If you had told me at the beginning of last year that I would have been able to demonstrate 49 different ways to style my natural hair I would have shook my head in disbelief, I might even have laughed. I’ve never considered myself dextrous, patient or even creative enough to style my hair beyond simple puffs or barely passable two strand twists but last year I decided to try and challenge myself to do more.
Like many of you I spend a lot of time on blogs, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest marvelling at how all those natural hair gurus are able to seamlessly manipulate their hair into all sorts of intricate styles. Could I achieve some of those looks myself? So I decided to embark on a challenge. A hairstyle a week for the whole of 2015 and whats more, I had to share how I did the hairstyles here on the blog.I didn’t think too hard about how this challenge would pan out. If I’d given more thought to how long a year is, how many weeks are in a year and how many different styles I’d have to create I would probably have chickened out.
The challenge was two thronged. I was challenging myself to do more with my hair but I also wanted to show just how versatile our hair can be. At the end of 2014 I shared some of my favourite hairstyles and some of you expressed an interest in knowing how I had achieved them. I decided to show you.
I did try to plan styles ahead of time and every time I saw a hairstyle that I liked on line I saved it for future use but something I didn’t foresee was how difficult it would be to get photographs and blogposts done regularly every week.
I also had lots of unforeseen circumstances that meant I had to be creative with the kinds if hairstyles I demonstrated. I used accessories during weeks when I just didn’t have the time (and sometimes the energy) to do my hair.
Life did get in the way of hairstyles but so did the seasons and I had to adapt my hairstyle choices to suit the weather. I did longer term protective styles during the dryer months.
My styles were always really simple and, apart from about 3 months during the year. very low manipulation. The advantage of this is that I actually retained quite a lot of hair this year. My retention was noticeable, however, I didn’t carry out length checks either at the outset of the challenge or at any point during the year so its difficult to illustrate; that is why this year I have decided to do a slightly different challenge.
I think I can say that I’ve successfully dispelled the myth that natural hair is difficult to style. I have shown styles that are edgy, fun, “professional” and elegant but they are many people who have said that I’m able to style my hair in so many different ways because it is of a certain length and their natural hair can’t grow. So the challenge for 2016 is all about hair growth and I’ll be sharing my plans in the next blog post.
There are many times during this challenge that I nearly gave up but what kept me going was the support from all of you. Many of you cheered me on, sharing pictures of your hairstyles and validating my belief that if we had access to more images of Africans with great natural hair we would start to believe that our hair is beautiful too. Thank you all for spurring me on, here’s to the next 12 months of fabulous natural hair!