By Chinonso Ihekire
YES! The natural hair form traces long to the ancient pre-colonial Nigeria. It was an ancient beauty that every local valued and styled, according to tribal traditions. It was glorified. With the white man’s entry later in the 19th century, the cultural transfer brought in a new wave of styling human hair – a more western form, and that reality has travelled down to this day. However, this is not a history class. It’s just a statement of truth that natural hair is a graceful and elegant fashion-art form that should not be as underrated as it is today.
Why? Natural hair styling exudes a true inner beauty of the human hair, and for we Africans, revealing its full, nappy and splendid spongy nature. It depicts the human head as a true canvass for exploration of our artistic desire. It compliments any fashion statement that journeys to the realm of the magnificent. Sadly, it is frowned upon at urban workplaces across the country. It is an unwritten rule that Nigerian workers have to dress up and look like their western colonialists who gave them the corporate world of business. Bangladash, if you ask me! Natural hair is revolutionary, and it rocks too.
Again, Natural hair is our African identity. There is a common fashion philosophy that explains that fashion is an artistic expression of your inner self. How then can we adorn ourselves with hairstyles that don’t compliment who we are as Africans? It implies that the purpose of fashion is lost in translation. It is not a sin to have a cross-cultural fashion look, once a while. Yet, it’s not enough to blur our own identity, by overdoing it. You’d hardly find a young Nigerian woman attending a dinner date adorned in natural hair. The blue and black, green and red, woolly and curly braids and wigs from the West have taken over our fashion expressions, sadly.
Natural hair is also a very versatile fashion piece. It compliments every fashion look. Every! From the office-static outlook of corporate dressing, to casual evening date outfits, to ball gowns or religious activities, natural hair is like a crown that can be worn everywhere indicating our royalty.
It’s obvious that the frustration with most African women who do not shave their head, when it comes to keeping natural hair, is that it is quite annoyingly difficult, painful and expensive to maintain. Once a lady finishes secondary education in Nigeria, where it is compulsory to be styled in natural hair, she flips the script, to acclimatise to the dominant trend of braids, wigs and weaves, which could be cheaper and easier to maintain. The problem is lack of will and lack of information.
How to maintain natural hair – 5 key principles
- Drink a lot of water
Yes! Water, the master medicine. Your hair needs a lot of water to grow. Drink at least 3 litres of water, daily, if you are eyeing a healthy and rapid hair growth.
- Moisturize thoroughly
It’s necessary. Dryness prevents hair growth. very important to avoid using too many chemical products on your hair. NaturAll Club strongly recommends using specific hair care products like castor, coconut or avocado oil, as well as Shea butter, for your hair.
- Wash it regularly
Don’t leave your hair raggedy and unkempt. It has a higher tendency, in this natural state to be disorganized. Wash it weekly to maintain that sparkle. Also avoid blow drying as it accelerates hair dryness.
- Comb and style
Comb when wet or when it is thoroughly moisturized, to avoid the pain. Avoid using hot combs. It is also very important to style it immediately; it stays firm and finer that way.
5. Wrap it with a satin scarf before going to bed
It is advisable to avoid the hair becoming dry easily from pillow absorption. Use satin scarfs to retain more moisture.
6. Love it
True! You cannot happily carry your hair on your head without loving it in your mind, first. Look in the mirror daily with that natural hair and tell yourself how beautiful you look. Your mind would do the rest.
Yes! Natural hair styling is an ancient, unique and, arguably, the best form of styling hair. For we, Africans, it is a matter of art. It can be styled suitably for every occasion. It is a head-turner, an eye-gluier, and a happiness harbinger.