Lupita Nyong'o is on the cover of Allure's March issue giving you several black girl hair moments—box braids! beads! metal cuffs!—and it's EVERYYYTHANGGG!!! In her interview, the Black Panther star reveals why she did the big chop as a teenager and how she grew to love and care for her "African kinky hair."
The Oscar-winning actress talked about growing up "envious of girls with thicker, longer, more lush hair" and finally getting her mother's permission to relax her natural hair after years of being teased and "feeling really unpretty." While she found her hair easier to maintain, she soon discovered that "the upkeep of relaxed hair is a commitment," requiring lots of time, money, and effort.
So, when her father joked that she should just "cut it all off," teenaged Lupita decided to just go for it several months later at a local salon. "It was almost a dare to myself: Can I live without hair?" the cover star said. "He shaved it right off. It was so scary but so liberating because I went completely bald."
Growing up in three very different countries — Kenya, the US, and Mexico — added even more challenges to Lupita's natural hair journey, including freezing environments in her Massachusetts college town and a lack of local hairstylists who understood how to properly style and care for black natural hair (*insert universal black girl nod here*).
Today, Lupita's hair is "the longest it's been in over a decade" thanks to her hairstylist and friend Vernon François who's helped her develop and stick to a natural haircare regimen. She swears by Vernon's own line ("I cannot live without his Pure-Fro Moisture Spray",) as well as shea butter and the LOC method.
"Now I love my hair," the beauty icon said. "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."
TL;DR: whether you're a little black girl growing up in Nairobi, a black person living in a hella white town, or an international superstar kicking ass on-screen and off, YOUR #BLACKGIRLHAIRSTRUGGLES ARE VALID!!!