Being Natural In A Foreign Country: The Netherlands

One hundred and seventy eight. That’s how many nationalities Amsterdam has, which by the way is a world record. Because of this fact alone I definitely feel like Amsterdam is a great city to be natural in. There’s so much diversity here and not a day goes by that you don’t come across a natural sister (or brother) each with a different texture and hairstyle.

Being natural in the Netherlands is a plus for multiple reasons. Dutch people are very open and down to earth, we have a variety of fruits and vegetables to use for homemade hair recipes and a number of natural hair salons to choose from (see my list below). In addition, because of all the different cultures, it’s easier in the Netherlands to feel comfortable and accept being natural since people are very open.

ETHNICITY AND CULTURE

There are a lot of naturals who are mixed race/biracial especially because we have a lot of races in the Netherlands but we also have a lot of Dutch people that are originally (or their parents) are from Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. There you already have a lot of different ethnic groups that are part of the population but because both parents still originated from the same country that is not perceived as mixed. For example, all the time if I am mixed but both my parents are from Suriname, but from different ethnic backgrounds, but still from Suriname, so I don’t consider myself as mixed.

FINDING PRODUCTS

Now even though the Netherlands is home to a lot of naturals, I still feel the Dutch beauty market could improve the availablity of natural hair products. Over the past couple of years a lot of foreign brands have became available on the Dutch market but the prices are still very high – higher than the equivalent price in America. Because of this, I think it’s a lot harder for a Dutch natural to find products that he/she is comfortable with, especially when living in a rural areas or the villages. It definitely took me a while to find a product that gives my hair enough moisture and sustain its health.

Some great inexpensive products that can be easily found in the Netherlands are from Vatika. They have a variety of oils and great deep conditioners to moisture and/or improve your hair’s health. Pakshop and Megorgeous are both natural hair online stores where you can find a variety of natural hair products that could be delivered to your doorstep.

Personally I prefer to buy my products online because a lot of times the product I wanted was sold out in physical stores. Also, most of the stores where hair products are sold are behind a counter, so you can’t explore them on your own.

And if you don’t live in a big city like Amsterdam or Rotterdam, it can be a bit more challenging to find a store that’s near to you so shopping online becomes the only option. My two shops where I buy my products are Pakshop (Arnhem, Nijmegen) and Megorgeous (various stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag). They both have an online and physical store to visit. Another shop where I buy my products a lot to in Amsterdam is Suhail Cosmetics.

THE WEATHER

As for the weather, on average there’s always wind in the Netherlands and it rains quite a lot throughout the year. There isn’t a whole lot of difference in temperature between Autumn/Fall and Winter because the Winters aren’t very cold here. Autumn weather is usually a lot of wind and rain (around 10°C/50°F). In the Winter it feels a lot colder on your hair and can vary around -5°C/23°F to 5°C/41°F. It rains a lot less in Winter but there is still a lot of wind. Because there’s a lot of wind and rain here, frizz cannot be avoided.

Spring is usually around 15°C/59°F. Summer can be exactly the same as the Spring but if it is hot, it can be very humid and muggy. My hair responds much better to the Autumn/Winter here, and I have to moisturize my hair less than in Summer (might have something to do with my low porosity hair). During Summer my hair is usually a lot frizzier due to the humidity.

NATURAL HAIR COMMUNITY

The biggest natural hair events in the Netherlands are the Pearl Livestyle Event, held twice a year, it’s an “Urban” event so there’s more than natural hair (e.g beauty, health, food/drinks, fashion) and another event is Natural Black Hair event. We also had our first Miss Black Hair NL event this year.

As I mentioned before, I think it’s great being a natural in the Netherlands and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way. I could recommend anyone to visit to experience and feel the warmth and culture(s) in person!

NATURAL HAIR SALONS IN THE NETHERLANDS

While I’ve never been to any of these salons myself this list is based upon other people’s positive experiences:

Salon Sheado, Javastraat 112 in Den Haag
The Natural Nation, Zaanstraat 109 in Amsterdam
Mixtbaby, Mauritsweg 51 in Rotterdam
Salon Viable, Beneluxlaan 612 in Almere

See how other naturally curly women care for their hair in our Being Natural In A Foreign Country series.

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