My name is Akunwa Theodora and I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. I’m originally from Delta/Benue state though.
Have you been natural all your life? If not, please tell us how and why you decided to go natural
No I haven’t been natural all my life. In the summer of 2013 I decided to get a hair cut and I shaved the sides of my head. Then I did braids from September to December, and when I took them out I had natural hair mixed with retouched hair. And so I just cut off the relaxed hair so my hair would be even.
Tell us about your Big Chop Day
Okay so…! I just took out my braids and I was like, wtf why is my hair two different textures. Then I remembered natural hair is different from relaxed hair. So I was like, this is interesting, I’m going to try short natural hair today. So I took a pair of kitchen scissors, stood in front of the downstairs bathroom and began to cut the relaxed parts. Then one of my best friends, Joshua, called me and was screaming about Beyoncé’s surprise visual album. And I dropped the kitchen scissors and ran upstairs to DL the real album of the year. 4 hours after screaming at the videos I realized my hair was half cut. Then I cut it all off and went to bed covered in Beyoncé’s approval.
What made you decide to take your healthy hair journey seriously and how’s it going so far?
I started reading about the effects of the relaxer on natural hair and I was like nah. Also the whole construct of society against African hair. I felt taking my own natural hair seriously was a kind of solidarity with my background and culture. It’s going good so far.
How would you describe your hair and your relationship with it?
Lol basically my hair talks and I listen. I don’t mind though, I give her what she wants and she gives me what I want ;) 😂
What’s your typical, current hair regime-wash days, styling, protective styles…
I don’t wash my hair often. I use more conditioner than shampoo. Twists outs when I have me hair out, or like a double ponytail. Protective styles: braids and wigs.
What recent issues have you had with your hair and how have you resolving/are you resolving them?
I’ve been braiding my hair down for my wigs and my hair always feels dry and too stretched when I take the braids out. So now I moisturize often when I have my wigs on. My scalp tends to get cold and tender in the winter so I learnt to keep my head covered, at least when I’m out for long.
What are your three favourite things about your hair?
The colour. I have dyed bits. How hard it is, lol, people think it’s problematic but it makes my hair really resilient. Shrinkage, cause my Afro feels real when it he springs are condensed.
How do you feel about shrinkage and how do you deal with it?
Lol I like it. But if I want to stretch it out I braid my hair and then loosen it after a few days
What are your favourite hair products so far?
Shea butter, styling gel and coconut oil.
What are your favourite protective styles?
What 3 pieces of vital advice would you leave to other naturals?
Don’t worry about the length, beauty takes time. Heat on your hair is never worth it. Invest in a silk scarf, that shit works.
I want to promote 4c natural hair specifically . There’s nothing wrong with other textures , I just feel like 4c hair gets no recognition and is often misunderstood. Many people make it seem like a curse to have my hair texture. They say it’s unappealing , it can’t grow very long , and its unmanageable. I’ve been told I look like a slave in the past ( when I first cut off all my hair ) . My life experience with my hair has really made me passionately driven. My 4c hair is definitely not a walk In the park , but I LOVE it. Why ? Because it’s mine! There is no other texture that will magically grow from my scalp, so why should I hate what I can’t change? Might as well love my texture and try to understand it and nurture it so that it can grow and prosper. I want to promote the beauty and uniqueness of 4c hair. I love my kinky , coarse hair regardless of what other people think, I will never have natural loose curls , or waves , and that’s fine by me. I can always get them through processes like braid-outs , Bantu knots , and more.
SHoutout to all my 4c sistas! I know it’s hard to love our hair in a society where only 3a-3c hair is deemed beautiful. Where dudes only wanna holla at mixed chicks with “light skin” hair but know that I’m on the journey with you!