Thursday March 20 2014

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Why I stick to my natural hair

By Lydia Namono

Ever wondered why many women today are joining the naturalistas? I mean those women who have unaltered hair texture that spirals into an afro right after washing it. I’m talking about those kinks and coils that occur just the way it grows from your head. Well, there’s reason why I have embraced my natural afro for the last 14 years.

It’s easy to keep it looking good
Many still think it is tough to keep hair looking great without adding any chemical to it. Well, I think otherwise. Mine is the soft and curly kind of natural hair which is easier to comb compared to the rough textured one. This soft kind, when washed, usually spirals into an afro similar to the one that made a big fashion statement in the 1960s and 1970s. I usually twist it in threes every night before going to bed to simplify the combing in the morning.

Then I cover it up in a satin head wrap since it can easily break without one. In the morning, I undo the twists and allow the hair to take on a new style in the shape of the braids. To comb it easily, I separate it into parts to avoid it from getting entangled and breaking. Then I comb the tips, gradually working my way to the scalp.

I can wash it myself
I purposed to keep my hair natural because I find it easy to manage. Truth is I just can’t deal with the burning sensation of the dryer once it is treated.
And now that it is really long, it is much easier to maintain. I oil it after every three days. The beauty about it is that I can wash it at home in case I’m cash strapped or visit the salon when things are looking up.

I braid when I wish
I braid it once in a while because of the countless hours it takes to get it done in the salon. If the hairdresser is fast enough, it takes about five hours to plait, say kinky braids. The longest I ever had to get it looking great has been two days.

I spent 12 hours plaiting these tiny pony tail braids on the first day and another two hours the next day. Much as I was smart, the frail front hair soon began breaking and that marked the end of those tiny braids on my head.

You could say cornrows are the easier option but my hair pops out within two weeks. In fact, you will wonder why I’m insisting on them instead of just letting the hair out. I usually prefer leaving it out (without braids) most of the time because some braids feel heavier than my hair. I love my hair just the way it is although it has not been an easy walk. Dandruff may appear from anywhere yet I must get the hair together before setting out for the day.
That has taught me to select hair oil carefully.

It exudes the beauty of an African woman. It turns out that this natural afro just sets me apart of others who believe natural hair can not look great. To this day, I meet strangers who envy me for my long natural hair. Some do not hesitate to plead that I keep it natural. On the flipside, there are those who blatantly say that if they had my kind of hair, they would let it all out on a daily basis to make others envy them. But that is not me.