After a lifetime of getting people’s unsolicited advice about her natural hair, LaLa (AKA @lalaloveofficial) a 27-year-old wardrobe stylist and self-love influencer, finally stopped listening and decided to do something lifechanging: dyeing her hair an empowering pink shade. What she didn’t anticipate was the judgement she’d receive for being a black woman with pink hair.*
Throughout school, and most of my life, I had really long, very thick natural hair which I would blow dry. A lot of my friends were already relaxing their hair and they would say a lot of discouraging things to me. Wash days were such a struggle that I decided to get it relaxed to try and make it more manageable for my mother and myself.
It wasn’t until I was informed about the harsh chemicals in relaxers later in life, that I started to understand the damage it would cause in the long run. Then, I thought, I am responsible enough to handle my hair without it, so why not? I immediately stopped getting my hair relaxed and decided to embrace my natural coils.
But it wasn’t the choice to go back to my natural hair that was the real confidence booster. It sounds crazy but I knew the route to self-love was pink hair. I was dealing with depression and anxiety, but the one thing that never failed to help me out of it was the colour pink.
Colours are more powerful than we give them credit for.
I didn’t choose pink. Pink chose me. I was always fond of the colour because it complemented me so well. However, it was on the days when I wore it that I realised that pink really improves my mood, and I felt like this colour was going to help me change my life. And it did. It gave my depression a good hiding! I felt excited to get my hair dyed. But what I didn’t anticipate was the criticism I would receive from others.
Dyeing natural hair shouldn't be discouraging or trivial, but exciting like it is for other hair types.
Dyeing natural hair is still seen as a taboo. Unfortunately, most of the discouragement comes from those around me. I remember my friends telling me “It’ll break off” and “Your hair is too weak to do it”. All I kept thinking was how unfair it was that other hair types could embrace the latest colour trends, but I couldn’t. Regardless of other people’s advice, I decided to just go for it — and I’ve never looked back.
To maintain my coloured natural hair, I make sure to deep condition it every week and occasionally use some protein-based deep conditioners. When I am wearing wigs, I often leave in a deep conditioner for the whole day, and when I get home, I wash it out. Wigs help me to look after my hair a lot, they truly are a blessing for me.
I’ve now come to realise that a lot of the fears surrounding dyeing black hair stem out of a lack of understanding of how to care for it. Just the other day, I had someone I barely know tell a group of friends she was with, that my hair was damaged.
But I didn’t let her opinion affect me and saw it as a chance to educate her, letting her know you can dye natural hair without compromising its health. I defended myself against her opposing view. I shouldn’t have had to do that, I don’t owe anyone an explanation — it’s my hair, it’s my choice.
It's my hair, It's my choice.
Looking back, dyeing my hair pink was a pivotal moment in my personal development. Making such a drastic change has done a lot for my self-esteem and has positively impacted my mental health. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my pink hair. Though I still need to defend my choices and deal with people’s reactions at seeing a black woman with pink hair, I know that if I love my hairstyle, it’s the only opinion that matters.
For any other natural-haired girls out there, just know that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Do your research until you are satisfied, use the tips provided by the experienced naturalistas, and you can live your best colour treated life!
LaLa’s top 5 tips for caring for dyed natural hair:
- Always deep condition weekly.
- Whenever you dye or bleach your hair, follow up with a treatment.
- Avoid using too much heat.
- Moisturise daily (or as often as needed) – you’ll know your hair best.
- If you don’t know how to colour your hair, go to a professional!
Our Favourite Products For Coloured Hair
TRESemmé Colour Shineplex Cleansing Conditioner
Love Beauty And Planet Blooming Strength & Shine 2 Minute Magic Masque
Deep conditioners are a must for coloured hair. We love the Love Beauty And Planet Blooming Strength & Shine 2 Minute Magic Masque because it deeply moisturises hair and gives it healthy-looking gloss.
TRESemmé Colour Shineplex Serum
Tame frizz and enhance the vibrancy of your colour on the go, with the TRESemmé Colour Shineplex Serum.
*As told to Amra Markic