Why Nigerian Women Have Damaged Hair

By Ayo Otubanjo

I know this is controversial, and might even be a taboo subject, and I might even be accused of generalising, but next time you happen to be sitting next to Nigerian woman, have a close look at her head or hair. She is either wearing a wig, a weave or something else to hide the true state of her hair and scalp.

As soon as the wig comes off, my heart just sinks to the pit of my stomach and I feel like shouting here is another one of our beautiful women suffering from the “Mama Eko” syndrome – all in the name of beauty!! Being the consummate professional, I don’t let on with my true feelings, but I must admit I have come close to tears when I see some of the worst cases.

So why do these women end up with such distressing looking hair and scalp conditions? Part of the answer lies with this overwhelming desire to create a particular look, sometimes to look more like a local celebrity or to conform to a perceived notion of what it is to look beautiful. I am not here to discuss the ins and outs and whys and wherefores of weaves (the more European look) vs braids (the more ethnic look) or even natural looking hair. My whole raison d’etre is to promote to our beautiful women that the overriding priority, irrespective of what hairstyle you go for, is for you to look after your hair and that starts from the day you are born.

My advice is as follows:

Check the provenance of the relaxers being used by your hairdresser, check the labelling to ensure that it has been made by a reputable brand, read up about the contents, check the instructions for use. You will be amazed at the number of hairdressers who don’t follow the kit instructions or in some extreme cases, can’t even read!! Make sure the chemicals don’t stay on your scalp more than the recommended time period before it is properly rinsed out using the correct ph balanced shampoo and conditioner.

If you are into tight braiding, make sure that the pressure is not too much, and it is not too tight, as the process is being carried out. Only you can tell what is too tight, so tell your hairdresser.

Finally give your hair and scalp a break from relaxing and braiding periodically. My suggestion is to take a break from relaxing and braiding every 28 days and leave your hair natural for 14 days to allow the follicles to recover from any damage that might have been caused from the relaxing and braiding processes.

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Source: Vanguard

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