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Friday, June 6, 2014

Me and My Hair



It has been 7 years since my last post on natural hair. (FYI my other post is here ). I am still not my hair. It does not define me. I’m not radical. I’m not out to make political waves. I just want to wear my hair the way it grows from my scalp: unprocessed. I’ve been natural years before “natural” became the latest fashion fad, long before youtube vids, and tons of self-proclaimed hair gurus. I’ve told this story before, but I “went natural” because I had a falling out with my hairstylist back in 2006. I decided not to go to her again and in the interim I wasn't able to find anyone who could style hair as well as she did. Meanwhile, my hair started to outgrow the relaxer which made me ask myself a lot of questions like,” Oooh I wonder what my hair looks like unprocessed?” and “Why am I perming my hair if I hate the relaxed look on me and the chemicals burns and irritate my scalp!” Yup, my hair was literally getting  thinner and thinner and each relaxer session was burning me more and more. Then I started questioning the societal norm that said that I must chemically process my hair to be socially acceptable.  But initially,I wasn't out to revolutionize anything. I just didn't want to process my hair anymore. I wasn't out to make a statement or put anyone down for making different hair choices.

So here is my hair update 8 years post relaxer.

1) I still love wigs, weaves, extensions, etc.

2) I still don’t use a lot of products on my hair. In fact the entire time I lived in Ohio I owned a basic shampoo, a basic conditioner, and some extra virgin olive oil. I have never felt like I needed to own 105 different hair care products to have healthy hair. I also don’t think there is a magical hair potion or vitamin or product that will make your hair grow or be more than it was meant to be. There are too many products out there and the options are overwhelming. Each product promises a miracle in a jar. I’m over the hype. I just want clean, conditioned hair. End of story. I don’t need a creamy yogurt hair custard soufflé with yak oil and imported [insert natural ingredient here] from some obscure country. Uh, no thanks. (Tangent: sometimes with names like custards, and ingredients like milk, honey, and raisins I can’t tell if a product is for my hair or if it is a dessert).

3) I still don’t use a system of letters and numbers to define my hair. Though hair categorizing is fascinating, there are many real words I can use that better capture the characteristics of my hair. Words like, soft, tangled, coiled, nappy, frizzy, kinky better classify my hair than an arbitrary letter or number combination.

4) I still DO put heat in my hair. When I wash (every two weeks, sometimes once a month) I blow dry. About once a year I flat iron. What’s the point of having hair if it becomes a burden or you can’t style it the way you want? Some people worship their hair. Really it’s not that deep. It’s just hair, people!

5) I still don’t follow a regimen. I like low maintenance hairstyles with lots of longevity. I don’t like spending a lot of time on my hair. I have a life and interests and responsibilities,  etc. Additionally, I do not have a bottomless wallet that allows me to try every new miracle product that comes on the scene with its magical collection of wonder ingredients that promise me hair like [insert celebrity here].

6)Many people still have the same negative attitudes to natural hair. I still don’t care. I’m so over it. People have the right to style (or choose not to style) their hair the way they want. They have a right to process, color, braid, and iron, etc. their hair to their liking. I'm still not out to put anyone else's hair choices down. There are people who feel I’m not as "natural" because I wear wigs. I even know a black hairstylist who refuses do my hair—simply because she believes natural hair is difficult or time consuming. My life has real problems. There are too many real world issues to concern myself with. I can’t be bothered with what someone else thinks about my hair.

7) I clip my hair when the ends are ratty. PERIOD. That’s it. Not every two weeks or three weeks or 6 months. I simply get a trim when my ends need it.  

8) I’m still indecisive about how to style my hair. I still don’t like getting my hair done. I love a nice style but if I had it my way hair styling would take 10 minutes and last 4 weeks. I suppose I’ve never been much of a girl.

9)I’m not a guru. Just because I have natural hair I can’t tell you what to do to YOUR hair to make it grow faster or achieve a certain look. Sorry.

10) The worse thing I can do to my hair is neglect it. Otherwise it tends to go along with whatever I do to it. It is not fragile. I don’t usually worry about it falling out. I only had damage during those long periods where I wasn't going to the salon or I was keeping my hair in the same style for months at a time. Neglect is the only thing that hurts my hair. Otherwise, braids (even too tight braids, heat (even Dominicans), sulfate shampoo, mineral oil products etc have never harmed my hair. (Though, just a caveat, I don’t recommend too tight braids or Dominican blow outs btw).  Hair tends to be pretty resilient. I mean we modern folk are not the first people to have hair. Folk have had hair for thousands of years.

11) I try to keep my life as simple as possible. That includes my hair, and my attitude towards it. On those days when I feel I hate my hair, I realize it isn't my hair I hate only my inability to do it. Then I take a deep breath and do something easy to it.

12) I have shaved my head two times. Once in 2008 and another time in 2009 and it grows back. WOW! It still grows. 

13) I still don't differentiate between protective styling and regular styling. Nor do I feel like I am only limited to so called protective styles. Call it a protective style or whatever. I just wear what I like. 


So as you can see not much has changed with my hair. A few years from now when this alleged "hair movement" has faded I will still be here.  I will still be simple. I will still be me. 


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