Category Archives: Challenge 1 – Damage!

Once Damaged: Inside Out

Once Damaged: Inside Out

The topic of damaged hair is something that many African-American women and even little girls are all to familiar with. As a little girl, I remember the Saturdays that I would get my hair pressed by my grandmother. The finalized product was one of a little knocked kneed girl running around with straightened strands of hair.

Once Damaged: Inside Out ANNM: Challenge 1 By Natasha S. Houston   The topic of damaged hair is something that many African-American women and even little girls are all to familiar with. As a little girl, I remember the Saturdays that I would get my hair pressed by my grandmother. The finalized product was one of a little knocked kneed girl running around with straightened strands of hair. This experience involved everything from cringing on account of the heat, to jumping out of seats from pressing combs that seemingly missed my hair to stroke a tender scalp.

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Nefertiti on Challenge 1

Nefertiti on Challenge 1

Even though my hair has always been natural, it has been a relatively short period of time since I finally began to care for my hair properly. Prior to that, my “hair care” practices would better be described as “hair don’t care” practices. Years of abusing blow dryers, coloring my hair and generally mistreating my hair led to a full decade where my hair didn’t appear to grow. When I left home for college, my education on caring for my afro-textured hair thus far had consisted of one simple equation: cornrows + grease = growth. But, I discovered that I quite liked the look of my hair in a shrunken and tangled afro, so that became my “signature” look. Best of all, it was easy.

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Kala G on Challenge 1

Kala G on Challenge 1

Hair damage can be traumatic for some women, especially African-American women.  My journey has been a particular one, but I know I’m not alone. My hair was relaxed off and on for 4 years before transitioning on accident. Eleven years ago, at the age of 17 I simply decided that the stuff my mother was putting on my hair was damaging. My styling skills were limited, but I noticed that my hair loved moisture. Opting out of wearing weaves or extensions I wore my hair flat-ironed, in buns or braids. Fast-forward 8 years and my hair was still damaged.

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A Journey to Beauty

A Journey to Beauty

My Journey to Beauty! I received my very first relaxer in the fourth grade. By the time my fifth grade year had ended I already suffered from breakage and dryness. The worst damage that I had ever faced was when a quick-weave hairstyle tore out my edges along with other sections in my head. It was so bad that when you turned the stocking cap that the tracks were glued to, inside out, it looked as if there was enough of my hair attached to the glue and stocking cap to create a new wig! It was absolutely horrible and very painful.

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Natural Jael

Natural Jael

Many women of color weren’t taught how to care for their afro-textured hair during their early years of life. Consequently, this causes many women to be lost later in life if they opt for their natural texture hair and decide to go natural.

Lady of Rage made the hook, “I rock rough and tough with my afro puffs,” very popular in 1990’s. However, contrary to popular belief, afro textured, kinky, coily hair isn’t very tough. My hair is very fragile and can be easily damaged from something as simple as combing. Many women of color weren’t taught how to care for their afro-textured hair during their early years of life.

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Damage! – Justyce Chavez

Damage! – Justyce Chavez

As a kid I never had much say over what was done to my hair so just as my grandma had done with my mom, my mom decided to perm my hair to make it more “manageable”. I hated getting my hair permed

As a kid I never had much say over what was done to my hair so just as my grandma had done with my mom, my mom decided to perm my hair to make it more “manageable”. I hated getting my hair permed, the smell burned my nose hairs and I just felt like it didn’t make sense that some white cream could straighten my hair. As I got older I would detest perms but my mom would always do them anyway. My aunt was my saving grace. She was a cosmetologist and ran something like a facial spa out of her house.

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Chassity: A Lesson Learned

Chassity: A Lesson Learned

At a very young age I learned what the true cost of “beauty” involved, or at least what most young girls and their mothers thought was the price of beauty.

A Lesson Learned: “Mama, mama,…..it burns!” I say on relaxer day.  “I think it’s ready now I exclaim!!!!!””Ok Chass, can you hold on a few more seconds?”, my mother says back to me.”Ohhhhkaaaay .” I reply.    At a very young age I learned what the true cost of “beauty” involved, or at least what most young girls and their mothers thought was the price of beauty. Relaxing my hair was just a means to an end in order to control the naps! I endured many relaxers and carried around the battle scars of leaving the creamy crack on too long or from sneaking a scratch here and there the day before the relaxer was applied.

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ReShonda Parker

ReShonda Parker

I got my first relaxer at the age of 13. Prior to that, my hair was completely natural and it was long and thick. I wanted to be like my peers and would envy the things that their hair could do. Back then, i didn’t realize my hair’s potential. Relaxers became a ritual for me, every time i would see a wave i would smother it with the “creamy crack”. I used curling irons, flat irons and spritzes that would make my hair stand at attention in a hurricane! I thought my hair looked good…it might have, but i was severely damaging it with every appliance and chemical i used.

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Jalita on Damage

Jalita on Damage

In today’s society, Black hair has become synonymous to the word “damage”. I, as a black woman, can attest to this because I’ve experienced it, as did so many other sisters. Before I went natural, my hair was relaxed since the age of 5. Every month, I would burn my skin and scalp, leaving me with bald spots at the nape of my neck, for head, and the crown of my head. My junior year of high school, my hair could not sustain its self any longer and it began to fall out. It was getting shorter and shorter. When I got to college, my short hair cut inspired by Rihanna began to look like a birds nest due to the over processing and my beautiful new growth was hiding underneath it.

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Carlie M on Challenge 1

Carlie M on Challenge 1

My hair has experienced a variety of damage including hot comb straightening, curly perm, relaxer, curling iron, and flat iron.  My hair felt and looked fried with split ends.

How did you damage your hair?

My hair has experienced a variety of damage including hot comb straightening, curly perm, relaxer, curling iron, and flat iron. My hair felt and looked fried with split ends. My scalp would get chemical burns each time I got a relaxer. The damage was extensive.

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