Natural Hair Minute

#1. Yaay! Wash day!

Define freedom.

Freedom for me is when I release my cornrows after keeping them for three weeks. That feeling when fresh air passes through each strand of hair; the thick curls that form from doing LOC consistently; the joy that comes from holding my hair out and examining my ends and deciding dispassionately that yes, my split ends situation is getting better and yes, I will trim them anyway.

 

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And then there’s washing my afro hair that I call Ohemaa. There’s something magical about washing those thick coily tresses; soaking them in water; lathering up with my bottled alata semina shampoo of choice before deep conditioning it with my honey-infused conditioner. Then wrapping it up in a shower cap and towel for 30 minutes, rinsing out, trimming the split ends then threading my hair or braiding it whilst I figure out what next to do with it.

I love wash days……especially when I do it on Saturday when I can wash and get other things done like cook and do laundry and clean my house. (Yes, I’m a feminist who’s a domestic goddess. If this offends you, take matches and start burning the sea)

And in Accra I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to products because, as one of my friends pointed out to me, the natural hair movement is strong here.

A lesson I picked up from washing my hair on Wednesday was this : I am waay more patient with my hair than I am with any other aspect with my life. I tried perm rod curls which ruined my ends and left them weak and so damaged that I didn’t just trim them – I had to chop off at least an inch. In fact, it was a very sad distin. 😦

But its been almost a month since that event and I’m gradually seeing my hair get back to its previous large halo style. I don’t stress myself out when my hair doesn’t grow quickly because I know that it doesn’t grow long, but it does grow thick.

I don’t compare my hair to other textures because Ohemaa and I have come to the understanding that we’re not in competition with anyone for any reason. Natural hair is a marathon not a sprint.

I don’t suffer bouts of hair envy although I am surrounded by women with beautiful afro tresses – my sister Tricia number 1. Her hair reaches middle of her back after a two inch trim. Somehow Ohemaa and I have reached that point were we don’t project our hair insecurities on the people around us.

After a minute of reflection, I realised it won’t kill me to apply some of these principles to my life – don’t envy, be patient, love regardless, focus on what’s important and don’t be that woman who projects her issues onto others and then plays the victim card. (That’s not a cute look)

It’s been 24 hours since I made this decision and to be honest, it’s been tough, but so far, so very very good.

xoxox

 

Random Thoughts

#8. Introducing….Ohemaa

She’s thick, coily and kinky as hell; her name is Ohemaa and that’s the name I’ve secretly given to my afro who – as her nickname says – is the Queen who has zero chill and basically does what the heck she wants when she wants to.

A little bit like the woman who carries her from place to place 😉

 

I remember when I first decided to go natural; my thick permed hair was breaking and the ends were splitting. I cut it twice before I realised it was not going to grow back and decided it was time to go the natural route.

In hindsight I should have extended my research a step further beyond “my hair isn’t growing anymore so I’m going to do what my sister is doing so that my hair will grow to my bra strap”; and actually researched into different hair types, available products and protective styling.

But I didn’t so there was a period of trial and error before I checked in with the sister-in-law-turned-bestie-turned-sister, Vesta Fosu. She soothed my panicky soul with tips and products and told me to follow her blog for more advice. She’s been blogging on natural hair and beauty products for almost five years (www.chocolatencurves.com – check it out when you have a minute; you won’t regret it) and it’s become my online Bible for hair tips.

During our three years together this is what I’ve noticed she likes:

  • She loves getting washed, she loves the rain, she loves the liquid part of LOC…everything about water thrills her. And she retains it like a pro.
  • Shampoo, deep conditioning and hot oil treatment – because who doesn’t like being pampered?
  • A protective style that doesn’t feel like her roots are being ripped out.

On the other hand, she dislikes:

  • Tight braids, especially around the edges (aint nobody got time to be looking like an old woman around here)
  • Cornrows (she will grow out of them in five days and look at you like ‘okay, what’s next?’)
  • People pulling at her (she’s sensitive and needs to be treated as such, but some people are just animals. Yanking away as if she’s a bell. When that happens, she yells at me in pain and I yell at the person causing the pain).
  • Hairdryers (we’ve given up on those; the process hurts and the end result is more weak or damaged ends and neither of us has the time for another round of weak ass ends or split ends)

 

But the thing with Ohemaa , when her coils are either packed away in a braid or tied up in an up do, she is determined to slay the hair game all day every day.

A lot like the woman who carries her around from place to place.

 

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