African Hair Typing

One of the experiences I was looking forward to when I went to Nigeria was getting my hair braided. It’s not like I couldn’t get my hair braided in the States, but braiding my hair in Nigeria….was a totally different experience. It is something about the 2 to 3 women parting and twisting my hair with Expression hair all at the same time with lightening speed that makes it SO authentic to me.

However, my experience this time was a little different. While seating in the wooden chair, I could hear the one of the women complaining in Pidgin. “Hah hair be like Fulani.” “She for don straighten the hair?” I realized they were talking about my coily texture and how it was slowing them down.  The complainer wondered whether I was Fulanis because of my texture and why I didn’t straighten it.  If we were in the States, it would be like them saying “Her hair is like a White girl.”

But my hair isn’t like a White girl, and it’s not like a Fulani girl.  It’s just simply like a Black girl. My hair texture is mainly 4a but I have some b and c strands mixed in.  My hair doesn’t discriminate. Fulani’s hair textures are mostly in the 3’s and 2’s. They generally have looser curl patterns and straighter hair, which makes it easier for their hair to look silky and healthy. Me on the other hand…not so much. But I love my coily springy hair. I have learned to appreciate and love my texture, even if it’s misunderstood.

In Nigeria, most women think they have rough, dry hair (and they do because of lack of care…), so they curse their potentially 4C hair. But with proper care and maintenance their curls would be popping too.

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