We don’t become natural because we were born natural. Our natural hair journey is about returning to being natural.
What’s your returning natural hair story? Why did you do it? Did you big chop or did you transition? How did returning natural work out for you? Why haven’t you done it? What are you afraid of? What’s holding you back?
We posed a similar question last year on the 12th of December. While Kenya celebrated its 53rd year of independence we celebrated the freedom to wear our hair as we please. Here are some of the responses we got:
I’ve returned natural so many times! I am in a location where women ‘beauty’ standards are set so very high and hair in its natural curly state is still seen as ‘shady’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘unkempt’ among other things. If you don’t have straight hair (natural or relaxed) well something’s just not right with you.
So I’ve had mixed reactions from all out stares/side eyes when my ‘fro is out, to suggestions of good salons that can braid my hair so it can be neat (with questions such as what does your husband say when your hair like that?), to being asked how they can get their hair curly as they touch it. All in all I’m happy with the freedom to wear it straight, curly, messy, braided, and however it wants to be freedom to be myself.
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Fawziya A. Hashil is a Psycho-Educator, Owner and founder of Purple Interactive.
January 31st 2014 is my Nappyversary. I returned natural because I was so tired of the drier, the flat iron, the chemicals and my hair growth was stagnating. I also wanted something new.
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Karimi Kagwe is a writer for her own blog Karimi Kagwe and Hairpolitan Magazine.
I went natural because I decided to finally embrace the AFRICA in me, to embrace the fact that my African curls, kinks; coils & melanin are and will forever be part of my DNA. I went natural after I realised that I was sort of brainwashed by mainstream media, where they always show the straight, silky hair & light skin as the proper standards of beauty. I went natural because I’m not a conformist, because I woke up, and I’ve chosen to remain conscious.
I’m glad it happened. I would really rather go bald than relax my hair again. I believe that this is a journey of self-awareness and everyone’s journey is different unique. As for me it has been a journey of self-love, consciousness and self-discovery. I hold so much pride in not only my hair, but my melanin too.
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Anne Kaale, is the owner and founder of Natural Hair Kenya
I returned natural because I was sick of my hair being thinned out by relaxers. It was more of a ‘let’s see how this goes’ experiment – and I’m glad I stayed natural. My hair has never been healthier!
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Carol Oyola is a Communications Officer by profession and the writer of Kenyan Mama Tales
I went natural on October 2013. I met a cousin in a supermarket and she pointed out that my hair wasn’t healthy. My edges were breaking and thinning out, my hairline almost gone. She asked me to check out Naptural85 and I’ve not looked back since then. It’s been quite a journey, and I love it.
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Marie Saru is a Manager at a Childcare Center in Nairobi, Kenya. They prepare children for school and life success.
I first chopped in Feb of 2009 just before my birthday because I had seen my cousin’s natural hair. It was so full and healthy. Then I slid back because of the bob craze in 2010 for a week and chopped off again because I couldn’t deal with the flat hair and salon visits every week, which were damn expensive. So I just used to braid and colour my hair like crazy.
February 2013 is when I started learning about how to take care of natural hair, this was from the natural hair group, Tricia’s Naturals and I thank the likes of Nina Odongo who were so helpful. I have never looked back; I embrace my kink like I am being paid. However, styling has become a big problem so I will stick to protective styles.
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Nyasuba Lando Lando is a hotelier by profession and one of the Admins of Nurtured Knotts
I’ve had natural hair since April 2014 when I cut my hair as I also went through a season of emotional pain; it was my way to express starting over and finding myself in a new way.
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Joyce Mbaya-Ikiao is the founder and Author of GIBÉBÉ, a Trainer and Management Consultant
My first big chop was in 2009 because I was tired of the limp, thinned out and non-versatile hair. Clueless on how to take care of it, at that time I didn’t know there was YouTube natural hair care tutorials, I texturised my hair thinking it a lesser evil compared to a perm. Two years down the line I was back to where I started with yet again limp and thinning hair.
My 2nd big chop, and after transitioning, was in April 2012. I have never looked back since then. I am in love with the diversity that comes with wearing my hair natural. I think it enhances my beauty as an African queen. Also permed hair had us looking all the same when we walked down the street but with different natural hair textures and hairstyles. Now we all have unique and fun looks!!
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Carol Tichie is the owner of Apparel and Accessories Ke, a brand that specifically caters to Naturalistas with their first product ‘Nappy Happy’ Hair bonnet
I went natural because I was tired of it all, thin hair, harmful chemicals in hair products and skin care products. I went natural all the way hair & skin and I’ve never looked back.
I made my decision at a time there wasn’t much info on natural hair and 4C hair was lacking desperately in presentation on YouTube. So I depended a lot on online research and it paid off big time. It enabled me to educate others, cure my acute adult acne and started my own skin care line.
I have the freedom to whip up anything for hair and skin right in my kitchen, wear my hair however and best of all, the entire journey allowed me to create my own beauty standards and rules to live by. Best thing I ever did for myself. I’ve never been prouder to have melanin!
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I went natural because I hated the burns I always got during a retouch. They’d leave my hair stuck to my scalp for days, as the sores healed. I had always loved ‘fros and so I was sold! The rest is history!
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Hafswah Hussein is a flight attendant with Kenya Airways (KQ)
Why did I go natural? Cause I wanted a big ass ‘fro!
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Wangeci Wandere is a business woman and food connoisseur. She is the founder and MD of African Kaya ltd a food production company that makes gourmet homemade goodies. She is also the brains behind Kenya’s first food festival the Kula Kula Festival.
As you can see these women are as diverse as they come. They are each awesome in their own way and are making great strides and effecting change in their spaces. It’s clear to see that there isn’t one stereotype of a Naturalista. You just have to be clear about what you want to achieve at the end of the day. By no means is being Natural simple, it’s got its ups and downs but we always come out on the other end slaying!