Natural hair: A fast-growing movement in Seychelles
Many young girls and women in Seychelles are embracing, nurturing and rocking their natural hair. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Kinky or curly afros, locs, braids and twists. They were once considered hairstyles for the poor and unfashionable but are now making a comeback among women all over the world, Seychellois included.
Ladies young and old have by now heard about the natural hair movement, where women are embracing their natural hair, calling themselves naturalista, and saying no to harsh chemicals.
The urban dictionary defines having natural hair as when a person's hair is in the state he or she was born with. This means that strands and locks are free of chemicals.
Nasura Daman, entrepreneur and owner of 'My Hair Affection', located at Unity House in Victoria, told SNA that many hair products are harmful to the scalp and hair.
“They can cause damage to the scalp. Some are cancer-causing as well. They can burn your scalp, cause you to have wounds and your hair to fall out,” says Daman, a naturalista.
Fallouts and breakage were what made me, the writer of this article, decide to go back to being natural. Relaxed locks of hair mixed with water and cold winters were not a good combination, so the path for me was clear.
Not everyone makes the same decision for the same reason.
“My 10-year-old daughter always said that her hair is like her father. I told her no, your hair is like mine. I made the decision to go natural and show her that my hair is just like hers,” said Ramona Botshare, a naturalista and also the administrator of Seychelles Kinky Curls, a group on Facebook.
|Ramona pictured above before and after embracing her natural hair. (Ramona Botshare) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
The big question: to do the big chop or transition?
No matter what the reason is, it is starting the journey that is hard. At this point many women are faced with the same dilemma, to do the big chop or transition.
“The big chop [is a process] whereby you shave off your [relaxed] hair or cut it off and make it into a tiny mini afro. Transitioning is when you stop using the relaxer and let your natural hair grows. You keep your hair long and as it grows you cut off the relaxer,” explained Daman, who is also a naturalista.
Botshare wanted to transition but couldn’t manage the two textures of hair. After six months of growing her natural hair, she visited a hairdresser for the big chop.
Not many are as brave as she was. Many Seychellois women are self-conscious and wear their hair as their crown and glory. Daman advises them to transition as dealing with two textures can be hard. She says it is best to sow on a weave or braid their hair and these are also great protective styles.
“I would not recommend that you keep the weave in for three months or more, though,” said Daman.
“[I] did transition first with braid extensions but things went wrong resulting in an emergency cut in late 2014,” Elma Dine told SNA.
|Elma before and after her big chop. (Elma Dine) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
My transition, on the other hand, started with me throwing away all my relaxer products. I knew it wouldn’t be possible to get more since I was studying in a country where these ‘chemicals’ weren’t readily available on the market. It took two whole years to final cut off all the relaxer and have a length of hair I was comfortable with.
Finding the right products and care
Finding and using the right products is crucial to getting the healthy hair many dream of. It doesn’t matter if you are transitioning, your hair has to be treated as if it was natural.
When things got tough for me during the transitioning period, I flat ironed my hair. I later found out that I was damaging my hair.
According to Daman, using excessive heat, especially without sealing the hair shaft with a serum, causes a lot of breakages and changes the texture of hair.
Product-wise, our interviewees use a range of products brands such as Creme of Nature, Cantu, and Ecoco. My Hair Affection Salon offers their clients Shea Moisture and Miss Jessie’s, which are popular on the international market.
|Naturalistas in Seychelles get their products in some shops on the island or buy them online. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“The products here are expensive, and these types of hair use a lot of product,” said Botshare.
Others, like Dine and myself, tend to include other natural products such as coconut oil, olive oil, honey and aloe vera.
“[I use] virgin coconut oil as a daily moisturizer, olive oil, and aloe vera as shampoo and olive oil and egg yolk as a conditioner,” said Dine, a member of another Facebook group promoting natural hair, Natural and Free.
“[These products] don't contain harsh chemicals. One has to be ingredient conscious when buying,” advises Daman.
Advice from a naturalista
“If a naturalista wants to experiment with different texture and colours it's best that they use weaves. You always have to invest in your beauty [because] at 50 years of age you don’t want to be the lady with a bald patch,” advise Daman.
Dine says, “Go natural, go wild. If you don’t like it or unable to cope with you can always tame it.”
“[Being natural] helps one with self-acceptance. Once one has accepted herself and has confidence, there is a lot of things they can do. We have to live who we are,” shared Botshare.
Some blogs and websites for tips and advice