For the life of me, I just don’t understand why a majority of Nigerian women neglect the health of their hair. As long as the finished hair style looks good, we tend to think that’s the end all be all to hair care. It isn’t until our hair looks like the remnants of a scorched scrub brush or we are, what I call, scoop bald around the edges, do we now begin to consider the steps necessary to look after the health of our hair. Why do we as Nigerian women wait until our backs are against the wall before we decide to take action, where our hair is concerned? We’re so in love with the immediate gratification or solution, which I regret to inform you, like all other things, there are none!

We have a tendency to believe that we know it all, even though we have never stepped foot in a single hair care course. We attempt to do a bit of research and think; after all, if it works on “Sade’s” hair, surely it will work for mine. We lug the treasure of hair products we’ve collected over the months or even years, believing it will do miracles for our hair, to our beloved salons.

However, considering that the stylists that service us aren’t even educated enough in their craft to know right from wrong, we certainly can’t depend on them to tell us the correct way of taking care of our hair. So we enlighten them of our misguided information, all to no avail. Talk about the blind leading the blind!

 

I think its time for us as black Nigerian women, being the fantabulous put-together status of modern day beauty that we are, need to be accurately informed about the health of our hair. We need to be willing to let go of our “know it all” attitudes enough to change our routines and be able to trust a qualified (and I stress the term qualified) stylist/hair expert to accurately educate us.

Over the next few weeks, I intend to do just that and I hope you’ll let me. So, lets get started, shall we?

Step 1: A common misconception about Black hair: African hair is different from all other hair.

This is partly true but mostly untrue. African hair is made of the same “stuff” as non-African hair. Meaning, the exact same proteins and bonds that form the hair of Latina, Caucasian and Asian women are the exact same in Black hair. The difference lies in the way those components are put together or the structure of our hair.  The structure of our hair can cause it to be more susceptible to breakage and dryness.  Because of this, black hair care needs are different from those for other types of hair.  Our hair can have up to twice the amount of “cuticle” or outer layer.  Our hair is kinkier or more tightly curled/coiled which makes it more difficult for the oil secreted from our scalps to reach the ends of the hair.  But, keep in mind there is a gamut of hair types. Black people’s hair can vary widely.  Think of it as the different facial skin types we have, whether our face is oily, combination or dry will determine what type of cleanser and moisturizer we need. Even within a single head of hair, there are different hair types. So, there is no one solution for the care of all Black hair.

The trick is to know, generally, what type of hair you have, (We shall visit this topic on another day). Naturally, you might think African hair is “tougher” than Caucasian hair and can handle more stress or abuse.  After all, it is coarser and thicker.  In actuality, African hair (especially if treated like European hair) is more delicate than Caucasian hair.  For this reason, I recommend using products made especially for our hair, whenever possible.  Nowadays, there is a broad variety of excellent products made specifically for the needs of African or Textured hair.

In the weeks to come, I will cover, in detail, the different hair types, products and ingredients to use and to avoid, and so forth. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

Until next time, this is Debola, signing out!

No Responses

  1. Lola Oguntomilade

    Great article, Debola! Cant wait for the pearls of wisdom that you have to share…especially for unprocessed hair!

    Reply
  2. Jo Uthman

    It’s not that we neglect our natural hair is just too much ‘work and effort’ – I’m a recovering weave addict and now au naturale – but some days I still wish I didn’t have to worry about the hair on my head.

    Reply
  3. Sacred Beauty

    Hahah aww don’t we all. I just had a conversation with a client this afternoon who had the most gorgeous natural hair.. except for her hairline. It was all gone and yet she was still insisting we re-fix the weave for her as managing her own hair was just too much of a bother for her. If we’re able to go to the salon every 2 weeks to wash & fix our prized weaves then we should be able to manage our lucious locks.. Take it from me, I have the tightest coko hair known to man..I didn’t get any of my mum’s indian hair.. just my dads yoruba afro.. hehe

    Reply
  4. Jo Uthman

    lol @ coko — ah 9ja girls and Brazilian weaves eh – instant vava voom 🙂

    Reply
  5. Eva Tosan Omaghomi

    I went natural years ago. I get my hair pressed for work, which is pretty harsh but I get treatments every time so my hair stays healthy. When I go on holiday I set my Afro free or get braids. I love the versatility. To anyone who wants to go natural I say go for it.

    Reply
  6. LaBelleVie

    Well done, a great article on the truth about Black Hair. We have beautiful hair that is unique and wonderful and we should do so much more to take care of it than letting it get to Naomi’s stage….

    Reply

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