February 19, 2018

Better You: Love Your Curly and Kinky Hair

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By Hellen Nanzia

Ladies endlessly complain about their hair.

‘It’s too short, it has a thousand knots, it doesn’t make me look beautiful/womanly…’

This usually said while looking in a mirror with the damned hair fighting a comb or tangled around their fingers. But as you sit there, fighting the urge to put the sharp edge of a pair of scissors to your locks or cover it up in a hat for the day, take a good look at yourself in that mirror. You’ve probably been here before. When it was braided, when it was fuzzy, when it was wet and threatening to ‘break’, even when your biggest problem was finding the right ribbon to tie it all up.

Don’t look at the negative, love your curls, taunting knots, bad hair days and everything in between because there is beauty in natural hair.

Twitter has been buzzing for a while now with ladies showing off their natural hair using the hashtag #MyUnkemptHair after one @CrazyNairobian posted the tweets as seen below,

“Natural hair. An excuse for ladies to walk around with untidy hair provided there is a flower or ribbon somewhere on it.”
“Granted, some ladies take very good care of the natural look but others are just using it as an excuse to walk around with unkempt hair.”

This was met with quick retaliation from Kenyan ladies expressing their thoughts on the subject and posting pictures of their unkempt hair.

It is about time, women of color embraced their kinky hair. Hollywood actresses like our very own Lupita Nyong’o have paved the way for us, redefining society’s definition of beauty. Others like Emmy Award winning Viola Davis, Solange Knowles and Thandie Newton are also embracing their natural hair showing young girls that beauty is really skin deep.

The place of natural hair has been taken (both literally and figuratively) by weaves and men’s nasty jokes about weaves.  Other than dropping the trail of horrible slapstick, here are a few reasons you need to ditch the weave:-

No More Relaxer Countdowns
You no longer have to try and remember when the last relaxer was or wonder if you’ve scratched too much and have to postpone your relax day for fear of scalp burn. Just wash!

And there is a species on earth called men who will some days ask you what you have done to your hair. “I just had it relaxed…,” you will begin and open the bag of ignorance they call gray matter. Not that men really understand hair.

Or do they?

Embrace New Growth
Stronger, fuller more resilient strands

While there are some women who can successfully grow long relaxed hair, many women find that they have benefited from healthy natural hair. Most women have hair that is already fragile enough as it is, but when you add chemicals to the mix your hair becomes even more delicate and prone to damage. This means that you have to work extra hard to care for and treat your hair when it is chemically treated.

New Style Options
You have more options with natural hair.

Your first thought is an afro, isn’t it? However, there are many more options out there. The bantu knots, buns and many more that will come from your creative mind.

Stick a flower in it, put a bow on it…anything really to add color and character to it. But be careful, too much character in that hairdo will give people something to do behind your back, and they won’t be braiding it.

Self Acceptance & Boost to Self Esteem
You need to feel comfortable in your own skin. If you don’t know one will…Beauty is comfort.

This is especially encouraging to women with young children. When they see mommy embracing their natural hair they think, if my mommy looks beautiful this way, so do I!

It’s good to know that you are beautiful no matter what you decide to wear. Be it a sleek style or coils and kinks. For too long we have been trained to think about what “good hair” is. But hair, like people, is too diverse. People have bad days and bad hair days, and not all bad days are the same like not all hair is the same. So why not wear it different and accept it as beautiful in all its straight, nappy, knotty, tangled and kinkiness?

But take care of it regardless. Advocating for natural hair is not the same as championing unkempt hair. It should look good, not like a vulture planned on living on your head.

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