There are seven fundamental types of catastrophes. Beauty is not one of them.
So let’s talk Natural Hair, shall we? ….
I’ve often thought about this post but had no real idea how it would go. I’m certainly no “expert” on the topic, but I’m not an expert on much that I share on my blog. I find by sharing experiences, information, and knowledge, it can be helpful to someone who needs it, even if it’s just one person. Heaven knows I’ve learned so much from the advice and input of others, so why not tell my story, right? After all, sharing is caring.. 🙂
Today, I’m natural, but going natural was not something I planned or ever gave much thought to really. It was more of a happy accident, if you will. I only opted to “go natural” ….[which means stopping the use of chemical relaxers to alter my natural hair texture]…. after discovering I had pretty drastic breakage in the back of my head. It really came as a shock, considering I was all about maintaining healthy hair & took proper measures to do so, but it just goes to show how important it is to trust your best instinct. Professionals are not always right. Anyhoo, this resulted in switching to a new & very knowledgeable stylist. A stylist who really gave me the 411 on the condition of my hair & the benefits of kissing chemicals goodbye. And I definitely understand why it’s referred to as a “journey”. I’m still figuring out the best products & regimen, though I now have a base, a foundation on which to build.
As a kid, I had thick hair & lots of it. I hated to have my hair combed. HA-TED IT. My mother would snap at me to sit still and quit being so tender-headed. I’d fuss and pout and sometimes cry until she was done. Like most little black girls growing up in the 80s, my hair was styled in pigtails adorned with colorful barrettes or satin ribbons. On special occasions, my mother would press it, but again, that meant sitting next to a hot stove and having a pressing iron sizzle down each section of greased up hair complete with the nauseating smell of burnt strands. It took hours and would only last a few days, as the slightest hint of humidity, sweat or water quickly reverted the temporary smoothness back to a thick cottony frizz. Oh the memories!
At six, my uncle’s girlfriend braided my hair into cornrows sans the beads, and for the first time my hair hung down instead of poofing out in pigtails. I loved it! LOL. Those braids were everything! But due to the time it took to complete, that was a one-time deal. 😦
Finally after begging forever, my mom applied a home relaxer to my hair and babeeee! Talk about falling in love! My hair felt smooth, kinda like a press & curl but smoother and was much easier for my mother to style, which meant less pain, pouting and tears for me. Unfortunately, she’d relax my hair only once in a while, so it kinda felt like Christmas. ..sigh
Fast forward to my first professional experience: I was 13 and my parents promised to have my hair styled for a crucially important event in my life – 8th grade graduation. Her co-worker and perhaps the sweetest lady ever, had a sister who worked as a hairstylist in a salon all the way on the other side of our city. We lived on the north, the salon was on the south and because my dad was at work, my mom, my sister and I had to take the bus and the el to get there.
Laura took one look at my hair, plunged her fingers in and had a look on her face that said, this wasn’t going to be easy. We were there all day. Laura was great, but my thick hair required the help of two other stylists to assist with applying the perm (no one called it a “relaxer” then) or else it would’ve taken twice as long, but when she finished, I was smiling from ear to ear. My hair was so silky and unlike the home perms, it had swing and bounce and lots of body. The other stylists had smiles and words of praise for me & congratulated Laura on the final result, I was thrilled! Laura permed and cut my hair into such a cute feathered bob, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it.
The days that followed would have me singing a different and more somber tune. My hair hated humidity. It stood no chance against it. Humidity was like the brutal bully in every after-school special, except in my case, it didn’t get a valuable life lesson and change its crappy ways in all of 30 minutes….oh how I wish! It persisted at defeating me and won every time, my beautiful bouncy and shiny hair would see humidity and turn all frizzy, dry and cotton cloud on sight. So devastatingly depressing!
Needless to say, I had a few more appointments with the wonderful Laura G. The results were always the same – initially fabulous but ultimately sad. The warm summer day of my graduation found my hair in a cottony frizzy mess by the end. Bless my mother for trekking over an hour and waiting several more only to see my hair’s demise within a few days. Such a trooper. ♡
Closing thought: Despite my childhood hair challenges, I preferred relaxers over press & curls & professional styling over DIY sessions at home…more to come tomorrow.