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Berry Dakara: Going Natural Won’t Make Your Hair Longer or Stronger



Berry-Anita-Kesiena-Cakes-BellaNaija-Wedding-Natural-Hair-Bride-Outdoor-Beach-Lagos-Wedding-0AnitaKesFinalEdit_092-600x399If you’ve taken a good look around in the past couple of years, you may have noticed that more and more ladies are either transitioning to natural hair, or have “gone natural.” There have been many debates on different platforms about natural hair versus relaxed hair versus texlaxed hair versus who-cares hair. Note because, THIS is not one of those articles. I’m not here to tell you to ditch your relaxer, so calm down before you get ready for Hair War #275.

Using myself as an example, I daresay that many new naturalistas or transitioners have made the switch because they believe that having natural hair will be a cure for breaking, weak, or short hair. The reasons why I stopped relaxing my hair in 2006 were because I saw that my relaxed hair was not growing; in addition, the little that was growing was quite thin and weak. I naively thought that once I removed relaxers from my life, I would have a gloriously gorgeous set of curls coils springing from my head. Can you say WRONG?!?!?!?!?!?

After I mistakenly BC’d (I went for a trim, and the scissor-happy stylist decided to cut off all my relaxed ends), I patiently waited for the length to come. Year 1 passed – not too bad. Year 2 passed – okaaay. Year 3 – isi, how far na? Year 4 – maybe I’m doing something wrong. EUREKA! That was the problem! You see, when my hair was relaxed, I wasn’t taking care of it properly. Hair care regimen? What’s that? Enh, shey all I needed to do was have braids for like 3 months and it would grow abi? No need to wash, condition, or moisturize. Well, I continued that behavior well after all my relaxed hair was gone. Suffice it to say, my natural hair wasn’t progressing as magically as I originally thought it would.

Honestly, it’s only been in the past year and a half, that I’ve tried to maintain a biweekly hair care regimen. I started contributing weekly to the African Naturalistas blog, and this forced me to take better care of my hair (Practicing what I was preaching). And even though my hair’s not growing at the rate I see with others on Instagram, hair blogs or YouTube, there has been a marked difference between my hair now and just 2 years ago. The only thing I’ve done is just take [better] care of my hair. I daresay if I had adopted these healthy hair care practices when I had relaxed hair, I would have seen a very big difference with time. You don’t have to go far to see our fellow Nigerian ladies with long, healthy relaxed hair.

Some of the tips you should adhere to in creating your healthy hair regimen include:
• Regular washing and/or co-washing (weekly, twice a week, or biweekly for most people)
• Keeping hair moisturized at all times (remember oil is NOT moisture, WATER is).
• Using healthy hair products
• Keeping hair protected (protective styles that aren’t done too tight, and covering hair with a scarf or bonnet while sleeping)
• Knowing what works for your own hair

So what’s the point of all this? If you’re relaxed and thinking about (or already transitioning) because you want your hair to grow, going natural might not necessarily be the answer! Take stock of your current hair care routine, do a little research, and then make your decision on what’s next and best for you.

Berry Dakara is a Lifestyle blogger ( who shares her thoughts on anything and everything from marriage to friendships to faith, and other random topics. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook - @berrydakara. She's also a weekly contributor to the African Naturalistas, a natural hair website and consultancy dedicated to teaching healthy hair care practices.

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