This year I was challenged to have my natural (afro) hair out and not just in a protective style. The anxiety about doing it led to me putting it off all the way until this September.
However, having done this now I can say that the experience taught me so much and I thoroughly recommend it to any one with natural hair.
Here are my top 3 reasons why everyone should do this:
- Address your insecurity.
Prior to this experience, for the past 2 years I have styled my hair in protective styles such as: braids, twists, cornrows and crotchet on a 6-8-week cycle.
On the weekend of my hair appointment, I would spend the Friday evening after work taking out my protective style. This would often take me to the early hours of the following morning when I would have to be up bright and early to have my hair re-styled.
Thinking about this routine led me to uncover some truths: my worry about taking my natural hair to work, to socialise or anywhere in public. This was odd to me as I would consider myself a confident person but it seemed in this area I was not.
By having my hair natural these past three weeks. I managed to address this toxic idea that my hair in its natural form was a barrier to success or being seen as professional or beautiful or equal in the many facets of life. I realised that I was only seeing in people reactions what I thought about it myself. This enable me to start challenging where I learnt these ideas and removing this negative framework of thought allowing me to completely own my natural hair.
- It is good for your hair’s health
In my last hair appointment, I had an experience like no other. By the mid appointment, I was in tears. Let me set the scene:
It was a Saturday morning I had only finished taking my braids out in the early hours of the morning and now sat 5 hours later having my hair washed, picked (Dried with the comb attachment) ready for it to be plaited. This whole process was so painful with my scalp sensitive to any manipulation of my hair.
Then my hairdresser explained the importance of resting my scalp between hair styles to avoid pain. This was a light bulb as I had been doing my hair this way for 7 years causing pain and discomfort in the salon but also putting strain on my hair and my scalp which is not supportive to healthy hair or a healthy scalp.
- Get to know your hair and learn how to care of it
In the past three weeks, I actually got to experience my natural hair texture for myself.
As a child, my mum cornrolled my hair, then when I was older it was relaxed and I wore weaves. Then when I went natural again I only had protective styles done at the hands of hairdressers.
Therefore, I had no idea what my natural texture was like and identified my hair only through the comments made about it at the salon: ‘Coarse’, ‘Hard’ and ‘difficult to manage’.
However, In the past three weeks I have got to learn first-hand about my natural hair texture and build my own relationship with it.
I then watched YouTube video by natural guru from which I learned how to wash to my hair for the first time without knotting it and causing discomfort. I could then develop a simple hair care routine that I could follow and maintain.
I even attempted twist and braid outs and begun to enjoy the process of exploring the many options available for natural hair.
At the end of the three weeks and as I return to my protective style of choice. I have a positive feeling towards my hair and I wear protective styles not out of fear, shame or self-hate but as just another option in a long list of many I can chose to explore when and how I want.
Simply Ayo – Discovering my natural hair.