Since post-colonial times, rocking hair in its natural form has often been despised. Girls have been made to believe that hair should be relaxed to make it easy to comb or do away with it completely. This perhaps is the reason many Ugandan schools swear to keep teenage girls focused on studies and not hair.
Brenda Kamurasi, the founder of Uzuri Natural Hair Salon, which specialises in natural hair, explains that the mindset, is however, changing with a new found love for kinky and curls, not just here in Uganda but all around the world.
Have women finally learnt to love hair in its natural form? Lyn Atwiine, a beauty magazine editor, who has had natural hair for two years, explains: “Women are beginning to appreciate that relaxing chemicals damage hair and scalps. Women are letting go of the mental slavery that had them thinking relaxed hair was the best.”
She, however, believes the rise of hair influencers rocking their kinks and coils has hugely triggered the natural hair movement.
Kamurasi believes social media has given natural hair enthusiasts a platform to share beauty tips and ideas freely about natural hair.
She says: “The hair care product market has an unlimited access to natural hair products on the market now, which makes it easy to manage natural hair,” she adds.
‘The big chop’ is a term natural hair enthusiasts use to mean cutting all your relaxed hair, leaving only growth, which is natural hair. This means the start of a natural hair journey.
Atwiine learnt about the ‘big chop’ on Pinterest. “I chose to go natural after a bad salon retouch burn. She says she was convinced to learn how to take care of her natural hair.
Both Atwiine and Kamurasi agree that the natural hair journey requires a lot of learning
“Natural hair differs in texture, density, length and thickness. You need to know your hair type and what works for you. Explore until you land on a treatment that works for you,” Kamurasi advises.
Do women with natural hair ever feel like giving up? “Whenever I feel tired of my natural hair, I run into the arms of a protective style such as braids or a wig. By the time I take them down, I am yearning to touch my hair again,” says Atwiine.