Lupita Nyong’ o Talks to Allure About Embracing Her Hair: ‘I’ve Tried It All’

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Image through Allure

Good early morning, it’s another Monday, and Lupita Nyong’ o as soon as again looks glowing. Here she is, using beaded braids on the March cover of Allure, where she speaks about the insecurities, preconceptions, and politics connected to the topic of black hair.

In an interview with Michelle Lee, Allure‘s editor-in-chief, Nyong’ o went deep about her relationship with her hair, the battle of relaxers, and natural haircare. Black Panther, which lastly strikes theaters today, ensured to represent a range of standard black hairdos, from braids to wigs and fros, on screen. It goes without stating that black textures are more honestly commemorated, however Nyong’ o keeps in mind having a tough time accepting her hair maturing. She remembers asking her moms and dads to have her hair corrected:

” I was truly type of jealous of women with thicker, longer, more rich hair. In my tween years, I began asking my mom to have my hair unwinded. She would not permit it, though her hair was unwinded. When I was perhaps 18, she felt that that was a choice I might come to. Around 13 or 14, I had such a bumpy ride with being teased and feeling truly unpretty. My papa spoke and stepped in to my mama about my hair, and she lastly concurred.

Nyong’ o states she stopped getting relaxers and felt freed when she lastly went bald, after her papa jokingly recommended she shave all her hair off. “It was almost a dare to myself: Can I live without hair?” she states, including that her mom was “horrified” upon seeing her without hair. That response is most likely familiar to much of us– the state of your hair as in some way a reflection of your mom’s love and accomplishments, not to discuss her monetary dedication given that moms and dads wind up footing the majority of those beauty salon expenses:

I remember her stating that: “I’ve been growing that hair since you were born—how can you? Then I felt really self-conscious. It was hard to see the horror on my mother’s face. She was so disapproving, and I was so sensitive about it at the time, that I started to get scared that I had done the wrong thing.”

Another relatable battle for me: Nyong’ o states after leaving Kenya, she could not discover a good hair-braider in the States:

Since I didn’t have the very same kind of assistance system,

Moving to the U.S. was really tough. [Braiding] services were not easily offered in Amherst, Massachusetts. For a long period of time I would intertwine my hair in Kenya then invest months with the braids in when I got to the States so that I didn’t need to stress over my hair. My hair did something really various in freezing weather condition, which I didn’t understand how to manage. My hair requires wetness. It requires heat. Suddenly I remained in this really cold environment, and my hair was dry and bristly and truly difficult to handle. Among the summer seasons I returned house, I asked my auntie to teach me ways to intertwine hair due to the fact that I wished to have the ability to do my own hair. I operated in her beauty salon, and she taught me cornrowing, and plaiting and twisting.


There’s certainly excellent flexibility in discovering ways to upkeep and intertwine hair that’s viewed as “difficult.” Nyong’ o includes:

Even in Kenya– you ‘d believe we are black and mainly african out there– however when I lastly had my hair natural, the hair stylist that I had actually been going to for so long with my unwinded hair didn’t understand exactly what to do with my natural hair and simply kept offering me various chemicals to put in it. In the end I resembled, “Why don’t you know?” And he resembled, “We don’t learn how to do natural hair in school.” That baffled me. I simply felt it was so inappropriate. I could not truly discover exactly what was great for my hair till I left, which is strange. Now, obviously, things have actually truly altered.

There’s now, as she keeps in mind, much better presence and a buttload of resources offered to black females about natural haircare. With all this public understanding about black hair, there’s likewise been brand-new, arguable terms. Nyong’ o states:

Since I’m not African-American,

But the term “African-American hair” is incorrect. When it’s a cultural group that does not incorporate every single individual of African descent, and I believe the term “African-American” is frequently utilized as a racial term. There’s that. When you state “African-American,” you’re not really resolving exactly what you believe you’re dealing with. That’s a nationwide recognition, and it can not have to do with the hair. I like the term “kinky.” Some individuals do not like that term, however when I consider my hair, I think about it as African kinky hair.


Nyong’ o, who gets done up by her hair stylist Vernon François, states she’s still discovering herself. “You go on YouTube, and there are just so many different ways of upkeep of one’s natural hair. It’s honey and rosemary water and avocado-paste conditioning and whatnot. I’ve tried it all,” she states. “Now I love my hair. I love it because I’ve also been able to really embrace the stuff it can do. It’s like clay in the right hands. Clay can be dirt in the wrong hands, but clay can be art in the right hands.”

Images through Getty

Related youtube video: (not from post)

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