The natural hair movement (and yes we hate this phrase too,) is bigger than it has ever been before. Not just for us Nigerian women, but for black women across the world. We are finally learning to love and accept our manes just the way they are.
However as popular as the movement is now, the ratio of women who have made the decision to embrace their hair in its natural state can not nearly be compared to those who haven’t, and the reason for this isn’t because they hate their natural hair.
The thing about people with “non-natural” hair – and I hate this word, because you can’t tell someone that the hair growing out of their head isn’t natural, – is that most people fail to realize that having texturized or relaxed hair, doesn’t mean you hate the fact that you are black or do not appreciate your roots, it just means you prefer your hair that way. It doesn’t mean you are trying to look like you are Caucasian and it’s not necessarily because you are suffering from over exposure to Western culture either. It just means you’ve made a personal choice to carry your hair that way, because honestly it’s easier to handle, even when it may not the best option.
In Nigeria, parents begin to relax their kids hair as early as 5 years old because it’s the easy way out for them. In primary school you would hardly find kids with natural hair, and the odds are anyone who did, had it that way for religious reasons. Most of us where not brought up knowing how to manage our natural hair. We were taught instead how to manage relaxed hair, how we were to relax it, how to make sure the already relaxed parts were not retouched and so on.
We didn’t know about our curl patterns, and silk scarves and curl defining conditioners. Not having to deal with the struggles of your natural hair at such an early age spoilt us rotten, and it can be rather hard to leave behind the ease of relaxed hair. Styling seems so much easier and getting it done never results in a full on battle between you and your hairdresser (no aunty this your hair is hard o), not to talk about the fact that you don’t have to buy 5 different types of hair conditioning products every month.
So to all our naturalistas who have embraced their curls, try not to judge your friend who has refused to embrace the movement too harshly, going natural is hard and we are all still trying to get the hang of it.