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.
Unfortunately due to all the perms and tight ponytails I lost my sides, it is my BIGGEST insecurity.
“Stop giving that girl those perms because her hair is going to fall out!”
It was a little overwhelming; I went from knowing nothing about hair care/culture to feeling like a guru after a few trips to the shop.
I wanted black girls to know there was nothing wrong with natural hair.
I remember vividly her telling my mom, “Stop giving that girl those perms because her hair is going to fall out!” She her self had very thin hair due to years of perming but had stopped because of the affects. That’s all it took, it was finally over, no more nose tingling, no more not being able to scratch my scalp, no more sitting around letting what felt like acid burn my roots to death. What was to be done with my hair now? I’ve always had this almost too thick unmanageable hair. Unfortunately due to all the perms and tight ponytails I lost my sides, it is my BIGGEST insecurity.
I haven’t had a perm since and I was about 9 when they stopped, yet my sides have not come back. I went through a stage of hating my hair and wishing I had what I called “good hair”. I couldn’t understand why my hair was so uncontrollable and I felt ugly. I went about 2 years doing nothing to my hair, literally nothing but letting my mom comb it out and put it in a ponytail that made my head look egg-shaped. When I hit middle school I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to feel pretty like the other girls; I was ready to stop acting like my hair didn’t exist. I started to get my hair pressed professionally at the shop. There was this Africa American hair culture I had no idea about. Hot oil treatments? Deep conditioning? Keratin? Glue in weaves? It was a little overwhelming; I went from knowing nothing about hair care/culture to feeling like a guru after a few trips to the shop.
I became engrossed in making sure my hair was healthy, back then I thought that’s what being natural meant, as long as I was weave free I was natural. After about 3 years I stopped getting my hair done professionally on a consistent basis because it was getting expensive. My interest was sparked in truly natural hair because on more than one occasion I heard women say, “I feel naked with out my weave”. For some reason that upset me the most, why couldn’t black women be happy with their natural hair? Then I thought back to the times I wasn’t happy with my own hair and I could relate. I had a EUREKA moment; an epiphany of sorts and that alone gave me a great sense of pride in my hair. With the new hair care techniques I learned in my years at the shop I took on the responsibility of doing my own hair. At first it was just wash, condition, blow dry with a little oil and slicked down into a bun. I became bored of that and began to create my own hairstyles. I taught myself how to braid one summer; it was kind of like a miracle really and took about two weeks to perfect my cornrows. When I learned that my hairstyles began to become more varied because I was able to incorporate the braids into them.
I seemed to always get the most comments and compliments when I would blow dry my hair and just wear it out in a natural because it was so darn thick. I loved it because I could see that people liked it, by wearing it like that I wanted black girls to know there was nothing wrong with natural hair. I still have the same pride in my hair and now that I’m a bit older I’ve decided to take action in promoting healthy natural hair. My natural hair has given me confidence and I deeply want others to realize that there isn’t anything wrong with being natural.