My Afro is going to be one year, in september. And I’m super excited to have reached this point.
And as much as I want the long luscious hair, I also want to enjoy my hair, so I’m not afraid of the dye bottle at all at all.
Anyway,I’ve gradually been planning my move back to Nigeria, permanently. And one of the things I considered, was whether I could survive with my natural hair, in these parts. And I made a few observations:
1. Nigerian Hair Salons are anti-natural hair: The moment you walk into a salon, to make your natural hair, the first thing they’ll ask, is if you’re ‘deeper life’.
Next thing, they’ll go ‘Aunty, this your hair too hard oh. E too plenty oh. You no go relaz your hair’?
I remember when I first went natural, and didn’t know the right products to use, and my hair was sooo hard. My salon experience was a horror story. The hairdresser used all the wrong combs, and pulled and tugged at my hair so hard, I wanted to just die.
They have not mastered the art of taking it easy.
Fast-forward to about 10 months later. I feel like I’m at peace with my hair, and I’ve since discovered the goodness of conditioner.
My salon experiences are now much smoother. In fact, they now admire, my much longer, much softer hair. And we thank God.
But they still make comments like, ‘Aunty, just texturise your hair, so e go long, well well’. :O
As if its not my own hair.
2. Natural Hair products are scarce: This was my initial observation, the last time I came to Nigeria.
And God forbid, I’ll be washing my hair with ‘Petals’ shampoo, no conditioner, and then load it with Mineral oil, in the name of ‘Apple Hair Food’. All these dodgy, drying hair products.
And I’ve forgotten all about the almighty ‘shea butter’, because it just leaves white ‘goop’ all over my hair.
In fact, I was absolutely convinced that, I’ll be back on the creamy crack ASAP.
But recently, I took a tour of Abuja, Shoprite, to be exact. And it appears the natural hair movement, has hit Nigeria with a loud thud.
One particular store, Casabella, is filled with nearly every natural hair product you can think off. From Kinky curly to Beautiful textures to Eco-Styler.
Now I’m comfortable that the future of my natural hair, product wise, is secure in Nigeria.
3. Humidity and the Sun: This is something, nobody prepared me for.
You will leave your house with a well defined twist out, and by the time you come home, it will be a tangled, shrunken mess.
It really messes with your hair and promotes shrinkage. So I think when I move back here, I’ll need to embrace buns and Ecostyler.
Especially since, I really don’t think there’s a way to get around humidity, affecting your hair.
Now the sun, is another matter. It basically zaps out every ounce of moisture, from your hair. As if my hair is not dry enough as it is -___- So you need to pay extra attention, to moisturising.
4. Family, Friends and even Strangers have an opinion about your hair: You know when you’re in school or abroad, and you decide to go natural, its mostly, your own business. People care, but they don’t care that much. But the moment your flight arrives Nigeria, the story must change.
Minding your business, is not a Nigerian trait. Strangers have an opinion about your hair. Pointing at it, and telling you how much ‘neater’ and ‘longer’ it will look, if it were relaxed.
The woman that sells akara, infront of your gate will have an opinion of your hair and so will your gateman. Its sad really.
Then your parents, especially your mum and aunties and friends, develop a new found interest in your hair. There is no new month that passes without someone saying, ‘won’t you at least texturise your hair’ -___- It gets annoying pretty quickly.
Even my dad, that usually doesn’t give a rat’s ass, about what goes on, on my head, has become curious about my hair.
And sometimes, you need the grace of God, to withstand it all.
5. You are alone in the natural hair game: Finally, apart from blogs and magazines, in real life, you hardly see Nigerian women rocking natural hair. Everybody is hiding their own baggage, under weaves and wigs and braids and all sorts of extensions.
So even the so-called ‘naturalistas’, are only ‘natural’, the day they take out their weave, after which they put it back on, a day or two after.
So do not expect, to leave your house, rocking a fly twist out and catch another woman on the street, doing the same. Be ready to be ‘ON YOUR OWN’.
However, who am I to blame these women for keeping their natural hair under wraps. I am guilty of it too. When I’m in Nigeria, I run from weave to braids to weave.
And its all because Nigerians are too opinionated for their own good. And the last thing is I want, is every one telling me, what and what not to do with my hair.
So, If you do have plans of rocking your natural hair in Nigeria, I applaud you. But I also urge to be very very confident, and develop a thick skin, to unsolicited, annoying, comments. And the sky is the limit.
Its your hair anyway.