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#BNFroFriday: “I don’t neglect my hair, hair likes to be loved” Gorgeous OAP Aderonke Adebanjo speaks to BN Beauty about her Natural Hair Journey

Eki Ogunbor

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Today’s #BNFroFriday interview features the lovely Aderonke Adebanjo, On-Air Personality on Smooth 98.1FM in Lagos. She’s a a blogger and vlogger who is very passionate about love and relationships, which she passionately talks about on her platform called The Love Chest YouTube.com/TheLoveChest. Aderonke is also a singer and released a single last year called You Amaze Me, which was produced by Mosa. It’s available at Soundcloud.com/Aderonke.

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BellaNaija: Tell us about your hair
Aderonke Adebanjo: I am full Nigerian. I believe my hair is 4C in terms of texture. I have pretty tight curls so shrinkage is REAL (can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I’ve cut my hair!). I really want to try color – a copper shade – on my hair but just don’t have enough courage to go for it yet! I stopped putting a perm in my hair in 2004 and haven’t altered my hair in any way since.

BN: You once had relaxed hair, why did you decide to go natural?
AA: I can’t really put my finger on exactly why I decided to go natural especially because at the time I did, pretty much no one else was going natural so I had no point of reference but one day I just decided not to relax my hair anymore. I had no idea what my natural hair would look like but I was willing to explore and find out. It was so uncommon to be natural back then. I lived in Chicago at the time and used to get a lot of compliments.

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BN: How did you make the change?
AA: I definitely transitioned for a few months. I did a lot of Ghana Corn Rows and other styles during that time and then chopped off the relaxed hair when I had a Tweeny Weeny Afro (TWA). I guess most people just thought I was brave and pretty much applauded me for doing it. Lol. I loved it so I rocked it well and I had a fantastic hairstylist at the time who took great care of my hair. Shout out to Nadling Pollard in Chi-Town! I miss the extraordinary scalp massages she gave! Lol.

BN: Are you tempted to go back to having relaxed hair?
AA: I have NEVER been tempted to go back to a perm. I had really healthy and nice relaxed hair (again, thanks to great stylists I had over the years) but I prefer my natural hair to my relaxed hair in every way!

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BN: Ever hidden your natural hair?
AA: I never hid it. I rocked it to work and at the time I worked in predominantly Caucasian environments. But if you mean hide as in do protective styles then yes, because it helps when I get really busy and can’t devote a lot of time to my hair.

BN: How long have you kept your natural hair?
AA: I’ve been natural since 2004. I have cut it significantly since then, not intentionally though. Painful story. About 2-3 years ago, I desperately needed a trim. I went to a stylist here in Lagos who people had raved about. Told her I was experiencing a lot of breakage and needed a good trim. I pick up a magazine or book or maybe it was my phone. She turned the chair around, away from the mirror and when she was done, half my afro (if not more) was gone. True story. I’ll keep it real, I shed a tear or two. It was painful. Chai. Lol. I trim every 2-3 months or so or when I can tell I need to.

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BN: How does climate where you live affect your hair?
AA: I’m not entirely sure but I know that my hair changed in ways I can’t really explain after I moved back to Nigeria and I’ll attribute that to a few things, including not having products I was used to readily at my disposal and not having/finding salons and hair care providers that really understood natural hair at the time (that has changed now. Thanks to O’Naturals!)

BN: Do you have any other hair problems?
AA: Thankfully I don’t. I realize it all boils down to how much attention you give your hair. And how much attention you pay to your lifestyle and habits. I stick to a hair care routine and I don’t neglect my hair, hair likes to be loved. When you love it and show it care, it responds favorably.

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BN: What’s your stance on natural vs chemical products?
AA: I haven’t paid too much attention to this but if I have to pick between the two, I’d definitely go with natural products and I try to stay away from products that have certain chemicals listed as part of their ingredients.

BN: What’s your daily, weekly and/or monthly hair routine? 
AA: I steam my hair every two weeks (would prefer to do it every week but hey). I also spray my hair and scalp everyday with a mixture of water, an essential oil, and sometimes a leave-in conditioner especially when I’m doing protective styling.
I don’t have any specific must-have products at the moment but water is a must-have and so are essential oils like Jojoba Oil, which is my current favourite. I do want to get my hands on a whole bunch of Shea Moisture and Carol’s Daughter products though.

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BN: What advice would you give to people thinking of going natural?
AA: Just do it! It’s hair. If you don’t like it, then you can go back to what you were doing before.
Also, and this is very important: NEVER compare your hair with someone else’s. We are all very different in terms of genetic make up, lifestyle habits (which greatly affect our hair i.e. what we eat and drink, how we manage stress, where we live etc.), and where we are on our hair journey so it would be unfair to compare your hair to someone else’s. Embrace what you’ve got, find styles that suit YOU. Don’t copy what everyone is doing ’cause it might not work for you. And when you look in the mirror, make sure you honestly like what you see.

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BN: What do you like best about your hair and being natural?
AA: I love the way it feels, being natural is liberating. I can my rock my own hair when I want and rock protective styles as well but I’m not dependent on them and I like that. I think regardless of what you do to your hair, it’s great to rock yours whenever you want and not be ashamed of it.

BN: What are your favourite styles to rock and why?
AA: I love the wash and go but it is kinda high maintenance because of the knotting and potential product build up. I like twist-outs too but realistically, they only last a few days. I’ve been enjoying crochet braids/protective styling lately because they’re low maintenance so they help when things get busy.

See more Photos of Aderonke’s Hair & Protective Styles

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Thanks for sharing your journey with us Aderonke!

If you’d like to be featured, send an email to [email protected]!

Eki is the Editor for BellaNaija Style and Lifestyle Editor for BellaNaija.com She has a Vogue Fashion Certificate from Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design and also attended Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion and the University of Kent. Eki headed the Design Operations at a top Nigerian womenswear fashion brand before finding love at BellaNaija Style.Eki loves all things creative. Follow her on Instagram @ekiogunbor BellaNaija Style: [email protected] | @bellanaijastyle BellaNaija Beauty: @bellanaijabeauty BellaNaija Living: [email protected] | @bellanaijaliving

25 Comments

  1. Valentina

    September 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    You are freaking pretty. Blackie

  2. Odi

    September 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Beautiful. You exude class. Can we be friends ?

    I’m beginning to think there’s a more coarse texture than 4c cos what I see up there is really soft compared to my hair texture and I’m supposedly a 4c. Products don’t quite help for long as my hair shrinks so badly the longer it’s exposed to air. Also, at a certain point it stops growing in length and just gets thicker.

    Anyway BN, you need to start providing us with articles on how to maintain permed hair. We get it, natural hair is equally sexy and projects confidence in oneself but not all of us are blessed with soft natural hair and so resort to a perm for sanity sake.

    • Bimbo

      September 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      When your hair is growing thicker it’s actually getting longer. You just won’t see it until you stretch it.

    • Idorenyin

      September 9, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Lol Odi. Combat your shrinkage by stretching the hair, that way it’s far easier to manage and not too much wahala.

      Try google rehairducation, a Nigerian sister’s blog on texlaxed (mildly relaxed) hair. She has good tips.

    • Jenny

      September 9, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Odi – My hair is 4c too, coarse and thick, now it grows just fine and quite easy to maintain. I don’t do much. If my hair isn’t in single braids (they’re usually big braids and the front is ‘brush style’ do I don’t lose my front hair) then they’re in cornrows (for my wig), or Afro twists. My shampoo is from Estella’s Pride and my conditioner is from Africa’s Best. Besides these two products, I only use coconut and peppermint oil to massage my scalp and of course shea butter. I usually have my braids on for six weeks. I was condition and carefully blow dry my hair at a good salon every 6-7 weeks; before making my hair. And of course, I drink lots of water. These are the simple things I do, since I have a 9-5 and my hair has improved. Shrinkage is normal, you can combat is, but it’s not unusual to have. shrinkage.

    • Jenny

      September 9, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      I wash, condition and*

  3. Mia

    September 9, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    She is so beautiful and poised.

  4. Xoxo

    September 9, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    You are so beautiful Aderonke and I think you are one of the very few naturalista’s that doesn’t sound conceited towards those with permed hair. I enjoyed reading this. @odi thank you so much for that comment. I feel the same way. Bellanaija please create a platform for those of us with permed hair. Someone like me can’t survive with natural hair. I see how beautiful it is on some people but I know it’s not my struggle. My hair can be strong ehn, a month after perming, it will look like I haven’t relaxed it the whole year. Please epp

    • Nan

      September 9, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Never seen an article here where the woman interviewed was conceited towards anybody. Most people always say they are so nice and a lot of these women even say that they don’t care about relaxed vs perm. As far as bellanaija hair articles, it’s the relaxed team that are defensive and aggressive. Ahahn

    • Xoxo

      September 10, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Excuse me, which part in my comment did you read me referring to natural hair articles??? I was referring to people I know. So please before you jump under a comment and reply read it and understand it properly. Your comment sounds extremly silly. Yh i guess you know and have seen all the defensive people on bellanaija hair articles that’s why you can say they are the ones with relaxed hair. Abeg komot for here. rada rada.

  5. fee

    September 9, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I love the natural hair when i see it on some people..beautiful! I have nothing against ladies who have decided to keep their hair natural…but then, the whole fuzz is getting really boring and unneccssary tbh. Its not so special if you ask me. The deeper life women have been doing it since whenever. That was how i went on a salon hunt over the weekend since i just moved into my estate and i mistakenly stepped into a natural hair salon with my permed hair and weaves, hoping to take it out. The attitude i got from the staffs and customers was that of “whats she doing here” ….It is not that serious ladies, Easy Felicias!!!

    • Idomagirl

      September 9, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      No one forced you to read this article.

  6. Mahka

    September 9, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Lovely hair Aderonke; you are one chocolate-melanin-popping sista. I couldn’t figure out my hair type, now I have seen yours, it really looks like mine. I guess am 4c then; am coming for those neck pieces oh…Everybody be raving o’naturals; please open another branch in the east. I need such.
    BN, please listen to the permed sistaz, this journey is not for everybody.
    Thanks Eki, I kinda like your variation more than chicnatural.

  7. Bimbo

    September 9, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    This girl is pretty sha! Serious melanin popping!

  8. naijagem2

    September 9, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    I’m a naturalista too. I find it funny how the natural hair movement has infected so many Nigerian women. It is becoming popular for the wrong reasons. Gone are the days when women wore their natural hair because of religious reasons or because it was affordable or because they appreciated their natural curl pattern. Nowadays, it’s a fad. I went natural because I had an itchy scalp for years that no hair product out there could. I tried home remedies, saw a dermatologist and even tried lifestyle modifications to no avail. I resorted to washing my hair frequently but the heat from flat ironing my hair frequently finally did a number on my hair. My hair started thinning and looking unhealthy that I decided to go for a big chop. At least with my hair being in it’s natural state I can wash it as often as I want. That also meant doing away with heat.. Those were my reason for going natural. I look at people who are buying into the movement just for the fun of it and wonder if they actually know what they are signing up for. IT TAKES A LOT OF WORK AND TIME TO MAINTAIN YOUR NATURAL HAIR. phew. my saving grace is protective style such as crochets, sew ins, braids, cornrows etc. I wish all the naturalistas out the best in your hair journey and for whoever may be toying with idea of going natural, do it for right reasons. cheers

    • The Real Oma

      September 9, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      @Naijagem2, what are you on about? its just hair sista, its not that serious :))

    • Idomagirl

      September 9, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Lol, who made you the natural hair police?
      It’s not your place to tell anyone that their reasons for not relaxing are wrong.
      It’s their hair, they can relax, be natural, shave it all off if they want.
      It’s just hair abeg.

  9. An Afrikan Butterfly

    September 9, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Aderonke’s hair is pretty, and she’s giving me plenty styling inspiration! I particularly love the big updo with the kinky twists! So retro, and at the same time, it makes me think of Amy Winehouse (RIP). Love it.

    Re: natural hair being difficult or being a fad- your natural hair is simply just that- the kinks that naturally grow out of your head. No one needs a reason to wear her hair natural. If it’s because you saw it on someone else, so be it. Or it’s trendy now, experience it for yourself, sis. It’s YOURS, and you do not need any more justification than that.

    • Anonymous

      September 9, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      asin what is naijagem saying abeg? Who made you authority over hwy people are wearing their natural harir. Overknower

  10. Mrs Nwosu

    September 9, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Lovely rich hair Aderonke, I have had my natural hair since 2013 and I absolutely love it too. On the matter of Shea butter inbox me and I cud make a long term supply arrangement for you.

  11. Ese V

    September 9, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    She’s beautiful. I have suffered from alopecia since i was a child, so no natural or permed hair struggles here.
    If you have hair growing out of your own scalp, be thankful for it, You have NO idea how good you have it.

  12. LL

    September 9, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Does it really matter what reasons people have for going natural? I don’t think so. Be it a fad or for personal reasons, it is great development that we do not consider our natural hair ugly but are growing to love it, learn how to care for it and even growing an industry around it. I’d rather grow the African shea industry than grow the relaxer industry.

  13. chic wen sabi

    September 9, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Right now am going on natural, the good thing is that am so so blessed with a very full and long, kinky hair. At least if I need to protect my hair I put on wigs and when I want toreally feel that hawty natutral i just do the styling. The truth about mine is that I never used any so called hair products….. I guess some people are just blessed with good hair.
    Anyways, am saving some styles. Thanks tooo for the right up.
    Ooops, u really pretty tooo.

  14. Idomagirl

    September 9, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Beautiful woman.

  15. Niky

    September 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Nice hairstyle. I appreciate it. You look also very beautiful. I also love the way the hair extension looks. It looks very elegant and stylish

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