A few weeks ago on our Instagram series #HairpolitanAsks , we sought to find out your thoughts on the question “Is Natural Haircare too complicated?” One contributor’s responses piqued our interest, and got us curious as to her Hairstory. We managed to ask her a few questions, based on her IG comments, that we will share in this article. Thank you for all who commented and gave their views.
“I started doing my own hair from a very early age, around 6 years with influence from my elder sisters who did their own hair.”
The H: What exactly was your regime at that age and what styles were your favourite to do?
At that age, my regime was pretty simple. My sisters would take turns in washing my hair with a liquid shampoo and then condition it. A leave-in conditioner would be applied to the strands followed by a hair food (that’s what they called them back then LOL). For styling they would do matutas (three strand braid), double strand twists or kamatana (piggy back braiding). My friends and I would always practice how to do the matutas on grass (yes grass). As days went by, I learned how to do my own matutas.
“I actually believe in teaching these hair skills to our girls when young. In a way, it also instills confidence in wearing their hair natural and that nothing is wrong with their kinks or coils.”
The H: What 5 basic skills would you advise a mother/care giver to teach a little girl on taking care of her own hair?
- Leave that hair alone! Really, please try and allow her hair to prosper even if it looks like dengu (mung beans). I have Mum friends who have given up on their daughters’ hair because of perceived stunted growth or scarce hair. I am here to remind you that patience is key and practice makes perfect. Reach out to other Mummies with daughters and share/compare notes.
- There are a number of great brands with baby/child safe products that you can use. I clearly didn’t have those in my childhood but we made do with what we had. The same way you invest in your child’s overall health, is also the same way you should invest in her hair health as well.
- Keep it simple! Don’t go buying each and every product you find. Babies and toddlers do not need a complex hair regime. Come to think of it, neither do adults.
- L.O.C/L.C.O if possible. Children are extremely fussy at a young age. Does anyone know why they hate it when their heads are touched? Enquiring minds would like to know. Anyway, because they are that young, the LOC/LCO method is very good for them because you won’t have to handle their hair every time. Style with matutas, twists or cornrows and just moisturise when you need to, while hair is still in protective style.
- As the mummy, you must learn how to take care of your child’s hair. You don’t need to be perfect but that girl seeing you giving her that attention will just make you her (s)hero and will teach her how to manage her own hair.
“I permed my hair when I was 14 out of pressure because I saw my friends with straight hair.”
The H: What exactly did you feel you were missing out on enough to make you take the creamy crack plunge?
In primary school, I was the complete book worm and brightest pupil in my class. My friends were the popular cool kids. At some point, I just felt that I needed to fit in with them and the only thing that stood out for me was that they all had permed hair. I wish I listened to my Mum and just stayed a natural. We live and learn, no?
” I’ve really experimented with my hair, cut it several times but started growing it out 3 years ago and I love it!”
The H: What’s your hair length now and what are your hair goals going forward?
My hair is currently 7 inches long and I’m chasing health over length. I do love experimenting with my hair a lot but this time I’m just taking it easy and nurturing it instead. I’ve put color and scissors aside for now. I only trim the split ends and put the scissors away after that.
“Some hair trends will finish some of us!”
The H: What hair trend have you tried and laugh at yourself looking back?
I can think of two trends LOL. I wish I had the photos to speak for themselves. One was popcorn. I think that’s how Craig David used to style his hair back then. I don’t even know why I tried that hair style. The other one is the track and sew. Let’s just say that the “sewing” part was done using glue that wasn’t hair friendly. I really cried when I was removing the tracks of hair extensions. That was actually my turning point into going back to my natural roots.
“I spread love for natural hair to every one who struggles. It’s not easy being a natural but I love it! I love when a natural says they are still soldering on.”
The H: What challenges do most people articulate and what are your immediate suggestions to them to help solve them?
- One challenge that usually stands out the most is that most naturals know what LOC/LCO is but do not know the benefits per se. Even seasoned naturals who use the technique might still need a detailed explanation. Personally, I believe that moisturized hair is happy hair.
- Another challenge I see, is when one is a natural with coloured hair. I’m not too keen on color as a discussion, because my hair behaves very well with color. However, I have noted that a majority’s hair gets damaged with color. I would advise that you liaise with The Hairdresser 254 who is a professional when it comes to wearing & caring for your coloured natural hair.
- Lastly, YouTube tutorials give many of us mad envy. You’ll see vLoggers rocking some bomb styles and you want the exact same thing. As much as products play a big role in how your curls come out, your curl pattern trumps it. Whatever that curl pattern may be, your hair is still beautiful!
“I look forward to owning a salon soon.”
The H: What would your business ethos be and how different would it be from any salon we have right now?
The concept of owning a salon is something that my husband suggested and we’re still giving it a thought. I/We haven’t started doing proper research yet but the information I have gathered so far is very little. I still need to do some more ground work to have a definite answer. That said, I know that I would love to own a salon that only takes care of natural hair from babies to adults. There will be other services like nail care, facial care but the main focus will be natural hair.
As a self-trained natural hair stylist, I do not use direct heat before styling. I find it to be so unnecessary and frequent use of direct heat is damaging to the hair. I use direct heat on my hair once a year and even that is a big deal because I cringe inside. Clearly, this will be a huge ethos for the salon as I continue to work on the concept.
“So why open a salon… why not a natural hair school?” ~ Hairpolitan on IG
The H: What went through your mind when we posed this challenge? Do you think it’s doable? What would it take to have a combined Natural Hair School and Salon?
That question really piqued my interest and opened up a whole new look into the salon concept. It’s quite clear that having the two together is very possible. Challenging but very possible. The pros and cons need to be weighed though before getting into the proverbial unchartered waters. Operating a salon alone is hard work as it is. For now, I just want to focus on nurturing Luguah Naturals because that’s my full-time job. Once I feel that that baby has outgrown most of Mummy’s attention; I will be free to chase other things.
“I don’t get why some salons charge so much (more than relaxed hair) for natural hair treatments.”
The H: Has your research into opening a salon indicated that it’s possible to charge affordably for natural haircare?
Even with the little information that I have, I have seen that it is possible to have affordable rates for natural haircare in Kenya. I totally understand that some services are more tasking because of hours put in the work. However, some for some things like a simple hair treatment/steaming should just be as affordable. It’s sad that in some salons, they charge more for this if your hair is natural.
“Personally, it’s not too complicated for me.”
The H: What would you tell someone who still thinks natural hair care is complicated?
Darling, there is nothing complicated about natural haircare. Keep it simple! Know what works for you and stick to it and switch it up when you need to. Also, remember that you cannot copy-paste another Naturalista’s regime unless you have tried and tested it; and found it works for you.
I’ll give you an example using my own hair regimen:
- Cleansing: I use shampoos that sulphate-free and those with sulphates. The reason I use the two shampoos because my hair and scalp need both.
- Conditioning: I condition with every wash and deep condition twice in a month. Finally, I use a protein treatment at least once a month.
- Moisturising: I’d like to think of imparting moisture the same way we water plants. Watering prevents the plant from withering and dying. I use the same mixture in the spray bottle as my L(iquid) in the LOC method. You can also just use water. Keep it simple! My spritz bottle has:
- Almond oil,
- Rosemary oil,
- Tea tree oil and
- Avocado oil
- Techniques: I am a finger detangler and use a wide toothed comb for less tension. I’m a huge believer of L(iquid), O(il) & C(reme) method because it allows my hair to retain moisture for days.
Thank you Lulu for sharing your hairstory. We do agree that Natural haircare doesn’t have to be complicated; and we’re glad you’ve shared it so simply.
In the featured image, Lulu is a model for Breast cancer awareness. Image by Leon Photography.
Lulu is a 31 year young writer cum entrepreneur. She's a lover of life and dances to her own tune. She currently manages her own business, Luguah Naturals. When she has time she blogs about food on "What's Lulu Cooking".