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How I am healing my relationship with my hair

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

girl with afro har in the field
Photo by Ricardo Donaldson

"Your hair is tough", "Your hair is hard", "relax your hair", "don't relax your hair", "get micro locs instead", "go bald", "try this product", "try that product". These are only a few conversations about my hair.

I was always a piece of work when it was time to get my hair done as a child. I would cry so much and sometimes wrestle with my mother because of how painful it was, to the point that she would usually wait for me to take a nap before doing my hair.

I eventually had to cut my hair as part of a school rule at a very young age growing up in Ghana (against my will) but my mother at the time was excited to help me do it to put an end to the pain I would go through when it was time to get a protective style.

For 9 years I had to keep my hair short with the exception of school holidays where I got to do a thing or two like braids or a perm.

Fast forward to my pre-teens, I began growing my hair again but I didn’t understand or know my hair. My mother initially wanted me to keep it natural but I was under the impression that having a perm will make it grow longer (which it absolutely does not) and that was the path I chose for my hair at the early stages with braids and pony tails in between.

We moved away from my hair stylist so I began doing my hair at home myself. This was the beginning of a viscous cycle. At the time, I didn’t know how to stop my permed hair strands from tangling during wash day and I also didn’t understand that it was normal to loose hair during wash day so out of fear that my hair was falling out and frustration of not being able get it right, I decided to transition for the big chop!

The big chop happened and I thought my hair would be easier to manage because it was now natural but it was the total opposite. I didn’t understand that I needed to care for my curls and coils differently. I didn’t realise that my hair needed more attention now than ever before. I didn’t know much about shrinkage and the type of hair I had. I only focused on using recommended products to get results without really knowing my hair.

We had no relationship!

3 years later, I chose to texturize my coils because I thought it would be easier to manipulate only to begin transitioning to my natural hair for a final time one year later. This time I was sure it was going to stay natural but that was it. Protective style and wigs but still no relationship with my hair. I did consider the big chop again and then micro locs later. I had given up and was willing to deal with it!

It wasn’t until I saw other girls rock their fros fearlessly and talk about how they care for it and the patience it needs. Talk less about using the products my hair likes and allowing my curl definition to shine through.

I learnt quickly that it’s not a one size fits all approach. This was what I was doing wrongly all along. I now understand that my hair is not "tough", it is not "hard", I only have a very tender scalp which means I need to be gentle will my hair. no pulling and tugging. It is okay to lose strands during wash day and best to use minimal heat.

I now understand that I need to learn to love my hair the way I learnt to love myself. And loving it means getting to know the depths of it. What it likes and doesn’t like, what products make it flourish, how to go easy on my edges and wash day, how to protect it from damage and carving out and enjoying the time I get to spend with it.

I also began speaking life into my hair with affirmations to re program my mind on what I have been telling myself about it over the years.

I can proudly say that our relationship is healing and these days, I look forward to wash day because I took a minute to hear my hair communicate what it likes and what it needs to be it’s full unique self and I’m excited to give it what it needs and focus of on our healing journey. I wear it with even more pride! It really is my crown 😊

Tell me about your current relationship with your hair in the comments below.

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1 commentaire

16 sept. 2022

This is so true. I need to be patient and I need to pay attention to what my my tolerates. thank you for this

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