Tag Archives: Hair

My Naijalife part 2. Lagos salons

“Is your hair real?” I have to admit I still find that question strange, but in Nigeria I do get it from time to time. People usually ask just before they ask if they can touch my hair, or just after they’ve touched it. The reason I react surprised every time someone asks, is that everywhere else, everyone assumes my hair is my hair, though since my hair colour is not very common, I do get questions asking how much I paid for it, which are equally amusing to me.

Real hair or not though, I love going to hair salons in Lagos. I like getting braids. And though my hair isn’t yet long enough that I can just use it to get the style I want, I can use extensions. Funnily enough however, when I do that, I’ve had women come up to me to tell me how lucky I am who has so much hair naturally. The irony.

Having my hair braided at a salon is a bit of an experience if that’s not what you grew up with, which I certainly didn’t. I love having my hair done, so that alone is my reason for going there. It just feels nice to sit down while someone else takes care of it and then come out looking and feeling great afterwards.

Then, it’s the atmosphere in the salon and the strange kind of bonding that happens there. Braids take long, though I’ve been lucky since my first set of twists only took 3 hours while the box braids took 4. I’ve known girls to sit in the chair for a lot longer than that. Still, it’s longer spent in a hair salon than what I’m used to.

The TV and radio are usually on at the same time, though not always. But it creates a very interesting mix of sounds. It also makes me feel like I’m at a party. That feeling is increased by the running around and loud chatter of women and men in different languages.

Often, my hair stylists have not spoken more than basic English, so we can’t talk very much, but we bond over singing instead. The last time I had my hair braided in Lagos, me and my two stylists where taking turns singing verses and parts of choruses to every song that came on the TV. I might never meet these women again, but for as long as I was there, it felt like I was among my best friends. It was so informal and fun. And you get quite comfortable with someone when they’ve done your hair and you’ve been singing together for four hours.

It’s not just the hair part I like about the Lagos salons. I love how you can get pretty much anything done there. At least in some of the big ones. Nails, tattoos and hair for both men and women.

If you’re planning a trip to Nigeria, go to a salon and experience it for yourself. No need to get your hair done. A refreshing manicure and pedicure is enough to experience the salon mood.

Take Charge of your hair

This is the first post in my small Take Charge series.

Everyone wants to have and have opinions on how a lady should look. All you need to do is flick open magazines to be met with stick thin models that have photo shopped faces, and perfect hair. If you have little or no vision, you may have a few people around you who tell you how you should look. And although I’m sure my blind female readers out there have strong minds and their own idea of what they want to look like, I dare say most of us have been over ruled by our sighted sisters at some point in our lives. And while a little guidance is ok, sighted women need to realize that we too need to experiment.

I think I was about fourteen when I was starting to get sick of me being a product of what my mum liked paired with what I ought to look like to be accepted. Mum’s taste wasn’t so bad though, but I wanted to be a product of my own choosing and not hers. And seeing as I was bullied at school, I didn’t wish to blend in with the posh girl look which was the costume around the upper east side of Oslo where I grew up.

But to start creating my own style from head to toe, I had to begin with an area that didn’t need any visual guidance where I had full control. So I started with my hair.

I am a curly girl. So was my mum and so are a few women on my father’s side of the family. Mum spent a lot of time straightening both hers and my hair. I think I’ve tried everything when it comes to hair straightening. Ironing, blow-drying, platting, you name it. And when it rained and my hair resembled cotton candy, I got it straightened as soon as I got home.

One day, I decided to stop all straightening. And it made me feel very liberated. Mum wasn’t exactly opposed to the style, although she often came with subtle hints that I might want my hair to look a little more manageable. But everyone else complimented me for my decision to go natural. Said it complimented my face and made me look fresher.

As for manageability, it was a lot easier for me to manage in its curly state and a lot less time consuming. Sure, curly hair requires a lot of extensive treatment, but most of this is treatment you can wash in or out, leave-in treatment and something so simple to leave it alone while it’s drying naturally. That leaves me to do things I enjoy, such as writing or cooking rather than stuck to the hairdryer and straightening iron.

I also chose to get my hair cut in a style I wanted because I liked how it felt.

There are so many websites and blogs devoted to hair, especially hair that isn’t naturally silky straight, to claim that hair is a big part of the identity. And because hair is such a tactile thing, blind chicks can start taking charge by identifying what they like the feel of on their own heads. You may like it straight and short, curly and long, wavy and cut in layers, or dyed purple. It doesn’t matter as long as your hair is something chosen by you and not because some sighted well-meaning idiot (excuse my strong ish language) decide what might be best for you.

The next post in my Taking Charge series is going to deal with clothes and choosing your own wardrobe.