Why I Love My AFRO’
It’s World Afro Day on 15 September, and here Freddie Harrel – blogger and founder of extensions brand Big Hair No Care – tells us why she is devoted to her natural curls…
To my afro, I must say that in these 30 years of life, you and I haven’t always been BFFS, but what a journey it’s been to find you, my crown.
I remember growing up wanting you to grow downwards instead of upwards, to flow in the wind, like the cool girls’ hair in those American series. I desperately wanted to be like them. They didn’t have to wait patiently for six hours to have their whole head braided, or sit through a painful washday with a mum who didn’t believe in detanglers, haha. I wanted easy, breezy and flowy hair.
Actually, I wanted to look like Aaliyah. I barely slept the night before relaxing my hair, I couldn’t believe I’d finally get to be cool, I was so excited! At first I didn’t mind the scabs and the burning sensation the chemical would leave on my scalp, or the way it would deflate my ’do and leave me with a limp ponytail.
I almost found my true self accidentally – I got lazy. I just stopped relaxing my hair and would braid it all the time – you grew back and I started to love you more and more, your softness, the way you feel like cotton wool, the pattern of your curls, so freaking tight and elastic. I never knew how full you were, and how beautiful you’d make me feel.
I love looking after you. Watching how you respond to my care is so rewarding, and I can’t believe I spent so many years simply ignoring you. Now you make me confident. I love to play with you, so much that it’s changing my life.
I created Big Hair No Care (bighairnocare.com) as a way to enhance and protect you without harming anyone, we’ve even created a special space as an ode to the modern, liberated and self-becoming black woman.
So to my afro hair, thank you for completing me, for making me proud and for giving me purpose. Now that I’ve found you, I shall never leave you. I hope you inspire others to let it fro.