Kenyan born Hollywood actress and Oscar award winner, Lupita Nyong’o is the face of Allure Magazine for the March issue and she spoke about her natural hair journey which she dated back to her mother grooming her since she was a child.
She revealed she put pressure on her mother to relax her hair as she was not comfortable with her afro kinky hair.
“Well, I didn’t love my hair when I was a child. It was lighter than my skin, which made me not love it so much. I was really kind of envious of girls with thicker, longer, more lush hair. In my tween years, I started begging my mother to have my hair relaxed. She wouldn’t allow it, though her hair was relaxed. She felt that that was a decision I could come to when I was maybe 18. Around 13 or 14, I had such a rough time with being teased and feeling really unpretty. My dad intervened and spoke to my mom about my hair, and she finally agreed. She took me to the salon in the middle of the school day, and I got my hair relaxed. I felt so much better because it was easier to tame. All the girls in my class had their hair relaxed. Very few had natural kink, so I felt a lot more acceptable.”
Speaking further, the Star War actress revealed she later discovered keeping a relaxed hair is stressful and expensive, making her chop off her hair when she was 19
“I had my hair relaxed for most of my teenage years, and that was a whole other world. The upkeep of relaxed hair is a commitment. It took styling it once a week and then having it retouched once a month. I remember doing crazy things, like sleeping with my head above the headboard so that my curls wouldn’t get messed up for the next day. I’d have these terrible neck aches because I was determined to keep my hair as pristine as possible. And it was super expensive. When I was about 18 or 19, I didn’t have a job or anything, so it was really my parents paying for my hair. So I was once asking for some more money to get my hair done and my dad joked, “Why don’t you just cut it all off?” And a few months later, I thought to myself, Why don’t I? I went into the hair salon, and I said, “Let’s cut it off.” It was almost a dare to myself: Can I live without hair? He shaved it right off. It was so scary but so liberating because I went completely bald”.
Lupita Nyong’o revealed keeping her natural hair has been hard, especially when she was living in a white-dominated environment and had to travel a great distance to have her hair braided.
Speaking on her hair routine, she said,
“Fortunately for me, Vernon (Her hairstylist) has his own line, so that’s very, very helpful. I cannot live without his Pur e-Fro Moisture Spray ($26) — [it] adds moisture to my hair, which loosens the curl — or his Scalp Nourishment Braids and Locs Spray ($24). Also, he has this Mist-Nourishing Water ($18). One thing I’ve learned was the acronym LOC, and that’s basically the rule for how to treat my hair: liquid, oil, and then cream. It’s the idea that you wet your hair first, then you add oil so that it can trap the moisture in, then you put a moisturizer or a cream over it. And also shea butter, natural shea butter — no perfumes, no bleaches — which doesn’t smell great at all, but it does wonders to my hair”.
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