Life is unpredictable. 5 years ago when I was a freshman in College, I had no idea I'd be writing a blog on natural haircare. I'd just landed in the United States and I was still learning how to take care of my semi-relaxed hair while adjusting to a new culture and way of life.
And now, in 2016, here I am sharing what I've learnt with the world through my blog. It almost goes without saying that the natural hair community was one of the greatest online discoveries I ever made. I'll admit I was borderline-OBSESSED with natural hair! Haha!
I'm pretty sure by September 2011, I'd read every single article and watched every single YouTube video on natural haircare that I could get my hands on. Now, five years into my journey, I can certainly see how going natural enriched my outlook on life.
1. As a natural, I've made lots of friends!
Like you!! Yay! Thanks for reading my blog by the way! Haha!
In all honesty, I've gained at least 30 new friendships and about 130k readers and viewers across my social platforms. For me, going natural has given me the chance to share my story as well as to listen to and learn from the stories of dozens of people I wouldn't have met otherwise. Interacting on other people's blogs and social pages has opened my mind to new worlds.
2. Having natural hair has inspired positive femininity!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be inspired by the range of fashionistas in the curly hair community! Whenever I scroll through my Instagram feed, I’m graced with photos of curly-haired divas, of all shades, shapes and sizes, proudly adorned in the latest trends. I’m truly inspired by their quiet confidence and their steadfast self-assuredness.
3. Natural hair has given me a deeper understanding of myself!
I'm a very introspective and reflective person. I'll admit it. I take time to journal and centre myself at least once a week. Ask my mum, she'll tell ya! Haha! I’d like to think that embracing my curls has further enhanced this part of my personality.
As a young, African woman living in the West, my natural hair journey has greatly informed my view of myself. Hours spent staring at my face in the mirror as I gently detangled my kinks, have in many ways led me to introspection. My natural hair journey has pushed me to think deeper about my identity - what makes me unique? What do I like? What do I stand for? How do I present myself to the world? How does the world receive my presence? Wearing my natural hair, has brought me to contention with myself on many occasions, but I've fought through the internal chaos and slowly turned it into self-love.
4. Going natural has given me a deeper appreciation for my culture and heritage!
Amongst naturalistas, some use their hair to make radical political statements and others yet to express themselves creatively and artistically. Personally, I straddle the divide, if at all there is one.
As a creative thinker, I’ve used my hair and clothing to make political statements through acts of self-portraiture. I’ve worn my hair in a big afro and dressed in all black then invited myself into spaces in which my chocolate skin was unusual. I’ve found my curls to be radical in that they defy gravity and form a halo around my head - crowning me as a queen as many of us naturalistas like to say.
Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance is a similar case in point. The berets and strong afros of her dancers were hardly a subtle comment on racial inequality in America. Rather they were the exact opposite. Beyonce’s performance caused a storm. This goes to show how politicised our hair and physical adornments are as African women. Embracing our natural hair and loving our chocolate skin and our kinks and coils is radical self-love.
5. Going natural has given me confidence!
From yet another perspective, my natural hair journey has taught me to focus on myself and to do things for my own satisfaction rather than that of others. Somewhat in contrast to point four above, going natural has given me the power to redeem myself from the standards of a racially politicised world.
I wear my kinks and coils paired with a power suit into corporate meetings. I strut my twist out paired with elegant, flowing gowns at formals. I wear my kinky twists wrapped in flower garlands and paired with bohemian hues to concerts. I’ve let go of the shame I felt for having “different hair”.
I’m learning to loosen the standards I’ve held for my physical appearance because I’ve come to learn that they've never glorified my African features in the first place. I’ve learnt that I don’t need to “tidy up” my hair in order to “slay”. My journey is ongoing, but this I know will remain true: my value and self-worth does not depend on whether I wear my curls out or wrap them braids or whether I’m in casual jeans or a formal gown. I am beautiful either way.
Has your natural hair given you a new outlook on life? If so, how? Leave us all a note down below, we’d love to know!
(What I'm wearing: Bandana - H&M// Earrings - H&M// Lippie - MAC Smoked Purple)
Sending you lots of love and sunshine,