HERSTORY SPOTLIGHT: AGATHA RECLAIMS HER HAIR HEALTH
Tell us about your natural hair story. When did you go natural?
Well, I wasn’t always natural. I was born in Ghana, and the school I went to, we weren’t allowed to straighten or alter our hair in any way. But, when I was 8, we moved to the States, and my mom relaxed our hair to better assimilate us.
I went to Pomona for college, and something changed. I realized a lot of the Black women there weren’t relaxing their hair. I started taking Black studies classes and the politics of hair was at the front of my mind. There were no Black salons around me, and I had no idea what to do with my hair. So, I cut off all my hair between my freshman and sophomore years.
On breaks though, my family was concerned. They thought I was depressed and asked if everything was ok. :D. We were going to Ghana that summer for vacation, and my mom kept asking, “Are you going to wear your hair out when we go to people’s houses?” But those were the times. Natural hair just wasn’t embraced like it is now! My sister and my mom have since gone natural.
Tell us about your hair. What does it love? What does it need?
There are a few different textures throughout. The front tends to be a little bit looser. The middle has no curl pattern at all and tends to be dry. Then the back is a bit more curly with ringlets.
When I relaxed my hair I don't think I ever understood how to take care of it. I wanted to take back that power and see what it would be like to have healthy hair, and that’s what guides my haircare routine.
I’ve gotten into less is more from a product standpoint; I use fairly basic products like shea butter, castor oil, almond oil. When my hair feels a little weak, use a conditioner with a protein and wear protective styles like twists.
How has the turmoil of this past year affected you?
Quarantine is anxiety inducing for sure, not knowing what’s next is uncomfortable. But, I’ve also found that it can be an opportunity to work on things I haven’t paid attention to because of brunches or meeting up with friends or if you can believe it, traveling. Now, I’m focused on cooking more, decorating my apartment, and reading.
Can you leave us with some parting words of wisdom?
The thing that i know is a struggle with 4C hair that isn’t celebrated - is trying to make your hair ‘good’. I used to have that obsession. But if you care about your health and focus on that it can be so liberating. This may sound corny, but having hair that’s long or big is not necessarily the answer to being happy with yourself or feeling beautiful. It’s about making the most of what you do have.