Love/hate my hair

What am I talking about? Of course I love my hair. I’ve always loved my hair – in its chemically relaxed state and it’s now natural and free state.

Unlike many other women who have returned to their natural hair state, I did not do it by choice. I wasn’t trying to be deep and meaningful, making a statement about the perception of black beauty (although now, I know it’s important for young girls like my daughter to see the different ways in which black women are beautiful). I am a forced natural, meaning: I was forced to be natural.

Let me explain. My daughter was born in November and the next January, my hairline had almost completely fallen out. I looked like I’d worn a dodgy weave for ten years. I had no idea this would happen. My first child didn’t give me this problem, and when I consulted my mom, she had never experienced it with her five kids.

I thought, “Am I dying? Why is this happening to me?”

It was due to postpartum shedding.

Phew! That’s what I felt when I finally figured out what was going on, but by then I had sworn to leave out the relaxer until my hair was back to its normal glory.

But I never went back to a relaxer. Growing and knowing my hair has been a tiresome journey at times, but also enriching in the sense that I love how much we black people can do with our hair – the versatility is incredible! I’ve had a multitude of challenges from wrong product choices to scalp interactions, style fails and setbacks, but the reward has been greater.

One of the things I am most grateful for is this hasn’t been a lonely journey. Because of the boom of the natural hair market, there are plenty of women re-discovering their hair and wanting to share — a lot. Here in Zambia is a very supportive community of people happy to share their experiences with products, Big Chops, stylists, challenges, drama. And, I’ve had my sister and a several very close friends to have hour-long conversations about hair. Yes, it happens. Talking about hair for hours. Imagine that!

Thankfully, I have good hair genes – not good hair, good hair genes. My hair is of great density, it generally ‘grows’ well, which means I have an easier time managing it. But styling it is more complicated – the single-strand knots are plenty. And for my 4C texture, this can really butcher any length you’ve retained.

My favourite part about my hair is the styles. Here is a collection of some of my favourites, some inspired by various YouTube vloggers but all done by me (photos by me).

Fav products: mafura butter, avocado oil, aloe vera and African Black Soap.

I love my hair!

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