My daughter is now 7 years old and since the very beginning the struggle with her hair has been just that….a struggle! Now don’t get me wrong she has beautifully long, thick, curls but she is extremely tender-headed. The slightest tug or pull she is screaming and crying as if someone is killing her! I am always so sad and frustrated while doing her hair because I feel like I’m torturing her, and as a Mom that’s the last thing I want to feel like I’m doing. Wash days are an all day “event!” We cannot have anything planned (which is rare) and I have to allot myself at least 4 hours to wash/condition and begin the detangling process. Depending on what style I’m doing it may take longer. I usually try to do it later in the day rather than earlier so that hopefully she will fall asleep and I am able to get more done much quicker.
We are #teamnatural and it’s a beautiful thing to embrace the journey and appreciate our tresses the way they naturally grow from our heads. My daughter and I are 100% natural and it has been quite the journey, although I love our hair it is definitely a battle sometimes, the battle is well worth it because the alternative isn’t. When I was growing up having a relaxer was a must. Most (black) women and young girls had relaxers, the straighter the “better!” The creamy crack was literally like crack because it was addictive!! As soon as I felt “new growth” I knew it was time for another one, and my Mother had no mercy with my head. Lol The process that we went through as a black woman to straighten our hair is unnecessary in my opinion. To think we applied these harsh chemicals to our scalps and new healthy hair every 6-8 weeks, especially as a young girl was so unhealthy. I’m sure the chemicals were seeping into our blood streams and if it stayed on too long, usually after about 20 minutes, it would burn my scalp and I would have huge scabs on my scalp. My Mom and I weren’t educated on the chemicals contained in the products, we assumed that if it was being sold in stores/salons then it was harmless. Little did we know that was the farthest from the truth. As I got older as an adult I would constantly read about how harmful a relaxer really is, and it made sense because my hair could never flourish. Sure it was straight but it was brittle and unhealthy, so at 23 years old I decided to begin my natural hair transition.
So after reading, learning my hair, and educating myself on products and healthy hair tips I began my natural hair journey not long after I found out I was pregnant. One reason was because I decided to be very cautious on what products I used and avoided harsh chemicals for the health of my baby living inside of me. I decided to transition instead of doing the “big chop” so I would cut off an inch or two as it grew out. I watched dozens of YouTube tutorials and read all about the different natural hair products (and probably tried them all too) and started experimenting and learning about my hair. When I found out I would be having a baby girl I felt it was crucial to soak up as much knowledge about my hair so that I can properly care for hers. This journey was so much fun and exciting, I enjoyed purchasing new products and experimenting with different styles that I never had the courage to do before. Hair is so important in the black culture, It’s apart of our identity and as a black woman you are often judged by your hair and style of hair. At one point bone straight, silky, smooth hair was what everyone wanted. Wearing our curls, kinky fros, and our larger than life puffs wouldn’t have been accepted. Society put all of these ridiculous limits and one sided stipulations on our hair and because many of us didn’t take the time to learn and appreciate the beauty in our natural curls, we succumbed to their opinions and approval. BUT….A change has come and many of us have returned back to our natural hair and we are prouder that ever! If you haven’t yet there’s still time, Sis. haha
So after being completely natural since April 2011, in May of 2017 I grew frustrated with my hair and made an irrational decision to get a relaxer and get my hair cut into a short asymmetrical bob. It was bomb!!! Sharp, sleek, flowing in the wind, just FAB!!! I left the salon feeling so beautiful and relieved that I didn’t have to worry about sweating out my silk press or spending hours on wash day conditioning and twisting my hair. This feeling lasted only about a month or so…. Soon I felt like I betrayed my hair, like I cheated on such a great thing. I was upset with myself for not thinking the decision through and acting out of frustration and impulse. I missed my luscious curls and thick puff that I would slick back and wear on the top of my head, my boyfriend often referred to this style as a “fine-apple” like pineapple, because it was shaped like the uncut pineapple and he loved how I rocked it. He wasn’t happy about me getting a relaxer he loved my hair, and so did I, I still regret this decision. So after months of feeling the regret and watched my hair become brittle again much like when I was a younger girl, one day in the shower I got my hair scissors and chopped off the permed ends of my hair off and decided to begin again. I had to return back to what I knew I loved. Even though my hair was so short and I knew I would have no idea how to wear it, I felt I could begin again. So since then I’ve been wearing protective styles; braids, twists, sew-ins and have been keeping my hair braided and unbothered, honey.
I have learned a lot through this tough love/hate relationship with my hair. Much like any relationship, some days are good and others are bad. I understand I am emotionally tied to my hair and I am always trying new styles depending on my mood and how I’m feeling in that season. I also encourage my daughter to love and experiment with her hair as she gets older, as long as she doesn’t manipulate her natural hair too much. I believe it’s ok to change and have fun with your hair because that’s part of the magical experience of being a woman, but first and foremost I want her to take care of her hair and watch it continue to flourish! Our hair is our crown, wear it proudly, keep it healthy, and don’t be afraid to adjust it. I’m so blessed to have a daughter because we have the privilege of experiencing magical moments like this and making memories doing it. I’m still learning about both my hair and my daughters hair, much like Motherhood it’s a journey and a learning experience that we should embrace and appreciate! Share some of your hair journey with me, and follow my social media pages to see what I’ve been up to! Until then,
P.S. Please feel free to offer advice on natural hair products and/or tips that work for your daughters, I need it!