Hair Racing

In Encouragement, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on December 6, 2012 at 4:02 am


I was literally born with a head full of curly hair. Some of my earliest memories of my mother is of her combing my hair. Nearly every morning, she would open the can containing all the hair supplies and begin by pulling a wide tooth comb through my back-length curly frizz puff, moisturizing it with vitapointe, sectioning it off, and braiding it up neatly. The care that my mother took of my hair was a direct expression of how much she loved and still loves me. Also, she imparted to me the importance of taking care of and respecting my hair and myself.

Hair was easy then–my hair was cared for in whatever way my mother saw best. But, then I decided to take over the job of combing it. I was about 14 or 15 and my natural hair was a little beyond my shoulders. I starting pressing it and pulling it back into a huge ponytail, then wearing it down. Everyone had a relaxer back then, and I wanted one as well so that I could wear my hair straight with no problem. Mom wasn’t having it, though. I was teased for wearing my hair pulled back into ponytails and buns almost all the time and never going to the hairdresser. By the time I graduated from high school, my hair was nearly to my waist.

College was a time of change and experimentation–for my hair. I cut it short; I cut it shorter;  I wore an afro; I got a relaxer; I changed the color. Since college, I feel like I have been in a hair race to stay on the cutting edge of a hair care trend; of the newest wave of hair identity; of the right side of someone else’s opinion of my hair.

I’ve bought Shea Moisture, Paul Mitchell, Carol’s Daughter, clippers, scissors, clips, bows, curly pudding, curling milk, hair gel, spritz, FHI, hot tools, Aveda, coconut oil, shea butter, Vitapointe, Aphogee, intense deep conditioner, CHI infra treatment, ceramic tools, tourmaline tools, hair dryers, combs, and brushes. I am afraid to begin to add up the amount of money I’ve spent on hair care.

Today, I am relaxer free (because my hair was breaking off too much) and letting my hair grow out (because I missed my long hair). I’m currently pressing it (because I like wearing hats in the winter…..and I just like how my hair looks when it’s straight) and using some slightly expensive hair products (Nexxus and Aveda….because I like my hair to smell good and feel thick). That picture of me in the horrendous sweater vest is a recent picture; I like my hair–and, I realize that’s the important thing.

I had to tell myself NO today. No matter what the internet says, I am not going to worry myself by trying to learn the latest method to take care of my hair. No matter what the anyone else says, I am going to press/blow-dry/not press/twist out whenever I want. No matter what customer reviews tell me, I am not forking over money for any more styling tools or implements. No matter what some psychologist says, I am not going to tie my racial identity to the texture of my hair.

In the end, this all circles back to my mother. She told me today, “What your hair needs is whatever works.” When I was young, my hair was long, thick, and healthy. So, I think that what my hair (and I) need the most is love, caring for, and respect. Honey, you do whatever works best for you! If you don’t know what that is, stop the next woman you see who has healthy hair and ask her what she does that works. Then, once you find what works, don’t let anybody talk you out of it. This right here is about YOU and YOUR hair.


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