A test of strength & patience: the cycles of managing natural Afro hair


In wearing your hair natural, you will experience cycles of manageable & why-am-I-putting-myself-through-this! That’s my story at least. It’s been just over 14 months since my last big chop and there have been several moments already where I’ve either mourned my locks or been tempted to chop my baby ‘fro off, all over again. But now, I’m glimpsing some light at the end of the tunnel and patting myself on the back for my resolve.

The big chop – a true taste of freedom
You can actually try this thing they call everyday washing without having to devote an extra half hour to shower time. You can literally wash ‘n go (as opposed to wash, detangle, deep condition, load up with product, style and then go).


Having your hair so short brings another flavour of liberation: it forces you to be as you are. There is less for you to hide behind – hair can be an amazing crutch. This was one of the reasons behind my last big chop and cutting my locks did actually have the results I desired. I look at pictures of myself 14 months ago and grimace at how big I’d become under that heavy mop of hair. Don’t get me wrong – I loved my locks but, they were giving me an excuse not to take better care of my body.

Then you grow a few inches
If your hair is anything like mine (steelwool’s curl has nothing on me!), this is the end of any low maintenance dreams you might have held on to. Sleep on your ‘fro and it wakes up matted to your head. Water is always the answer but you’ll probably need some sort of product and a whole load of finger-styling to get that messy-presentable balance just right (for me, Kinky Curly Custard worked in after washing made for a week of manageability, with simple water activation on the dailies).


It’s probably still too short for two-strand twists so it’s just a waiting game from here. One frustrated day, you try the twist thing anyway and … it works! Next think you know, you’ve twisted your entire head. Then you realise that it’s midnight and you’ve spent your whole evening doing your hair.

Nevertheless, better to spend 4 hours on a Sunday and be done for the week than half an hour stolen from your sleep time, each morning. Well … “better”.

You grow 4 more inches and everything changes. The sun shines each morning and you can hear birds singing! You can now braid you hair (please note that I’m not referring to extensions here. Bold claim that I plan to stick to: I will never put my hair in extensions again. Why? See what Natural Haven has to say). This is the point I’ve now reached: braids are my go-to protective style and believe me, in terms of hair being manageable, it’s cause for a BIG celebration.

14 Months Braids in Natural Hair Journey Afri-love

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What’s your natural hair doing right now?

10 thoughts on “A test of strength & patience: the cycles of managing natural Afro hair”

  1. I love this post Lulu! You are so right about not using your hair as something to hide behind. I started locking my hair last year, and when I started I was concerned about length. I think I was really looking for something to hide behind hahaha 🙂 But, now, with my shoulder length hair, I like exploring the funky styles that reflect my personality and style. I don’t know how better to say it, but giving love and attention to my hair is one of the things I love most about being a black woman.

  2. Lol, thanks Crystal. Time really flies – I sometimes can’t believe how long it’s been either! Would love to have you share your lock journey one day soon 😉

  3. Kathryn I love that: “Giving love and attention to my hair is one of the things I love most about being a black woman.” Me too! Some people wonder how I spend so many hours on it but, despite being a sometimes impatient person, that’s one ritual that I relish – very cathartic too! Enjoy your locking journey 🙂

  4. As an afrikan woman, I am very proud of my all natural wool!!!
    I don’t wear wigs, I don’t like them…
    I never permed my hair, I always wore my hair natural and style it natual….
    I don’t color either it is not good nor healthy for me…
    All who is trying to tell afrikan women about beauty wants to be and look and have what God Almighty have created the arikan with…
    I am proud of myself and what I am and love everything about myself. In this so called modern time I would think that Afrikan women would be proud of themselves and what the Almighty created them with and feel really proud to showcase themselves…
    Smarthen up, look up, and big up your status… Love yourself and stop desacrating your natural beauty…
    Nuff love and more love…

  5. Managing natural hair is not as difficult as it might seem. It just requires one to be responsible and appreciate their God given beauty. Every ones hair texture is different and will require different hair managing techniques.
    However the issue of detangling hair or removing braids, twists or weaves the should never be a problem for any women- just use the Take Down Remover cream. It was designed to maintain and preserve each women’s God given beauty in hair.

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