Natural hair in Nigeria... meet Nono!

I always find it fascinating hearing about other people's natural hair experiences, especially here in Nigeria, so I asked some of my customers to share theirs: the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I'm also always reading articles about how natural hair is not accepted in Nigeria. Although this is true for the most part, I thought we should show the world that although we’re in the minority, we have our own little (but rapidly growing) community here!

First up (and first to send her answers in) is Nono.

Photo courtesy of subject

It seems like just yesterday when I got an S.O.S. email from Nono saying she had just done the big chop and needed advice, but now she points out it was over a year and a half ago. We emailed back and forth for days as she asked questions and I tried to give her as much advice as I could. As tends to happen with most of my customers, we quickly built a rapport, so it warms my cockles to see that she’s really in her stride now. Here’s what she has to say about her experience so far:

Why I went natural

I have been natural for about a year and 7 months now. I went natural cos I was bored. I'm someone that gets bored easily and I'd pretty much done all there was to do with my relaxed hair so I thought why not go natural.

Well....being natural in Nigeria is no easy feat. I must tell you that. I'm always asked "why" by hair dressers. One even recommended a relaxer a while ago cos for some reason she felt I hadn't heard of 'em.

Photo courtesy of subject
On how other people receive it 

Most of the people I meet outside are always curious to know how I maintain my hair and the hair products I use. They commend me but they say they can't try it cos of how tough their hair is. I always try to explain that it's possible to wear your natural hair and still have it soft. My biggest issue is with finding products(thank goodness for the Apothecary) and finding salons that can deal with natural hair. More often than not, I make my hair myself just to spare myself the horror of having a hairdresser take a blow dryer to my scalp.

My family loves my hair! I got my mum to go natural so yay!! I've got brothers so I guess we can say everyone in my immediate family is natural!

I currently work in Oil and Gas, and I've been wearing a weave since I started so no one has gotten to see my hair yet but I've been told that as long as it's presentable and not crazy, it's fine. I worked in media about a year ago and they were totally fine with whatever I chose to do to my hair(obviously lol!). The business world is ok with my hair as long as it's not too crazy. I've worn bantu knots, pineapple updos, big buns, mini-twists that look like dreadlocs and huge afros to my MBA classes and no one seemed to mind. People were more interested in how I got my hair to look the way it did.

My views on natural hair before I joined the club

Before I went natural I thought one must really be crazy to want to keep their hair natural. As a kid I was natural till about I was 10 and I remember the torture I went through whenever I had to have my hair done. I must hold some sort of record for breaking combs!

Photo courtesy of subject
My big chop and my journey so far

I was very excited about my big chop. I hadn't had my hair short in years and I wanted to see what I'd look like. I transitioned for 4 months before my BC. 

My natural hair journey so far has been very interesting. It's so much fun trying out new styles and new regimens. I'm always on youtube watching vids of other natural girls and trying what they recommend. Some work and some don't but I guess that's the whole point. Finding out what works for me.

My daily hair regimen at the moment would be a little glycerin, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, leave-in conditioner and water all mixed up in a spray bottle and of course my shea butter. Moisture is so important for my hair especially in Nigeria where the weather gives my hair a lot of frizz. I've been trying out the curly girl method and co-washing my hair often. I can't really see what the difference is but I guess it's a way to clean my hair without stripping out all the good stuff I've got in there.

On being natural in Nigeria

Being natural in Nigeria is really a challenge primarily cos of the weather like I said, but with my spray bottle always handy, I'm able to fight that. I'd love to encourage others to try going natural. I must say the downside is that it is really time consuming and if you're the impatient type you could easily get frustrated but I believe that's a minor flaw. It's really fun if you are like me and love looking different all the time.

I have fully accepted my natural hair. At this stage I think I have a pretty good idea of her strengths and weaknesses. With time I've come to understand what works and what doesn't and I'm fine with that. No I don't think I'll ever relax my hair again. I mean if I'm tired, all I have to do is wear a weave for a while and the weave can even second as relaxed hair for a bit. If I were to relax my hair, I'll never get it back unless I cut again which I'm not prepared to do and besides I want to loc my hair eventually so relaxing is totally out of the picture.

Photo courtesy of subject

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your experiences, Nono, and congratulations to your mum on her big chop!


  1. Ooooh! She has lovely hair! I love that afro photo especially.
    Great interview - I wonder, is the Nigerian weather a problem because the heat makes hair dry or the humidity makes the hair shrink and frizz? My hair seems to like humidity (I don't mind frizz), but not dry heat or dry cold (e.g. electric heaters in winter).

    1. Hi Jo Somebody! Well, hopefully Nono will weigh in on the challenges she faces specifically, but I personally find humidity to be one issue (for me shrinkage = tangles), and on the other side of the coin, constant air-conditioning causes major dryness!

  2. Nono has beautiful hair. I've also been told that as long as my hair is presentable and not "crazy", I'll be fine...which in Nigeria usually translates to keeping your natural hair under wraps...smh
    But things are changing slowly tho...what with some Nigerian celebrities going natural and all....