Name: Uwa Imhagwe.
Where are you from and where do you live: I am a Nigerian currently living in Australia.
What do you do: I am a working mum.
You have a daughter whose hair you are keeping natural: Yes.
How old is she: Etse is 3 ½ years old.
Why have you decided to keep her hair natural: Well, it is two things really. First, I am not a big fan of using relaxer on young children. Second, Etse turns ‘hair making’ days into such a big production, I figured why put myself through that twice, with relaxer and then plaiting? As it turns out, I absolutely love her hair as is.
Did you ever relax her hair: No, she has been natural since birth.
Do you and your daughter use the same hair products? If not, what products do you use for your daughter: No we don’t use the same hair products. Etse’s hair is natural, mine is not. For Etse’s hair, I keep it very simple. I use shampoo; rinse out conditioner, olive oil moisturizer and detangler (which I absolutely love).
What hair regimen and techniques do you use for her: I wash out Etse’s hair once in two weeks (just as it starts to look not-so-neat); usually during a bath. Rub in some conditioner and try to comb through (I figure the conditioner starts the detangling process); I rinse out, then towel dry. While her hair is still damp, I section her hair into smaller parts, rub in the olive oil moisturizer (I like this one coz it does not leave any residue). Spray on the detangler, comb, and style into big braids or twists. Sometimes, I use rubber bands/ribbons at the base of her hair, other times not. I have found that when I use the bands/ribbons, her hair gathers dust around it.
Do you make her hair or do you take her to the salon: I make her hair myself.
How do you come up with the styles? They are very creative. I just go with it. Sometimes, I think of it first, and how I want it (her hair) to look. Sometimes, it comes out the way I imagined, other times not exactly. And it also depends on how receptive, or not, she is that day. If we are having a good day, I am able to make the style smaller and add a little extra touch. If not, then they come out big and not very fancy.
Challenges in caring for her hair – Does she cry / does she dread "hair days" or is it a great time all around/ do people pass negative comments: Oh my! She cries!! So much so that I used to dread hair days, but not any more. I have developed thicker skin or blocked ears – whichever. Now I no longer tell her what is about to happen: thinking preparing her mind would be easier didn’t help. So now I just do it. One minute we are drawing, the next there’s a comb in my hand. Another thing is that there are not that many salons in our neck of the woods, and since it’s nothing too complicated I do it myself. As a result, Etse’s hair styles are usually very simple. Big braids, twists or the occasional cornrows and she always loves the finished result as do I.
So far, we get great comments from people, and she has a great time showing off her latest ‘do’ at daycare.
Are you teaching her about her hair: I tell her she has beautiful hair. Teaching ... mmhh not so sure. I feel she is still young. However, I do explain to her why I have to wash her hair, why I have to comb it, and why it’s not such a good idea to put sand in our hair. So far, I think she gets it.
What are you learning as you care for your hair and your daughter’s hair: Oh lots, and I am still learning. Most important thing I have learnt so far is that just because hair is natural, does not mean it requires less care or attention or even less products! For a long time, I only used Johnson’s baby oil!!. Thank God for the versatility of natural hair.
What do you say to other mothers about caring for their daughters’ natural hair: Dear mums, keep it simple: you can hardly go wrong that way. Keep it neat: your daughter will love her hair and so will others. It doesn’t hurt: really it doesn't hurt. And there is so much to do with natural hair; it can be styled to look amazing.
What do you prefer for mother – daughter outings: ice cream or the movies: The movies; where everything and anything goes …. Including ice cream ;-)
Keep it natural (and simple)!
Keep it natural (and simple)!