What is your name? Fatima.
What state are you from? Kano state in Nigeria.
And Fatima you are a full Nigerian? Yes 100%. No mixture. Pure Nigerian!
You know there is this fallacy that Nigerian women and black women cannot grow long natural hair. That's not true! I don't have any foreign blood in my ancestry.
Okay so you've never relaxed your hair? No.
How come? Well it started from my Mom not allowing me relax my hair. She had really long hair and she used to relax it and do other things to her hair and it went bad. She used to go on and off relaxers and then in her forties it stopped growing. It just stopped.
So she just banned me from doing anything to it. And I just never did. When I finished secondary school, she told me that I could now do whatever I wanted to do to my hair and I was so used to having full hair that I just decided that there was no need to relax my hair.
You said your routine is simple - you don't really do much. It is very very simple.
Okay so what do you do? I don't really do anything to it. Sometimes I don’t even comb for three days or maybe a week. Whenever I take out my weaving or braids I steam my hair. I always do a treatment. I don’t use extensions on my hair for my braids or weaving because my hair is long enough. But if I don’t do a treatment or steaming, I just wash.
With what? Anything.
So you just pick any shampoo? Anything.
You just use any conditioner? Anything. I use any brand for my hair. There is this really nice one that I like. It has carrot oil in it.
Is it a shampoo? No no no. It is a whole range. I know my salon in Abuja use that brand a lot.
Okay so you just go to the hair salon and get your hair done? Yes I allow them take charge. I don’t really have anything in particular that I do. I try and use leave-in conditioner from time to time. And whenever I am straightening my hair I always use a serum to protect my hair from the direct heat. Apart from that really I am not too fussy.
How often do you straighten your hair? Really I do it about once a month o. I am quite regular. The thing is it does not last long because of the humidity. It lasts for about 3 weeks.
How often do you trim your hair? Once every three months because of split ends really. I take off about an inch.
How long do you keep in your hair styles? Emm … whenever I am tired … I don’t … I think the key to it is not being fussy with your hair too much. People tend to think natural hair is stronger than permed hair. But it is the other way around. Natural hair is very very fragile. So I was reading somewhere it is very important that you don’t tamper with your hair too much. So when I braid my hair or when I do weaving, or something, I keep them in for like 2 or 3 weeks. I don’t oil it, I just let it be. I don’t put oil on my scalp, I just use a spray on my hair and scalp. So I don’t really touch the hair at all, I don’t bother it. Maybe because I use a scarf as well, so it helps.
I was going to ask about that! So it helps. It helps. The thing is I use a scarf and sometimes my hair shows. But still, I still have to maintain my hair and make sure that I have nice looking hair at all times even though I use my scarf. [Fatima covers her hair with a scarf during the day because of her religious beliefs]
At night you tie your hair with a scarf as well? No I don’t.
Do you sleep with a satin scarf? Silk scarf? No I don’t.
You just sleep with a regular pillow case? The thing is I can’t sleep with anything covering my hair. Wow! A lot of people advice me to do it but I just can’t.
So for you it is the other way around. During the day your hair is covered but at night … I let it breathe.
Whereas for some of us during the day we leave our hair out and and at night we now cover it. Okay. Wow. That’s nice.
Do you have any sisters? I am wondering if their hair is like yours or different. I am the only girl. I have brothers. I am a cross between my mom and dad. My mom had really long, full and tough hair and my dad on the other hand, had really long and silky and very Fulani type hair. Very thin and scanty really. So I am somewhere in between.
Any final thoughts? I think people should just try being natural, having natural hair. Some people say it is tough but I say when you get used to it, it is the best thing ever!
Keep it natural!