“Growing up, I had always been very eclectic with my choice of hairstyles,” says Maryanne. “I remember few times when I was in high school, I would come back home and tell my mum I wanted to cut my hair, she would look at me strangely.”
For this week’s #BNFroFriday feature, it was refreshing to chat with a different type of natural hair lover; a fashion stylist who describes herself as an adventurous soul and lover of nature.
Maryanne Alabi loc’ed her natural hair in 2005 and has since then been rocking dreads as part of her style identity. There is, after all, a much-needed uptick in the mainstream representation of the natural hair movement like her diverse protective style for hair texture using dreadlocks.
Aside from her gorgeous dreads what else excites Maryanne? “I have this crazy relationship with shoes, it’s pretty bad and when I’m sad, staring at my shoe collection most times make me happy, Lol”
BNS: Why did you decide to go natural?
MA: I didn’t really have healthy hair even though my hair was long, all the years I was applying relaxer, I experienced hair loss in front of my hair and had to always style my hair as side patterns to cover the side of the hair I lost, so annoying… Well not until I became a naturalista!!
BNS: So how did you change to Locs?
MA: I had always loved seeing people who have dreadlocks, I made it my “American Dream”. So I read up about it, to know how I could transition successfully and then decided to braid my hair and fix extensions for 10 months till my undergrowth was long and finally became natural or what some would call virgin hair. Those ten months were so not fun as washing and combing my hair was a nightmare, I would cry and scream while I got my hair combed, braided or packed, but the thought of my American dream kept me calm somewhat.
It was the first week in August 2005 the day to do the big chop finally came, I called my hair stylist to come to the house, because I did not want people to see this transition and I was not sure how I would feel or react afterward, so we did the big chop at home, and by the end of that day, I was living my American dream, Hallelujah!
To say I loved the final outcome, would be an understatement, I was super excited, I felt so good, so pretty, so sexy, so powerful. I got different reactions, some people started calling me a model, some went as far to call me Warebi Martha just because she also had short dreads and she was a supermodel I loved the compliment though, some said I shouldn’t have dreads that it didn’t make me look irresponsible, and in my mind, I was like story!
I love my hair, my mum loves it and that settles it, this hair stays till I say otherwise, *rolls eyes* Twelve years down the line, I’m still dreaded, loving and living this dreaded life and now everywhere I go people want to touch my hair, they want to know my story, they want my hair, some want to buy it, lol. Some do not even believe it’s my real hair… talk about the story of my hair life.
BNS: Do you ever get tired of rocking the same hairstyle?
MA: I get bored sometimes and I fix extensions or braid it just to have a different look, which actually hides my dreads.
BNS: How does climate affect your hair?
MA: When the weather gets too dry like when its harmattan season, it makes my hair too dry and it sometimes sheds at that time.
BNS: How do you deal the dryness?
MA: I just apply 100 percent organic Shea Butter I get from Fresh Factor Herbal, that’s all I use on my hair, nothing else.
BNS: Natural vs Chemical products?
MA: Natural products as the name implies, has no side effects on the hair, so long as you are using the real organic products and applying properly, whereas chemical products have so many sides effects. For instance when you relax your hair, what it does is to stretch it and in the same vein thins it out, but with natural products you get to groom and grow your hair in a healthier way.
BNS: What’s your regular hair routine?
MA: To be honest, I do not have any specific hair routine, I only apply same Fresh Factor Herbal Shea Butter and this is the same product I use when relocking my hair. I reload my hair as often as I can but not earlier than 2 weeks and not later than 8 weeks, depending on the fresh growth I have, and what miracle I have performed on my hair, like fixing extensions.
BNS: What advice would you give to people thinking of going natural?
MA: I advise any and everyone who wants to transition, please go and read all about it. Get honest opinions from naturalistas, don’t just jump on the natural hair wagon because it looks good or its the newest trend. Being natural takes patience. You spend a lot of money, it takes dedication and you always have to be ready to learn something new. Going natural is not child’s play, it can be very painful.
BNS: What do you like best about your hair and being natural?
MA: I love how I always stand out from the crowd. My dreads have become my crown, my signature, it has opened doors for me. For instance, if I wasn’t natural, maybe I wouldn’t have been doing this interview. Lol. Going natural has been a blessing to me and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, strangely my hair is the only thing I have future plans for like I already know what I want to do with my hair five years from now.
BNS: What is your favourite hairstyle to rock?
MA: My go-to hairstyle is a high bun. It’s just so convenient and easy, it goes well with whatever fashion style I choose. Most especially, it saves me from going crazy, like when a strand of hair falls on my shoulder or my neck and I jump and scream thinking is an ant or roach… Lol
BNS: Do you have any hair crushes?
MA: Yessss, Nikki Anyansi, Yagazi Emezi simply because, when I am finally done with my dreads, I want my natural hair just like theirs… full and free.
BNS: Are you particular about sleek edges?
MA: No, I am not particular about sleek edges, but when I start to have a lot of undergrowth I love to use black gel to brush my edges in place. Black gel works better for me than edge control.
BNS: What hair accessories can you NOT live without?
MA: I cannot live without my Bunnies by Maryanne hair wrap, they are a life saver and gives me that extra vavavoom look all day every day, they are super easy to style and works wonders on any hairstyle.
BNS: If you were stuck on an island, what 3 hair products would you take with you?
MA: Shea butter, black gel, and more shea butter!
BNS: What’s your remedy for a bad hair day?
MA: Brush my hair using black gel and wear a bunny wrap.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Maryanne!
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