In Summary

Beauty experience. When the opportunity to do as she pleased with her hair came, Flavia Mpagi tried them all and eventually settled for keeping it natural and ‘puffed’, just like she was forced to do in school

Well, I often hot-comb or blow-dry my natural curls to make my hair more manageable but nothing would take me back to anything different.

I was privileged enough to go to one of the elite boarding schools in Uganda that allowed girls to grow their hair. Yes, I went to Gayaza High School and I most definitely maintained a natural hair ponytail (‘puff’ as was often referred to, not sure why!)

Although, at the time I thought natural hair was the most boring thing ever, bordering on ridiculous. I envied people who had hair options. I wanted to do so much with my hair. I hated the fact that, all I could do was to hold my hair back in a ponytail, according to school regulations.

I waited patiently and like magic… came university; finally the time I would do anything and everything to my hair. I went on a hair exploration. Yes, I did it all. I relaxed it, cut the side off, cut the back off, cut it all off, coloured it (if the colour was possible, I was going to try it), had extensions (sew ins, clip ins, micro binds...), cornrows, braids and tried so many wigs. Of course the journey was fun, more expensive than I would have liked but I had lots of fun along the way.

Now that it is said and done, I surprisingly find myself exactly where I started with a natural hot-combed ponytail that I love so dearly, this time round. Yes, after trying most of it out (I cannot claim to have tried it all!), I chose my hot-combed natural curls. I do love my natural curls and nothing would take me back to anything different.

However, that being said, I often wonder, if I could go back in time and have a chat with that young girl so eager to change her hairstyle; what would I tell her? What advice would I give her? Would I stop her?

Although I know she would regret some, or rather many, of her hair decisions, it would not be fair not to allow her to experience the highs, lows, tears and laughter that her hair exploration journey brought along. I would not change anything about her hair experience. I would buckle her up and allow her to do it all, even if I know she would end up exactly where she started.

Along the years, I have learned not to beat myself up so much over my mistakes because sometimes mistakes are not only the best teacher but the only one.