Book Review: Grow it by Chicoro

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Sometimes the best advice comes not from experts and professionals but from someone who has trodden a path and gained experience, wisdom and understanding along the way that has tremendous merit and value. In academia we call this ‘experiential learning’ and often award university credits in recognition.

Chicoro’s Grow It serves as a perfect example of experiential learning and how valuable and useful such knowledge is. The disclaimer on the copyright page of the book makes it clear that Chicoro is not a professional hair care provider, but the knowledge and understanding that I gained from reading this book about afro textured hair is far more than I have ever learnt from any professional hairdresser.

Without wishing to sound negative about professional hairdressers, whilst there are many that are expert in braiding, locking and styling natural hair, I have not come across any that actually specialise in growing afro textured hair and keeping it healthy and strong.

The photograph that adorns the front cover of the book is proof enough that Chicoro knows not only how to grow afro textured hair, but to maintain it well enough so that it is visibly healthy and has a natural lustre – not a superficial shine achieved through a quick spurt of oil sheen.

The book is ideally structured for its target audience, consisting of short and concise chapters in Part One that are only a couple of pages long. This section of the book is the personalised account of Chicoro’s own hair journey and how she discovered the techniques that helped her grow her own hair to waist length.

Chicoro’s success is inspiring and helps you to form a bond with her as she serves as living proof that growing natural hair long is both attainable, and that this success is in itself empowering and can boost confidence and self-esteem that spills over into other areas of one’s life.

Part Two of the book has clearly been thoroughly researched and offers an in-depth guide to the scientific and biological nature of afro textured hair – its composition, what happens inside the head that we cannot see, including how cells react to different conditions. It’s riveting stuff.

This is an important part of the book because it provides the logic behind the Grow It process of maintaining afro textured hair and provides the rationale for why Chicoro makes particular recommendations that one may be completely unfamiliar with.

For example, Chicoro recommends washing the hair while still in plaits because it minimises tangling, placing less stress on the hair and helps to preserve the structure of the hair shaft. How many professional hairdressers have washed your natural hair while still in twists or plaits?

Part Three is entirely devoted to the six steps in the Grow-It process and what I like about the way it has been written, is at the end of each of the steps Chicoro reaffirms the rationale behind her methods.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book – not just because I have recently gone 'au naturel’ myself, but because it is both an informative and engaging read and offers an easy to follow guide to caring for afro textured hair.

ISBN                      978-0982068908

Published              Dec 2008

Publisher               ChicoroGYA

 

Deborah Gabriel

About Deborah Gabriel

Dr Deborah Gabriel is a former journalist and PR specialist who completed her PhD in 2014 and now is a Senior Lecturer in Media, Culture & Communication at Bournemouth University. She is also the Founder of People With Voices and the Founder and CEO of Black British Academics.

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