In this weeks HNB Meets: natural beauty Ekene shares her hair story with us.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the life of your hair before going natural
Hey Natural Beauties! Ekene here🙂 I’m a Nigerian girl. I’ve only been a lawyer for a few months so it still feels weird to say it, but that’s my day job.
My relaxed hair was pretty healthy. It was dense, I had edges lol and I had no split ends. It was about shoulder length though. I didn’t know, I didn’t expect it could grow any longer.
How long have you been natural? Did you big chop/transition?
I got my last relaxer on September 30, 2011. I transitioned for 8 months and big chopped May 31, 2012. However, after an unfortunate hair incident, I re-chopped in October 2012.
What were your initial thoughts/feelings after going completely natural and how do they differtoday?
“FREE”. Honestly, even though I wasn’t madly in love with my kinks after my BC, that was how I felt. Free. Liberated. And it isn’t any different today. There are things I can’t or refuse to do with my natural hair that I did while relaxed (I miss straight centre-part weaves) but natural hair definitely gives me more freedom to choose and switch things up. Hair styling aside, my kinks on their own? They still give me the same feeling- freedom.
Were your family/friends supportive of your decision to go natural?
My mom wasn’t. I actually cried the day before my BC because of something discouraging she said. My sister was, and so were my friends. Dad and everyone else were on the fence. They didn’t care. Mom accepts my hair now though🙂
Did you have any regrets?
It wasn’t easy, but one thing I’ve never felt on this journey, is regret.
What would you say is the best/worst thing about having natural hair?
The best thing about having natural hair for me is the versatility of my texture. I’m always amazed when I do something new or when I see others doing wonders with their hair. The thing I like the least about natural hair is frizz. I’m beginning to style my hair more, and in this humidity, frizz is something! I’m learning how to make my styles last longer or should I say, learning to ignore the frizz and the urge to change my hair when it starts to frizz!
Give us a little insight into your hair regimen.
My hair regimen is pretty simple. I moisturize 2-3 times a week. When I have a style in, that’s me spritzing my hair with water 3 times. When my hair is out, I co-wash wash 2-3x a week, and moisturize after each wash. I make sure to deep condition every week.
Washday is like Spa day for me. That’s when I do the most. Washday comes every 4 weeks. I like to shampoo on Washday, and try new things, treatments I ordinarily wouldn’t have the time to do.
What’s your current go-to hairstyle?
I honestly don’t have a go-to hairstyle. I used to have one though- the fro. I love my kinky halo! But all that combing cost me a lot of length last year, so I’m off that.
Have you encountered problems at work/school due to being natural?
No problems at all.
Were there any bloggers that were influential in your decision to go natural?
Curly Nikki, and the bloggers & style icons on Black Girl Long Hair. Vloggers: CurlyChronicles and FusionOfCultures. I really liked this old blog- MopTopMaven, and more than anything, I was able to relate with a senior of mine from secondary school- Bellajoya of Roots Don’t Lie.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would give to anyone thinking of going natural?
Do it! But make sure you’re going back to YOUR natural. I know, the media and natural hair IG pages bombard us with very full, luscious, usually very curly heads of hair, which are legit and beautiful, but going natural means you’re going back to YOUR natural. YOUR hair may be dense, it may not. It may be really kinky or really curly. You may not grow 3 inches in a month. It’s easier when you just accept your hair as it is.
What is the natural hair scene like where you live?
The natural hair scene here in Nigeria is growing. More people are learning the truth behind the negative myths about African hair. There are natural hair events, and finding products isn’t the hardest thing in the world- most of our Natural hair stores are online- websites, blog shops, email & phone orders. Natural hair salons are also popping up. The only thing is that Lagos has the most and after it, Abuja (the two biggest cities) but with time, I believe every state will catch the bug.
Tell us how you protect your hair from damage
I don’t heat style. I’m not against it, I just don’t feel my hair is long enough. So this keeps me free from heat damage. These days I limit myself to mostly finger-detangling and I always, always sleep with my satin bonnet.
What natural methods do you use as part of your hair and beauty needs and what are the benefits e.g. clay wash, oil rinse, scalp massage, steaming, etc
I love mudwashing! It’s my go-to when I’m feeling lazy on Washday. It’s shampooing + deep conditioning + detangling all in one. My hair is always very clean, well conditioned, and such a breeze to run through. My coils love it so much, they pop!
I blog about hair at The Kink and I http://www.thekinkandi.wordpress.com
I tweet too: @kene_co