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Arit Okpo: A Letter To My Sisters of The Natural Hair Persuasion

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I thought long and hard about writing this letter dear Sisters, because I was sure (am sure) that at least one person will hopelessly misunderstand my comments and turn this into the very thing I am trying to avoid.

Sometime in October, as I prepped for my weekly trip to the salon, I decided to cut my hair. Yup, I would cut it, do a BC and start from scratch. In 4 years, I would have a healthy, fabulous fro as well as a new look. Pleased with my decision, I called my mother. Her answer was simple “Go ahead and cut it dear; just don’t come home till it’s the length it was when you left” My sister announced that her blood pressure was spiking and my younger brother who never calls me, called to ask why I wanted to spoil the family name. Upset with their reactions, I decided to hold on till the 31st of December and if I felt the same way, I would cut it.

Some weeks later, a guest came to our office; it was one of those days when I had let my hair out to play. As he came up to my desk, he went “is this your hair?” and before I could ask “why do you want to know?” He proceeded to put his hands inside my hair and play with it. In the middle of this surreal experience, all I could think was “I’m so glad I didn’t cut it”

Sisters, my hair is full, long, very very healthy…and relaxed. There is no day I wear it out that I don’t get comments on how healthy it is. But I had stopped seeing it, because somewhere in my head, I had started to gain the notion that my hair could not be healthy if it wasn’t natural. I had stopped seeing its length or health and was totally consumed by my edges, my tips, how many strands were falling out and whether I shouldn’t just go natural…I had stopped enjoying my hair.

I’m becoming a little worried Sisters about how natural versus relaxed hair has moved from a statement of personal taste to an indication of one’s “Africanness”/health/self esteem. I’m beginning to feel personally attacked by what seem like veiled hints (and not so veiled in some cases) that relaxed sisters are careless about their health and are all slowly poisoning themselves with relaxers.

In the last year, I have gone on a healthy hair journey and it’s because of you dear Sisters; your attention to protective styling and hair type and oils and deep conditioners. I stopped thinking my hair growth was best left to itself and realised I could do so much more for my hair. It was a shock to realise that I could buy my hair care products and wash my hair at home all the times I had neither money nor time to go to the salon. I enjoyed seeing what effect black soap/apple cider vinegar/a tea rinse would have on my hair. I enjoyed discovering what the different oils did for my hair and what deep conditioning I needed for different effects. On a trip to the salon once, as the stylist watched me bring out an avocado, some honey, some olive oil and hair mayonnaise from my bag; he laughed and said that my hair probably ate better than most people did. I realised that when I air dry my hair, it explodes into this puffy cloud that is “50% of me” as a friend put it. When I roll it; it is this glossy silky mass on my head. Sisters, all this is because of the fact that you’ve turned our attention to our hair.

And I learn every day, just the other day, contemplating a weird line where my hair was much shorter than the hair an inch above and below it, I suddenly realised that my silk hair wrap crisscrossed at that point and was rubbing my hair off…I’m still learning; there is still more to learn.

I was having a conversation with a locked sister and our conversation came to hair. I was taken aback when her next statement was along the lines of “But you’re poisoning yourself with those relaxers in your hair; I couldn’t expose myself to that”. I was taken aback because I don’t know when it became ok for us to criticise other people’s choices in the way we now do with the hair issue. Sisters, I am learning to eat healthy – there is almost no processed food in my diet, my lotions and cosmetics are as natural and as skin and environmentally friendly as I can make them, I work out and supplement my diet with multivitamins, but because I relax my hair I am suddenly heading towards a body overrun with toxins? Haba mana, give me a break!

It seems to me like this hair issue is heading to the same lines of lepa versus orobo, darkskin versus lightskin; in other words, one more dividing line for women everywhere; one more avenue for women to beat each other down. And it’s working. I have met many natural sisters who are struggling with their choice to go natural, but who will not relax their hair because it looks like selling out. They twist out and wrap and protective style with grim determination…and no pleasure. Where is this pressure coming from? Where does the vitriol in the comment sections of hair articles and the back and forth debate stem from? Why can’t we just accept that some sisters like the texture and volume of natural hair and some others like the silkiness and sleekness of relaxed hair? Why can’t we respect other people’s choices, even if they are not the choices we would make?

Yes Sisters, I agree that African women are having an image crisis – with our 6 bundles of Peruvian, our “mixed cream” skin and our coloured contacts; it is obvious that no more than now do we need a re-identification with our heritage. I agree…but perhaps we have crossed the line from establishing our identity to marking yet another line of division.

Personally, I put a relaxer in my hair because I like to run my fingers through my hair and feel silk. I love the fact that I can make a ponytail in 20 seconds and go, I like the bounce and feel of my hair after a DC and wash and set…these are my choices sisters.

I celebrate your choice to want something else for your hair; I think that your afro looks beautiful and bouncy and shows off your beautiful features. I love the creative styling, the twist outs, the TWAs. They are beautiful, and you are beautiful. I do not want your hair though; I’m quite happy with mine…just the way it is…and that does not mean I love my hair…or myself, any less than you do.

Photo Credit: examiner.com

194 Comments

  1. anonymous

    January 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

    LOL

  2. Eve82

    January 7, 2014 at 11:24 am

    My name is Eve82, and I approve this message!

    • Autoprincess

      January 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      I am AutoPrincess and I cosign this approval. lol

    • Nanciejul

      January 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      I so approve this write up. i love my relaxed hair and i’m proud of it.

    • Karonwi

      January 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Cosign!!!!!

    • hifashiononline.com

      January 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm

      i cosign this message too, am doing the big chop next year and really looking foward to it, and no its not cos i want to look natural but because i love healthy hair n my hair is far from healthy, my hairline has receeded and am sick of it. so you go girl!

    • Blessmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      I so cosign this babe! I love my relaxed hair and I have no plans to go back to natural any time soon. I’ve been there and this was when the naturalist movement wasn’t the fad. I love my hair and care for it.

  3. silvia

    January 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Well said Arit. I, like you have full, long, RELAXED hair. Everytime I leave my hair out people ask if its really my hair or weave-on. I’m proud of my hair! And yes I rock my 9 bundles of 18-inch Argentine/Peruvian/Russian hair whenever I ‘m in the mood for a different look. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!

    This whole “going natural” movement gets really annoying when its forced down people’s throats. We are all beautiful with whatever kind of hair we choose! Relaxed, Natural, Bald, whatever!

    • http://africansweetheart.blogspot.co.uk/

      January 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you. Same here. having healthy natural hair doesn’t mesn you wont want to wear a longer weave from time to time. The so called sister movement can stop!

      africansweetheart.blogspot.co.uk

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      The problem with Nigerians is that, the thing we condemn in others we condemn in ourselves. You are talking about the natural nazis this and natural nazis that. Do you know that the population of women who are natural is small in comparison to relaxed and weave wearing women in Nigeria? Do you know the magnitude of negative comments naturals get from their mothers to their unborn child about the “ugliness” of natural hair? Spare me that crap about the imposition of natural hair people abeg.

      They wont come after you, if you do not come looking for them. I was in Nigeria, my hair is mid-back length and natural. It is always in a bun. While I do not force anyone to go Natural, why the hell do I get unsolicited advice about RELAXING my hair from relaxed women because my hair (God-given) is “rough” “ugly” etc

      At least naturals are advising you on the dangers of relaxers. AND THERE ARE DANGERS. DO NOT IGNORE IT. But do what you want all the same. Anything that alters your hair, skin, contains CHEMICALS that are not favorable to your health. But you RELAXER HITLERS always ALWAYS always condemn naturals about their hair.

      Be relaxed ABEG. But when you come checking for me, telling me about how my hair is ugly, rough, unkempt, village looking, I WILL TELL YOU ALL THE DANGERS ABOUT RELAXERS. INCLUDING THE POSSIBILITY OF ALZHEIMER.

    • Nina

      January 7, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you very much. It isn’t easy being natural. I’m not gonna lie. But I know why I remain natural and will continue to, at least for the next seven years. My mother started losing her hair in her late 40s and now almost 70, she has almost nothing but a patch left….In 2yrs I have regained the same length of relaxed hair I grew in 6 years. No joke – maybe even longer length. I have that same hair but this time with more volume, more bounce and my edges…don’t even let me get started on that.

      Nobody is forcing going natural don anybody’s throats. People who do, are suffering from serious over-identity crisis. The choice to go natural is indeed a “choice.” You must have a reason, a plan and a goal. I set mine in my first two years for my next 7yrs. I don’t regret it one bit.

      And for those scared of the Big Chop and then transitioning and having to do the BC. Your hair will grow. Hair is hair it will always grow as long as you learn how to treat it well. Also, for some of my relaxed sisters who think their hair is long. Haha! Go natural, then you will truly see length.

    • Bling

      January 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Relaxers have been linked to Fibroids…LOL. I just heard someone say that on tv. I’m still googling for facts.

    • Energybill

      January 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Won tun gbe tuntun de o! First it was cancer, now alzhemer’s. Pls stop makng unsubstantiated claims and if you must, direct us to the research maybe we can learn from there. And while you are at it, quit shouting. It wouldn’t make your claims valid.

      @ Nina was relaxer the sole cause of your mum’s baldness? My mum is in her 70s and she relaxed her hair well into her 60s till she decided to be on a low cut. She still has a full head of hair and she has to go to the barbers often else she will be sporting a mass of silver afro. The only time she avoids the barbers is in winter. One of her friend’s once remarked how she dare not go to the barbers as often as my mum because the hair she cut 6 months ago is just growing back. So find out the true cause of your mum going bald or you probably know and are not saying just to butress your natural arguement.

      My hair is relaxed but it is also natural because it grows directly out from scalp. #tongueout

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      @Energybill….when people write in CAPITAL LETTERS…It is not only SHOUTING…it is to place EMPHASIS. You can do the research YOURSELF. I have done the research FOR MY WELL-BEING. I do not want to refer you to the research only to be called a NATURAL NAZI..

    • Energybill

      January 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      What are you emphasizing gan naa o jare? You spout some health nonsense, you got asked to prove your claim then you start yarning patra. Is that how you got sold? the emotional blackmail image issues inferiority complex tryna look like oyinbo did not work so they pulled out the health scare tactic and now you want to use the same on others. Abeg go and sit down jare.

    • Damie

      January 9, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Now this, I can cosign!

    • Ugochi

      May 24, 2014 at 11:25 am

      Don’t be so hateful! Tufiakwa! If ure hair is natural and mid back length I thank God for you. All the naturalistas I know currently took the decision to go natural because they had issues with their relaxed hair( growth, shedding e.t.c) not because they realised that putting ” chemicals ” in their hair is ” disastrous ” ad ure making it sound. You mean to tell me if they had long healthy relaxed hair they would think if going natural? Lmao! I’m relaxed.. but I’ve always had healthy hair ( Tnks to genes) but my hair never grew past shoulder length until I started taking care if it recently! Natural or relaxed… both textures grow and can be healthy! Google is your friend! I hv met a lady with natural hair for 7yrs who dznt ivn hv up to neck length hair!! To mk matters worse, she had receding hairlines too! This is to debunk the myth that ” natural hair only is healthy “… i too Blvd the myth until I saw for myself that day, it was at savvychichairbeautyhub in ikoyi. so natural or relaxed… if u don’t tk care of your hair it won’t be healthy… and you can only achieve length with a healthy hair! if ure talking about ” chemicals ” what about dyes? More than 80% of the naturalistas on instagram hv all altered their original hair colour so what are u saying! Make up nko? No be chemical? Oya stop applying mk up bcs it ” alters” your God given features as opposed to the ” enhance your God given features” phrase used in the mk up world! Knowledge is power! Before you criticise another ‘s decision or action abeg visit Google and do some research! Natural or relaxed it is your choice! And you can achieve your hair goals both ways! #nuffsaid

  4. Ebun

    January 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

    LOL!

    itsebunite.wordpress.com

  5. ilaugh

    January 7, 2014 at 11:41 am

    You couldn’t have said it any better Arit.

  6. Don'tcare

    January 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I have to agree with the writer, I transitioned to #teamnatural ‘cos I gotten tired of spending money on weaves and I also wanted my hair to breathe. But everyone must not feel the same way I do, so I try not to judge.

  7. tee

    January 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Whatever gets you through the day, that’s YOUR WAY……Thumbs up for this. My hair us relaxed but I love dreads and twists and also my Brazilian etc weaves

  8. Sim

    January 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

    And BN went thereeeeeeeee!!! hmmn… this should be interesting

    Thank you Arit. Thank you!
    I think every woman should make her own choices and nobody has a right to decide what we should or shouldn’t do.
    I am locked, decided to go that way 2 years ago and I absolutely LURVVVVV my hair. When people come to me and ask for advice about locking their hair , I tell them the facts, and I leave them to make their decision. I NEVER pressure or recommend that they lock or go natural, it is a 100% personal decision. And this Natural hair brigade thing is getting tiring.
    I have intentionally never been to a Natural hair meet-up because of this, I can get all the info and help I need from Youtube, thank you. It’s almost like a flipping religion (I don’t want to say “cult”) but seriously, we all need to chill, it’s just hair (yes I said it, JUST HAIR).
    Relaxed, Natural, Locked, come on guys, as long as you’re happy with yours. Just chill!

    • Funmi Oy

      January 7, 2014 at 11:57 am

      I may never understand those: Team Natural Hair Meet ups, Nigerian Returnees Meet ups, Team Incense Burning Meet ups, etc. But I don’t understand because I don’t know. I would like to be properly taught the purpose of these things.

    • jaguarnana

      January 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      haha @”team incense burning” you really cracked me up. natural hair meet ups is an avenue for all social butterflies to meet up with each other & admire/oogle each others hair. It’s also a good place to buy hair care products & get contacts of these retailers. please note like in all other spheres of life there are always people looking to wax you of the little penny you have so be wise & listen to your own hair not what some stranger comes to tell you.

    • Newbie

      January 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Co-signed! It is just hair!!! But oh no, some people could fight you on that…

  9. Funmi Oy

    January 7, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Here’s the thing:

    You know the definition of “good hair”? It is healthy hair. That’s the short and sweet definition of good hair. Natural hair has several advantages over altered hair (let’s call it that because the opposite of natural is artificial and that’s not a true term for many in-betweens, such as dyed hair, textured hair, etc.) In the same light, relaxed hair and other variations of hair attachments, alterations and enhancements, have advantages over natural hair. Team Natural folk have become somewhat like a ridiculous cult and it is almost like a fad that I can’t wait to pass by. Hair is indeed political, and I do not deny the subtle power dynamics that occur with hair. But a lot of it is also freedom of expression and team natural folk need to calm down, take a deep breath, and stop being so pissed that the world didn’t all join the bandwagon.

    P.S: I wear my hair the way it grows out of its roots (also known as natural). I’m currently on an almost gorimakpa length of low cut. I’ve had my hair as huge as a disco ball, I’ve had it in braids, thread, weaves, under wigs, and even relaxed when I was much younger. I have always preferred natural hair since I tried almost everything. Yet, I’ll shop for weaves for my sister, braid my mum’s hair and be the first to say that your hair looks good, if it looks good.

    #TeamNatural is now equivalent to #TeamWeHateWeaves.And yet, you think it is “freedom of expression” to dye your natural hair red, atattach loc-like extensions, etc? That’s funny. Like my CRK teacher in secondary school who condemned hair extensions but came to school every week in telephone-wire pony tails made with those mirror-shining rubber thread things. Honey, if you attached it, it is attachment.

    Hair is beautiful!

    • Damie

      January 9, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      I shall cosign this as well…lol. Bottom line, people needs to chills!

  10. Mercy

    January 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it was witty, funny and serious, all at once. I am team natural BTW…lol

  11. nomad

    January 7, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Do you, babe, you only got one life to live.

    I don’t understand why everyone has to take Panadol for other people’s headache and start writing epistles about how they felt they were “perceived” while taking that Panadol.

    If you feel like cutting your hair, cut it, no be your mama’s hair or your broda’s hair, na your own. If you feel like relaxing it, relax it, na your own. If you feel like putting a horse tail on it, na you buy the horse tail, therefore, na your own. It will grow, it won’t grow, you will survive.

    Signed – someone who’s gotten all sorts of comments about her hair, but doesn’t give a flying fig about what other people say. And is BORED TO DEATH about all these imagined hair wars.

  12. shay shay

    January 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I just find the pronounced use of ‘sisters’ irritating. That is all.

    • Shade.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Hahahaha, you have issues, Shay…

      I kinda agree with you sha.

    • funmi

      January 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Exactly! Why lay emphasis on “sisters”? Sounds like she’s in a movement of some sort. *rme*

    • Small Small

      January 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      sista sistaaaaa.lol…;)

    • The Real Madam the Madam

      January 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Agreed. I was like girl please…

    • menoword

      January 7, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Hi Shay shay…one of my quirks, when I am addressing something potentially controversial, is to underline the things that we have in common. In this case, irrespective of our hair type, every woman is my sister. And I was writing this as if I was writing to family members…hence all the ‘sisters’ 🙂

  13. ngozi

    January 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    nice one ARIT i made my choice to go natural 7 years back and never for a sec felt bad about it nor bullied anyone i know to tow the line ,i think one should just do what makes them feel good .Personally i love walking in the rain with my locks and the money i ve saved from not buying brazillian ,peruvian ,indian ……..hair keeps me smiling everyday a friend tell me they have hair for sale.

    • Newbie

      January 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Wow, you like walking in the rain? Careful you don’t catch a cold! Besides, umbrella sellers must survive lol

    • Nanciejul

      January 7, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      lol…help them out oh.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      January 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      I’m feeling ngozi on the “walking in the rain” sentiment. When I don’t have extensions in, I have no qualms about strolling in the rain and enjoying the drops wetting my hair as a welcome source of moisture.

      @Arit, your piece made me laugh (although I have to confess a bit of trepidation when I started reading it, as I wasn’t quite sure of what direction you were heading in). It’s great that you love your hair the way it is and that’s alright by me. My only comment is to ask you to please also include an additional statement to all the ladies with processed hair who see me from time to time and make comments of this nature: “you still don’t want to relax your hair?”. It seriously grates on my damn nerves.

    • jcsgrl

      January 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Oooooh! Preach sista…btw I just read your comment in response to dating oyinbo and damn near died of laughter. I showed it to my hubby and he said “ehe, you see what you will get when you marry oyibo?” I keep threatening him that I will leave him for a white man. I fell in love with one when I worked with a brit in Nja who was a VP for one company like that. Dude was foine and the way he pronounced my name…hubba hubba hubba. And guess what? he was married to a very dark skinned Jamaican. The man loves him some negroe blood. He loves the food, looves nja, was learning the language and very smooth with the ladies. It was funny hearing him naa and ehen and biko kwa. He and I were soo close that the office staff will refer to him as madam’s oyibo husband..lol. Anyway, so you can find one that can be down with all things nja and not care about sailing across the globe. Just moving to nja will be his adventure 🙂

    • Sandi

      January 19, 2014 at 1:11 am

      May God bless you o.

      The comments I get, I just don’t understand. But for me sha, the funny thing about it is that the ‘so you’re not ready to relax your hair’ comments come from people with dry, breaking hair, so I just laugh.

  14. trutheye

    January 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I hope you get to read this msg. As someone who actually did the Big Chop and carried my hair in an afro for a year and a half before going back to relaxed hair, I think I earned the right to cosign everything you wrote on this article.
    I had gone natural in 2010 by the sheer will of my choice. Dint even know of the ”movement” then. Not until my cousin came from the US and went all “Wow! you natural too” on me. I realized from then on how there is a kind of Us versus Them mentality among the natural against the textured or permed sisters.
    In 2012, I decided to get my hair permed again. I was simply tired of all the attention and stress of being natural, as if it’s not just hair. I was tired of the sisterhood of the natural hair community, and of hopping from Curly Nikki to Kinky Curly to Kisforkinky as if my hair is my religion!
    I think it’s important for us as people to give one another the freedom to be what suits us. Yes, there is a cool feeling to carry your hair in it’s original form, but in the end, it should be an individual’s choice and we should learn to accept and respect that.

    • Chinenye

      January 7, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you for that response.

  15. Jane Public

    January 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Thank you. I don’t get the natural nazi’s at all. Yes I went there cos y’alls approach to other people who don’t follow your ideology can be likened to the Nazi’s. I have really stubborn natural hair. it is a standing joke in my family that my hair can be used as a scouring sponge. All my experiences with the hait till my mother gave up and bought be the creamy stuff can be likened to nightmares. Even though I only retouch 3 or 4 times a year, I have to keep the hair in a weave or braid otherwise, once the roots begin to grow back, trouble. To now have someone who hasn’t walked a day in my shoes tell me nonsense just irks me. If I hate myself by relaxing my hair, the proverbial word is myself. How is it to you? How does it affect you? They ahve refused to realise that no matter how they try they will always remain the minority. That is what is pinching them for body. You can scream from the rooftops all you want, attack all you want, it doesn’t increase the strength of your argument. Funny how, none of them have come to preach here yet. Maybe the sense in your post has made them cower back or they are probably still stuck in the bathroom doing their twists

    • Iyke

      January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      @janepublic – Not to deviate from the issue at stake, for someone who loves the blue eyed blondes and could die for Joe Manganiello, may I remind you that Joe Manganiello doesn’t like chics with stubborn natural hair that can be used as a scouring sponge. What if he finds out that you have it? lol

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      He aint going to be seeing it honey, cos I don’t see it myself. Ever heard of relaxers? If you have nothing to contribute to the conversation, run along darling, your sexist opinions are needed on the Skuki post.

    • ms lala

      January 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      MR.IYKE your joke or attempt to say a joke is drier than Kinta Kunte’s ankle ……okaay stop it your not funny. 2. the natural hair vs Sea biscuit’s tail is vexing..right now am heading to the salon to get my hair SEW IN because the last time i rocked #teamnatural i looked like a missing extra from the Roots…so more combs and brushes to those who wanna rock catnappy…hey am not gonna hate but that movement aint for every one * running fingers thru my hair* shhhhhs it feels good too.

    • NK

      January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      @Iyke, please don’t bring the war over here. You know she is ever ready.

    • Que

      January 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Iykeee, r u still desperate for affirmation? …. Ogini di biko nu?

    • whocares

      January 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      oooh me tooo! lool. My natural hair used to break those pretty ceramic combs. lool. When I try to explain that to some people, they tell me I simply do not know how to “take care of my hair” and I am lazy because I have relaxed hair. I hate weaves, I have not had any in my hair since I was 18, but my hair is relaxed, healthy and I always cut it short (I hate long hair too) . Some people have come up to me and asked me for the name of the hair dresser that does my weave (its my hair they are referring to). So when I read statements like I cannot take care of my hair , or I am lazy, I simply laugh and walk away. To each his own, your hair is your hair. If you like it au natural by all means enjoy it, but don’t bring other people who do not share your vision down (same advise goes to team relaxed/ weaves). Thank you Arit for your well written article.
      @Mr Iyke, you want to be starting something with Jane Public this afternoon? loool.

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Oh, yours too. My mother actually had a stash of the combs I broke and she said she will collect her money back out of my bride price. It was that bad. I would cry, scream, have splitting headache for days. I did not retouch my hair until Senior Secondary school. That is roughly about half of my life till date. I have paid my dues abeg. Let the Natural Nazi’s bring it. Their argument is not stronger than mine. My hair grew like weeds after I started relaxing it. My mum actually had to apologise one day. She said to me, if I had known I would have retouched your hair sooner. We both put ourselves through hell for no reason. Mama is in her late 50’s now and her relaxed hair is beautiful even with the grey. people stop her on the road regularly. That is a woman in her 50’s o still with relaxed hair and it is gorgeous. You leave Iyke, he really wants to be starting something.

    • Energybill

      January 7, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Glad it’s not only me with ‘scouring sponge’ hair lol. Mine not only broke combs, but I had hairdressers lying and giving excuses just so they wouldn’t have to do my hair! So I had to put up with the not so nice hairstyle my mom did on my head when I was in primary school (Bless her but a hairdresser she ain’t lol). My hair is now relaxed, still very thick and long and I will only give up the creamy crack if and when I want to, not because of some half baked theory from natural nazis (yes I called them that, so sue me). I do all sorts to the hair -weave, bob marley, didi, etc. The only thing I don’t do anymore is ‘kiko’. I was chatting yesterday to a guy via skype in the morning. Told him I needed to take my weave out. Come evening with the weave out and my hair air drying, he asked why I did weaves if I had hair this thick and long. Well why should I stick to just one look and texture when there are many dfferent looks and textures I can play with?
      Sayng that, last time I got a weave done it was in a new salon (if you make your cornrows too tight I don’t go back to you. I am thick hair sensitive scalp) the stylist comented on how thick and beautiful my hair was then she proceeded to comb it with the tiniest tail comb ever. I quickly stopped her before she had me howling in pain. lol

    • jaguarnana

      January 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Oh no you didn’t!…..
      all naturals broadcast their opinions in their own forum, blog, video, etc… YOU are the one who went to click to watch or read it, so please keep walking if you don’t like what you see or read no one is fighting with you dear. And I don’t understand the comparison here to Nazis that went from door to door to country to eradicate a whole race. How dare you make such an off hand comment like that. who has come to knock on your door to forcefully make you scrape your hair?, who didn’t give you a job because you can run your fingers through your hair? where is the camp for team relaxed hair located at? WTF!

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Naaaaah, I don’t go to read. Go to read ke, am I crazy. I read this one because Arit has relaxed hair. If this was one of the natural Nazi’s I would have closed the page the second I realised. Go to watch YouTube videos, you ladies must have a strange level of self importance. Why would I, the one’s I have as friends are enough. All my friends who are natural make it a point of educating me at the nearest opportunity. Not once have I solicited for their advice. Not once, but they always bring it up as if they are trying to convert me. That is the problem with you ladies. The offering advice when it wasn’t asked for. With the rate at which you guys aggressively offer explanations on the supposed benefits of natural hair, it won’t be long before you fully adopt the Nazi’ modus operandi. Right now, I used the words Nazi because of your ideologies of not letting others who are not the same as you be and the condescending and superior attitude y’all have. Read your comment below and tell me that is not Nazi-esque behaviour.

    • jaguarnana

      January 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      I only wish there are some holocaust survivors on this forum to educate you on nazi behaviour I promise you, you will retract that very powerfully negative word that still brings shame to the modern Germans and makes old Jewish men shiver. Learn to differentiate passionate from the Nazi’s; it’s a world of difference & it pains me to see you flip handily mention it on such a topic i shudder at your ignorance ( P.S. some friends you have who can’t read your silent eye rolling when they start preaching so-tey you have to secretly come on this forum spitting nazi-this nazi-that behind their back instead of firmly telling them to respect your choice….sad)

    • Chinenye

      January 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      Go easy on the “Nazi” vex nah! Nobody is comparing with the evil the real Nazis perpetrated. After all, there’s also the expression “Grammar Nazis” and I haven’t seen anyone splitting hairs about that? Chillax!

  16. Amara

    January 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    oh Thank you very much for this…. I have this great phobia for short hair, and even when i decided to try out the whole natural thing, i set out to do it without doing any big chop…honestly, all the people i see around me with very short hair in the name of BC look really horrible, i wonder why everyone including me lie and say “ooh you’ve done your BC, you look fab’ … although i know years from now when the hair is all grown, they’d look really nice and the former ugliness would pay off…
    i made my hair last weekend, and my stylist asked me not to return to her salon to make my hair if it isn’t relaxed, as she wouldn’t go through the stress of struggling to cut and comb..
    so i’ve decided to relax it….i no do again, and since i can’t start afresh and do the whole BC thing, i better enjoy my nice relaxed hair

    • AA

      January 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      You see, you are one of the people Arit is talking about. Natural hair does not work for you, fine. But don’t judge natural hair people either. Just do you and be happy with you.

      Arit, I feel you. In Nigeria, we tend to judge a lot and force our opinions down people’s throat (am guilty of same), but in all honesty, we should just accept people for who they are.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      January 7, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Honestly? ALL the people you’ve seen do the BC look horrible? Every single last one of them?? I’m sorry, hon, but that sounds like an already formed opinion based on existing bias, particularly since you shot yourself in the foot there by admitting up front that you have a problem with short hair. Almost like me making this blanket statement – “all the girls I’ve seen with brazillian weaves look unpleasant” – when deep down, I know that my real issue is with the weave itself and not the person wearing it …

    • Carliforniabawlar

      January 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Na wah o!! Me sef I have ‘great’phobia for long hair…..i think its all dead cells. I almost gagged on my lunch on sunday during our love feast at church cos one of the sisters had long hair down to her tushie….and its her own hair o…so you can imagine my disgust when i see indian/ human hair weaves…..but guess what? I keep my opinion to myself. I don’t think they look ugly i just think it all has to do with my perception.
      My dear to each his own….but i don’t think it’s healthy going around calling people ugly cos of the length of their hair…..maybe it’s you. Maybe you consider yourself unattractive with short hair and now you are projecting that image unto others…..
      p.s. Hand over my shrink fees 😀

  17. Kay Squared

    January 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I love this article and I have been natural since 2009 just because I wanna. I just don’t get the point where a matured woman’s identity became wrapped up in something that grows from our scalp. Yes it is your hair , it grows on your scalp so that earns you the right to wear it whichever way you want. Weave, relaxed, natural whatever….

    We as black women tend to undermine ourselves too much. If you are too white, it is a problem, if you are too black, anopther wahala, if you are relaxed, you want to be white, if you are natural, you are all for black empowerment. What happened to making decisions cos you actually want to. Geez!!!

  18. lois

    January 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    @Funmi Oy, I had a good laugh with you comment. My Yoruba, Biology, Class teacher and CRK teacher had on those ‘mirror shining rubbers’ like you put it way back in high school and I can say that my class teacher and yoruba and teacher were the vilest of all mankind. Well, I concur with this write-up and I think people should just learn to respect other people’s choices to the extent of cosmetic surgeries too. Natural hair, ared etc, so far you own it and love it, rock it!!!

  19. Anonymous

    January 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Cool story Miss

  20. Kay Squared

    January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I love this article and I have been natural since 2009 just because I wanna. I just don’t get the point where a matured woman’s identity became wrapped up in something that grows from our scalp. Yes it is your hair , it grows on your scalp so that earns you the right to wear it whichever way you want. Weave, relaxed, natural whatever….

    We as black women tend to undermine ourselves too much. If you are too white, it is a problem, if you are too black, anopther wahala, if you are relaxed, you want to be white, if you are natural, you are all for black empowerment. What happened to making decisions cos you actually want to. Geez!!!

  21. Newbie

    January 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Women shaa! We can like to tear each other down!!!
    Like I’ve always said, (a) it’s just hair and (b) this whole naturalista/natural nazi is a fad. It will come and go.
    Until fairly recently, I had never considered wearing my hair unrelaxed but kudos to those who started doing some really funky things with unrelaxed hair, it started to catch my eye. But then I always said – hmm that’s nice but my hair could never do that…then I started seeing people I know , with hair similar to mine turn out in some really funky styles and I thought….hmm I could try that, and that’s how I started. Still on my journey and I am encouraged, trying out new things every couple of weeks.
    Meanwhile though, there are some misconceptions (and maybe deliberate cover-ups) about the cost thing. Maybe it’s because I’m a JJC to the unrelaxed hair thingy so I don’t know where to look for good deals, but bwoy the hair products are not cheap, so when people are saying they save money by being natural I’m like huh? Have you tried to buy good quality twist and loc cream? Non-sulphate, non-paraben, non-this n that shampoos and conditioners? You go fear fear. The other day one lady was trying to sell me shea butter all nicely bottled at an exorbitant price and I was like, “babe, is this not ori? I have some at home.” She wasn’t best pleased.
    One more thing. Even though it’s just hair, your hair says a lot about you. If I wore a very tatty, tangled and matted weave out in public, I would be termed unkempt. Same goes for us unrelaxed hair sisters. There is a line (and I’m not even sure it’s thin) between being creative with your natural hair, and looking untidy. Some people turn up (to very serious events to boot) and I feel like saying- “perhaps a comb would help, ma’am?”

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      My brain twin, let me gist you on how to save on hair products, go organic. I am a relaxed haired girl but just like Arit, nothing I use apart from the once every 3 or 4 months relaxer is processed. I am really naive about the products you would use for natural hair but buying 100% natural stuff end up cheaper than the processed ones, then you can make your own “products” really. I use a combo of olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, avocado, homemade mayonnaise, brandy and rum, eggs yoghurt. Not all at once of course but I mix and match. Right now my body “cream” is Ccoconut and Argan oil.

    • Newbie

      January 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Sisteh, all these ones you mentioned are the things chopping my money nah! Coconut oil this and argan oil that. Except for the Brandy and Rum…those ones still go into my mouth hehe…Will try it though, I like the sound of my hair getting ‘high’- what do I mix them with and at what stage i.e. after washing or before? And they are safe for unrelaxed hair, yes?

    • whocares

      January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      @newbie.. sunflower oil is also really good. Honestly any natural thing you can find in your kitchen will do. mayonnaise and eggs, sunflower oil, olive oil, beer rinse is supposed to be good for natural hair (it is infact good. I tried it when my hair was natural) but not so much for relaxed hair.. all that acid.. its a nono. shea burrer is also an essential (you can easily find them in your kitchen ;except for the shea butter)

    • whocares

      January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      @newbie.. sunflower oil is also really good. Honestly any natural thing you can find in your kitchen will do. mayonnaise and eggs, sunflower oil, olive oil, beer rinse is supposed to be good for natural hair (it is infact good. I tried it when my hair was natural) but not so much for relaxed hair.. all that acid.. its a nono. shea burrer is also an essential (you can easily find them in your kitchen ;except for the shea butter)

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Your hair getting high. LMAO. Actually, my friends say I go around smelling like a drunk when I have brandy or rum in my hair. The brandy/rum, coconut or argan oil and egg, mayonnaise or avocado mix works for deep conditioning. The protein is to help protect your hair from the harsh effects of alcohol, while the coconut oil will help keep your hair’s natural oils. I swear by it. The alcohol content sitting pretty on your scalp stimulates hair growth. It also gets rid of pesky dandruff. Try it and you will never suffer dandruff or flaky scalp again. It gives your scalp a good clean. When I don’t use brandy or rum for deep conditioning, I dilute it with rose water and use after shampooing. Rinse once or twice, then rinse again with water. Se fini. Another thing, hot water or even warm water is bad, bad, bad, for your hair and also your skin. Always wash your hair with cold water. Not ice cold o, but cold or room temperature. Same with taking a shower. As I don’t have unrelaxed hair, I really wouldn’t know. Just telling you what works for me.

    • Newbie

      January 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      @whocares, thanks for the tip on sunflower oil. Shea butter has been a part and parcel of my life, even when I was relaxing my hair. I also use it as my body butter in the winter- works a treat.

    • AA

      January 7, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      The naturalista movement is not a fad, its just not for you. So don’t join others in tearing people down either. Rock your relaxed hair and be happy

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      How is loving, appreciating, and taking care of your God-given hair a fad? In the same vein, THIS WHOLE DARK-SKINNED GIRLS STILL LEFT IN NIGERIA IS A FAD. I hope they join the bleaching band-wagon. You see how non-sensical your comment is?

    • Newbie

      January 8, 2014 at 12:51 am

      Fad: an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze.
      synonyms: craze, vogue, trend, fashion, mode, enthusiasm, passion, infatuation, love, obsession, mania, rage, compulsion, fixation, fetish, weakness, fancy, taste, novelty, whim, fascination, preoccupation…and More

      So, it IS a fad, dearies. Some people have always worn their hair unrelaxed since time immemorial, but- and if you like be in denial about it – in recent years, there has been a sudden widely shared enthusiasm for wearing negro hair unrelaxed. This is evidenced in the several blogs and websites dedicated to it, the rise in the number and variety of ‘natural hair products’, the movements and meet-ups abi na meet-downs, the very terms ‘naturalista’ and ‘natural nazi’, the number of people (on this thread alone sef, plenty), who have jumped on the bandwagon and eventually jumped off…need I continue? It will come and go as a fad. Those who wish to continue long after the fad is gone will continue and form the critical mass, but for now, it is a fad.

      not sure what analogy you’re trying to draw with skin colour, but from my observation, there hasn’t been a sudden increase in enthusiasm for dark skin- yet. If at all anything relating to skin colour is a fad, it is the artificial light skin, what with the various products that are supposedly flooding the market.

  22. Thelma

    January 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    SPOT ON!

    thelmathinks.blogspot.com

  23. mio

    January 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Lol

  24. omada

    January 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Not everyone with natural hair is a nazi or hates relaxed hair or weaves. Some of us are quite indifferent. Life is hard enough, why should I carry what another person is carrying on her head on mine?

  25. titilope

    January 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Couldn’t have been said any better Arit.

  26. Modella

    January 7, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Can’t wait to cut my hair end of this month(skin cut)…not because I’m against relaxed hair,but my front hair is a mess!!! It will still remain the biggest decision ever…what is the big deal about this hair tingy anyway??

    • Ekwitosi

      January 7, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      @Modella I agree with you abeg! Some of this natural thing started for a lot of people when they had damaged hair and decided to start from the scratch.
      People should know that hair is natural does not mean that it is healthy both people with relaxed and unrelaxed hair should aspire to have a healthy hair. Even if you have natural hair and you don’t take care of it, you are back to square one! There is no short cut to anything.

    • Carliforniabawlar

      January 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      My dear! I’m natural….i’ve been for four years but i’m going sec. school style low cut this summer…..why? Just becos i can….its just hair…cut it and it would grow. I went natural for the face value of it. I saw one of my friends with natural hair and she looked so chique….i was like i want that! No death-to-all-relaxers ideology! No anti-slavery movement! Just the pure vain reason of having my own hair the way it grows and looking cool with it. I have stayed natural for the versatility….i can braid, make my hair bone straight with heat , fix a weave (rarely but fact is i can!) or just jejely rock my twist-outs and fros while growing a healthy head of hair underneath it all….
      Funny thing is i have something sort of a phobia for long hair….it kinda irritates me…my hair is bra- strap length now so it gatz to go!! It just feels like dead cells hanging on my head (i don’t grow my nails as well). Thats why i can’t imagine fixing human hair after watching Chris Rock’s Good Hair….iyanma!! But thats just me….even my own hair irritates me not to talk of someone else that was sacrificed at an altar!

    • Ella

      January 8, 2014 at 11:45 am

      my front hair was a mess to but u know what i did i havent retouched since june. i have never seen my front hair grow so much ( am not using anything spectacular o) . even with all the ghana weaving its still growing i have been doing wig style weaves so i dont bring my hair out. You can also give that a try before you cut gorimapa

  27. 'Midé

    January 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Hmmm….O ga o!

  28. Nabz

    January 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    LOL…this is funny. I don’t know how true it is because I haven’t perceived the aggressiveness of natural sisters. 2 years ago, I stopped relaxing my hair and about 2 weeks ago, I did the big chop. Well I wouldn’t call it ‘big’ because my hair was short anyway. My scalp is soft and sensitive and my hair breaks easily, so easily that it refused to stop growing past a certain length. That is the reason I went natural and switched my hair care products to predominantly natural ingredients. To strengthen my hair and scalp. You know it’s not everyone that has strong hair that can withstand any mixture of chemicals. But I do agree with you that it has become a sort of statement. To some, hair is political but to most, it is a fashion statement. They have seen how beautiful and strong and curly natural hair can be and that’s what most, myself included, only want to achieve. That said, in my dire hustle to get this hair acting right, I still wear weave and extensions and I don’t pledge allegiance to any natural hair meet ups or groups or any settings where they sit down to discuss hair and it’s conotations – I deem it utter madness. But yeah I do agree, there are some people that see their hair more than just follicles and a choice – those are the same people that overlook/excuse our ancestor’s role in the slave trade but that’s one for another day 😀

  29. jaguarnana

    January 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    hold up y’all….
    I have returned to my natural hair for over 3 years now & counting. I made this move as SOCIAL rebel statement not to you deluded black Africans who sway & moan about how freaking hard and difficult their hair is (who makes statements like that?) I returned back to myself not for health reason heck I live in Nigeria & have been eating healthy because I have no choice (besides these mass produced catfish & chickens that have suspicious magic turn overs) I made this very very brave move (in a time where to be perceived as successful & educated you have to look European or even better exotic Indian) because I wanted to see the REAL me; sans silky run your finger through your hair look(too much mills & boons), sans them masquerade weave-ons & Patra braids on my hair. Not one for crowd pleasing I don’t go ringing a bell preaching about how ridiculous other races view us with our enlarged heads tapping away distractedly when our scalp react to the weave-on our head nor do I foam at my mouth when at the salon I see other clients fidgeting on their seats while their relaxers slowly eats away @ their horrible-difficult-nail breaking-coconut cracking-scouring sponge hair strands. Like everyone keeps harping “abeg it’s just hair” that’s why the writer above got carried away while a strange person walked into her office & started massaging her head, that’s why the writer called her family to get their permission to cut her own hair, that’s why most of all of you will have a nervous break down if you woke up with alopecia tomorrow. NO IT IS NOT JUST HAIR – IT IS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR BEING. so I double dare all of you to go all natural for a year & come back to still tell me its just hair, till then I will proudly carry my natural hair to show our men that african women are still beautiful with out the masquerade stunts, to show other races that this really is how the sub Saharan African race looks and to show Nigerian daughters mummy is not a sub specie in a league of her own but mummy is just like them with a puffy wooly hair & she can still command a six figure salary per month! #drops mic

    • whocares

      January 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      *sigh*.. I have been natural for more than a year… I hated it, and now I relax my hair again. So really, it is JUST HAIR! Enjoy your rebellion but the fact still remains that what works for you may not and will not work for everyone else. I don’t and I have never understood the philosophizing behind how a person wishes to have their hair. Some people will drag the story to racism, lack of self confidence etc etc.. It is tiring, and It is JUST HAIR! In fact a person’s relaxed hair is every bit her natural hair as your un-relaxed hair, and I am pretty sure she sees the “real her” when she looks in the mirror too. Be what you want to be, have what you want, but there is no need to denigrate other people who are not doing the same thing as you.

    • AA

      January 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      Damn girl…

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Enter one of them. I was waiting for you. I can see that you have come out from the hours in the bathroom doing twists. Such colourful words. I understand sweetie, that coarse mop on your head, taking care of it will make anyone come out sounding like what you just typed. It sha can’t be easy. It will affect your personality small. You sound a little caustic and judgemntal sweetie. If your hair is an extension of your being, good for you. The operative word is YOUR being. You, You, You and not someone else’s. Rebel all you want sweetie, you want to see your real self, good for you, just don’t put anyone down in the process. My relaxed hair is my still my hair and I am as real as they come. As for teaching African men, Darling, are you having a laugh? We haven’t taught them to be loyal faithful, good and supportive husbands, it is now on hair you want to teach them. Delusional much? Double dare ke, you can’t, even if you paid me everyday for a year. Mummy can still command a six figure salary in a month, I sure do as I type, and I have relaxed hair. What is your argument again? I lost it amidst the ranting. Rant all you want, it doesn’t increase the strength of your argument.

    • Que

      January 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      In a bid to out do d other, you have turned into what you’re fighting against with ur description….. suddenly it seems like it isn’t just hair again… *backtomyseat*

    • Que

      January 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      That said, jaguarnana, …dearrrrrr ko le to yen men! Everyone cant fight one battle, who’ll do d rest? ?… #breatheplease…

    • Maureen

      January 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      It seems to me that someone or a couple of “someone’s ” with natural hair really pissed you off or hurt you or something,but the very thing that you are accusing natural women of doing,you are now doing,I’m sure it didn’t feel good when u were criticized about your choices so why are you coming on here to do the same.please live and let live!!!

    • jaguarnana

      January 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      rolling on the floor laughing @ Jane Public’s “hours in the bathroom doing twists” you are right there are some neurotic people out there who happen to be natural. I just felt frustrated that some of you can’t see how emotionally & psychologically damaging it is to hear beautiful black women condemn their OWN hair & try so hard to look anything but like themselves all in the bid to be able to run their fingers through their hair. if it’s just hair why am I not seeing other races attaching kinky hair onto their head on any other day besides halloween, if relaxers are not so dangerous why not pour it onto your toddlers hair. we berate our hair in its natural state like if it’s our poor relations that dared to come visit us in our corporate office. Didn’t you guys watch “Good hair” which showed us how every one hates natural african hair including the Africans themselves! haven’t you guys heard of “The Clark Doll Experiment” (http://youtu.be/FSdKy2q6pEY) though the experiment concentrated on skin colour I bet the reaction will still be same when you present your kid with a black doll with kinky hair & a black doll with silky straight hair. oh well you are definitely right we are all entitled to our choices but note that the individual choices of people have an effect on other people whether we like it or not. P.S. I assure you the inventor of the hair relaxer didn’t market his invention to those ex slaves as a way to make their lives easier so they can finally run their fingers though their hair….no he got these poor black people to buy his product by telling them how their looks will be improved by this magic potion so they could look similar to their ex slave masters (yes i did go there)…

    • ms lala

      January 7, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      DROPS MIC….guuuuuuuuurl this is not def jam poetry and comedy…and sweetie i did the catnappy for a year..and i looked ridiculous …i cried every morning trying to mostrize my hair and comb thru. don’t forget homegirl works in a corporate office and sooner than 4pm my hair was back to looking like i just participated in egwu egwu dance festival…gurl stop it.

    • jcsgrl

      January 7, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha at egwu egwu dance festival. Girrrl I’m rolling. Aww you just didnt know how to take care of it. Trust me catnappy can be catsemicurly. It takes time and patience but its not for everyone

    • jaguarnana

      January 7, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Haha you kill me with the egwu egwu dance festival bit….Please excuse my Flip mode above (was feeling my flow) ok back to the topic….there is absolutely nothing wrong with chunky puffy hair just pin both sides up with a bejeweled hair pin & work with your head high corporate offices love confident people & I am sorry you didn’t like you natural hair experience but in case you change your mind there are more naturals in the corporate arena to cheer you on

    • Miss_Flygerian

      January 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Take several seats and stop misyarning biko.

    • jcsgrl

      January 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      I am literally standing up and giving you a round of applause. From one natural sister to the other, I heart you. Let me tell you, I went natural because my hair stopped growing with relaxers. And almost 3.5 years into it, I have never been soo proud to wear my hair. Dont get me wrong, I still get my dominican blow outs and wear my peruvian weaves but I get the most compliments from oyibos when I’m in my natural hair. Like you said, what anyone decides to do to their hair is their biz. If your relaxed hair is working for you even better. I’ve even learnt one or two things from janepublic and co on stuff for my hair. But in all that, I am sticking to my natural hair now for a social and cultural stance. I do not want to see our natural hair go extinct in our generation. I want my children to love and learn how to take care of their natural hair. I want other cultures to see my natural hair as equally beautiful as theirs. I used to hate my natural hair because chei yeah it broke a lot of combs. But with proper treatment, I am learning how to manage it. I offer advice to team relaxed only when they look at my hair and say oh my hair can’t do that. I cant go natural and then I say, oh yes you can. If my hair can be submissive, anybody’s hair can. But oh boy, the journey is not for the faint hearted. I’ve come really close to applying the creamy crack. Long and short mehn life is too short. Everybody do you!

    • camo

      January 8, 2014 at 8:11 am

      But if you want to teach ur children how to take care of their natural hair why are u still whipping out your peruvian and Indian hair? therein lies my confusion. When I was younger natural hair meant wearing your own hair relaxed, unrelaxed or straightened. These days people be forming natural sisters and they are still wearing peruvian hair? Natural meant your own hair whatever you have done to it does not matter even if you dyed it. Artificial should be the weave abi has the definition of these things changed? Well each to his own. I will always say do you.

    • Nnenna Morah

      January 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Who cares. When you make decisions to prove a point, you keep yourself enslaved.

  30. Osho

    January 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Arit sounds bitter, like you wish you had the boldness to wear your kinky hair but you dont. Your choice of hairstyle is personal and I dont think you need to write an article about how nice your relaxed hair looks. Relaxed or natural hair, you are beautiful just the way you are.
    I took away my perms and started to grow my natural kinky hair a couple of months back and it feels good to me (really i dont see a change in my looks).

    • Ada Nnewi

      January 7, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Good for you :)…my 30 inch remi indian wavy hair weave feels good on me too :D..btw this weave covers my bra-length dark brown healthy head of relaxed hair…:D

  31. Kaybee

    January 7, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks my sister. I went natural 2 yrs ago and it’s been a nightmare! While i love my full afro, i had to spend hours combing, conditioning my brillo hair. I ended up 95% of the time braids with a knotted tangled mess on my head after. It got so bad, stylist would want to avoid the bush on my head. Every time I told friends and family that I wanted to go back to relaxing my hair, they would go, ‘haba, why na?’. Like I was going to do money jazz or sometin. I have now texlaxed my hair and am enjoying the best of both worlds. I can go sleek or kinky, apparently, I swing both ways.
    Thanks for this great exposé on the tyranny of the pro_ natural movement.

    • Ewa

      January 7, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Sis, do what is good for you. If it was a nightmare, why continue because of people’s opinion? Mehn, i don’t understand o.

    • Kaybee

      January 7, 2014 at 6:07 pm

      Hope springs eternal. You know, I was hoping that one day I would get it right and be like Diana Ross. Lol.

    • TA

      January 7, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Lol! @ Tex laxed. I plan to do so too and enjoy the best of both worlds.

  32. Ese

    January 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Everyone is free to do what they want with their hair, common people it’s just hair!!! If you are comfortable with your hair, no one can tell you nonsense

  33. it's not alright

    January 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    thank you very much Arit…..you definetely spoke for many of us… I went on a healthy hair journey last year and my hair is the healthiest it has ever been. I mean my relaxed natural hair because to me natural means attached to my scalp and is my God-given hair and I love it.

    Like @jane public, I suffered the same hassles with my hair and i actually tried going the unrelaxed natural route, but I coudnt. it was endless morning battles with my hair which left me exhausted and annoyed every time. I didnt want to feel like that always, so i went back to what works for me and i love the silky feel of my hair. I love that i can just run my fingers through and come up with a beautiful ponytail. I pay attention to the things i need to do to keep it healthy and that is mostly at night time when i am resting from my day because i dont have time for all the decisions making that comes with styling hair in the morning. I love those who go unrelaxed and when i see it i complement them n likewise those who relax like me, and the only thing i might be guilty of is advising to seek healthier solutions to their hair regardless of texture.

    But i have this friend who thinks her way shoud be everybody’s way and when she went natural mayb four years ago, she wouldnt let any of us in her freind circle hear word. It was natural this, natural that, oh u are poisoning yourself, you are reducing your life span , it will affect your old age and all what not. I just jejestically told her, to do what works for her while i do me.

    Another time i am in the store, mind you i am wearing my beautiful relaxed hair that people always complement me on, wondering if it is my real hair, and i saw this lady with gorgeous “natural’ hair and i said ” wow, your hair is beautiful, I love it” and she proceeds to answer “thanks, i have been natural for 2 years, her is my haidresser’s number. call her and tell her so n so sent you, she will hook u up and u will regret why u didnt do this sooner”…. I just turned away without collecting the card and that was it.like who told this one i wanted to go natural? simply because i complemented your hair? I was mad as hell because if i stayed close to her one more second, it would have been a quarrel in TJ Maxx……

    So sisters, live your life by your principles and do you and dont try to knock everyone else because we are not like you. Because if i want to start answering this team natural people, dem go vex. it surprises me how like my friend, she preaches natural and yet, wears the highest make up of anybody i know, like dont you know those products are oyinbo too, u are selling out if that is the route u want to go, even the weaves she wears as protection this and that, na she makam?….na so so sell out…but person no go hear word.

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I had to copy and paste this bit of your comment ” it was endless morning battles with my hair which left me exhausted and annoyed every time. I didnt want to feel like that always”. I tell you, that feeling of exhaustion and annoyance will slowly affect your personality. I have two friends who I have been observing this happen to. Ever since they made the switch, geez, their irritability level has gone through the roof, always snapping and bitchy, very quick to slay you down with their acidic tongues, so tey some of us committee of friends want to stage an intervention. We have lost our friends to hair. The endless time they spend on the hair, on youtube videos, they don’t even have time for the other things in their lives which are important. Slowly they are transforming before our very eyes and the transformation isn’t good. I am not speaking for all natural girls o before they come launching an attack. Just speaking for these 2 women. They are alienating themselves for everyone and go on the attack and preaching crusade. I get you about your friend, same thing here and honestly, it is getting tiresome even just being around them. Live and let others live too

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      I do not understand your comments. YOU HAVE BECOME A RELAXER NAZI. As in, if natural hair does not work for you or your friends, SO BE IT. But to make numerous comments to force your idea that you were natural and no more, WE GET IT. Kai.

      Your friends watching youtube videos and co, can be blamed on the lost transfer of knowledge from past generations to this one about hair care. White people or non-black people have had their whole childhood to learn about their hair. Their parents have passed on knowledge about hair care to them.

      Our mothers do not know how to take care of our and their natural hair, because somehow, some way, the knowledge was lost. Youtube videos, blogs, and co, are simply avenues to learn about our hair.

      Also, are you implying that time is not spent on relaxed hair. The hours spent in salons and co? Natural hair did not work for you, we get it. But it works for me. And has been for 4 years.
      It will not be easy. We did not have our childhood to learn and take care of our hair, understand it, manage it, etc. So we are using our adulthood to learn about it.

      Unfortunately, if it is jUST HAIR, there will be no comments on this page. Do not trivialize the problem of black women and their hair or the struggle thereof, by saying or writing that it is just hair. No it is not.

      It is like saying, it is just skin. People should bleach if they want to? When we know the underlying societal circumstance in which people run to bleaching creams etc. Alteration of one’s body part, be it hair or skin, is ALTERATION PERIOD. And there are underlying issues involved.

    • Amanda

      January 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      You seem to be doing just the same thing those natural hair imposing Nazi’s do.

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Force my idea, girl you are tripping. I was echoing and responding to the comment of @itsnotalright, especially as she has a friend who shares the same behaviour with two of mine. If you are tired of seeing my ID, be a darling, scroll past and don’t read it. Did you just say the struggle thereof? Oh dear. When this is not about equality or rights. On top of hair too? Le Sigh. See when people say you ladies have turned it to a movement. Should we be expecting placards and rallies in the nearest future? It is just hair, sorry if that pinches your body, but it doesn’t change what it is, if you like pay for advertisement on CNN

    • Kaybee

      January 8, 2014 at 3:40 am

      Lol, Le Sigh.

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

      Relaxed hair IS A MOVEMENT. A movement TO ERASE ALL POSSIBILITIES OF BLACKNESS OR AFRICANNESS…you are confusing me. LE SIGH, whatever that is.

  34. zeenie

    January 7, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    may God bless and keep you for this message…

  35. titi

    January 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    the whole natural hair thing is overrated. trust me, it’s difficult to really look neat and well put together unless you spend hours on your natural hair grooming! I know because I’ve been there done that. I had completely natural hair as I lost my hair from chemotherapy treatment and it grew back like baby hair. it was very nice and curly however, I found that it was taking up a lot of my time, I relaxed it after 1 year and I am happier.

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      You condemn naturals in one sentence and praise relaxed hair. Lol. Nigerians. Typical. Natural hair is not overrated. If it was, you would still be natural dear. The fact that it was not easy, shows that not everyone can be natural without proper knowledge.

    • Titi

      January 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      What and who are naturals?!!!! And how did i praise relaxed hair? I wrote about my experience, write about yours………..

  36. ay

    January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Oh please, thats your choice Arit. You have natural good hair from the post. What about ladies who had chopped hair, or their hair was falling out or you could almost see their scalp because of how scanty the hair was…I agree that its your choice but why do you have attack approach on ladies who are going natural???????

    • whocares

      January 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      I think Arit wrote a balanced article. You can see for yourself that she tried to be objective as much as possible, and the fact that the story relates to herself and her life does not detract from that. Whose hair is she supposed to use as example if not hers? She has no condemned the natural hair movement or elevated relaxed hair. she has simply stated what works for her, and her belief that everyone should be accepted for who they are. That is the message I got from the article.

  37. Newbie

    January 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Compared to people going bald from Cancer treatment, Alopecia is child’s play. Not to say that it’s child’s play altogether, because a very dear friend of mine is dealing with it as we speak and I know the effect it can have. Sorry to disappoint you, she did not have a nervous breakdown. She was of course initially worried – who wouldn’t be? But eventually, she has learnt to deal with it. Currently getting treatment and rocking the most fabulous wigs ever.
    Regarding your challenge to the relaxed sisters to wear their hair natural for a year and come back to you, you didn’t finish nah. Till then, you will rock your natural hair and after then , what? Because a number of people people who commented on this thread indicated that they did wear their hair natural and have now happily gone back to relaxing their hair. So whachu gon do?
    p.s. I agree though that it was weird that Arit let some man (okay she didn’t say he was a complete stranger) start running his hands through her hair in the office. O dikwa very risky o lol!

  38. Lapes Beautiful Creature

    January 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    This article is much needed. Its gets annoying when some girls make you feel like you have sinned by relaxing your hair or that they are somewhat better than you. I’ve been natural before and it wasnt easy. I had constant headaches. To each is own.

  39. Chinny

    January 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I love this article, this natural vs relaxed movement has been getting on my last nerves- why do we keep tearing each other down over silly little things like this. I decided out of my own accord to ‘go natural’- no big chop, just gradually transitioning the hair. I did it for me- my hair which is naturally pretty soft was falling out badly after every perm and one day after taking my weave out, I looked in the mirror and didn’t like the bald patch on the sides, so I made the decision to stop perming it and see what happens. I am happy to say that a year later my hair looks much better. However I also realize that my decision is specific to me and I will never look down on anyone with permed hair. I have a friend who had relaxed hair that was down to the middle of her back- she chopped it off not too long ago and decided to go natural, all due to societal pressure. I never understood that decision. Relaxed or natural- do what YOU want and don’t let anyone dictate anything to you. I laugh out loud at the natural hair police , these are the same ones that in the name of protective styling rock wigs and still use one extension or another on their hair (ps- expressions, kinky braids is a form of extension….might not be silky but it still is). Every time I see a team-natural police ranting about box braids or kinky twists, i always think ‘ well, that’s not your natural hair now- is it’?…….

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Your last sentence made me laugh out loud. Trust me, they have excuses and reasons behind those protective styling of wigs, weaves, kinkys etc. I just listen to them, arch my eyebrow and in my head I am wondering to myself, you don’t actually believe the BS you are spewing do you? If you do, gosh wahala dey o. Natural hair police. Nice one. hahahahaha. Okay Janey, maybe using the word nazi was a tad harsh. Lol Replacing with Police.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      January 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Hello Janie, I quite understand your resentment and exhaustion. I personally cringe when I hear some naturalists go on with some very overbearing tendencies. It has almost become some sort of movement and I expect they would all be asked to move to some commune some day to escape the fumes from passing relaxed hair.

      However, in trying to pass your message, you unfortunately came across as the relaxed twin of the natural hair fad – overbearing and egoistic. The “they started it first” argument will not work because as an observer of the trend, (which hopefully will die an unassuming death) your comments should have tried for balance as did writer of this article. You are quite intelligent and that was apparent through the general flow of your post(s). Even though you tried to escape the generalizing, it is clear you think the whole lot stinks and the sane ones of the lot are just as guilty by association. That, simply is not fair.

      Whenever I look in the mirror, whether i’m sporting weaves of whatever nationality, braids, a mohawk or just my natural hair, (Yes, I am one darling), as long as it does not smell like a blooming sewer or itch like a MF, I know my hair and I will have a nice day.

    • TA

      January 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      PM @ Bobosteke & Lara Bian,
      Missed reading your comments on BN. How have you been? Glad to have you back. *cyber hug* 🙂

    • Jane Public

      January 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Your last sentence made me laugh out loud. Trust me, they have excuses and reasons behind those protective styling of wigs, weaves, kinkys etc. I just listen to them, arch my eyebrow and in my head I am wondering to myself, you don’t actually believe the BS you are spewing do you? If you do, gosh wahala dey o. Natural hair police. Nice one. hahahahaha. Okay Janey, maybe using the word nazi was a tad harsh. Lol Replacing with Police.

    • Dona

      January 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      I love you. Your comments are wonderful. Personally I think any hair business that can be described as a journey, needs empowerment or calls for actual social gatherings is far too much work. Too many natural hair ladies didn’t want to spend money on weaves which is fine, but no need to make it sound like you found the true light of Some religion. Talk true, money no reach. Simple.
      Those who had healthy hair when relaxed, the reason why your natural hair is so healthy now is the shear amount of time, energy and resources you spend on it now. If you took care of relaxed hair that way, it’d be pretty darn healthy too.
      Finally, I’ve been relaxing my hair dive before I was 3 & I’m now well into my 20’s, I should be dead if it was such poison.

  40. http://www.hairmillionaire.blogspot.com

    January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Its a personal choice, I went natural almost 10years ago, and people thought I had gone mad, someone asked if it was as result of a break up. The same people that condemned my decision to go natural then, are natural now. My hair is extremely versatile, and I do just about everything with it to show my expertise, weaves, thread, treebraids, senegalese twists. As a hair stylist I will never turn away people with relaxed hair or condemn them, and I will keep sewing in bundles of hair (unless I feel its too much for one install, someone came with about 9 bundles of 32in last month) The sale of relaxers may have reduced, in the last three years, but that market will always be there. The advise I give most clients who want to stay relaxed is to stretch the period of time for example from every 8 weeks to say 12 weeks and get a protective style (braids/weaves/wigs) in between, or use a “tex laxer” (milder version of relaxer), or cut down on using flat irons. Equipping clients with knowledge of the right diet and hair practice is more helpful than condemning. For those who are wondering why there are “Natural Meet-Ups” They started years ago, for those who were new to natural hair, to empower them or were not aware of how to care for their natural hair. Natural hair is more or less mainstream now, I miss the days of walking down Oxford Street and being one of the few girls with natural hair. Its a personal choice, to each their own.

  41. zn

    January 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    i wonder what all the bruhaha is about. We Nigerians enjoy conflict and controversies..we breathe, feed and breed it. Can’t we all for once be ourselves and not cause/fuel a controversy/issue?
    You arit okpo u looked for trouble..in asking that the naturals let you be, u didnt so much as let them be.
    Do unto others what u would like them do unto you. Trust me , this entire drama is uncalled for and unnecessary…we are muddling up a good intention of the movement meant to uplift and encourage some people.

  42. Temitope

    January 7, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Oh my! She said it so beautifully. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference, and we all should be ‘women enough’ to respect that.

  43. Titi

    January 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I think most people just get it wrong. In my opinion, natural hair is the very hair that comes out of your skull… If yours is processed and mine isn’t, that is a matter of choice. I hate the dividing line some people are trying so hard to create. We should be teaching one another and encouraging ourselves on how to better care for our hair in as much as we also decide to spend so much on weaves.

    The harassment goes both ways. Its so bad that i sometimes go to a regular salon to get a twist and the hair dresser would bluntly say she can’t twist my hair if I’m not adding extensions. Its crazy! What i do with my hair shouldn’t be any business of yours. The best you can do is educate me if need be but please don’t force your views down my throat cos i won’t stand for it.

    I know the one thing most people would accuse me of is preaching healthy hair. I would never preach to someone to follow a particular hair trend or hair path just because i am on that path.

  44. PP

    January 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    The intigrit of the matter is the divide women use among them selves ( fat vs skinny) (black vs fair) (natural hair vs team weaves) ( team natural beauty vs team makeup) (team church girls vs team world girls) the list goes on and on.. did i forget to add ( team accent vs team no accent) ( team schooled abroad vs team schooled in nigeria). DO NOT force ur idealogies down people’s throat ni! as far d girl on weaves is not contaminating you, u dont need to tear her down. if we even critically look at this matter how far are we willing to go to show that we are indeed africans and apperciate our culture. u carry natural hair but u are spotting all d western designers ( most of who pollute the environment with their processes). I would love to see a team natural using it as a political statement, trully being a team natural ( the food u eat, what u wear etc). But africans why are we like dis self? shebi oyinbo people doing bum enalargement are losing thier identity too. onisokuso!!!

  45. Opeyemi

    January 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    An interesting article. I personally could care less if your hair is relaxed or natural just as long as you look after your hair! Healthy hair is the best type of hair whatever way you choose to go. Saying this I’ve been natural all my life so to me the latest natural trend is not so woow. The only thing that irked me is the last part when the write said’ I do not want your hair’. Lol. You’ve just added more fuel to the fire with the whole division there already is. You say ‘your hair’ as if it is not also how your hair would be if it was in it#s natural state. Don’t make crass comments like that. It does not help. Simply put just say, I am content with my hair relaxed. In any case whatever way people choose to go at the end of the day doesn’t matter because we will all die someday anyway lool 😛 🙂

  46. nala

    January 7, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    You all can thank Chimamanda Adichie for this us versus them mentality. The way she talks about self image and natural hair is what makes girls believe they are selling out when they relax their hair

    • Miss_Flygerian

      January 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      I swear!!

    • jcsgrl

      January 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Ha ha ha ha and that simbi goes to school hair she’s been rocking

    • ms lala

      January 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      dead #simbogoestoschool…..flashback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mehn homegirl looked hella silly..like can we just rock a natural ponytail or hairbun and call it a day

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      @ms lala you are imposing your ideas on her no? Pot calling kettle black. I like her threads. At least, she is trying to maintain a part of our culture. Natural hair buns is recent phenomenon. Our ancestors never had hair buns……to my knowledge at least.

    • Newbie

      January 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      I agree. That’s the one point on which I disagree with Chmamanda, whom I admire much, on.

    • TA

      January 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      As in,you can say that again and again,sotay she write am for her book sef. Chimamanda,biko,leave and let leave,relaxing my hair does not mean am uncomfortable in my dark skin or ashamed of how it looks. I personally do not have the patience,time and energy for that kind of devotion. And I love being versatile.

    • TA

      January 7, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      *live and let live*

  47. Ewa

    January 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Arit, did anybody pressure you when you were prepping you hair to go natural? Wasn’t it your choice? YOU made a decision to. Nobody held a gun to your head. So what’s your issue? As you said it’s your choice the same way it’s theirs. Do you think we don’t have relaxed hair ‘activists’?. Please there will always be the extremists. If you don’t like what the other camp says, take a walk. You are under no obligation to listen to them. Please do your thing. Go the way that makes your comfortable. Forget about whether there’s a natural hair ‘movement’ or not. If you don’t fancy it, don’t look there. Abeg, all the talk of ‘natural hair this’, ‘natural hair that’ , “relaxed hair this, texlaxed hair that’ is getting too much. Please hair is hair, natural, relaxed, texlaxed, whatever laxed.
    I relax my hair once in six months. What does that make me “half-relaxed, half-natural’ .. Puhleeeeaaasseeeee… However you want your hair to be is YOUR choice. Leave the others to THEIR own.

  48. Ewa

    January 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Arit, did anybody pressure you when you were prepping you hair to go natural? Wasn’t it your choice? YOU made a decision to. Nobody held a gun to your head. So what’s your issue? As you said it’s your choice the same way it’s theirs. Do you think we don’t have relaxed hair ‘activists’?. Please there will always be the extremists. If you don’t like what the other camp says, take a walk. You are under no obligation to listen to them. Please do your thing. Go the way that makes your comfortable. Forget about whether there’s a natural hair ‘movement’ or not. If you don’t fancy it, don’t look there. Abeg, all the talk of ‘natural hair this’, ‘natural hair that’ , “relaxed hair this, texlaxed hair that’ is getting too much. Please hair is hair, natural, relaxed, texlaxed, whatever laxed.
    I relax my hair once in six months. What does that make me “half-relaxed, half-natural’ .. Puhleeeeaaasseeeee… However you want your hair to be is YOUR choice. Leave the others to THEIR own.

  49. Noms

    January 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    ARIT, of THE DEBATERS and now EL TV, I can imagine the look on your face if you had this topic to talk about in the show.
    Very funny and true comments.
    I have a lovely texture of hair which was originally referred to as ”FOREST’ ” by my stylist when i was much younger. I tried almost all the recommended relaxers i was advised to use but the hair nor gree. I was retouching my hair every month, use hair color and still there was no damage on the hair because of how ”stubborn” it was. A few years ago, the hair began to ”RELAX”, and it became silky and relaxed(retouch every 6-8 weeks). Now, when i visit the salon to wash my hair, i get comments like ”ohh, thought you had a weave on”. I play with the length a lot , to the point i got a slap from one of my friends for cutting my hair to shoulder length(see me see trouble oooo).
    Okk,sometime last year, i saw a some lady’s UNRELAXED hair (don’t like using the word NATURAL, because my RELAXED hair is natural too) and liked it, and thought i should go without RELAXING my hair and i didn’t want to go through the BC process.
    Four weeks passed, i was feeling cool. It got to the 10th week,i nor fit bear the pains again(with ORI,EGG,OLIVE OIL therapy), my hair just reminded me of where i came from when i was much younger.
    To all the team natural sistas, well done.
    BTW,my eldest sist is on locks and i love them but my mum doesn’t like them, yes my mum. It my hair alright but . . .when iget married,i intented to wear locks but if my hubby doesn’t like them too, then . . .na for people head i go dey admire.

  50. Annie

    January 7, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    LOL..well written
    she said pple will misunderstand dis..n dats true..
    m all natural my self, but jus like INDIA ARIE said “i am not my hair”

  51. TA

    January 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Hian…nah wa o! there is problem in Lagos (in my Toyin Tomato voice) . As for me o,am transitioning towards healthier hair,have not relaxed my hair for almost a year now (mostly wearing wigs and occasionally weaves) because I damaged my hair in so many ways,now I have been deep conditioning with the fantastic ingredients mentioned by a kind BN reader (in another post about hair) and my hair is growing back like weeds. Now that I know more about managing my own hair,I will apply texturisers/relaxers with a sense of care and affection. 🙂

    • Ekwitosi

      January 7, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      @TA please can you post a link to that post. Thanks.
      I have natural hair and my front hair is a mess! I had low cut for about 4 years and decided to grow it out. I guess there are somethings you loose with time because my front hair has refused to be like the back hair.
      Even with the low cut people thought I was making a statement! I was not making any statement I just refuse to waste money if the hair is misbehaving. Some people wouldn’t still let you be because they will always make a comment no matter how many times they see you in a day and when you tell them what you are trying to achieve its as if you are preaching.

    • TA

      January 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Ekwitosi,I hope the links provide the info you need. Ol’girl,you really cannot please people . You have unrelaxed hair,some would whine,you have relaxed others would whine,you wear weaves,some would whine,now you said you had your low cut and some say you ate making a statement! Lol! 🙂 oh dear,humans…we are an interesting lot. My dear,its your hair p,do what’s healthy and makes you happy.

    • Ekwitosi

      January 8, 2014 at 1:06 am

      @TA abeg thank you I will try this out!

  52. Danielle

    January 7, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    God bless you for this article, been on team natural for a year and always had headaches combing my hair. just relaxed it 4 days ago and everybody is complaining

  53. Que

    January 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Why one’s choice of hair care approach has become an issue for international debate is beyond me… as long as it’s presentable, suits you n u’re enjoying it…. why would I care?

    • Ewa

      January 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      as in i tire o..

  54. Roqeebah

    January 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Lol! Blame the “returnees” for trying to turns us into believers of the “hair is political” movement/religion. I don’t believe anyone denied a Nigerian woman a job placement because she had ‘deeper-life hair'(please try not to take this personally). I have seen several Executive Managers who wear their hair in plaits and kiko to work. For us here in Nigeria, I’m quite certain “it’s just hair”! Arit has made very good points and in the most objective manner possible. Rock your hair anyway you please and for whatever reasons too abeg!

    • Cancel Reply

      January 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      My friend works in a bank in Lagos and she has been warned not to bring her natural hair to work!!

    • jaguarnana

      January 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      My colleague at work a grown ass woman with a masters degree has been bullied by her boss into hiding her natural hair in braids & weaves…. are you in the same Nigeria with us?

  55. Rose

    January 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Wow the same people that scream and shout over people lightening their skin foe whatever reason suddenly turn to ”its personal preference” with regards to hair. its all the same thing. love yourself the way you were made. find peace in yourself and dont let others define who you are.

  56. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    January 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    @TA
    Right back at you babe. Sometimes I just appreciate observerville more. No need to ask how you been cos I seen you aint holding back none on them vintage qualities (smiles).

  57. Adiaha

    January 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    While I think it is a good article, I noticed that Arit herself did not address or question her family’s negative reaction to her wanting to cut her hair. We can sit her and pretend ‘it’s just hair’ but for many people, including some of those commenting, it is not just hair. Otherwise why care if it’s long, short, relaxed, natural or a weave?

    In Nigeria, kinky hair is considered by some as ‘bush’ like, so why is it hard to understand that women who choose to be natural seek solace, understanding, praise, support from each other. For many women who are natural, they had to learn how to care for their kinky texture because they were used to relaxing for years. So why won’t they create their own space to share and learn from each other? Why does the presence of natural hair care forum where their type of beauty is celebrated bothersome to anyone? Unless someone specifically made a bad comment to you being relaxed, I think you should follow your own advice and leave the naturals be.

    Most of the world still upholds the European beauty standard and anything close or a resemblance to it, and for African/Black women that is relaxed/ straight weave. So it can be hard as a natural women when we are all constantly blasted with Euro beauty standards, even among African and Black communities. Outside of these natural hair blogs/vlogs, how often do you see kinky hair upheld or celebrated as beautiful anywhere in the world? What is a natural hair Nazi? I ask because I have seen this term before but never understand the ‘nazi’ part of it. I know I haven’t seen or read all natural hair blogs but so far, I have never come across any that was bad mouthing women who relax or wear weave. Anyone care to share?

    • menoword

      January 7, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Hi Adiaha, to answer your question, my mother tended my hair very carefully as I grew up; she literally invested time and energy into making sure my hair was at its best – it was unrelaxed up to when I got into Uni. Hair gets a lot of attention in my house; the shock was not so much that I wanted to go natural, but that I wanted to cut my hair. Plus my family knows me for waking up and suddenly making dramatic life decisions; they kinda balance me out. My mum is currently sporting a pouffy cloud of unrelaxed hair so that wasn’t the issue at all.

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you. Someone with sense. Nigeria can pretend all they want that they do not want to be white with relaxer or they want an easy lifestyle with relaxer….you are perpetuating a narrative subconsciously. These are the same people on BN who will criticize someone for bleaching. Bleaching is easier no? The lighter you are, the more attractive you look no? If you cannot bleach, then why relax. If relaxing is not trying to be white, then why is bleaching so? In my view, they are one and the same thing. Altering oneself to look less of oneself. Shikena.

    • Newbie

      January 8, 2014 at 11:27 am

      I have never considered and will never conside bleachi, but to be fair to ladies who bleach, I don’t think they think it will make them look white, I think they believe that they look more attractive , and being attractive does not equal being white.. You will need more than bleached skin to look white – more like a total Michael Jackson makeover, and I don’t think chicks are doing that. They just want to look a little bit more like their naturally light-skinned sisters, although I am yet to see one bleached person (even asians) that I can’t tell has bleached.

  58. Adiaha

    January 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    A little off topic but I think it is relevant to this type of sentiment expressed by Arit and those of us commenting – shouldn’t this ‘live and let live’ attitude about hair also be applied to those who bleach their skin? After all as we say about hair, it is our preference, and our choice, so shouldn’t we express the same about those who bleach their skin. I mean we can’t call one self hate and the other preference. Aren’t they exercising the same right and preference?

    • Cancel Reply

      January 7, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      You do make a very valid point!

  59. Cancel Reply

    January 7, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Some relaxed hair girl are condescending towards natural hair girls, and #teamnatural girls are equally insulting . No one group has monopoly on the stupidity!

    Personally, I get all sort of dumb and intrusive remarks from relaxed hair and weave wearing folks. E.g people poking their fingers in my head and asking me “when are you going to retouch hair”, “na wa o, you still have this natural hair”, “How will a guy ask you out with this kind of hair”. The list of the insolent remarks is endless and most times, I am too weak to even respond.

    Whether we like it or not, hair is a social issue. We live in a world where European beauty is considered superior and when you have peruvian, brazillian hair, and straightened relaxed hair, you are giving a stamp of approval and agreeing that Caucasians are more beautiful than you.

    That being said, natural hair is hard to maintain! Black hair is not naturally easy to handle and it is understandable why people resort to all sorts to make their hair more manageable…

    From relaxed hair to contacts lenses, to weaves and now skin lightening.What is it going to be next?

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Natural hair is hard to maintain because we are not used to taking care of it. If you had learned from a young age to take care of it….not the pulling and tearing of hair between someone’s laps, but actual care of it, do you think it will be difficult for you now? I think not. For the past four generations, our mothers have failed to pass on knowledge about healthy hair. If you move up North, most fulanis do not relax their hair. They still have methods that their foremothers use to caring for their hair. If you move to Ethiopia, the same thing.

      So the excuse that natural hair is difficult, is just that, an excuse. Most of us got our first perm at 10 -12 years of age, a critical age when we are to learn about ourselves and our hair.

      It will take time to learn about our hair. Non-Africans had their childhood to be acquainted with their hair, most blacks are knowing their texture for THE FIRST TIME in their adulthood. Some even in their 40s.

    • Cancel Reply

      January 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      I agree with you, that some of us don’t know how to care for our natural hair since we have been relaxing for years. I have been natural most of my life and although, I have found what works for me, it is still a hassle and it is hard to maintain. Let us face facts.The fact that you have to follow some rules to comb your hair and douse it in all sorts of oils is testimony that it is not a walk in the park.When you find the right products, it becomes somewhat easier but you have to spend so much time taking care of it.

    • jaguarnana

      January 7, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Bless you…

    • Que

      January 8, 2014 at 10:18 am

      “…No one group has monopoly on the stupidity….” ….#SayNoMore!

  60. Meanwhile....

    January 7, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    PLEASE I’M ON MY KNEES, BEGGING: who knows where I can get natural oils in Lagos at reasonable prices? The only one I’ve been able to find is Shea butter.q
    Info on where to get natural coconut, almond, argan oils will be much appreciated. By the way, I have relaxed hair with about two inches of new growth, still undecided on whether to BC or apply some creamy crack. Arguing about hair gives it more importance that it really deserves. The truth is, Hair is just Hair oh. All these movements and political statements from the Chimamanda and Kardashian wannabes just underlies a deep-seated insecurity. The only thing that matters is what works for YOU – how does your hair best flourish? Relaxer? Natural? With thread? Under braids? Study your hair, study yourself and be Happy. Shikena

    • menoword

      January 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Meanwhile – naturalnigerian or namaste organics should hook you up very easily. Just check them out on facebook or google them

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      January 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      Visit KinkyApotheary, I hope the spelling is correct. Or Casabella, or naturalnigerian.com

    • Berry Dakara

      January 8, 2014 at 7:28 am

      African Naturalistas has Castor oil and Coconut oil.

      africanaturalistas.com

  61. God made a mistake with black hair, weave heads am I lying?

    January 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    black women are the most inferior and inscure women! tufiaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. Babes

    January 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Nigerians why do we really bother about things that dont matter. I still dont get it…All this bashing because of natural hair. I started wearing my hair natural when I moved to yankee briefly. It was expensive to do all the weaves and I attempted relaxing my hair myself and it broke silly. I liked seeing people wear their natural hair and I liked it so I transitioned. Its been almost 2 years now and I love my natural hair. I carried my natural hair during this holiday and got compliments, however I am getting my braids on when work resumes. People it is never that serious. Problem is Nigerians like to get validation, you wear artificial nails cuz pple are doing so, you buy brazillian because people are doing same. When are we going to start being comfy in our own skins and do things because we want to do them for ourselves because of the satisfaction you derive on your own. WHEN????

  63. Kiki

    January 7, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!! Whether Relaxer or Natural Hair its all your choice. I have had my share of both and am sticking to my Natural Hair.

  64. KingsQueen

    January 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Its really not that serious… just do YOU!!!

  65. Berry Dakara

    January 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Chineke nna, too many comments! I agree with Arit though, in saying that a lot of healthy hair care practices have come from the natural hair camp (for lack of a better word).

    To all the naturals, relaxed, texlaxed, weave-wearers, etc – stop hating on each other and giving unsolicited advice about “your hair is unhealthy, your hair isn’t pretty, your hair is not your hair.”

    Gawsh, can we start the year with some peace and love? Going to look for a wedding post jo.

    berrydakara.blogspot.com

  66. God made a mistake with black hair, weave heads am I lying?

    January 7, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    the same people that will complain about women bleaching are the same people who will fry their hair, wear brazillian Mongolian Australian Korean hair hahahahaha black women unu ncha di egwu!!!!

  67. Miriam

    January 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    It’s rather funny to come across this just few days after getting a hair cut.
    I practical went round town in search of a decent salon and all the places I went to, people just looked at me like I was simply crazy,the ladies looked on in anger/horror, like i’m about to commit some kind of abomination, a few friends even thought so too but I so didn’t care. I wanted a hair cut, a different look and probably a step further to the whole healthy hair journey.
    Do I regret getting a hair cut, absolutely NO……. Am I loving it, totally YES.
    So I do agree its all about Choice, some people still can’t deal with (their headache,not mine).

  68. MizImani

    January 8, 2014 at 2:33 am

    I read the article, and I read the comments (not all though…most of them) and I am baffled. On the one hand, we complain about people making general statements, and then we turn around and do the same.

    We all need to understand that different people have different reasons for their “Hair decisions”. For some it is very political, it’s making a statement, taking a stand. On the other hand, some people just did the BC/ transitioned to protect their hair, or to get a different look. Naturals tend to talk a lot about hair ’cause to be honest, there’s a lot to learn from each other when it comes to taking care of your hair, products to use et al. Hence the need for meet-ups and naturalistas fora.

    If you are already dealing with self-image issues about your hair, that’s a different case on its own. If you feel left out when naturals start gushing about their hair issues, and various you tube videos, hair products, and what-not, that one is another thing. If someone begins to offer unsolicited advice about you hair, there is nothing stopping you from politely (or impolitely depending on how they approach you) telling them to keep their opinions to themselves. But please, please and please, do not generalise because I (speaking for myself) have unrelaxed, unaltered natural hair and I have never given anyone “the look”, nor given unwanted advice to anyone with relaxed hair.

    If you’ve got beautiful hair flaunt it! Anyone try to talk smack about it being relaxed or not being relaxed (whatever the case may be), tell them to go shove it where the sun don’t shine, please don’t come online and begin to make general statements and attacking strangers because you are too much of a chicken to speak up and state your mind when and where you needed to!

    If maintaining your hair is too much stress, please relax it but don’t hate people who have found what works for them and are enjoying the process!

    • Ewa

      January 8, 2014 at 8:31 am

      Gbam..

  69. travellingsoul

    January 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

    So there is a war in Nigeria on this?? Please y’all, Nigerians follow ALL the fads so this is not an exception. I predicted this in 2011 when It became popular in the US. I believe being natural or relaxed is a personal choice… Its also what you feel absolutely comfortable with. I have been in and out of Nigeria for almost four years and the reason I am natural is because it is waaayy cheaper to be that way outside the country. I also learnt how to attach braids and extension by myself to save myself some money. When relaxed i had mid back length hair because of proper care and attention and i am at almost the same length now that I am natural. If Same care and attention that is given to natural hair is also given to relaxed hair, hair will still grow. What we should spread is just the awareness of taking proper care of the hair and methods to so… Not having an argument on which is better…

  70. adelegirl

    January 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I’ve been natural for about year and a half but it is no joke. I like that the natural experience has forced me to take betetr care of my hair and even my body generally- my quest for natural har care tips led me to healthy living and wellbeing sites and I am eternally grateful. But whether natural or relaxed, I like to have my hair braided, woven or under a weave. Aint nobody got time for all that combing and styling every morning. I just like to brush or pack into place and go about my daily business. I am giving it another 6months to 1year for my hair to get really healthy and full and I am going to at least texturise if not completely relax it.I hate how hard my hair gets after deep conditioning it and leaving it to air dry before a salon visit. Once it’s time to comb it out for the weave or braid to get installed, it becomes hard and I have to endure a few wincing, eye watering minutes of straightening my hard hair with a blow drier and comb. I don’t understand people who get all antsy and testy about this natural hair vs relaxed hair palaver. Me I am on team healthy hair which is why I love Dabs of Naija Hair Can Grow Blogspot. All her tips work for both natural and relaxed – actually almost all if not all of all natural hair blogs work on relaxed hair as well- so why can’t we just get along? 🙁 🙂

  71. 'Midé

    January 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    How I wish African females would stop being knuckleheads. I am not sure I understand the community celebration of poisoned hair that Arit Okpo and the rest of her family are promoting in this poor essay. Can anyone imagine the idea that a stranger walks into a girl’s office and starts playing with her hair? A stranger, a man lost it all seeing Arit Okpo’s and gets familiar. Abeg, you silly girls please stop this nonsense.

    Some of us live in the western world and see how hard some of you are trying. For once, intelligent girls are helping you redefine and reclaim your identity from slavery and psychological abuse, yet most of you spoilt brats can seem to get the idea.

    Anyway, me I no dey do artificial hair o! Na natural women me like to dey love craze. No time for wannabes without identity sha.

    • Jo!

      January 9, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Knuckleheads? Poisoned hair? Spoilt brats? Wannabes without identity?
      LOOOÒOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. Duuuuuuude!
      Wetin dem carry, wetin you throw? If you prefer girls with natural hair, fine. The point is, everyone’s got the right to make their own choices. So the insults were quite juvenile and unnecessary

  72. felicia

    January 10, 2014 at 2:33 am

    i just wan ask one kweshun… is folake of style pantry rocking her natural hair??

  73. classylaidi

    January 13, 2014 at 7:57 am

    loooool… at all these comments tho. I’m natural and i’m very proud of it. I have been natural for 22 months now and I don’t regret it one bit. Even though i transitioned and lost a lot of hair in the fall of 2012, I have regained twice the length of the hair I have been growing all my life all in one year. My hair is very happy, natural, beautiful, puffy and a healthy fro. I have my edges right now.

    I will also like to advise you all to take a look at Naomi Campbell’s hairline and see how messed up it is. This is all because of weaves and relaxers. She is now suffering from alopecia. Relaxers are so unhealthy for your hair.

  74. classylaidi

    January 14, 2014 at 5:31 am

    In my opinion, we as black women should stop altering God’s creation. God didn’t create our hair to be straight and silky like the blondes and brunettes. He specially made our hair to be kinky and wavy. Don’t you think that God is a wise God??? We should learn to appreciate how God created us. We should stop feeling inferior about our physical attributes. My stay in yankee has made me appreciate God’s creation because I have seen so many races and how God gave each race their distinctive characteristics. If the Indians can flaunt their way hair, the blondes and brunettes flaunting their natural caucasian hair and the asians can flaunt their very straight and silky hair, why can’t we as black Africans flaunt and appreciate our thick, kinky and wavy hair??? Why can’t we??? We should learn to be proud of our heritage and physical attributes.

  75. Adeola @ TheManeCaptain

    April 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    the author missed the point and the reason why many women choose to wear their natural hair out. It doesn’t seem like someone coerced her into doing the big chop and wearing her natural hair. you could have transitioned for a while to get a feeling of what it’s like to have natural hair and then relax the hair once you feel like its not for you. i have to commend you for taking the big leap and trying it out.
    You don’t have to have damage hair to go natural, many women with healthy hair like yours do the big chop and wear their afro hair for personal reasons.
    themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

  76. Nyazivea

    April 7, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    haaa this was so easy!

  77. Alorye

    April 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I’ve had natural hair for close to 8years now and the decision to have natural hair was not borne out of a fashion or trend but out of choice to do something different with my hair. I went from very long and healthy hair of same length from front to about bra strap and used to get the same reaction as the reader from people who wanted to know if it was a weave or real. My younger sister has several inches longer than that now since I went natural she decided to catch up. The point in this is that it is possible (contrary to general opinion or belief) to grow long and healthy relaxed hair) Of course I knew enough to fight with the hair dressers and make sure the relaxer did not stay in my hair for too long or allow them to give the tips of my hair a touch up. I also did not allow them to trim my braids thereby cutting my permed hair in the process. I definitely did not allow them braid the little hair in the front of my head or allow them trim my hair every time I retouched it because I figured out pretty early that constant trimming of hair that grows from our African scalps (which is not as fast as Asians or Caucasians) will not allow the hair grow as long as we want it to. My decision to go enjoy the versatility that came from different styles that can be done and I’m pretty much a hands on person when it comes to hair things. I believe the choice of being having a perm of being natural should remain individual. I enjoy being natural especially when I get compliments from other people about my hair but truth is that anyone who understands a lot about hair care for African Hair, natural products which are good for both natural and permed hair can enjoy healthy hair and long hair if the want. Most of the damage to permed hair comes as a result of relaxing the roots over and over again and not new hair, this of course weakens the hair. Also ghana braids as far as I’m concerned is one of the worst hair styles to enter this country. Ghana braids deals with front hair like no man land. Avoid it whether you are natural or have permed hair.

  78. Edwina

    June 19, 2014 at 9:35 am

    The main issue that a lot of comments seem to not address is that, whether you like it or not, relaxer is not good for your hair. It’s not. Plain and simple. A lot of naturals realised that and also realised that instead of spending money for salon trips, less can be spent on your unrelaxed hair. (yes you can actually save money if you know where to look).
    Natural hair is not for the lazy or faint of heart and is definately not for the uninformed. Take it however you like it. But if you persevere it can work out.
    I have nothing against weaves as long as they are done with sense. They are good protective styles as well as kinky twists. So there.
    If you want to relax your hair or keep it natural the choice is up to you. I just feel like you can get more length natural and if you dont like it you can relax it. its not a long process.
    Nobody should hate anybody. Just dont defend yourself by pitting women down. Same hgoes for other naturals who do.

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