Yellow Igbo Girl’s thoughts on natural hair in Nigeria

Re-blogged from Yellow Igbo Girl’s blog

My Afro is going to be one year, in september. And I’m super excited to have reached this point.
And as much as I want the long luscious hair, I also want to enjoy my hair, so I’m not afraid of the dye bottle at all at all.
Anyway,I’ve gradually been planning my move back to Nigeria, permanently. And one of the things I considered, was whether I could survive with my natural hair, in these parts. And I made a few observations:
1. Nigerian Hair Salons are anti-natural hair: The moment you walk into a salon, to make your natural hair, the first thing they’ll ask, is if you’re ‘deeper life’.
Next thing, they’ll go ‘Aunty, this your hair too hard oh. E too plenty oh. You no go relaz your hair’?
I remember when I first went natural, and didn’t know the right products to use, and my hair was sooo hard. My salon experience was a horror story. The hairdresser used all the wrong combs, and pulled and tugged at my hair so hard, I wanted to just die.
They have not mastered the art of taking it easy.
Fast-forward to about 10 months later. I feel like I’m at peace with my hair, and I’ve since discovered the goodness of conditioner.
My salon experiences are now much smoother. In fact, they now admire, my much longer, much softer hair. And we thank God.
But they still make comments like, ‘Aunty, just texturise your hair, so e go long, well well’. :O
As if its not my own hair.
2. Natural Hair products are scarce: This was my initial observation, the last time I came to Nigeria.
And God forbid, I’ll be washing my hair with ‘Petals’ shampoo, no conditioner, and then load it with Mineral oil, in the name of ‘Apple Hair Food’. All these dodgy, drying hair products.
And I’ve forgotten all about the almighty ‘shea butter’, because it just leaves white ‘goop’ all over my hair.
In fact, I was absolutely convinced that, I’ll be back on the creamy crack ASAP.
But recently, I took a tour of Abuja, Shoprite, to be exact. And it appears the natural hair movement, has hit Nigeria with a loud thud.
One particular store, Casabella, is filled with nearly every natural hair product you can think off. From Kinky curly to Beautiful textures to Eco-Styler.
Now I’m comfortable that the future of my natural hair, product wise, is secure in Nigeria.
3. Humidity and the Sun: This is something, nobody prepared me for.
You will leave your house with a well defined twist out, and by the time you come home, it will be a tangled, shrunken mess.
It really messes with your hair and promotes shrinkage. So I think when I move back here, I’ll need to embrace buns and Ecostyler.
Especially since, I really don’t think there’s a way to get around humidity, affecting your hair.
Now the sun, is another matter. It basically zaps out every ounce of moisture, from your hair. As if my hair is not dry enough as it is -___- So you need to pay extra attention, to moisturising.
4. Family, Friends and even Strangers have an opinion about your hair: You know when you’re in school or abroad, and you decide to go natural, its mostly, your own business. People care, but they don’t care that much. But the moment your flight arrives Nigeria, the story must change.
Minding your business, is not a Nigerian trait. Strangers have an opinion about your hair. Pointing at it, and telling you how much ‘neater’ and ‘longer’ it will look, if it were relaxed.
The woman that sells akara, infront of your gate will have an opinion of your hair and so will your gateman. Its sad really.
Then your parents, especially your mum and aunties and friends, develop a new found interest in your hair. There is no new month that passes without someone saying, ‘won’t you at least texturise your hair’ -___- It gets annoying pretty quickly.
Even my dad, that usually doesn’t give a rat’s ass, about what goes on, on my head, has become curious about my hair.
And sometimes, you need the grace of God, to withstand it all.
5. You are alone in the natural hair game: Finally, apart from blogs and magazines, in real life, you hardly see Nigerian women rocking natural hair. Everybody is hiding their own baggage, under weaves and wigs and braids and all sorts of extensions.
So even the so-called ‘naturalistas’, are only ‘natural’, the day they take out their weave, after which they put it back on, a day or two after.
So do not expect, to leave your house, rocking a fly twist out and catch another woman on the street, doing the same. Be ready to be ‘ON YOUR OWN’.
However, who am I to blame these women for keeping their natural hair under wraps. I am guilty of it too. When I’m in Nigeria, I run from weave to braids to weave.
And its all because Nigerians are too opinionated for their own good. And the last thing is I want, is every one telling me, what and what not to do with my hair.
So, If you do have plans of rocking your natural hair in Nigeria, I applaud you. But I also urge to be very very confident, and develop a thick skin, to unsolicited, annoying, comments. And the sky is the limit.
Its your hair anyway.

About nafisah

I'm an architecture student by day and natural hair blogger by night. Join me as I share with you the ups and downs of being an student natural living in Lagos.
This entry was posted in Life Talks, Nigerian Naturals. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Yellow Igbo Girl’s thoughts on natural hair in Nigeria

  1. Samantha says:

    I was in Nigeria for a while and well, the whole salon thing is like totally true, I actually quit going to the salon because of that and started getting my hair done myself or having my mum practice things I couldn't do neatly at the back of my head till she mastered them.

    My mum wanted to get her hair twisted up with extensions (she's curly with type 3c/4a hair) as a transitioning style while she flies down to England with me to help out with me moving out (I moved out of my parents' house). I tagged along and decided to get mini twists done so I can concentrate on getting my stuff ready and settling in without having to bother about my hair. Once we sat on the salon chairs, the first thing we heard was, “ma, your hair is due and your daughter, she still doesn't want to relax her hair?” My mum doesn't have Nigerian hair for crying out loud. This is a European they're talking about! She started relaxing because she despised her curls when she was younger.
    People are like, “if you relax your hair, it'll be longer,” I'm like, “so relaxers make hair grow now, huh?” Someone once told me that relaxers make her hair grow and i was like, “bunkers! garbage! lousy info!” How can something that destroys the protein bonds in your hair make it longer? It makes curls become straight therefore just showing the length you would've seen if you basically just hand-stretched or straightened your hair.
    I hated this bit, it was one of the last comments I got about my hair before leaving Nigeria, I was told that I looked unkempt 'cause of my hair. And this was in a church. God gave me this hair. People despise their natural hair, say it's ugly and what'snot and I'm like, God said we are wonderfully and beautifully made, He made us perfect. We don't have “bad hair,” the hair God gave us is beautiful, we just have to learn to take care of it properly.


  2. raybekah says:

    Lol I haven’t gotten an official insult or comment regarding my hair. Just “why did you cut your hair”.
    I’m ready to “educate” anyone who wants to ask why my hair is natural.


  3. nafisah says:

    Samantha is totally right. I just got some kinky extensions in a salon just last week and with all that nasty looking faces from the stylists that I saw around my hair and all the tugging and pulling; Am like… Am done with these uneducated Nigerian ”hair dressers”. Seriously…I m not going to take any risk any more because they could cause you to lose months and years of hard earned hair growth. About insults, I haven’t gotten anyone per se. In the beginning of my journey I usually got a lot of ”Why did you cut your hair” but now I get a lot of ”Your hair is so full’ – and by full they are talking about hair I got a lot of ”Your has grown o” whenever I wear my hair in puffs.


  4. Nichee says:

    I haven’t been to Nigeria since I was a kid, so I can’t really remember what it was like. It’s gonna be a hella fun when I get there then with my hair in an afro.


  5. bebeokoli says:

    Reblogged this on Bebe Okoli and commented:
    Babe, you captured it all. I couldn’t have said it better with all these details. I plan to rock my natural hair and I don’t care what people’s opinion are, after all they are entitled to it. I natural hair is what GOD Himself gave me (I am fearfully and wonderfully made) and I plan to enjoy this heritage. Thanks for such a detailed post!


  6. bebeokoli says:

    She is so so true. The problem is colonization. Otherwise why would you hate what God has given you. I have come to appreciate this natural hair of mine and I’m done with chemically processed hair!


  7. Dami Oyedele says:

    Hmm this is actually partially true but a bit over generalised as well. I’ve been natural for almost two years and I rock my natural hair more than I do braids and weaves – I had colleagues at my old job who did the same and their hairstyles never ceased to amaze and inspire. Of course every natural gets some pushback in the beginning but even naturals in the US have to deal with ‘disapproval’ from family and friends who are hooked on the creamy crack. Been rocking a Bantu knot out for about a week now and I get more curious questions than anything. I am always happy to educate. There is also a vibrant natural hair community in Nigeria, with blogs and meet ups, giveaways and all that jazz. I was at the ‘Capital Naturals’ event two weeks ago and it was great – went away with tips and tricks and some hair goodies. There is also a Lagos equivalent of the event – Naturals In The City. You can google that. Bloggers to look for are ONaturals, Natural Nigerian, My Deep Brown Kinks and so many more. You will learn that you are not alone! There are even salons that cater ONLY to natural hair! All you need is to just do some research. You’ll be okay!


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