After going through a stressful phase in her life, Patience did the big chop and went back natural out of frustration. She’s had to deal with some very negative reactions both from friends and family. Although she still mostly wears weaves, she is in the process of exploring the DIY world for her kinks. This is her hairstory:
1. Have you always been natural? When did you go natural?
No, I have not always been natural. I went natural last year, August 2014.
2. Why and how did you go natural? Did you transition or big chopped?
I was going through a stressful phase in my life and I was frustrated. I woke up one morning, stood in front of the mirror and chopped off all my copper dyed hair, without hesitation.
3. Did you do the big chop or transition? Why?
I chopped it off…the hair was uneven and I went to a local barber (the “kambashu” next door). I asked him to trim it in a fashionable cut but he evened. I was looking for a cut similar to Nandi Mngoma.
So, for couple of months I wore a wig until my hair was long enough to put on a Brazilian weave. For about 8 months I would rotate between a self-made wig and weave.
My routine to keep them healthy included a daily wash in the morning as I loved the feeling of water running from my head, down my face and my entire body. To be honest, this was a liberating feeling…all I had to do is just jump into the shower, pat my hair try and rub my fingers through my hair.
However, my natural hair was a look I wore in the comforts of my home and not in public. Having been teased my entire childhood about my high forehead, the weave offered me security from the constant taps on my forehead and insensitive remarks about some spots from chicken-pox.
The weave had become my signature style for about 9 years. I rocked the side bang or the full bang with ease. I would get compliments that I resemble some Hollywood stars. That was a major boost for my self-esteem.
At this point, going natural was not a choice but it was circumstantial.
4. How has your family and friends reacted to you going natural?
Some close friends that saw me after having chopped my hair were shocked and really did not approve of my hairdo. I was teased and subjected to remarks such as ‘atatata, jy like dan soos die bantus’ (…but you look like the bantu natives (old/rural), ‘watse k#$ African hairstyle is die?’ (what shitty African hairstyle is this?).
Therefore I reverted back to weaves.
5. How do you take care of your hair? i.e. How often do you wash? How do you keep your hair moisturized? What products and techniques do you use?
I am still not comfortable with wearing my natural hair. But I am keenly learning about my hair and how to maintain them.
I am doing a wash every two weeks with the Organic Olive products. I moisturise them with olive oil I get from the pharmacy. I also use the olive oil as a remedy to my damaged hairline.
6. What are some of the styles you use?
Since my hair is a crossed-breed between z and the xzy coil (laughs) its very difficult to maintain. When I comb the hair, there are little coils all over the room and I hate that mess. So I prefer washing them at the salon with my own products and have the hairdresser set them with curl rollers. The curls usually last for 3 days before the steam from the shower completely sets my hair into kink-mode.
At the beginning it was a struggle due to the mixed reactions I received from friends, family and colleagues especially in a world were beauty is one dimensional.
8. How does this fit into your everyday life? Work? School?
I am a uniformed officer and the natural frocks are not really accepted as they are perceived as untidy. Also, when I have the curls it appears as if I am trying to go against the simple clean cut look that has been associated with the force by trying to look like a beauty queen.
9. What were some of the best advice/critics you have ever received after going natural?
Best advice I received was to explore homemade products for my hair as the commercial products are diluted. Could have never imagined that eggs, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, avocado, olive oil and baking soda could be necessities for my favourite recipes, hair products as well as air freshener for my home…
10. What advice would you give to those transitioning or thinking about going natural?
Being natural is a lifestyle….