There is no doubt that Afro hair is beautiful.

With its coils, curls, thickness and texture, the most fascinating about this hair is that there is so much more to it than just hair care but the history and industry too.

Black women have a permanent crown attached to them; their natural hair. And when a black woman embarks on her journey to healthy natural hair, she feels empowered, liberated and confident.

African natural hair is a great representation of Black culture and an expression of the infinite possibilities that emanates from this creative and daring consciousness.

For many years, black women used harsh chemicals to straighten their hair because society had deemed it ‘inappropriate’ ‘dirty’ or ‘damaged’ so straightening their hair with chemicals was the only way a Black woman could look ‘presentable’ and in order to land a good job.

Your hair had to look as less ‘Black’ as possible. Although this is still the case in some areas, it is gradually fading away. For instance, in the past few years young girls have been suspended from school for wearing their natural textured hair such as SA Pretoria Girls High which prohibited afros and required Black girls to straighten their hair which sparked protests in 2016 and in Kenya High School, a Rastafarian girl was banned from attending school because of her hair.

But these days, natural hair has gained popularity and more women have omitted the use of chemicals on their hair and have decided to embrace natural hair. It has been established that hair chemical sales have dropped by 20% between 2018 and 2020 in South Africa and are now the smallest segment of the Black hair care market.

Black women across Africa, and globally are now celebrating black beauty by proudly wearing their afros with confidence and that’s how it should be. Natural hair is not necessarily a symbolism of pride but rather a symbol of acceptance as it grows from our heads.

Black women should confidently walk into boardrooms, auditions, interviews, pageants and other spaces with their afros worn like crowns, with their head up high and a big smile on their face, unapologetically. Natural hair is an exquisite crown which should be embraced. It is a wonder and fascination to many, but to the Black women who’s wearing her afro, it’s a head full of unique, healthy beauty. Wearing our natural hair builds resilience, confidence, strength and unshakable pride.

 

“I love my hair because it’s a reflection of my soul. Its dense,it’s kinky, it’s soft., its textured, it’s difficult, it’s easy and it’s fun. That’s why I love my hair” – Tracee Ellis Ross

 

  “I knew we were magical creatures the moment I realized that our hair could defy gravity”- Zozibini Tunzi

 

DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR, PLEASE!

While many Black African women have decided to embrace their natural hair, they have succumbed to criticism and discrimination and this stems from lack of information. Touching a Black women’s hair without her permission is rude and intolerable, even if you ask, the answer is no (Note to the ‘Karens’).

Apart from the sanitary concerns, touching someone else’s hair can be dehumanizing and its awkward. Its ok to admire our hair from a distance, we like that, but please keep the hands away. By asking to touch Black natural hair, you are feeding into the misconception that straight hair is the norm and anything else is abnormal.

 

GET TO KNOW YOUR TYPE

The image below illustrates the types of hair. There are four main hair types, each with its subcategories. These four categories encompass straight, curly, wavy, and kinky hair patterns.

Knowing your type helps to know how to take care of your hair and which products to use. When you know your type, you have a better understanding of why your hair looks the way it does and brings out your confidence.

Nandile Mnguni
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