Locks and Life
I haven’t put up a non-book-promo post in a while (shock and horror!). Even when an idea pops into my head, I find that I don’t have the motivation to follow it through. But I’ve had a really strong yearning to blog about something totally random this week. After standing for twenty minutes on the tube last night, trying to avoid some girl’s dodgy looking (okay, it was outright unclean) Brazilian weave touching my hand, I decided to bite the bullet and just say it. I love my afro hair! No, I am not a natural hair warrior princess who will advocate nothing but the afro look, but the more comfortable I have become with my tiny curls and scanty nappy edges, the more confident I feel about other seemingly trivial but empowering things like wearing no makeup on the weekend (unless I have an event to attend – let’s not scare people too much) and not plucking my eyebrows (which I haven’t done in at least four years but always felt self-conscious about until recently).
I won’t lie, I still occasionally daydream of straightening my hair because, deep down inside, I think I look more approachable and chic with long straight hair. It kind of makes sense that I’d feel that way because I lived with chemically straightened hair for about thirty years of my life. But all it takes is one or two memories of all the little horrors I went through (relaxer burn, anyone?) for my head to snap back to the present. I suffered from dry scalp for years and couldn’t understand why oiling my scalp to death wasn’t helping. Constantly applying any form of complex hydroxide to your roots to get your hair to grow out straight will have its side effects, and this was mine. Weaves didn’t help much either because my hair is so soft, it falls off if you tug at it even a little bit. Everyone told me African hair was difficult to keep but they didn’t tell me that this didn’t apply to everyone. I never even heard of hair types 4A, B or C until I went natural. I know it sounds naïve to say this but, trust me, a ton of women out there have no clue that they might actually not need to be tied to their six weekly torture routine of hair relaxing. Don’t get me started on the insane fear of getting chemically straightened hair wet.
Now all I do is wash and condition weekly, apply a ton of natural oils (I love me some coconut, castor and jojoba) and cornrow my hair every night ready for the big release in the morning. I went one step further and stopped combing my hair over a year ago. Nope, not even when I wash it. I just rearrange bits with my fingers, pin up loose ends and I’m good to go. Magic! Messy but gloriously stress-free! And whenever I get caught in a downpour, I know my hair won’t look any different when it dries out. People always ask why I don’t braid my hair more often because that’s something you can do to natural hair to switch up your look, but my aforementioned scanty edges are much happier when there is no pressure applied to them, so I only save this luxury for my yearly trip back home (where I am more likely to get a raised brow or two for rocking my messy afro). Best of all, my scalp is soft and healthy. The small pleasures of life!
Now that’s all off my chest, the world can carry on revolving around other more important issues (like who the hell is really going to vote for Trump next week?). If this post helps even one person stop and think for a fraction of a second about their hair choices, my work here is done. And just because I’ve bored you guys senseless with my rant, here’s a montage of my hair journey (relaxed, braided, weaved and fro’d) over the last five years to take away some of the sting – I hope. Go forth and be happy!