Hair Despair

So I have been natural for a full 2 years now and I am still pretty much in love with my hair au natural. Unfortunately, like all great love affairs, we are no longer in the honeymoon phase!

Yes, I love my hair but sometimes I just don’t like it.  Why am I not in like with my hair at the moment?

1. The growth rate is like a one legged sloth climbing up a very tall tree

2. My natural hair has at least “50 shades of brown”

3. Notwithstanding countless attempts to nurse my edges back to life I still have bald patches on my hairline

4. One can only wear their hair in an afro puff for so long before one gets Afro puff fatigue

5. I must have Martian blood because the texture of my hair can only be described as nondescript!

Speaking of hair texture, during the hours I spend trawling the internet for hairstyling tips and ideas, I have noticed that a certain level of backsliding is taking place when it comes to the attitude towards the texture of African women’s hair.  I thought the whole idea was embracing our natural texture regardless of whether it is bone straight, wavy, curly or kinky!  I clearly missed the memo in this respect as I am starting to notice a certain amount of uniformity in the texture of African women’s hair once again.

Clearly the “Good Hair” attitude is still very prevalent and kinky haired girls like me are finding it harder and harder to deal with the texture of hair that is coiling its way out of our scalps, so what are we doing about it?  We are braiding and twisting and shingling all with the hopes that when we wake up in the morning we will have that curly/wavy textured hair.  Some are fortunate enough to have hair that cooperates in this respect but if your hair is like mine… it will look wavy for 45 seconds before popping back into a frizzy fro – like magic. This usually leaves us feeling baffled and full of despair as we can’t understand why we our hair fails to take on this much coveted texture!  Many a time I have watched a teary woman talk about how her natural (4c hair type) is bringing her down and another lamenting how much money she has spent on products that promised to give her that curly hair, with no joy.

Image

Revolution? or lost cause?

As usual this has opened up the way for the great minds in the hair industry to help us “fake it till we make it”.  A whole new family of products has been developed full of creams, puddings and custards (no it’s not time for dessert yet) to get curlier hair and if it’s too stubborn we can texturize it to get the desired effect.  This is fantastic as always, but is this why we shaved our heads, transitioned for 14 months or kept our hair natural from birth?  So that we can once again shun the natural texture and try to be someone else?

It seems at the end of the day we still have a long way to go before we can truly accept ourselves as black women, whether we have chocolate skin and kinky steel wool textured hair or caramel skin and curly lamb’s wool hair.

We are black and we are beautiful, if we can’t love ourselves how can we expect anybody else to?  I’m just saying!

How do people view hair texture in your part of the world?

Advertisements

Natural Revolution

I don’t know what it is about Friday, but I always get the strong urge to write something.  Actually I know what it is about Friday… it’s the 4 days that come before it!  It’s been a dramatic week for me y’all but that is a story for another day.

So anyway sometime during the week the film “Good Hair” by Chris Rock was screened and I didn’t really concentrate but I did watch some of it.  The part that interested me most was the Relaxers discussion, what they are made off and the effect they have on your scalp – burns and permanent hair loss- and some of the possible long term effects on your health.  I have been relaxer free for 2 full years now and so I wasn’t too concerned by what I heard.  I did however start thinking about all my family and friends and worst still the children, I have seen 2 year old’s in the salon getting relaxes on their little baby heads!

Image

Kiddie Perms how much safer are they?

From as far back as I can remember, natural black hair was just not an acceptable style to rock.  Who remembers the stretching comb?  Many a weekend was spent sitting dead still whilst my sister raked my hair with the red hot stretching comb whilst the aroma of burning hair filled the room and the sizzle of the petroleum jelly filled my ears!  Then when I got older I was allowed to get a perm, oh how I loved my greasy curly hair, I would even pull down a strand in the front so I could look like Michael Jackson.  Later in high school we discovered the straight perm, finally, we had arrived. But no sooner had we “arrived” when the new kid on the block stepped up to claim its spot in the hair care industry.  The Relaxer.  I remember my first Relax, I was 18 years old and I got my hair cut and relaxed and tonged, I was fly enough to star in one of those SWV music videos I tell you! For years I followed the routine of bi-weekly shampoo and set and 6 weekly relax to keep my hair tight and I never once thought there could be anything wrong with my hair care regime.

In many circles in Africa a girl stepping into a place rocking natural hair is looked at as if she had walked into the place with a bundle of wood on her head and dragging a goat behind her!  Natural hair is seen as rural, unsophisticated or you are just too broke to get your hair done.

Image

Solange Knowles

 

But is that true?  Is that why so many African American celebrities have suddenly shorn their locks and started wearing their natural hair, or could they be on to something here?

Fast forward to today, where I am better educated on hair issues and no longer relax my hair. (my transition to natural hair is described in a previous blog)   There is a major revolution mainly in the USA encouraging women to wear their hair in its natural form, in this instance the definition of natural hair would be the texture of the hair is not chemically altered (I don’t even know why most women still relax their hair anyway, they haven’t stepped outside without a weave or a wig since Toni Braxton stopped wearing that short cropped hairstyle!).  So now I want to bring that revolution here, to my African sisters.

As part of my revolution I am going to bring you articles with the following information

  • The benefits of wearing your hair natural
  • how to transition from relaxed to natural hair
  • Tips on how to care for your natural hair
  • Great products for your natural hair
  • Lots and lots of style inspiration for your hair
  • Interviews with some of you –Relaxed, transitioning, and Naturalistas
  • And maybe even some giveaways!!

Lets love the hair we were born in.