My name is Dalilah, my hair type is 4c and I'm the founder of Hug My Hair and author of How to Look After your Natural Hair in Hijab. This is my story.
I was born in Tanzania and grew up in London. I did not know I was ‘different’ until came to the UK aged 5. I was in awe of and completely LOVED European hair, dreamed of it even, the idea of having golden flowing locks sweeping against my back as I ran around the playground really had me on cloud 9. But I'd always wake up from this dream and my hair was still shorter than the other girls, it was still blacker than the other girls and it totally defied gravity.
I was so excited when I got my first relaxer, I couldn't wait to look like the girl on the box. I was beaming. After about 9 years of attempting to look like the girl on the box, I saw my hair for what it was - damaged, thinning and my hairline was a lot further back than I'd have liked it to be. I decided to cut all my hair off. Mind you, I was 17 and this look was NOT cool. So I exchanged my braids for a headscarf and that's been me ever since.
After 8 years of being natural & wearing my hair in a scarf-bun with big earrings I realised that I had grown to accept that black hair - coily, afro hair does not grow. My hair appeared to stay the same length for years after reaching my shoulders. In a moment of despair I took to the Internet and started researching hair and its properties and how to get it to grow. I learnt three things:
- Black hair grows just like everybody else’s, but because it's naturally dry and very fragile it breaks off a lot more
- Applying 'Grease' to the hair is not what black hair needs, petroleum based products can block the scalp from breathing and your scalp is like soil, if you do not cultivate it, nothing is going to want to grow there!
- Our skin is the largest organism on our bodies and it absorbs up to 60% of what we put on it
So in July 2012 I was on a mission to grow and retain the length of my natural hair -naturally. If my skin was going to swallow what I put on it, I wanted to make sure It was something I would be happy to eat. I could not wait to learn how to retain moisture, rid my shelves of products that contained chemicals and cultivate my scalp so my hair would want to grow. The result was Hug My Hair and I've never looked back. I no longer dream of European hair, I still appreciate its beauty but the difference is that I can see the beauty in my natural hair too; all I had to do was understand it.
"Her life improved dramatically when she decided to break the rules, and find beauty where she'd been told [telling herself] there was none."
Hug My Hair is a natural hair care brand born in the kitchen of a twenty-something year old Tanzanian-born, Hijabi natural hair enthusiast in London. If you have naturally curly or afro hair, and you want to retain length and nourish your scalp, then these products are for you.