Category Archives: Natural hair

Managing my hair during my semester abroad

I was in my flat in Nottingham last year listening to my flatmate discuss her dilemma on when to relax her hair in preparation for her semester abroad in Spain. A year earlier, I had been in her shoes planning my semester abroad as I had decided to study at the University of Zurich in Switzerland for five months. I had to think of my accommodation, flight ticket, luggage and my hair. I felt the easiest way to maintain my hair was to put it in braids so I won’t have to spend time styling my natural  hair everyday. My hair was in braids for about eight weeks or so and then I decided it was time to loosen it.

My first time seeing a waterfall- Rhine Falls, Switzerland

Loosening it meant I needed to have a plan for my hair. There was a hair stylist close to my university in Zurich so I stopped at her salon to ask how much it would cost to have my hair done. I don’t remember how much she said it would cost but she told me she charged per hour. This meant that if I was to do my hair in twists, she would charge me based on how many hours, she spent on my hair. This was my first time going to a salon that charged per hour. I thought her prices didn’t fit into my student budget as it was too expensive. I didn’t return to her to style my hair.

The same hair stylist in Zurich sold hair products from brands like Shea Moisture and Cantu so I thought I could buy a deep conditioner and moisturiser from her but yet again, the prices were too high. I went home and thought about what I could do to keep my hair moisturised.  I didn’t have a deep conditioner so I thought I would try one of the DIY deep conditioning recipes I saw on YouTube– a hair mask made with avocado and banana. I made it once and never did again. Making the deep conditioner was a long process to me and it was messy. I wasn’t sure of how effective the masque would be. When I realised I wasn’t going to spend time making a deep conditioning masque, I started using a simple Tresemme conditioner which I liked. I could just squeeze the conditioner, apply it on my hair, leave for 2-3 minutes and rinse off. 
I wonder why I didn’t check out online retailers like Amazon or Antidote Street for haircare products. I think I was scared that my order would get lost in the post and I wasn’t sure of how deliveries were handled at my student accommodation. Thinking about it now, I could have just asked. I guessed I learnt a lesson from this experience, always ask questions when you’re not sure about things. My experience of using a DIY conditioner in Zurich and not liking it, means that I only use branded deep conditioners now.

No more DIY conditioners for me, sticking to this

Is hair important?

Growing up as a girl in Nigeria my mother used to take me to the hair dresser’s at weekends to get my hair plaited. I would tell the hair stylist that I wanted my hair plaited in an all-back style (cornrows plaited to the back) and say I wanted a side or middle parting in the front. At the time I did not know about the natural hair industry. All I knew were the Dark and Lovely relaxers, Soul Mate and Apple hair creams. Little did I know that in my late teen and adult years, there would be a sudden rise of the natural hair industry.

A picture illustration of one of the styles I had when I was little. 

In 2011, I was on the internet searching for options on how to manage my hair and came across pictures of ladies with hair which was not chemically relaxed. I did not know then that it was termed natural hair. As I learnt more about this hair type, I found several bloggers who created hair care and styling tutorials such as Naptural85 and Care For Your Hair. I would spend time watching these tutorials soaking the information on how to care for my hair. Some of the products American hair bloggers mentioned in their videos were not easy for me to access. I would then say to myself, “ladies with natural hair in the United States have it easy” because I thought most of the products were accessible in the States. I am actually not sure if they have it easy.

One of the brands which I felt was popular in the States, Shea Moisture recently started offering their products at Boots in England. I was excited knowing that I can now enjoy Shea Moisture products that our American sisters have been enjoying for years. I had to share my joy about this so I messaged a friend to let her know the good news. Shea Moisture is not new to England as local beauty supply stores in England have been selling Shea Moisture products but they sold them at a high price. I never bought these products from them because I felt they were too expensive. I am not exactly sure if Boots is selling them at a much cheaper price but I love the convenience of working into my local Boots store and finding some Shea Moisture goodness to feed my hair.

You may wonder why I decided to talk about hair. I feel it is important to many women and the level of its importance is evident in the amount of money women spend on hair care products, extensions and accessories. I recently spent about four hours last Sunday washing my hair and sitting in a hair salon as the stylist styled my hair into kinky twists. If it was not important, would I have sat in the salon or bothered to wake up early to wash my hair? Maybe not.