Photo Cred: Pinterest
I’m someone who delights in beautifully kept and styled hair on women. There is something captivating about a woman who takes good care of her hair and nurtures it. When a hairstyle has grown old it tends to easily appear tacky and can affect the entire image of the woman regardless of how smartly she may be dressed. It’s all in the detail. And no wonder, cause the Bible says that a woman’s hair is her glory and is given to her as a covering (1 Corinthians 11:15).
Hair must be something that is important to God if He takes the time out to have it discussed in His word. There are some topics that don’t even feature in the Bible and so when they do appear it’s for a good reason. The Bible speaks of how God has numbered every hair on our head (Matthew 10:30). He knows exactly how many strands of hair sit on your head and is acutely aware of when even one strand falls out or grows. He pays close attention to that. He also gives counsel to women about how best to wear their hair (1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Corinthians 11:6). Hair is also something very personal and precious, not to be touched or handled by just anyone. I mean, most women I know are very fussy about who gets to be their hairdresser. This is also seen in the story of Mary and Jesus when she chose to wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair, her glory, her covering. That was very intimate and a sign of her love for her Master. Thus, we can briefly conclude that hair is truly important to a woman. Just look at the amount of money a woman spends on her hair and that’s enough evidence on its own.
Now, hair is a whole series of books in itself in the world of the black African woman (bAw). There are so many different thoughts and preferences when it comes to how a black woman can best keep her hair, especially on the African continent. These days a bAw has so many options for her hair from relaxing her natural hair, to putting in a weave, or braiding her hair in various styles, or my favourite – choosing to keep out and maintain her natural hair. I remember growing up my hair was kept natural until I was about 10 years old or so when my Mum allowed me to enter the world of relaxed hair. I was so fascinated by this because my hair was silkier, easier to comb out and resembled the hair of my white girlfriends. I no longer had to wear skirts on my head to pretend that my hair was soft, silky and could move. This was, is and I believe will always be big for the bAw. That’s one of the reasons why we put in fake hair that moves when we slightly move our head (that’s a whole topic for another day). Our own natural hair does not even try any of that (unless you’re patient with growing it out and nurturing it accordingly).
Anyway, back to my story. I continued relaxing my hair well into my adult life. Then I remember watching the movie Good Hair by Chris Rock which opened my mind up to the harmful effects of using relaxer on your hair. I’d never really been a fan of weaves (I can count the number of times I’ve had a weave on one hand) and so that didn’t really phase me. I mean, I learnt for the first time that some of the weaves we purchase in the Western world and here in Africa have been shaved off of the heads of women in other parts of the world like India who are sacrificing to their gods. That makes you think twice about putting that hair on your head – well at least in my world. But more disturbing to me was the strength of relaxers and the damage they actually do to our hair especially when we don’t do it right. I mean no wonder why almost every black woman who’s had her hair relaxed has burnt her scalp at one point or the other. And no wonder why your hair starts thinning out at some point in some instances. You’re subjecting it to something it was never meant to go through.
Photo Cred: Pop Sugar online
This brought me to start really thinking about my hair and what was best for it. I mean, I was on this journey to just be wholly myself. To discover who Sonia was and live her out in all aspects of her life, and for some reason my hair was an important part of that. I eventually came to the conclusion that organic/original is always the best. Even in terms of diet. The world is finally catching up to what the Adventist community has known for years (thanks to a lady called Ellen G. White) in terms of health – that it’s best to adopt a diet of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and so on i.e. a plant-based diet. This was God’s original eating plan for man. In the same way, I don’t believe God foresaw us using harmful chemicals in our hair just to look pretty. There is always purpose behind what God desires for our lives regardless of how small or unimportant it may appear, and I believe that that includes the upkeep of hair. He’s always provided everything we need in the natural realm that not only is good for us but brings out our best beauty. I believe that this also applies to our hair. And besides, I am sure that what we put on or into our bodies ends up affecting our health. And boy was that relaxer strong! Who knows what it was doing to my health.
So I decided that I was going to transition to become natural. It was a big shift but it helped that my sister decided that she’d join me on the journey. This led to hours on the internet looking up natural hair blogs and YouTube videos; talking to other natural sisters that we knew; and just experimenting really. It was a bit tough to do because most of the products that are best for your hair are found in America and the few that are on the African continent are super expensive! But, with determination, you learn to make do with what you have and you learn to be so creative. And so, my hair is normally found in its natural, glorious state or in braids. There is something just so captivating about rocking your very own hair. There are no frills, no complications, no pretenses. You present yourself as you are and at your best. And the funny thing is, people are so drawn to you and your choice in hairstyle. You inspire people and bring some wholesomeness into life. You feel really great about yourself too, and you walk with your head held up a little higher.
I believe your natural hair, your crown of glory, allows your best self to come through. It allows the original design of God for the black woman to be wonderfully displayed before the entire world. It adds to your mystery and allure as the crown of creation. It allows you to stand apart and be your own individual, to be authentic. There are no questions brooding in your mind about whether it suits you or any such thing because it was created with YOU in mind! It was designed specifically for you by the Creator. It will look good on you. Thus, I encourage any bAw I get the chance to discuss this topic with to give natural hair a shot. Yes, it’s a hang of a lot of work. Yes, it’s something we’ve grown so unaccustomed to, but are thankfully waking up to. Yes, it’s not as shiny and flowing as your weave or relaxed hair. But it’s your healthiest, authentic, most beautiful option for your hair. There really is no harm in trying it out. At the end of the day, the choice is yours to do what you want with your hair and I respect every woman’s choice in this area. Yet, you’ll never know if you’ve made the best choice if you never try something different with your crown of glory 🙂
In conclusion, I decided to go natural because I believe it’s the healthiest option for my hair. I also wanted to allow the beauty God originally intended for me to be what I walk in and embrace. With time, just this one decision has opened me up to so many other aspects about myself as a bAw and embracing me in my entirety and originality. It allows me to affirm that when my Creator created me it was certainly good 😉
Are you also a natural sister? If so, why did you decide to go natural? If not, would you ever consider it or is it something completely foreign to you? I wanna hear all about your hair experiences.
Keeping it natural with some of my sisters 🙂