A couple of years ago when one of my friends visited me, she could not resist loling at my hair. I was between braiding and was sporting an afro. She thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen. Me too! I thought it was funny for a black person to be laughing at another black person’s afro.
But seriously, it got me thinking: Why are so many black people afraid of their natural hair?
I have heard comments like: ‘Natural is not for me’ or ‘I don’t have the personality’ or ‘It takes too much time’.
Well, if it’s your natural hair, then natural is for you. If it’s your natural hair, then your natural personality will suffice. And lastly, hair grooming takes time for everyone - male, female, black, white, brown, yellow and red. As long as you have hair, grooming takes time. The only people who do not have to worry about hair are bald people, and not partially bald or almost bald, TOTALLY BALD people.
And I get it, black people who do not have….. I don’t want to say “nice hair” or “good hair” because I dislike those terms. Maybe because they have never applied to me. So let me put it another way. If you are black, and as your hair grows, it grows vertically as opposed to horizontally, your daily hair grooming will be a bit of a struggle.
And I get that whereas others can just put their hair in a pony tail in a matter of seconds, it could take you minutes, sometimes hours depending on the length and texture. And I know, you get hot and bothered and you have to change your clothes twice before you get to work because you are sweating so much, but that is no reason to perm your hair.
You just have to figure out how to manage your natural hair.
Look it’s easy. I cannot believe I just said that. I hate when people tell me that. Once my computer broke, and I called Dell. The technician said, “Ma’am, it is very simple.” It’s bad enough he’s calling me ma’am, he’s going to be condescending. So I said, “Please don’t say that. It might be easy for you, but obviously not for me. If it were easy for me, I wouldn’t call, I’d do it myself.” I should have been clearer about what else was bothering me because he replied, “I’m sorry, ma’am.”
But back to business.
There are a plethora of natural hair products for black hair out there. You just have to know how to use them. If you have ‘wash and go with Pert’ hair, it’s safe to follow the instructions to the T. But if you don’t, just read between the lines and please twist your hair overnight or for a few hours before styling.
When you had a perm, you put rollers in at nights, right (I didn’t, which resulted in my hair breaking). So if you have natural hair, then you simply twist them at nights. For looser curls, make big twists. For tighter curls, make small twists.
And I know; black hair can be very deceptive when wet. You’ll leave the shower thinking: I can leave it like this because it feels so manageable. Do not be tempted! Handle it immediately, because you will be defeated.
In the past when I had gone natural, it was always temporary. Until my hair recovered from the relaxer. Until my hair gets thicker due to damage from the relaxer. Until my hair gets longer after I had to cut it because of the relaxer.
But this time it’s permanent. Why? Because this time, it is a choice. I got tired of purposely damaging my hair so that life could be easier for me now. Like drugs, you need more of a fix every time, but over the long run, it causes irreparable damage. Well, that’s what I hear.
I’ve seen the future, and there is a strong possibility that when I get older I won’t have any hair. I see so many women in their sixties and seventies, who have used lye for decades, become bald.
Sidebar – I guess they are the ones not worrying about hair grooming now.
But, I stepped away from the creamy crack six years ago. Yep, I have been sober for six years! And I don’t intend to relapse.
Yeah, there are times when I miss having a perm. But not enough to give in.
The thing I love the most about natural hair is its versatility. When I miss running my fingers through my hair, I get it flat ironed. When I don’t feel like being bothered for a while, I get it braided. When I feel like rocking a curly style, I return to the twists. And when I’m having a real bad hair day, I wrap it.
And I do all this without the damage of lye. I’m not specifically endorsing natural hair. (Maybe a little.) I’m just saying that natural hair is not the enemy.
It’s simply an option – not a last resort option, but a viable option.
Just perspectively speaking!