My name is Nkechi and I am a hair products junkie.
I am not seeking rehabilitation. I have made peace with my condition. It is well.
So how did I end up like this? Well, about 6 years ago, I was minding my own business at work, waiting to dial in to a conference call, when a young colleague sauntered into my office and forever opened my eyes to the wonders of black hair care. I saw how when treated correctly, our hair can be healthy and grow to unimaginable lengths. Initially, I was sceptical as she showed example, after example, of long healthy hair. Relaxed, texlaxed, transitioning, natural, hair type 3b to 4z,the whole gamut!
I tried to dismiss the pictures with the familiar and ignorant refrain of " Oh please, these women are mixed. Our own African hair cannot grow this long".And then came the game-changer. She showed me the full profile of a clearly Nigerian Igbo girl, complete with Anambra byah byah..(ok, ok, calm down she didn't actually have a beard .I am just stereotyping, and probably projecting!). Anyway, this woman had the most lustrous, luscious strands, that fell just slightly above her waist. I was hooked!
I spent the rest of the afternoon drooling over tonnes of hair profile pics and reading numerous articles on hair by Audrey Sivasothy (later compiled into her best-selling book The Science of Black hair Care ).I was enthralled with all the new hair care terminologies I was learning, like co-washing,elasticity, regimen,porosity protein-moisture balance.
APR. 2016.JUST ARMPIT LENGTH? IS THAT IT? AFTER ALL THESE YEARS I SHOULD HAVE BEEN WAIST LENGTH BY NOW!!
From that point onwards I became obsessed with hair care and experimenting with new products. I dabbled in anything and everything. There was always a concoction to be made. My husband started referring to me as "chemical Jane"(except my name isn't even Jane though???!). I had many mishaps with Shikakai, henna, self-relaxers, eggs scrambling in my hair etc etc...
During this time I also endured some light hearted ridicule from family and friends...."your hair will fall out if you wash it too often ohhh", and my personal favourite ,"you are going to be balddddd!". Is it un-Christian of me to gloat that years later, those same naysayers now beg me for hair advice?
So anywayyyyyyyy, what does all this have to do with setting up my online store www.realhairrepublic.com? Well about a year after my encounter at the office, my husband and I decided we should relocate back home to Nigeria. I knew my hair-love had reached dangerous levels when my primary concern wasn't my new job, or my daughter's new school, but rather where on earth was I going to get good hair products from in Lagos???
In the years since, my hair has had ups and downs, set-backs, come-backs, and plenty of stalling. My longest length to date has been almost mid back. But I don't know if that should count because I was pregnant with my second child at that time so the hormones and the extra iron I was taking were probably responsible. After the baby, I became too distracted to focus so much on hair. I also fully immersed myself in Naija food (how much fried goat can one eat before they actually start bleating??)) and quit regular exercise and healthy eating. Sadly, the drastic lifestyle change took its toll. Now,4 years on, my hair is distressed and upset with me, but I am now ready to repent and start taking this hair relationship seriously again. I am currently armpit length and relaxed. My goal is to reach full bra-strap length.
The hair care community in Nigeria, in terms of blogs, products and events, has exploded since I first arrived. I am excited to be a part of it and I hope many others will follow suit. I want this to be a place where hair enthusiasts can get good quality and affordable hair products, and more importantly, where we can share tips and encourage one another in our hair goals, whether we be natural, transitioning, texlaxed or relaxed.
So come with me, and join the republic!!!