As Nature Intended

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I have natural hair and so does my daughter, Miss O. Every weekend she gets a wash, condition, a scalp massage and then goes off to the salon to weave her hair. Although she is just 4 years old, the stylist and almost every adult that I meet at the salon ‘advices’ me to relax her hair so that it is more manageable. They usually cannot understand why their advice is met with an adamant no. Depending on my mood, I may leave it at that, but I generally try to explain why I want to keep my daughter’s hair natural. They usually think that I am full of high faluting ideals.

I can’t say that I blame them. The majority of Nigerian females have been conditioned to think that natural hair is too much trouble and that relaxing it will make it more manageable for the mothers, stylists and for the kids. There is also the line of thinking that kinky hair is not beautiful.

I beg to differ. The reasons I beg to differ will be discussed properly in several more posts. I will however say that there are an abundance of products out there and in your kitchen that would soften a child’s hair without the need to straighten it chemically.

I was standing in front of my house the other day when I saw a young girl (about 8 years old) walking towards me in her school uniform with what appeared to be a black mop on her head (Forgive me, I am nearsighted. No be me do). It turned out that she had a dark colored weave that fell to her shoulders. It was worn down and did not at all flatter her. She had “grown up” hair, a child’s face and body. It was so incongruous I had to look away.

Just like this is.

The way I look at it, children should be allowed to be children. They should also look like children. The Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) that is used in the production of relaxers is dangerous to adults and even more so to children. It is particularly bad when a cheap, harsher relaxer is used. A lot of children come away from the relaxing process with pus-filled scabs on their heads and even ears. They have to learn the hard way to sit as still as rocks when relaxers are being applied. As parents we keep drugs away from our children, childproof stairs and rooms, put monitors in their rooms so that we can respond to their every cry. It stands to reason that we would protect them from the harsh chemicals in relaxers.

It is slightly ironic that some white parents who adopt black children jump through hoops to understand how to style and maintain their children’s hair in its natural state while black parents fix the “problem” with a perm or the so called blow-out which involves leaving the relaxer on for less time.

A good example of such a white parent is this Professsor below who makes his adopted Ethiopian daughter’s hair himself. You can read more about the story and view more pictureshere. He and his wife went out of their way to understand their daughter’s hair and learn how to style it. Motivating, isn’t it?

Comments to As Nature Intended

  • This is so true, we need to take more care

    Onome June 13, 2015 6:28 pm Reply
  • I ve always desired 2 ve my natural hair on but its too coerce so I retorched and that I ve been doing! Will appreciate tips on how to easily manage one’s natural hair as I am hoping to groom my hair afresh and what products to stick to! Tnks

    thomie June 13, 2015 6:29 pm Reply
  • I agree with the excessive overdoing of children’s hair in the Nigerian environment. I know i got a perm @ 8, and even as i am older, i restrict my perms to a maximum of 4 times a yr.

    pynk June 13, 2015 6:33 pm Reply
  • Nice One! I’m encouraged as I’m on transition to rocking my natural hair

    Biodun June 13, 2015 6:34 pm Reply
  • aww…..d pic where he was throwing her up is priceless

    Love June 13, 2015 6:35 pm Reply
  • Great post! I’ve been natural since 2009 and have also gotten my fair share of grief about it. It used to be really short aka low-cut but now i’m growing it out. It’s challenging trying to understand what works well for my hair but I’m more happy with the health of my hair now than ever before. I’ll never put chemical in it again.

    Ifeoma June 13, 2015 6:38 pm Reply
  • I stopped relaxing my hair June 2011 and I think it has to be one of the best decisions i’ve made. not only has my front hair grown back but the texture and volume of my hair has improved as well. I transitioned to natural hair for six months then cut my hair. I have shortish hair or what the black Americans call a teeny weeny afro. Natural hair is quite easy to maintain, you have to do the research and educate yourself. I mostly have my hair in a wash and go style or braids or a weave to protect the hair. I dont think I will ever put any relaxer in my hair agian and I will not relax my daughter’s hair either.

    ntete June 13, 2015 6:41 pm Reply
  • My daughter is 3yrs old n her hair is very very long and fulll, i have not applied relaxer yet but i need advice on how to make it very soft , so it is managable, cos right now it is not easy to deal with it, n she is very touchy about her hair (i mean it is soo full that it is difficult for comb to enter and it also tangles).

    mariam June 13, 2015 6:43 pm Reply

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