The time cornrows saved me from the heat

14:15 Naija girl next door 4 Comments


    We had a terrible heat wave in Nigeria recently, remember? As if anybody could forget. While our friends abroad were putting up "I'm so ready for summer" and "need me some sun..." posts, Naija was serving us medium rare.
        We can laugh now because with the rains, the weather and our tempers have cooled some; but at the time, my humour evaporated and only returned like beads of condensation while standing in front of an AC at full blast.

     During all of this, my hair was the last, the LAST thing I would have had any patience for. It was like wearing a woolly cap in the heat, and everytime a twist left its bounds and touched my face, my neck, my ears, I wondered why my own hair would torture me like this.

One Saturday night in April, right after wash day and a shower, I was already starting to sweat. It just came to me to do something that would keep my hair entirely out of the way. I abandoned plans for loose twists and did cornrows instead.

      Before recent times, Secondary school was the last time I wore cornrows, and even then it was rare for me. We didn't call them cornrows then. It was just "plait" or "weaving" or in hausa, "kiso".
 In my secondary school, we wore berets and later, hijab, so no one really cared about your hair. You could have anything from your own plaited hair, to blond braids or a weave peeping out in a bun from under your beret.
For a child like me, it was freedom at last.
Quick story: From late in primary school, I had taken to loosening my carefully woven hair three days after my mother had taken her time to plait it. I still remember the first time she saw me halfway through. My weak response to her shock was "it's getting old". After three days? I'm in awe of the woman's restraint.
If any child of mine tries that nonsense with me...
        I did it a few more times and she gave up doing my hair. She would wash it at home and then send me off to those market women that would draaag your head back into position between their knees if you so much as flinched. So many customers waiting and you want to stretch your aching neck on her time? You must be joking. Mom's plan worked, because I started to let my head rest a full week, sometimes two - even after I found a nice lady.

So when I started at my secondary school, I was like, Yes, these people get me. They recognise I'm a big girl now. I usually had my natural hair in a bun; and from ss2, my relaxed hair. As a big girl.

         Now I've done a full circle back to the hairstyle I couldn't wait to leave behind and it feels so good I've done it twice already. The first time, it halved my frustration with the heat. The occasional breeze (that would usually occur right before we could get fully cooked) would actually get to my scalp and cool my head. That was how I survived that heat wave. The second time, it was just so convenient- to do and to wear. Maybe in time I'll try more complex styles like these:
Source: both pictures from

This one reminds of my favourite hairstyle while transitioning.  You can see all the hairstyles that helped with my transition here
       I thought with my cornrows I looked the best I had looked in a long time, but I was still expecting lots of negative remarks. Surprisingly, the opposite happened. Positive comments all around, even from guys.
The downside would probably be all the random people talking to me like a child. One young boy I'm pretty sure is not out of Uni wanted to walk me home.
   Note to self: Always wear cornrows with bold brows and red lips.
Go bolder, Sandra
How did you wear your hair during the heat? What other style do you find really easy to wear?
     I love to read your comments 😃



  1. hahahaha! I wouldn't blame the poor boy, you look tooooooo cuuuuuutteeee!

  2. I wore my hair in corn rows too but would throw on a wig when stepping out. The few hours a day in the wig was even too much. It got to the point I almost stopped going out except when necessary. Anything to remain in the cornrows lol. You rock it well though..

  3. My hair is forever in cornrows these days; either I'm wearing a wig, cap or just going about with it like that. Every time I try doing something else with my hair, I'd end up taking it out after 2/3 days. Even in this cooler weather, I'm sticking with cornrows, I don't trust Nigerian weather, that heat wave literally came out of nowhere after all

  4. This your hairstyle was what i just loosened today .lol