For the past 2 years I have been making the transition from having relaxed hair* and wearing weaves ** to wearing braids *** with my natural hair protected underneath. It has been such a challenging time as I am someone who LOVES wearing a weave and relaxing my hair because it is easier to manage with my busy schedule and it just looks good in my eyes.
However, my hairline would tell you something different! All of the chemicals and pulling on my scalp with the weight of the weave has taken a huge toll on my hair with the result being a very thin & weak hairline! I am on the edge of death! The last weave I had was at the end of April 2014 and it made me question the damage I have been doing to my hair. I decided to take a break from wearing a weave for now and have gone back to having braids again.
Last week a friend of mine (who has the most gorgeous natural afro hair I have ever seen) and I decided to try out some 100% natural hair products to see if they would help with hair growth and strength as we want to be healthy and not use chemicals on our hair.
I purchased 3 products from Zara’s Hair & Beauty on Walworth Road and they are listed below
100% Coconut Oil £2.50
100% African Shea Butter £3.50
Shea Moisture deep treatment masque £12.99
Dealing with my own hair dilemmas got me thinking about the struggle young black girls must go through today as now there is so much pressure to have perfect long hair. You only have to turn on the TV or log onto Twitter and Instagram to see the Kardashian girls with their perfect luscious locks to Beyoncé with her golden blonde lace front wig. That is what society and the media constantly shove in our faces as the definition of beauty. It breaks my heart when I see young girls in my family and those who I work with begin to wear a weave when they are under 16 years of age because that is what they feel is beautiful.
I am not saying I will never wear a weave again or that there is anything wrong with a woman who decides to relax her hair. I love the variety and I probably will experiment more with wigs and braids but I have a problem with the pressure that we put on ourselves to conform at the expense of the health of our hair.
So I have decided to champion my natural hair and have decided to start with a picture below of me with no chemicals, no makeup, just me with my afro! I have only shown this picture to one person and my mum! If I am honest I felt a bit apprehensive about putting this out there because I was not sure how people would take it.
My wish is that more of us older black women or even young black girls show that our natural hair is just as beautiful and embrace it with extended periods of time- 1-2 weeks- where we give our hair a rest from all the chemicals and after effects of weaves & braids. It is during this time that we should feel proud to rock our fros!
#afroandme is the tag if anyone wants to get involved and share any pictures of their own natural hair.
* relaxed hair: hair that has been chemically treated to remove all curls and waves
** weave: hairstyle created by weaving pieces of real or artificial hair into a person’s existing hair, typically in order to increase its length or thickness.
** braids: a length of hair made up of three or more interlaced strands