Skip to main content

Lola in London // Natural Hair Style Icon

Avatar • Oct 28, 2009

Lola_Sep2009
Photowalk
Where are you from and what do you do?
L:
I live in London and I work as a User Experience Consultant. That probably doesn’t mean much to a lot of people (I always find it hard to define!). I basically work with digital products (mobiles, websites, touch screen ticket machines etc) and help to improve the experience of the average person using it. To do that, I have a background in geekery (engineering & software) and cognitive psychology.

To say I love what I do is an understatement, I regularly bore people with it all and I have a passionate dislike for anything that requires reading of an instruction manual. I’m actively involved in my professional community running events and things as well as doing small projects on the side for friends. If I have one criticism of my field, its that there isn’t yet enough diversity. As an IT specialist, its unique in the sense that although male dominated, women probably make up a larger proportion than is usual (up to 40% I’d say), but we are missing the black and asian presence. I recently went to a conference in America and of about 350 attendees, I was one of only 3 black people.

When did you go natural? Why?
L:
I’d had my hair in a relaxed short style for about 7 years and I didn’t plan going natural as a big life decision. It came about when I was planning to go traveling for 6 months and I was worrying about how I was going to maintain my hair. My hairdresser Michael was the only person allowed to bring relaxer anywhere near it and I knew there was no way I was going to allow a random in some far off country to do the same.

Relaxer
Although I’ve never been overly keen on extensions (I get really itchy scalp) I put my hair in kinky twists and braids and figured that when I came back, if I didn’t feel like relaxing my hair I wouldn’t. I didn’t put any pressure on myself though, I wanted it to feel right, not like some kind of punishment or black woman call of duty.

When I got back and took my extensions out, I had about an inch and a half of supreme kink, with another 4 inches of under-nourished relaxed hair above it. The first thing I did after washing it was go to a barber shop, I wanted all the relaxed bits off asap and then I was going to make an appointment to have some more twists put in. The barbers looked at me like I was crazy, but I told him to go ahead! When he’d finished, I realised I actually really liked it so I never got the twists and the rest is history.

AfterBigChop
Since then, I’ve enjoyed getting to know my hair texture, I had my first relaxer at age 7 so I had no idea what the character of my hair is. It’s been a fun learning experience!

What style do you love to rock?
L:
I like doing the twist out, it’s dynamic and once I’ve got that I can pin my hair up, wear it in a full fro, do a fro-hawk, all sorts. I’m a low-maintenance hair person so my current ethos is that I wear my hair as it wants to be worn. When I take the twists out each morning, they naturally fall a certain way and if my hair is taking longer than 3 minutes, then I’m trying to put it in the wrong style for that day! I avoid packing it up too much or doing any styles that put too much stress on my roots, so my favourite hair accessory would have to be the good old black bobby pins.

What do you use in your hair?
L:
I don’t use too many products in my hair, I really dislike build up and I subscribe to the notion that hair needs moisture and air, not product clumps. I wash it once every 7–8 days alternating with a conditioner and shampoo wash. I use Organics Olive Oil Shampoo and Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise with an extra egg. Whenever I wash, I always deep condition for about an hour. I use Parnevu t‑tree Herbal Grow hair moisturiser because I find it’s not clumpy. I moisturise my scalp every other day, again to avoid too much build up and occasionally, in the mornings, I will add a bit more of it to the ends of my hair. I do want to move towards chemical free products but I have a lack of natural hair shops around me, any recommendations of places to try in London would be most welcome!

We’ve discussed before on BGLH how natural hair is not particularly embraced in Nigeria. How has your experience been as a Nigerian/English woman?
L:
My experience is that Nigerians have a real problem with natural hair. When I first had my big chop, people were asking me if I did it because my hair was damaged, one uncle asked me why would I do such a thing to myself! As far as they were concerned, I had really good relaxed hair so why revert?! Even my mother had some mild issues with me wanting to keep it natural after a while, it was ok for a bit but didn’t I want some extentions? Or how about a weave?! Thankfully she has gotten over it now.

Personally, I think Nigerian women are truly in crisis with their hair issues. I would rather a woman wear her hair short and natural than continously put relaxer in it so she ends up with the thinnest, dryest pony tails a person has ever seen. I also can’t stand that many Nigerians would rather wear a horrific weave and let it get old but would never just wear their own hair out. When I was in Nigeria last year, I got some funny looks and comments but I paid little attention. I’m quite thick skinned and ultimately, because I was ‘Oyinbo’ (meaning white, due to my accent) it was obviously a symptom of living in England so I was given much sympathy.

When I’m in England, if someone looks at me odd because of my hair, I can ignore them, especially when they have half a horse tail oddly perched on their own head. I sound flippant, but I have gotten quite defensive about it. My community needs to find its own identity again, and as far as our hair identity goes, Nigerian women don’t really have a clue at the moment.

The biggest issue is not knowing what looks good, or how to handle their own hair. We should detach the hair and the hair style, rediscover your own textures and play with it to see what styles you can achieve. Don’t look at another person’s hair and say ‘I want that’, because in my experience, it doesn’t work. You have to be willing to go on a journey with your own hair. If we all took this approach now, it would make life a lot simpler and make natural hair much less of an issue for our children.

Dancing queen
For more on Lola, check out her blog; http://afrogeekchic.wordpress.com/

UK naturals have started a thread in the BGLH forum. Check it out!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
38 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
NapturallyHappy
NapturallyHappy
11 years ago

Wow, you are absolutely stunning. I love your story. The trend continues — You look far more fabulous with natural hair.

Sunshine
11 years ago

I LOVED this interview!! Really enjoyed reading her point of view. She is BEAUTIFUL!!! Love the hair, and overall vibe.

BGLH, y’all are awesome!

Peace
SUnshine

Kweenie
Kweenie
11 years ago

Lola, I’m diggin the hair and the dress!

kdempster
kdempster
11 years ago

so pretty

Kweenie
Kweenie
11 years ago

When I’m in England, if someone looks at me odd because of my hair, I can ignore them, especially when they have half a horse tail oddly perched on their own head.”

Too funny! This reminds me of a story my sister told me. My sister has a great mane of natural hair and was approached, somewhere in England, by a girl with a really messed-up weave offering to perm her hair for her!LOL!

lina40
11 years ago

ooh i can soooooo relate to Lola — i had the same remarks about my natural hair, both by relatives in Nigeria and Nigerian immediate family here in the states.. yes its crazy how a dry crusty weave is more acceptable than healthy natural hair! She is a gorgeous lady!!!

going to check out her blog too!

NappySexyFly
NappySexyFly
11 years ago

She is so BEAUTIFUL!!! Just absolutely gorgeous and so inspirational.

jenteel
11 years ago

what a beauty!

Amma Mama
Amma Mama
11 years ago

LoLa is FLY!! I loVe her style!“black woman call of duty”..lol i laughed at that 🙂

Amma Mama
Amma Mama
11 years ago

She reminds me of Aminat from America’s Next TOP Model

S23
S23
11 years ago

She’s very pretty and I love her fashion sense! Great interview.

Naturally Nic
11 years ago

Lolaaa..I love your hair and your swagger! =]
I live in London too and it took me a while to find some natural products here — they’re like everywhere in America. Try Baldwins on walworth road SE17 and Whole Foods on High Street Kensington. Good luck with the rest of your hair journey and God Bless x

LoloBloggs
11 years ago

Wow! I am so humbled by the comments, thank you everyone, I’m really glad you appreciate my journey, it means a lot to me!

Lo x

trackback

[…] styles of black women around the world I was inspired to send in photos of me. Yep, me. I did it, I put photos of myself on a public platform for all to see.I had many a conversation with friends about going natural, and the last year and a bit of being […]

Daveakins
Daveakins
11 years ago

Wow feel like i’m reading a people or vibe mag. It doesnt get better than this. styles are fabulous, beautiful is not enough to describe it. In short you are just one oa a kind.

BCU
BCU
11 years ago

Beautiful hair, and AMAZING SKIN!!

revolution girl
11 years ago

she is absolutely STRIKING! i love her hair and style, everything about her screams fierce, haha

Janice
Janice
11 years ago

Hey Girl, I love your hair! And by the way, I am also a Nigerian female UX consultant based in london so I understand… Lol, it is quite hard to explain our job right? Enjoy…

Christy Hyman
Christy Hyman
11 years ago

Oh…just beautiful…love this 🙂

NAIJA!!!

OnceUponaTime
11 years ago

“Don’t look at another person’s hair and say ‘I want that’, because in my experience, it doesn’t work. You have to be willing to go on a journey with your own hair. If we all took this approach now, it would make life a lot simpler and make natural hair much less of an issue for our children.” Sorry posted on the wrong story at first! However co sign all of this, especially the last part. It’s not just about being natural today, but about being able to pass on some knowledge to future generations.. it can start with hair and… Read more »

maria
maria
11 years ago

Hi Lola, makes me happy to see black women embracing their natural hair. If you are free on the 7th of november check out the African market at the Woolich Town Hall from 10am to 5pm. You will find hair products, jewellery, clothing, books and greeting cards along with entertainment and food. If you don’t already know there’s Adornment, a natural hair and beauty salon in Morley, Brixton. I recommend their treatments also you can pick the natural hair products they stock.

donna
donna
11 years ago

love your story and you have beautiful hair. by the way, you have some gorgeous clothes!! 🙂

AyoGrace
AyoGrace
11 years ago

Greetings Lolo… I find you absolutely fabulous inside-out. Thank you so much for sharing your vocational background as well as Black-Hair experiences. I live in the USA and I am in my mid-fifties!!! I am an empowerment consultant/motivational speaker. In the 60’s & 70’s, I was an Afro-wearing Watu Wazuri (Beautiful People) Diva. After marriage & motherhood, I turned to sporting various types of perms. Recently, I decided to go “Afro” again. However, I aspire to wear dreadlocks similar to Authors Toni Morrison or Alice Walker. Until now, I have felt like a hypocrit because I lacked the courage to… Read more »

Afro-Chique
11 years ago

Hi Lola,

Your story is so inspiring! Your a beautiful person inside and out.

Love ya

Janice.x

sha
sha
10 years ago

Hello I am doing natural for my daughter,so I need help on what products to use to help keep it tangled free.That is my reason for not allowing her to be free from pony tails.Without the proper stuff it gets so tangled.Do this ever change?Also,what is an easier way for me to get away from the perm?I would help to have healthy hair and to save money.Please,can someone offer a suggestion for us both?Thank you for your time.

Ima
Ima
10 years ago

Wow’ Lola with straight process hair you look average, but with your natural hair you really stand out. You look very beautiful & you made the perfect choice…I’m very proud of you, & I know God is too!

Alicia
Alicia
10 years ago

i enjoy reading it! u rock gurl 😀

Au Naturel
Au Naturel
10 years ago

Hi Lola your story was so inspiring, i’m Nigerian as well and I know exactly what you mean when you talk about the ignorance of our own people. When I was in Naija I was shocked to see 3 year olds running around with relaxed hair. I have been natural for most of my life but I dabbled with curly perms and texturisers and didn’t take care of my hair as I should have and now it’s coming back to haunt me. One thing I know is that I don’t want to conform to what the masses are doing. Thank… Read more »

Lois
Lois
10 years ago

Oh Mercy… I come from a Nigerian family and recently moved back to the UK. When I was in the Netherlands with my uncle, the poking and prying about my hair from some of the Nigerian women there was ENDLESS lol. At the end of the day (not to sound too prude), it really is my own hair and my own business 🙂

blackgirlindiego
10 years ago

OMG I love that dress!!!

kinky_lockz
kinky_lockz
10 years ago

check out Shea Butter Cottage http://www.akuawood.co.uk/ and Akamuti http://www.akamuti.co.uk/?home_brand_url=0 for natural hair care products and ingredients. Thy are based in the UK and I have been a satisfied customer for a year now.

anne
anne
10 years ago

OMG, I enjoyed reading this artcle. Ihad the same reaction from my Malawian friends. My mom was perfectly fine with it and she actually encouraged me. But my friends, oooh God. Anyways i love to TWA and i would NEVER trade it for anything. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anon
Anon
9 years ago

Gorgeous!

Vivian
Vivian
9 years ago

Lola, as a fellow Naija babe I completely agree! It seems like most Nigerians think that girls who go natural have got it backwards. They’ve just been duped like the rest of the world to think that straight hair is the best hair—esp in order to make it. My mom absolutely hates my hair. And claims that it will destroy my efforts in the professional world. It’s sthg I used to struggle with a lot. I admit I am tempted to throw on a wig when I go on interviews, but it’s a part of me that is slowly but… Read more »

BlackOnyx03
BlackOnyx03
9 years ago

You are so gorgeous, Lola! You are killing the game, girl!!!!

Doreen
Doreen
8 years ago

Go to Wholefoods in High street Kensington, if you haven’t already for natural hair products.

win online roulette
8 years ago

Woah this weblog is wonderful i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You realize, a lot of individuals are hunting around for this information, you could help them greatly.

Stewart Dorcas
8 years ago

I wanted to jot down a simple note to thank you for the wonderful secrets you are placing at this site. My particularly long internet lookup has now been rewarded with high-quality information to share with my pals. I would state that that many of us visitors actually are quite fortunate to dwell in a fantastic website with so many outstanding professionals with very beneficial tactics. I feel quite blessed to have seen your entire webpage and look forward to some more entertaining moments reading here. Thanks a lot once more for a lot of things.

38
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart