Ask a black woman about her hair and be ready to embark on a journey of growth, change and often self-discovery. *Cues “I Am Not My Hair” and “Don’t Touch My Hair”* IF she speaks candidly about her hair with you, the journey will likely include a few stops. Some recurring nightmares around getting your hair pressed for Easter. I think my ears are still deformed. That first relaxer at a young age *wags fingers at our mothers.* There will definitley be a story about her hair breaking off probably while in college. It was the water in the dorms I swear! Then somewhere in there she will decide to purposely chop her hair off during some major life altering moment. (My bob from that era was ON POINT!) Okay maybe this is just my Black Girl Hair Journey!
So after all of that, there is likely a move to going natural. Ridding our hair of all of the harmful chemicals used to straighten our hair. Many black women see this as a statement against European ideals of beauty. Others prefer a natural lifestyle free of any chemicals including those on their head. Then you have me, a person who prefers to make no statement with their hair, just for it to be manageable!
Post-college I maintained pretty healthy hair considering, but after my ends started frying like a tween girl after using her first flat iron, I decided to make a change. That change meant slowly growing out my hair and cutting off my relaxed ends. I went for a “mild chop” in lieu of a big chop a few months back leaving just my natural curls! Okay so I know I am late to the “natural hair” party, but I just wanted to share a few of my observations over the last few months since I let the curls run free!
What I’ve Learned
- Being Prepared to Look Crazy! A good friend told me that as you learn your hair you are guaranteed to have a day where your hair looks crazy. Embrace it and move on. I took that one to heart one day and literally went to work looking crazy, only to find out that I had a presentation that day. This was a true test of confidence, but I survived!
- Maintain those Edges. I am not sure when black women decided that our self-worth was tied up in the prosperity of our edges, but I too want to ensure that my edges flourish! Maybe it is because I am not flat ironing them and slathering pounds of edge control on ‘em, but my edges are currently living their best life!
- The Responses. Black women look at me and tell me oh you FINALLY went natural. I hit them with the side-eye for their judgement! Then non-black folks hilariously do not know what to say. They know something is clearly different, but are unsure of how to approach it. So they just say “Oh… this looks great!”
- This Feels Versatile! I’m new this and have to try every possible style and trick, yet I do not feel limited at all. There are so many options for natural hair. Plus, I can still rock it straight without chemicals which is a WIN!
- It SO Different! Sometimes I am shocked at how different my hair acts sans relaxer and then I have to remember that my hair was literally chemically altered. For example, I remember my beautician instructing me to only put a dime sized amount of oil on my hair so my wrap would flow. Now? My hair laughs at that amount of oil!
- Water is your friend! Remember that scene of Mean Girls where the principal hits the sprinklers and the one lone black girl screams “MY HAIR”? Praises to the on the high, I no longer have to be that girl! Water is now my friend and I am thankful for it! *Holy Ghost Stomps*
- Product Junkie! She is me, I am her and you will not shame me! Look I’m new to this and I already know… even when you THINK you have found the best product, something better awaits you on the shelf. Do not mind me while I indulge!
So what about you ladies? Do any of you have any funny stops on your hair Black Girl Hair Journey?? Share below in the comments!