Someone once said to me that having natural hair was difficult.
She wasn’t lying.
But the truth is that as much as the words “difficult, unmanageable, time-consuming” usw are associated with natural afro curls, afro hair is and always will be magic.
When I lived in Nigeria with my afro hair it was easy because I had no idea how to care for it so I never really knew anything about taking care of it. Plus I couldn’t get my hair done myself and I would pay someone to do it.
Then I moved and being the everlasting cheapskate that I am, I couldn’t be spending over 100€ twice a month just to look fly as per hair. So I had to learn hair making. It was tough and annoying the first few times and my results were always butt ugly!
Anyways, it was crazy and I was frustrated with the whole idea of sticking with a routine for growth and health because it felt like all that work was pointless. Plus having natural hair my first years in Germany was a mad house for me. Getting hair products for my hair was difficult because I was looking for particular brands made for afro hair. The need to have nice hair outweighed the need for healthy hair and I found myself constantly trying expensive things that only made me more mad.
Then, I got back from work one day and before jumping into the shower, picked up a pair of scissors and cut my hair all off. It was the best decision ever. Lemme just say that my hair wasn’t unhealthy. I just got tired of maintaining the length and I hungered for those days when I could go to bed without a night routine, without spending hours detangling and all that hair jazz.
Sadly, the days of dropping into bed with my teeny weeny afro or showering and letting the water run down my head weren’t long. I feel like I didn’t even enjoy those days well enough. In over six months, I was already putting my hair in corn rows for bed.
So, is it difficult having afro hair in Germany? Not at all. Here are my few tips and tricks I learned.
It’s Not In The Bottle
When you walk into afro shops, the prices of hair products are so painful and you can feel the sting on your skin as you peruse the tubs or bottles. I used Isana to build a routine when my hair was cut really low and what I observed was that having healthy hair wasn’t necessarily about the bottles you were buying. It wasn’t about the promises each product made. It was about routine. I mixed up a lot of hair care cocktails for my deep conditioning treatments and used all products from Rossmann. Occasionally I would get one bottle of whatever from Aldi or even DM but the results weren’t just from the products.
My hair was being looked after and it was flourishing through that constant nursing!
Create A Routine
This is where the word “difficult” becomes synonymous with natural hair. Having a routine can be stressful and time consuming. But the one way I learned how to stick with a routine was to just let go! Sounds insane oder? I disciplined myself after I cut my hair. Sure, because of the short length, it was easy to create the routine. I didn’t just pick one day in the week for deep condition. I deep conditioned when I felt I needed to. As my hair grew, I just went with the flow. If I felt like I hadn’t done anything to my hair, I would just get into the kitchen for a bowl I could use to mix my stuff and that was it! Sure I’ve had proper crazy days where I got frustrated with my hair. When I felt the anger rising, especially during styling, I would just leave my hair alone, tie a headscarf or just let the afro out.
Don’t Stress On It
Putting too much pressure on yourself with your hair can make you tire quickly. If your deep conditioning treatments were done weekly and a week passed without you doing it, don’t fret about it. Just pick another convenient time. This may dispel the point of creating a routine, but the idea is that you remembered to do your stuff. Do it the next day or have another convenient time! Don’t stress it. It’s not the end of the world.
Style Your Own Hair
Get some flat twists done, or go the minimalist way and rock a high bun. Don’t freak out if you couldn’t get to the salon on time for some braids or even regular cornrows. Go the diy route, section your hair off and practice!
Invest In Extensions
In my opinion, they don’t need to be expensive. If you cannot afford those over 500€ wigs with the natural looking frontal, go into the afro stores and pick up those 30€ pieces. You don’t wear them daily so why bother right? Hell if you can afford them OK go for it. My point being that it doesn’t matter how cheap your wigs go for in the shop. These days, there are videos online on how to change the look of your wigs. If you are handy, try making a few. Clip ins are the ultimate by the way. So opt for that if you’d rather.
Love Your Hair
Because nobody else would the way you do yours. It’s your crown, it’s your unique, it’s your beautiful, it’s your perfection.
Try New/Cheap Products
Experiment with various products until you find the ones that work like magic. Remember, expensive doesn’t always mean better.
Understand that natural hair is not cheap. But it’s not expensive either unless you make it so.
As much as we use store bought products, try to have at least one or more natural products like raw Shea butter, cold pressed coconut /Virgin oil, aloe. Products that have no artificial ingredients. Products that are pure, unadulterated, fresh from mother nature!
There are so many points on maintaining natural hair but these are the tips I find to be very useful and quite universal.
Natural hair is not easy to maintain that’s the truth. But, you have the power to make it exactly so. Don’t let your hair take over your life!
If you feel inspired by online hair gurus, don’t stop watching them, gather helpful tips and tricks from them but I would suggest also getting further inspiration from someone with the same hair length as you. It can get overwhelming when someone who empowers your journey has longer length than you do and it can sway you from your own hair goals. As helpful, inspiring and uplifting as the beautiful natural hair men and women can be, lusting after what they have can be detrimental.
Most importantly, be proud of whatever hair you have. If you can’t love your own hair, how the hell do you expect the next person to love your hair?