I am Nigerian/ British. I was born in Nigeria and spent most of my life in Britain. Growing up in London I was surrounded by others of African or Caribbean descent so while hair was definately a topic of conversation we all understood the intricacies of black hair. Particularly black women’s hair.
Since studying university a mix of people from different countries and now living in Glasgow, I would often get questions about my hair and ever changing hairstyles. So I thought it would be a good idea to answer some of the frequently asked questions and terminology of black hair.
So where to start? Probably one of the best guides to on black hair is the documentary Good Hair by Chris Rock, although it’s focused on America it does explain the history and politicisation of our hair as for quite a few people what black women or men do with their hair is a political statement.
Natural hair is when our hair is left in its natural state with little or no treatment. Natural hair for black people comes in many shapes or sizes but is very curly, kinky, spirally or coils. The word coarse is often used but I don’t like the word.
Relaxing is a way of chemically straightening your hair. It is. Form of permanent straightening but like dying needs a touch up every couple of months as the roots grow out. New growth is when natural hair grows out and your relaxer meets it.
A weave is when you add hair extensions. The most common method is to braid your hair then sew or glue in the extensions using a special bond but other methods include it be clipped in, micro bonded or lace fronts as styled by people like Nikki minaj. The extensions can be styled to be long, short, straight, curly, and human hair extensions can be dyed.
Braids come in varying sizes and forms from box braids like Janet Jacksons Poetic Justice look to intricate cornrows to twists no pick and drop (where the hair is just braided at the top).
Pretty self explanatory
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take to do?
It depends, braids take the longest, sometimes up to 6 hours, a weave doesn’t take as long, only a couple of hours.
How long does it last?
Most styles are advised to be kept in for max of 6-8 weeks then they are taken down. The best practice is to leave your natural hair out for a couple of weeks before doing something else to it.
Can i touch your hair?
No not really, it’s fine to ask but unless your my hairdresser or boyfriend or family it does make you feel like you are in a petting zoo.
Why do you change your hair so often?
Because I like too. It’s great to be able to change my look so simply and easily, it’s also a way to express my style and personality.