Hair Story: Tope

Hair Story: Tope

My hair story is very interesting and its come a long way. When I was in high school I actually wore it very low, like a boy cut. It wasn’t because I wanted it that way, it was because 1: the school required it, and 2: my mom felt, at the time, it was less distraction. It was easy, it was fine. Then when I went to college that was the first time I could try anything, so I had a perm. It was nice, but it was more work to maintain because I had to keep getting them, and I was young — I didn’t know how to maintain it and I didn’t have time as I had to face my books and everything. 

After I graduated from college, I think that was when weave was getting popular and everything so I did that a few times. And I still had my hair, I still had a perm, and it was fine. And then after I had my first daughter, which is, should I say, the co-founder of Waeve (hi @marymevs), my hair started breaking more and it wasn’t as healthy as it used to be. I always told her that it was because she took all my hair *smiles*. But it was ok. I still did braids, I still did weaves sometimes. Then I came to the US. Because of the change in weather, with the winter and everything, it actually damaged my hair really badly, so I really couldn’t sustain a perm. So I was doing more of the braids or weaves. It was very expensive at the time, and how much money was I getting — I couldn’t afford that. So I did weaves but then I would have to have the weave in for a long time, and it was itchy… I didn’t really like it. So any time I went back to Nigeria I would do braids that would last a few more months more. And that’s how it’s been on and off.

I just realized that in America, my hair couldn’t sustain a perm. I would cut it and it would grow back and I just couldn’t leave it exposed.

I believe it was 2010 when I discovered wigs. Before, if I did braids here it would take forever, and I didn't really have that time, but I didn’t have a choice. So I would sit for braids and it would take like 8 hours, almost the whole day, which is crazy. I mean in Nigeria it was faster. You’d have 3 people working on your head at once and it would take 3 hours. But even after that, you know you’ll have a headache for two days before it gets back to normal and that was wicked. So when I discovered the wigs I was like this is best thing! First off all I chopped all my hair off. It was easy because I didn’t have problems with it being itchy, I could swim if I wanted to because I could take of my wigs and swim with my natural hair, I could wash my hair every day, put water on it, it was like *this is fantastic* how come nobody ever discovered this! And I could have different looks at different times. I could have it long, short, straight, curly… it was fantastic. And now I have a huge collection, I think it’s an investment!

The funny thing is at work, I don’t think the white people know what’s going on. One day I’ll have long, nice, curly hair and they’ll be “oh like this is so nice where do you do your hair.” I never tell them it’s a wig because there’s no point. And then next time I’ll have it short and they’ll be like “oh you cut your hair!” And then I’ll have it long and I’ll have it short again and it’s like you guys should figure it out *laughs* it can’t be my hair thats growing long short long short like this. 

I haven’t really worn my hair short to go out. For some reason I just don’t feel comfortable doing that, I still like my wigs. At home I’m natural with my short hair and I’m comfortable with that. 

And I have to add that I actually introduced my daughter to wigs — I think she realized it was easy when she saw me with it. And then for her 21st birthday she decided she wanted a wig as well, and it took forever to get mailed and it was confusing and she was like it should be easier this.  And I *believe* that’s how Waeve was started, so I’m happy I had a part in that. 

It’s been an evolving story about my hair and a very good one to this point, and I’m looking forward to the next 10 years of what the hair industry will be and what the next innovation will be because I just like different looks and to be able to do different things with my looks and my hair. 


1 comment

  • Abi Ajibola

    Whoa!!! Congratulations Tope & Mary. I know all about your Mom cutting her hair while in High School (secondary school) back then. There is a story there which your Mum can tell. I know all about itchy weaves too.


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