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May 29

What It’s Like To Have Afro Hair In Italy

Afro Hair in Italy is gradually picking up. Being Natural in Italy for me has been a journey and an experience in both good ways and not so good ways. I came to Italy as a teenager with relaxed hair. It was this quite long, flowy and just nice I thought. Well, to me it was normal. I really never questioned my hair and how to wear it until I came to Italy. Once in Italy I started to become a little bit conscious of my hair. I came to understand that people didn’t understand black hair and so I eventually begun to standardize my hairstyles. I did not want to explain to people how my hair was short a week ago and why it is long a week after. It didn’t matter if they were braids or weaves, they just had to be the same length as my previous hairstyle. This went on for almost my entire high school years till I just couldn’t keep up anymore.

In 2015 I big chopped as a birthday present for myself and oh it felt good. I literally went against my parents wishes to maintain my long relaxed hair and just went for the kill. Everything was great the first year of having natural hair. It wasn’t really a struggle to find hair products. This is because my hair was easier to manage and maintain. I bought products from the super market and some products online therefore it wasn’t too bad.

Finding The Right Products

Being Natural in Italy the first year wasn’t bad until my hair started to grow out. This was the time i realised my hair needed products I couldn’t get my hands on. The ones i got online were so expensive, they could cost an arm. Online stores acted like monopoly. You were forced to get products from these 2 online shops because you had no other way of getting them. Now, things are slowly changing. There still isn’t a wide range of natural or afro hair on the market however, there are more online stores and physical shops that carry natural hair products.

I have recently started a series on my youtube channel where I look for affordable made-in-italy products in supermarkets that work for Afro Hair. Feel free to check them out if you want some advice for your hair.

Finding Hair Saloons for Natural Afro Hair

It is hard enough to find beauty saloons that cater to black hair talk less of beauty saloons for just Afro Hair in Italy. If you are coming to Italy for the very first time, I strongly suggest you learn how to do your own hair. Get yourself some extra wigs. They will come in handy and learn basic things like deep conditioning, LOC method, hair styling etc. You might find some saloons in bigger cities like Rome and Milan however, they might be quite expensive.

Natural Afro Hair Movement in Italy

Afro hair in Italy is still is slowly increasing. It is pretty common now to see black people with their fros lately. It could be a lot better if there were more representation and more people joining the movement. But the question on people’s minds still remains; how do I care for my hair when i go natural. Unlike in the USA or the UK where natural hair representation is everywhere on your screens, it is not the same in Italy. In fact, the first ever natural hair community in Italy started in 2014 called Nappytalia and founded by Evelyne S. Afaawua. The idea was to bring people of afro descent with afro hair together and to send a message saying this is the new expression of beauty. It was a movement that encouraged girls and boys to freely express themselves and own their hair in a country where this wasn’t common.

Beautiful Afro hair girls supporting  admiring each other
Natural Afro Hair girls

How Italians Perceive Natural Afro Hair

Because wearing Afro Hair in Italy is slowly increasing, many Italians are starting to become more aware of the diversity. I would say that many Italians are curious about Natural Afro hair. They appreciate the diversity because it is something totally new to them. Seeing a black person with Afro hair on your screen is different to seeing her right next to you. You will get lots of stares when you walk out the streets with your puffs and big hair but most of the time they are good and curious stares. Italians will ask if they can touch your hair a lot especially when you have braids or when your afro hair is out. This is because they genuinely see the difference in texture or density and the intricate hairstyles and are almost wowed by that.

Some Common Questions Italian will Ask about your Natural Hair

  1. Is this all yours?
  2. Do you comb your hair?
  3. Do you ever flat iron your hair if so does it take you eternity to do it?
  4. How long does it take you to style your hair?
  5. Why do you change hairstyles everyday? and many more

You may also get very silly questions but it is because they really have no idea about a different textured hair.

Conclusion

Natural Hair and Afro hair in Italy is treated with more curiousity and admiration in Italy by the Italian. The only downside which stops black people or people with curly kinky hair from being natural stems from the fact that people don’t know where to turn to for inspiration. There isn’t any form of representation on TV and not a lot of people talk and share their natural hair on platforms such as Youtube. The difficulty in finding products and hair saloons makes it more challenging. However, in general it is perceived quite well

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