“WE DON’T GO “NATURAL”, WE RETURN.
“NATURAL” IS WHERE IT BEGAN”
Life for me begins at the bottom of a curved, cave-like, structure containing DNA tracing back to ancestors. Growing in an upward direction, extending from one’s mind, where all energy is embodied. Choosing me can take you on multiple journeys, possibly a spiritual journey, that may lead you back to your original roots. I am NATURAL BLACK HAIR!
Natural hair on Black women has been criticized for centuries, but currently, natural hair is receiving light and love from all corners. For some, reclaiming their natural hair can be a spiritual journey connecting them to their ancestors and Black, African roots. Now that it is being valued more, we must learn about where it all started, products to promote growth, and styles to maintain length.
PRODUCTS and OILS
Bentonite Clay: Clay dates to ancient Egypt and was used for multiple healing purposes. This clay is made up of ash, from a volcano, that is extracted from sea water. This clay can be used for:
Healing multiple scalp conditions
Conditioning and moisturizing
Promoting shine and softness
Increases curl definition
This clay can be used as a step in your wash day routine. Using a 1:1 water and clay ratio, apply paste to scalp and work it down the hair strands. Like a conditioner, allow the product to sit and penetrate for about 10 – 30 mins. After the desired time, rinse, add moisturizer, and style. If you would like to take it a step deeper, replace water with aloe vera juice.
Chebe Powder: This unique product is made up of lavender, cotton, cloves, mastic gum, and cherry kernels. For centuries, the women of Chad have used chebe powder to boost hair growth. They believed their hair connected them to higher powers which made the maintenance and care of their hair a sacred act.
Oils for Moisture: During the slave trade, there was no access to natural herbs, butters, and oils to take care of natural hair. Our resourceful ancestors used bacon grease, butter, and kerosene oil as moisturizers, conditioners, and shampoos. Here is a list of oils that are accessible today to help maintain moisture and to promote healthy natural hair:
Shea Butter & Castor Oil Mixture: Helps retain moisture and protects. Can also be used on skin.
Peppermint Oil: Stimulates the scalp and produce blood flow for hair growth.
Rosemary Oil: Relieves dry scalp.
Clary Sage Oil: Helps purify scalp and strengthens hair. Best paired with rosemary oil.
Tea Tree Oil: Relieves itchiness and dandruff.
“Trial Braids have their roots in Africa and feature many different techniques and braid styles.” There are so many stitches, patterns, and styles that can be created when braiding, but do you know where it all started? Braiding is a skill that dates back 5,000 years in African cultures. The people of Namibia, in Africa, are originators of hair braiding. For centuries, this craft was performed and used as a unique way to identify different tribes.
During slavery, different braiding patterns could be symbolic for freedom. A style called “DEPARTS” contained thick, tight braids braided closely together, tied in a top bun. This style was a signal that this woman wanted to escape slavery. Braids were also used as a guide to plantations and different road paths. Different curves in the braids could depict directions.
As time went on, the styles became more common, and women started getting braids because of its beauty. Today, we use this craft for both appearance and as a protective style. Whether you call them cornrows or scalp braids, the history of these braids are rooted in tribal braids. This style can be achieved with or without hair extensions to stop daily manipulation of hair.
Like Jeremie Nicholas stated in The Spiritual Nature of Kinky Black Hair, “Black hair is a manifestation of how energy moves in the universe – in spirals.” Natural hair grows from a curved follicle, causing the hair to grow in an “S” pattern. These kinks and coils once brought ridicule, but over time, Natural Hair is gaining the spotlight and appreciation it deserves.
Let your kinks and coils extend from your roots and allow that light to continue to shine upon our African American Roots.