It is really amazing to read all these women’s stories, we hope that you do enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy putting them together for you. Though many natural hair journeys are very similar in many ways, every person’s experience always brings something new, fresh and a new perspective. This week’s feature is Wendy Osodo. Wendy is passionate about her natural hair, and with such an amazing crowning glory, we did not hesistate to ask whether she would like to have her hair journey featured on our blog. Thankfully she agreed, and now you can read it too.
I felt more expressive with my kinky hair than I had ever felt. My confidence and esteem shot up despite some of the negative comments I got at times
Introduce yourself, tell us your name, what you do, where are you based?
My name is Wendy Osodo, born and raised in different parts of Kenya. I currently work in an insurance company in Nairobi.
How long ago did you start wearing your hair in its natural state?
My last relaxer was in June 2012, but I big-chopped in February 2013; so I’ll be 3 years natural in June 2015.
What prompted you to make this change?
Honestly, I went natural not because my hair broke or was weak… I think I was just in need of a change. and towards the end of 2012 a friend introduced me to natural hair vloggers on YouTube and immediately I got obsessed with natural hair and that was my turning point. I admired their hair and got inspired to do the big chop and go natural, thank God I had been postponing my relaxer touch-up so I had quite a bit of growth to deal with when I chopped off my permed ends.
Did you feel that your hair in any way redefined any part of your identity?
I felt different and most importantly unique from everyone else. It’s like I had finally found myself. Even though I didn’t see this coming, I surprisingly changed my sense of fashion/style. I suddenly became more drawn towards an afrocentric style and my closet changed. My sense of style became one with my natural hair look but all this was unplanned. In as much as there are many naturalistas out there, I believe that no two heads have the same hair textures. I’d compare it with our fingerprints. They’re all different and that’s how my natural hair made me feel and it still makes me feel, UNIQUE!!
What has your experience with other people been since deciding to wear your hair in its natural state over the years?
My natural hair journey has brought out a lot of my creative juices which I didn’t know existed in the first place. I remember just after my big chop I had no idea how to even do simple basic twists on my hair and it was too frustrating. Now, I think I’m going pro with the twisting business(just kidding, lol!) But I can at least do neat flat-twists and attempt fancy updos. My friends and family have been very supportive I’d say with my natural hair journey, and not once have I received negative comments from them. All I receive is maybe some sympathy during wash days which can be really hectic, but they end up appreciating the results once I’m done styling my hair and it’s all worth it in the end.
Did choosing to wear your hair in its natural state affect your confidence? If it did, how so?
I felt more expressive with my kinky hair than I had ever felt. My confidence and esteem shot up despite some of the negative comments I got at times. I will never forget the first day I reported to my workplace, my hair was innocently held in a puff, then the HR lady tells me “I’m sure you can get some money from your parents to do your hair neatly.” The comment got me down for a few then I stopped caring and wore my hair as I pleased. I realised then that with natural hair it’s all about how you feel and not what others think, and since then I’ve never been questioned about my hair in the office.
How do you maintain your hair, what does your regimen look like?
My hair is usually in protective styles during the week, mostly in twists or flat twists and I let it out over the weekend. I wash my hair once in two weeks since my scalp is really sensitive and I have to wash it regularly to prevent itching, and every wash is followed up with a deep conditioning treatment. For my daily routine, I have to spritz my hair and scalp with water and seal the strands with an coconut oil or shea butter.
Has your regimen changed since you first started your natural hair journey?
In the beginning I remember trying to make my hair look curly, but I’d fail at every attempt. I bought gels, curling creams etc, but nothing worked. I just didn’t understand my hair back then. A point came when I threw out and gave away all those gels and decided to let my hair be, with all its kinks and frizz. And I’ve grown to love it more and more.
What would be the number one natural hair tip from Wendy?
Moisturize, moisturize moisturize! Water is your hair’s best friend.
You have amazing pictures of your hair on your Instagram account, do you post these consciously?
I post those pictures to specifically inspire all those natural haired ladies especially in Kenya that our natural hair is beautiful and that it can actually grow long and healthy in its natural state. There’s this perception that black Americans with natural hair have healthier and thicker hair due to the difference in climate maybe and the products they use. That’s merely an excuse, and as long as you practise good hair habits, and treat your hair the same way you’d treat your own baby, your hair will grow healthier and longer definitely.
What has been your most positive or memorable natural- hair experience?
I can’t really pinpoint a specific experience but my favourite moments are when I get comments from fellow ladies saying they were inspired by me to go natural. It’s the greatest fulfillment and a source of contentment having an impact on other ladies to travel this beautiful natural hair journey.
I love the versatility of natural hair. My hair surprises me with every hairdo. There’s no day I’d achieve the same hairdo even when I do the styling process exactly the same way, and that’s the beauty of this hair. The most liberating thing has been the fact that I don’t have to worry about the new growth that comes out of my scalp. I remember when my hair was still relaxed I’d get so worried since I’d have to deal with two hair textures which was a lot of work back then and it felt like some sort of prison. But now, with my natural hair, New growth means bliss!! I have never imagined going back to relaxers on my hair, but that is simply my personal life’s choice.