FASHION | BEAUTY |
"Natural hair is who we are. When you go natural you go through a transformation that starts with accepting yourself just the way God made you, you are exactly who you are," says Brenda Kamurasi founder of Uzuri natural hair salon.
"Natural hair comes in different forms including different texture, density, and colours. It is very unique. By going natural, you are discovering a new self, and the new person that you are,"
"Another thing with going natural is that you are avoiding all the chemicals and toxins in hair products that you don't understand. When you relax your hair, you have no idea what's going into your hair but when you go natural you know. You know this is Shea butter and its edible and it's safe. You know you are taking in non-toxic products,"
Kim Kennedy, the work floor and quality control manager at Afro and More salon, says going natural is a decision to embrace your God-given crown. It's about oozing with confidence.
Making an impact
"By going natural we are looking at the next generation and, the children we are raising. I was raised watching my mother do her hair; by going back to natural hair, we are teaching the young generation to accept and love themselves," says Kamurasa.
"I receive 12-13-year-olds who know so much about natural hair and they share new information. It's amazing to impact a whole generation. It starts with hair, then we start loving our skin and body. It's so important for self-esteem when growing up. It inspires me to keep it natural," she adds.
She opines that natural hair is beautiful and that there are beautiful styles for it that in the past we didn't know where possible. Natural hair looks good, is thick and chic.
One can manage natural hair at home using oils and water. Salons are only there to assist and take you through the process. Ultimately, natural hair allows you the power of what's going into your hair.
Natural hair and health
Natural hair is healthy because you haven't altered it in any way. It is in its most natural form.
Natural hair damage comes from many things. Natural hair is damaged when you apply chemicals to it. The relaxers intentionally break down proteins of your hair to straighten it.
Damage can also occur from heat (blow drying, hot combing, using tongs, hair ironing).
When blow-drying you are chipping away at the top layer of every single strand that you stretch through blow drying
It causes damage it might not happen the first, second, or third time but eventually, it will.
Your scalp can also get damaged if you do braids that are too heavy or too tight or both.
Yes, you have natural hair but you have damaged the hair follicles at the root of that hair. If you have relaxed hair there is an additional risk of chemical burns on your scalp, so it is three-fold if you have relaxed the hair.
There is heat damage, there is also mechanical damage from excessive combing. A natural person has no business combing their hair in its dry state it's like you are sharpening a pencil, every time you comb the hair will be damaged.
We were taught we have to comb our hair to make it look good so we go find fine tooth combs sometimes plastic combs with rough edges and comb, who said we are not supposed to comb all the time?
You have to manage your hair with limited combing, reduce the combing. When you make a conscious effort to comb it less, use less heat, reduce the number of braids you will have good natural hair. Braids are beautiful do them, but they don't have to be too small, or the heaviest. Even the process of plaiting, pain is the way in which our body says no, something is not right.
Natural hair in some cases can be unhealthy but it's easier to control and get it back to health. Treatment can bring it back to life.
My mother would roll a thread on her hair every night and remove it in the morning and her hair would be straight and beautiful. This is what we learnt. Here we never blow dry.
Importance of time
We take a bit longer and our braids are not too tight we ensure the hairline is left out a little bit, and the braid is not too tight for the health of the hair, says Kamurasi.
People claim if the braid is tighter it will last longer, but at what cost? What fiber is being used? What amount are you putting in the hair?
When you put so much fiber and you have used a very small patch of hair when you are unbraiding the hair will be jumping out, and if you did blow dry before braiding it will break as you unbraid.
You will say braids broke your hair but it was a combination of all these things; the blow-dry dried your hair strands to nothing and you wrapped them in synthetic braids that also dried out your hair.
Protecting your hair
Healthy hair is doing healthy things. There are some healthy things that you can adopt to protect the ends of your hair, says Kamurasa. She gives the following pointers:
When you are going to bed put your hair in Bantu knots, they are lifesaver. When you go to bed with your hair out its beautiful and romantic but you wake up with your natural hair all tangled like steel wire, un-moisturized and you will say you have poor quality hair.
"I don't believe in poor quality hair, I believe in healthy hair, moisturized hair. I believe good hair is the condition of your hair not texture, not the number of strands you have on your head, or how long it is, it is the condition. Someone will say I have poor quality hair, it doesn't grow yet you have been doing things that are typically unhealthy for your hair," says Kamurasi.
If you are busy making Bantu knots every night, it may not be the ideal thing, but you can do the healthiest thing that your lifestyle allows. The mistake we make is giving up on natural hair and doing relax because of a busy lifestyle but there are options and places you can go to and get help.
People come with over blow-dried hair that is thinning at the end and we encourage them to trim and luckily it becomes healthy and they appreciative at the end when the thickness is regained.
We have taken clients off blow-drying and they get used to the hair the way it is, they don't even crave for a blow-dry.
There are things that you do consistently that make or break your natural hair journey. The one-offs won't kill you. Once in awhile blow-dry. It's only that many people think they cannot survive without blow-dry drying.