Metropole Magazine

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18 Mar Written by 

ABUJA BOSSES: Lumo Naturals Hair Salon

Metropole profiles a unique salon in Gwarimpa dedicated to women with natural hair



In 2008, when Farida Yahya Usman made the decision to go natural hair-wise, little did she know she had conceived an idea that would later become a business reality. Today that idea is the natural hair salon called Lumo Naturals. 

“My decision to go natural was not intentional,” Farida says with a smile. She has a veil over her head, but you can see her full, dark mane parted into sections of twisted plaits. “In fact when I went natural I had no intention of staying natural. My hair was seriously damaged due to frequent relaxing, and I just wanted to grow it back in a more healthy and natural way.”

Back then, leaving hair in its natural state was not in vogue in Nigeria the way it is now, so Farida had to make her decisions alone. “I had no idea what to do, so I just used the normal natural stuff that I could find around me such as shea butter, neem and henna. But when I went online and saw the natural hair boom going on in the United States I realized I was not alone in this—people were actually making it a lifestyle! So I made the decision to stay natural.”

A graduate of Biochemistry from the University of Maiduguri, Farida had studied the ethics of African hair and understood how it works. “I applied that understanding to myself, and soon my hair began to grow back and people began complimenting it. I also experimented on my friends and when I noticed how successful it was, I decided to start up this salon.”

Lumo Naturals officially opened in October 2013, and so far the healthy hair business has been a smooth ride. “We run a salon-personalized service that deals with appointments,” Farida says. “Unlike most traditional salons, we do not start straight off treating a customer’s hair; we study the client’s hair to understand exactly what we will be dealing with. This is because everyone’s hair is unique—for example you can have three different types of hair on just one person’s head, and all three types have a specific regiment and care. Most times, I prepare special hair kits for each client.”

And it is not just all about getting a customer-friendly personalized service at Lumo Naturals, the salon also runs a body shop which sells 100% natural products specially made for hair and skin. On a wooden shelf at the south-end wall of the shop stands different essential oils, body scrubs and hair products.

“Almost all our products are made in Nigeria, and they are all 100% natural—we make sure they are free from chemicals.” Farida says. Amongst the products are almond oils, black coffee soaps, sugar scrubs, rose and cedar wood water and even bags of hibiscus powder. “We encourage locally-made products and we use them on our customers. We also sell them to clients with guidelines on how to use them, in order to make their natural hair journey a lifestyle and not a chore.”

It is a bold move, as becoming a new-born naturalista can have its downsides. With so much information on the Internet and so little products available in the country (most are drastically expensive), it may be daunting for any woman who decides to dump her relaxers and embrace her afro curls.

“We understand that making the decision to go natural can be very tasking on both the woman and her finances, and this is why at Lumo Naturals, we have consultations with the clients before they decide to go natural. We ask questions—are you really doing this because you want to, or because it is in vogue? It is not always glamourous; you have to be very patient and preserving while growing your natural hair or you may likely regret your decision.” Farida says with a laugh.

“So we encourage these conversations by also running the Lumo Hair Club every last Saturday of the month, where we convene to talk about hair, have enlightenment and inspirational conversations and simply network. I have a lot of dreams for Lumo Naturals—dreams to start up a school where young ladies can be educated in learning how to be natural hair beauticians and successful entrepreneurs for the future.”

And what about the ‘other’ group, the ladies addicted to the ‘creamy crack’ or relaxers? Are they welcome to visit the salon? “Although we do not relax hair here at Lumo Naturals, we welcome ladies with texturized or relaxed hair. The main goal at Lumo Naturals is to encourage women to take excellent care of their hair, skin and body. We introduce you to numerous ways and products you can use to beautify your hair and body.

“All women, natural-hair, relaxed or texturized hair aside, all women want to look and feel beautiful, and that is what we seek to do at Lumo Naturals.”

Farida Yahya Usman

Lumo Naturals

Some of the products on sale

Inside the salon and shop

Oils for natural hair care