By (Bella Naija) Rose Umane | Aug 03, 2018
Going natural is a usually a pretty drastic decision and for a lot of folks, it can be quite torturous. A common complaint is how lengthy the transition can be and the inevitable continuous maintenance; thespian and AMVCA Trailblazer Lala Akindoju was well aware of all this but she went ahead and did it anyway. Although she readily admits she definitely doesn’t have the time, effort, or patience to care for it herself (she relies on a trusty team of hairstylists for that), she is committed to the long haul; thick, healthy long hair and she’s been watching it grow for over three years now.
When she’s between roles, she sticks to simple protective styles and an easy to care for routine. We had a chat with the #NewNollywood darling about her hair secrets, glam squad, why she went natural and what #LalasNigerianHairStyleSeries is about.
BNS: Have you always had natural hair?
Lala Akindoju: Nope. Barely 3 years.
BNS: What made you decide to go natural?
Lala Akindoju: At first wanted to give my edges another chance at living. Then [it was about getting] a new look. A new vibe. I really wanted to reduce the use of chemicals in my hair and I’ve come to love it. It helps me stay unique. Also, as an actor, my natural hair is a great tool. I can cut it off for a role or shrink it or style it blown out, and I really love experimenting with it on the red carpet.
BNS: How so? How does having natural hair work as a tool? Does it differ significantly from your relaxed texture or wearing a wig or weave?
Lala Akindoju: ‘I think it helps my uniqueness. It’s soft and easy to manoeuvre. My texture is also very obedient. So my stylist can manipulate it as much as we need to. I also look much younger with my natural hair. And it helps that when I’m outside the country my natural hair is a great conversation starter.
BNS: How did you feel about your hair when you were growing up? And do you feel differently about it now
Lala Akindoju: Lovedddd it. My hair was long and beautiful. Still is. When shrinkage is not showing me pepper [laughs]
BNS: Even when it was relaxed?
Lala Akindoju: It was long and beautiful when it was relaxed.
BNS: What’s styling it like now – especially when you are between roles?
Lala Akindoju: I keep it simple. Cornrows or twists. I don’t have the energy or inclination to self-style to be honest.
BNS: Did you find it hard to get a stylist who understood your natural hair? And are you 100% committed to growing it out now?
Lala Akindoju: Not at all. There are many talented natural hair stylists. And I am a 1000% committed to growing it out, till it’s in its full glory – as long and gorgeous as it can possibly be.
BNS: Have you ever felt pressure to change your hair, either for an audition or for a role?
Lala Akindoju: Not really. There are wigs and ways to manipulate stuff now. Actually, I find that more directors are asking me to use my natural hair for roles. I’m also committed to communicating that an African woman can be beautiful and glamorous with her natural, un-straightened hair, just as much as in a wig or weave. That’s why I’m doing my best to rock my hair on red carpets and at events or at least a natural hair look with pieces for volume.
BNS: What are your go-to hair products?
Lala Akindoju: Nature’s Gentle Touch. Their tea tree anti-dandruff line for my natural hair has been a lifesaver. I’ve used that for about 3 years. Also because dandruff was a disease I was dealing with [laughs], but the products have helped a great deal. For my braids or twists, my hairstylist usually grabs some Darling hair extensions aka ‘attachment’.
Check out this Naija beauty’s latest interview here – Lala Akindoju: Up Close and Personal with Black Hair Hub.
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