with social media, there are platforms dedicated to promoting natural hair. they raise awareness, encourage pride, teach one how to manage their hair in its kinky state and they are also activists. Salons have been opened up solely to Cater for Natural hair.
Unlike in the past when the few Black models like Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell strutted the cat walk with long, straight black hair, we now have black models going bald, they are called bold and beautiful. they are embracing their natural hair and rebelling against the treated hair and weaves!
One has many options to choose from whenever they decide to go natural. one who doesn’t wish to comb out their hair can opt for dreadlocks. However, one can opt for a neat dreadlocks look and this will involve you visiting the salon to have your hair shampooed at least every fortnight. it is a very easy to maintain look and allows the hair to grow fast with no breakage.
Another popular look are the box braids which are easy to manage for one who does not wish to comb daily. The Kiswahili“Bantu knots” and different artistic hair styles can be designed on your head. of late, the “wash and go” look has gained popularity since all one does is wash their hair and run their fingers through it no combing is required. Protective hairstyles like the crotchet, wigs and weaves can help one change their look and stay trendy and different!
One complaint though that natural hair people complain about is the expense of their hair products and services. The hair salons that specialize in natural hair products are few and also on the expensive side, their hair products like shampoos, oils and the rest are not easily available. These factors tend to discourage one from opting to wear natural hair. Its advisable for one who chooses to go natural to learn how to maintain their hair themselves and to also use readily available products like honey, coconut oil, avocado and ghee. The journey does not have to be expensive but fulfilling.