The deeper conversation about natural hair

Channel 4 recently aired a documentary as part of its black history month programming called Hair Power: Me and my Afro. It was an insightful look into a few people’s experiences growing up and having natural Afro hair in the UK. It was really interesting, if you haven’t seen it I encourage you to check it out.

It got me thinking about my own hair, how I view it and if there is a deeper meaning to how I’ve chosen to wear my hair.

My hair has been relaxed since I was 4 years old, so for as long as I can remember my mum has been relaxing my hair and I’ve never had any issues with it. I love how manageable it is for me. I’ve learnt how to style it, treat it, trim it, deep condition it. The fact that I can wash, dry and straighten in under an hour really appeals to me.

However, after watching this documentary I do question whether I am in someway not being true to the hair that God gave me. Should I be rocking my gloriously curly mane regardless of how long the maintenance of it may be?

Does my natural hair give my daughter (whose hair is natural) the wrong idea about the value of her natural hair?

Am I conforming to the ideals set by society or diluting my blackness by wearing my hair in a way that I feel may help me be accepted by other races?

Yep deep questions right? Lol. I’ll be honest, even as I write this I’m undecided. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about whether or not I should have natural hair and it also won’t be the first time I’ve considered going natural.

My argument so far has been that relaxed hair doesn’t make me any less of an african after all I have far more prominent features that are telling of my heritage – for example the rounded contours of my nose, the warm hue of my skin- is that not enough?

What if I grow out my natural hair and because of time restraints or otherwise end up wearing wigs? Does that not defeat the purpose? Are wigs not relaxed hair in synthetic form? Are lacefronts, closures and the alike all a nod towards the European standard of hair beauty? Just thinking aloud here…

Maybe that’s not a strong enough reason, maybe I should proudly rock the hair that God gave me, regardless of the time it takes to maintain. Wear my tightly wound curls with love and pride and show my daughter that my hair is just like hers and it’s beautiful.

Even at the end of this I’m still undecided, relaxed hair I feel has become a part of my style and I really enjoy wearing my hair in this way but maybe just maybe it’s time for a change…

Relaxed hair care

The way we care for our hair has changed in recent the years. Over the last decade more and more women are caring for their hair using a diverse number of products. Wearing wigs of different colours and lengths allows all women to experiment with new looks switching from diva to princess in seconds! Our hair says something about us and whether you are daring with yours or not, the way we care for our hair does matter.

I have relaxed hair and I enjoy maintaining it but I’ve noticed that different processes produce different results, I’ll explain…when relaxing your hair how long it is conditioned for and the method used to dry it affects the finish and the texture. For example, after relaxing the hair if you choose to use a wrap mousse and then blow dry your hair the finished look is likely to be lighter, more silky and straighter with less body if you use a  dryer and comb. Setting your hair without heat can leave some kinks but also give more volume. Choosing to dry the hair after relaxing using a volumising mousse or setting rollers will give the hair far more volume, body and bounce as opposed to simply curling or straightening the hair.

Knowing your hair and the type of hair that you have is important to treating it correctly. Take time to look at how your hair reacts to different products and how different hairstyles affect your hair too. Some people have hair that grows when in plaits or when in a weave, others have identified the opposite effect.

Its also important to take note of the different textures of hair that are on your head. There are parts of the hair such as the hairline especially that can be fine and delicate, breaking easily when brushed too excessively. Some also have thinner hair at the crown of their heads. Take note of these and ensure that the hairstyles you choose to wear will benefit your hair in the long term.

Nutrition also plays a part in the care of our hair, look after your relaxed hair by drinking water and eating a healthy diet to ensure that your new growth is healthy and strong.

A regular trim of the ends of your hair does wonders for relaxed hair. Keep your tresses pretty and strong by having your hair dresser trim your ends often. Don’t be afraid of loosing length by trimming your hair, those little snips actually promote hair growth and can make hair healthier and longer.

If you don’t have time for your relaxed hair in the mornings try treatments that work on your hair during the night. A lot of brands have creams and moisturizers that get to work while you sleep. Shop around to find one that works best for you…Mizani have a product thats great and is only applied twice a week.

I hope this has been helpful.

Have a great week! x