ZedHair is excited to share Chanda’s Natural Hair Bride story and amazing pictures with you. Chanda is based in Lusaka, Zambia. Pictures by JJArts Photography. Over to you Chanda.
First of all, thank you for this wonderful opportunity to participate in this Natural Hair Bride Series. I have tried to share my experience as honestly and as comprehensively as I can, and I hope that this is useful for someone out there.
Describe your natural hair journey so far:
My natural hair journey started on 10th October 2014. I had just undone some box braids and had not retouched my relaxed hair in 2 months. I rocked up to the office in a headscarf and a colleague of mine quipped about how I could totally rock dreads. Unbeknown to him, he reignited a long time dream of mine: dreadlocks. After much thought (not really), I called up a salon and set an appointment to have my hair cut. I owe my colleague a beer for reminding me about my long time dream. The initial plan was to BC (Big Chop) and then ‘loc’ my hair after it grew… This dream is a little deferred at the moment because of my current love affair with said hair.
What is your natural hair regimen?
As the story goes with most newbie naturals, I discovered YouTube videos and natural hair websites… I became a product junkie but eventually found my rhythm. My regimen started off religious: I shampooed and DC’d (deep conditioned) my hair every weekend for the first 6 months or so. This quickly changed and I aim to shampoo and DC at least every fortnight. In between I spritz and LOC (liquid oil cream). Truth be told, I have very thirsty hair so I have to keep it moisturised. Shrinkage is the enemy but I do not deprive my hair of it’s H2O.
What made you decide to be a natural hair bride?
During the course of my hair journey I really fell in love with my kinks and coils. I accepted them for what they are (a pain in my side for the most part). This acceptance of my hair and being comfortable in my own skin (hair) helped me come to the decision. I don’t even know when it happened because there was no ‘Aha!’ moment.
What was the reaction from your fiancé, family, bridesmaids and others regarding your decision to be a natural hair bride?
Those that know me well expected this decision. My fiancé (now husband), did not really have much of a reaction I suppose, he says he knew it from the time I went natural. Apparently he was impressed that I stuck to my guns (I asked him just now). Some of my family members thought I was kidding, others thought I was a little insane but all in all rave reviews for how it eventually turned out.
Were there any other pre or post wedding day activities and how did you wear your hair?
Pre-wedding activities? I don’t know if this includes the million and one traditional ceremonies attached to African weddings, but I rocked my natural all through. At the Chilanga Mulilo (a food sharing ceremony from the Bride’s family to the Groom’s), I rocked a flat-twist with mini two strand twists (TST) at the crown. For my bridal breakfast, I stretched my hair and rocked a single mukule (cornrow) from the nape of my neck to the top, the crown had a good old roll, tuck and pin (RTP). Post wedding I maintained the largely RTP arrangement from the wedding day.
How did you go about choosing a hairstyle and a salon?
I chose my hairstyle over a year ago. I saw it online and was so in love. My best friend wanted to use it for us (her bridesmaids) on her day last year and I begged her not to. That’s how much I love the style!
Salon choice was easy – I had to go to natural hair professionals. The day before my wedding I went to NC Hair Studio at Makeni Mall and had a hot oil treatment and blow out. My hair was then neatly threaded to keep it straight for styling the following day. On the day – Sarah who works for Naturally Afro Sis (NAS) Hair Salon styled my stretched hair into the desired styled.
Tell us about how you styled your hair and matched it with your dress and overall look for the day.
To be honest I did not put any thought into how my hairstyle would match my dress and overall look, I just figured I couldn’t go wrong with an up-do. Brides almost always successfully pull off an up-do.
What did your bridesmaids and line-up do to style their hair?
My Maid of honour recently BC’d and she rocked her TWA… The rest of the bridesmaids had variations of a perm rod set. All done by Sarah of NaturallyAfroSis!
How did people react to your hair on the wedding day?
I actually don’t know for certain, LOL! I suppose they liked it. They certainly thought it was different, and if Facebook likes are anything to go by, then it was a hit!
What advice can you share with other naturals considering being a natural hair bride on their big day?
My advice to any naturals considering being a natural hair bride would be to love the skin (hair) you’re in and go for a few trials before the day. I had a hair trial some weeks before the day just to make sure my hair could do what I wanted it to do on the day. I don’t regret rocking my own hair, given another chance I would do the same.
It is liberating to be yourself to such an extent that the opinions of others regarding your kinks, no longer matter. I would encourage every single natural bride-to-be to seriously consider rocking her hair. Let’s inspire a generation ladies!
There is one question that we know you are wondering, that we haven’t answered: who took these amazing photos? That would be Jason J Mulikita of JJArts Photography. Visit the JJArts Facebook Page to see more pictures from Chanda’s wedding.
Well there you have it ladies and gents. Remember that ZedHair is interested in featuring natural brides from all over Africa and the Diaspora. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘I’m a natural hair bride’ in the subject line. NB: you need high quality pictures to make it onto or site. Read THIS for more details.