Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle

Going natural

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Sometimes our hair just needs a break from chemicals and all those relaxers we love to apply. And what do you know, more and more women are taking a break from treatment and relaxing regimes as well as hot-combing and tonging their hair as they go natural.

While most women – at least in Kampala would faint before going natural, one cannot deny the fact that more women today sport the natural look, for various reasons.

According to William Ssentamu, a hair stylist at Tamborine Saloon in Kabalagala, natural hair has been a movement for several years. “What we are seeing now is a confirmation that this is a lifestyle that is very important to a lot of women. These days a good number of women want to be seen with healthy and thick natural hair,” he says.

Besides that, the current high standard of living has forced some people to go natural because it is cheaper to maintain and they do not have to visit the salon every weekend.

“Different salons have various charges but working on natural hair is always the cheapest,” Ssentamu adds. On average, saloons will charge Shs10,000 for wash and blow dry unlike relaxing which goes for between Shs30,000 and Shs40,000.

Also, Ssentamu says, one can choose to buy her hair products including a shampoo, conditioner, oil and a blow dryer and do everything by herself pretty easily, unlike for relaxed hair which although it can be done at home, is quite cumbersome.

However it is important to note that natural hair requires proper maintenance.

“Use of a moisturising shampoo is a must at least after every two weeks and, those formulated for dry or damaged hair are the most nourishing. Follow each shampoo with a rinse-out conditioner such as Jojoba, Motions, or mayonnaise based products to help soften and straighten the hair. People should avoid the use of heat appliances otherwise their hair elasticity will weaken and the colour will change gradually,” he adds.

There is also a special way to handle natural tresses during the combing out process whether the hair is wet or dry. “One needs to apply a moisturising cream for softening after rinsing out the conditioner and using a wide-toothed comb, detangle the hair from the ends going towards the root. A wide toothed comb minimises hair breakage compared to small toothed combs,” he says.

Adventurous you
The June 2005 issue of Essence magazine explains that, after rinsing out the moisturising cream or conditioner, one needs to blow dry the hair in sections with a comb attachment. “Try to avoid extreme heat because it will diminish the hair’s elasticity, causing breakage. To straighten and curl your hair natural hair, apply natural coconut oil and blow dry then use a curling iron,” Essence wrote.

Going natural might seem strange, especially for those who have been relaxing their hair for as long as they can remember. But trying it out might come with a pleasant experience as long as you do it the right way.

Why I keep it natural
Leaving my kinky tightly coiled “mess” of hair as it is quite the experience. Some people have praised me for staying true to my African heritage. What they don’t know is that heritage has nothing to do with it. I’m just afraid of getting hurt by the chemical used to perm it and yanking a wide-toothed comb through it looks like the lesser evil. And then there are those who say I have refused to move with the times—read I am local. I don’t know why this always sounds like a compliment, it makes me feel as African as our forefathers were. The truth is there is no agenda to having natural hair. I just chose to trust God’s decision. So what if the wind can’t move it like it does Beyonce’s or that I can’t successfully run my fingers through it… at least it is mine. [Grace Kenganzi]

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