I’ve always been that girl who roots for the girl with that natural Afro, the beautiful braid-out, the wicked nice twist-out or the bomb ass Bantu knot-out.
I’m the girl that’s like,
But rooting for myself hasn’t been that easy.
My hair journey has been up, down and all around.
It first started with my mom pressing my hair, which was torture. All black girls can relate when I say, it wasn’t easy getting your ear burnt or your fingers burnt from holding your ear down.
Then, my mother put a jheri curl in my hair when I was in elementary school. I hated it. The collar of my jacket was always dirty and wet! And god forbid it was cold outside and my hair was damp from all that activator!
Then, at last, perm came in junior high.
But, as I got older, the perm made my hair shed like crazy! My hair would shed so much I would literally have to sweep the bathroom floor every time I did anything to my hair. The back of my hair would also fall out, leaving a bald spot.
I had to cut it.
I rocked short hair for a while, I didn’t have to deal with all the shedding and hair falling out, but if it grew it to a certain length, I would notice my hair would start to shed.
I started my transition into natural hair in about 2014. At first, I was like, I’m not gonna wear it natural, I’ll just braid and weave. I was thinking this way because, I grew up thinking I had really course nappy hair and it wouldn’t look good natural. A lot of times in our community, we correlate having “nice enough hair to go natural” with defined curls. Which makes girls of color not want to wear their hair natural, because they think their hair is too nappy. It took me some time to realize;
No one has bad hair, your hair is never too nappy to wear natural. All hair textures are beautiful. ❤
I started getting tired of not being able to wear my own hair and like I said, I wasn’t going to wear my natural hair out, because I had the mentality that I didn’t have “nice enough hair to go natural”; so I permed it. AGAIN.
Then a couple months later, I missed my short cut, so I cut it.
Then after I permed and cut, I started regretting the perm and seeing all the natural beauties, so I decided to go back.
Back to weaves and braids, until ALL the perm is out!
So, I’ve been on a consistent natural hair wave since Summer 2016.
I’m still doing protective styles, but no more weaves. I don’t have anything against it; I just had a bad experience recently:
My weave was way too tight and I started having anxiety attacks! I literally wanted to shave the weave off my head! I thought I was going crazy! I would love to know if anyone else has had this experience, or am I just losing my mind??
My hair journey has been ROUGH!
It looks easy and beautiful on youtube,
But its hard and tiring!
The end result is beautiful, but when I’m doing a twist out, or a braid out, or a bantu knot out it’s a tiring process and I’m only speaking my truth. It might be easy for others, but NOT FOR ME!
And yes, I can do a wash ‘n go, but I’m not a wash ‘n go type of girl.
Then, when I get to a certain point, I cut it off, because I don’t think I can handle anything too long; my hair is thick! (third pic on the top row was me trying to straighten my hair on my own, it looks like a helmet! And yes, I’m addicted to red short hair)
Lets not talk about wash days…
Wash days used to last AN ENTIRE DAY. I would go to the beauty supply store, ask a million questions, be there for bout an hour an a half picking things up and putting them back down, reading products, reading reviews and researching the product inside the store; go home, wash, condition, deep condition, treat, set and style. This was every time I washed, which was once a week. Every. Single. Time I would research something new. It seems like The Mane Choice comes out with a different product every week and there’s always something new at the beauty supply store.
Then after much complaining on social media, my cousin suggested that I come to her hair salon in Long Island; Mane Haven*(see deets below). She clowned me about my day long wash days and asked to see my hair products:
And thats just the bottom half of the mess not including the bathroom drawers.
She told me all I needed was about five/six products; clarifier, moisturizer, deep condition, base humectant, gel/foam for my style. All six products didn’t need to be used every time I had a wash day. Also, my products should last more than a couple weeks, it should last a couple months.
My products last, three weeks max. In my life; less is not more.
She showed me how defined my curls were when I hydrate them.
Come through coils!!!
:That’s my first time ever hyping my hair, LOL:
Before leaving, I was instructed to follow her steps for a month and I left with a nice wash ‘n go that I probably wouldn’t have done myself (that day I was a wash ‘n go type of girl).
Next time I washed my hair; shampoo (with suds) conditioner, detangler and styling mousse (because I like to style my hair). I did a perm rod set that lasted more than a week!
I loved how my hair was looking; healthy, shiny, bouncy… Manageable.
And although I finally got it and I loved it….
I’m still lazy.
I still wear protective styles, because I like to get up and go and I don’t have to wash my hair as often (yes, your hair can stink if it’s not washed, but grease your scalp!). This summer will definitely be the summer of ‘fros, bantu knots, braid-outs and twist-outs which will be a bit challenging because humidity will WRECK YA HAIR DAY! But, I will always remember the little girl that complimented my twist out at work.
In that moment I realized that representation matters. We have to encourage and teach our girls that their hair is beautiful and it’s ok to wear it natural.
And even though, I wear protective styles, I still keep it black; braids, faux locs and kinky curly hair.
Power To Our People
** But lets keep in mind that straight hair is not exclusive to white people; nor is blonde or red hair.
*Mane Haven, 488 Main Street, Islip, New York 11751. Ask for the owner, Kris… see pic below.