My name is Niomie, I’m from England but I’m currently living in Australia. Since I’ve been a teenager I’ve had a complete catalogue of hairstyles which included cornrows, braids, s-curls, relaxed hair, weaves and wigs. I’ve had short, long, straight and curly hairstyles and I’ve had a variety of different hair colours. After all the diversity and ‘false’ looks, I’ve now opted to return to natural hair.
How long have your worn your hair natural an what made you decide to do it?
I stopped relaxing my hair over 4 years ago as I decided to go travelling and wanted a low maintenance hair style, and so I decided to turn to braids and weaves. However, I made the decision to wear my hair as a natural afro during late 2013. I was tired of the pretence and had been inspired by a number of women who were wearing their hair natural.
When did you first realise that you love your natural hair texture?
My hair is naturally quite thin, so I used to turn to weave to add volume. However, when I decided to turn natural, I realised having soft hair was an advantage. Washing, drying and styling my hair is fairly quick and when straightening my hair it does look relaxed so I have versatility in my styles.
What is your hair regime, including products that you use? What do you do to keep your hair healthy?
I am a big fan of the Doo Gro products. I have the complete range which includes the shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioning treatment, scalp oil, hair lotion and detangling sprays. I started using Doo Gro products 2 years ago as a scalp moisturiser when I used to wear hair extensions and weaves and found that my natural hair was in very good condition when I removed the extensions.
This is my current routine: I wash my hair every fortnight using the Doo Gro Mega Thick shampoo and conditioner. I then towel dry and apply the deep conditioning treatment generously. Following that I place my hair under a shower cap and leave the treatment on for an hour (I tend to do my weekly house clean or cook while my hair has the treatment applied to pass the time). Afterwards I wash the treatment out and towel dry my hair. I then moisturise my scalp with growth oil, and moisturise my hair strands with the growth lotion. Finally I apply the detangling spray before blow drying my hair using a hair dryer with a pick nozzle. The combination of the products, treatment and blow dryer leaves my hair dry and straight within 15 minutes. Depending on the occasion I may straighten my hair to remove more kinks.
Once outside my hair naturally ‘fluffs out’ which I like as it gives me more volume. During the week I’ll repeatedly moisturise my scalp and hair with the growth oil and lotion about 3 times per week.
You live in Australia. Please share with us where you buy your products so that anyone else reading this can also be in the know.
I buy most of my hair products in England and bring them to Australia after holidaying or when guests come to visit me. However there are a number of African Caribbean hair salons in Australia that stock black hair products but the cost is more expensive.
What have your experiences been as a natural, including reactions from friends, family and colleagues? Have you experienced any opposition from anyone in your life regarding how you wear your hair?
The response has been very positive. I have changed my hair several times since joining my employer so they are used to the constant change. My friends love my natural look, particularly as it’s real. Several members of my family are also transitioning to natural so are supportive of my change. Surprisingly, I have received a lot of positive feedback from men, particularly black men who explain they dislike the pretence of hair extensions and weaves and find it refreshing to see a girl ‘keeping it real!’
Do you ever experience any moments of doubt about your natural beauty?
From time to time, when the weather is windy or wet and my hair reacts uncontrollably. Or when the speed of growth is not fast enough.
What is your hair goal?
I want my hair to be thicker and longer. I would love for my hair to be shoulder length or longer.
What is your best hair advice to someone who is thinking of returning natural, but who is apprehensive about doing it?
Do it! It’ll take a while to adjust, but ignore your inhibitions and embrace your natural hair. Once you’ve fully embraced your natural look, you’ll realise how beautiful your hair is and feel empowered. You’ll realise that having short, afro hair is stylish and having long, flowing hair is not the only way to look beautiful. Lupita Nyong’o is a perfect example – crowned the most beautiful woman 2014!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt during your natural hair journey?
How great my hair is! Everything I thought was bad about my hair is actually my strength. I don’t need hair extensions and weaves to look beautiful, I just need to embrace what I have. I also want to be a positive role model to the younger black female generation, showing them that natural hair is cool and stylish 🙂
It is also important to remember that the chemicals contained in relaxers are damaging and will cause harm (sometimes irreversible damage) in the long run.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
When maintaining an afro, you’ll need to have an afro tool kit in your handbag for ‘just in case’ which includes an afro pick, a wide tooth comb, hair bobbles, hair grips and an umbrella!
Niomie in her weave-wearing days