As an African woman, I have thick, coarse hair.
The kind that was meant to be looked at with unending fascination and not on our heads for the rest of our adult life.
Some women are so lucky that they have fine hair that doesn’t need conditioner beyond Nice & Lovely. They only need hair food and can even air dry without their hair breaking. Others go a step further and have that silky hair. They won the genetic lottery.
The rest of us have nuclear-resistant shrubbery and here are some of the issues we know all too well.
We need extra preparation time
If the hair isn’t braided or have a weave or a wig, you need extra time to style it. You need so many products just to run a comb through.
My dresser has leave-in conditioner, hair polish, hair lotion, olive oil, sheen and hair spray. And sometimes, it’s still not enough.
Hair tutorials are things that “happen to other people”
You use your lunch breaks to watch natural hair tutorials on Instagram and you wish you hadthe time and inclination to do all that magic to your hair. But you don’t want to risk anything. You always leave your hair to professionals.
You break combs
Your hair’s mission when the roots grow out is to break all your combs. You’ve broken hair brushes, afro combs, rat tail combs and even wide tooth combs.
Your hair is the kind that would dismantle a blow drier.
The hell that is sensitive scalps and coarse hair
When you have coarse hair, one of the easiest ways to maintain it is to relax it. However, when you have very tough hair, you need a brand of relaxer that’s quite strong. But if your scalp is sensitive, the burning sensation will be tenfold.
Your hair defies gravity
Thick hair is always disobedient. Unless it has just been relaxed or treated. Ordinarily, when the wind blows or you decide to whip your hair, it will remain standing in that direction.
Braids are never enough
When you get your hair plaited, you need more than the two or three usual packs that most people use. And because you have so much hair real estate, when there is a “small” corner left, it’s the one that takes the longest because “that’s where you have the most hair”.
Humidity is the enemy
Be it sweat, mist or rain- any wetness is your enemy. Your hair will have a lot of breakage, it will frizz and will become rather bushy. If you don’t treat it, your hair will start falling apart the moment you decide to comb it.
You have your hairdresser
There is always that one hair dresser who gets your hair. When she isn’t there, you call and insist that they show up.
Your appointment always consumes an entire afternoon.
You always sleep with your head wrapped
Magazines recommend silk head wraps but you are ok with a nylon kitambaa or a pair of old panty hose. And you don’t really care how it makes you look because if you don’t wrap your hair, it will be a disaster in the morning.