Wednesday, November 2, 2011

8 Things I Must Confess About Natural Hair


As I'm inspired by insomnia and reading the "Natural Hair Confessions" posts on Natural Review, I thought to write my own post of natural hair confessions.
  1. I got my first relaxer when I was 9 years old. By the time I was 16 and had started thinking about ceding the touch ups I didn't even know what my natural hair texture was like.
  2. I got my last relaxer the day before my 17th birthday and my hair was chin length (straight). Fast forward 8 years later and my hair was an inch longer than chin length (pressed). I had never once trimmed my hair in that time.
  3. The best worst thing that happened to my hair was when I asked my friend to trim it and she chopped my hair to only an inch long.
  4. In college I washed my hair with Pantene (not relaxed & natural line) shampoo and conditioner every day and never used a leave in conditioner. I couldn't understand why my hair always felt like straw even though I put plenty of grease on my hair and scalp.
  5. I just learned what a heat protectant is and what it should do 3 years ago. I had always thought any grease or hair spray would do, and I thought each parted section was to be saturated before applying heat. Hmm, that explains the hissing and crackling sounds I always heard and the singed strands. Sorry to all those friends who let me press their hair. (My bad.)
  6. I am often frustrated because it stills seems I am not retaining as much length as I could (i.e. as other people). Every day working on that one... which leads me to my next confession.
  7. I want very long hair. That is my main goal with learning how to care for my hair. I want to whip my hair back and forth, without having to carefully plan my style and check the weather first. Who knows if that's even realistic?
  8. Much of my lifestyle has changed for the better since adopting all natural hair care routines. I am much healthier in many other life choices too, but honestly its all due to my vanity. But if its for the better that's not so bad, right?
Can I get an AMEN?!


  1. Rather than paying my bills and doing all the responsible things that I set out to do this morning, like every good 20 something year old, I first checked facebook. I am glad I did, because your post inspired me to confess a few truths of my own experience with natural hair, for what it is worth.

    1.I have never had relaxed hair, but from the ages of 5-18 ( the time I grew up in Iowa around mostly white people with perfectly long straight hair) I begged my mother to let me have one. My sisters had relaxers ( I attribute this to her actually going back to work and not wanting to deal with their hair which was 2x thicker than mine) and she did as well. She did not think I needed one and I hated the fact that she wouldn’t let me relax my hair. This also made me really uncomfortable with my hair texture.

    2.Because every black girl I knew with “black hair” ( sisters, moms, friends, cousins, etc) and everything on TV told me that relaxed hair was the way to go I really really wanted a perm (relaxer). I could never get my hair as straight as those on TV and once I did, humidity or sweat would inevitably make it “go back”, this I also hated. I wore a lot of ponytails.

    3.Consequently, I hated my natural hair. It had some sort of curl in it but wasn’t curly. Because of such, I made my mother press it every week and “ touch it up” every morning to continue with the appearance of perfectly straight hair to blend in with my peers. The hot comb on the stove was my best friend and enemy. This not only damaged my sides, but made them quite thin for years.

    4.It wasn’t until I was 14 that I decided to actually try going natural. I was in track and running 4 miles a day and keeping my hair pressed became impractical. I used “crunchy” hair gel ( we can all guess the results of this) and every trick known to (wo) man and available at Sally’s ( praise this store)-which was 60 miles from my actual home- to tame my natural hair.My mother and sisters had a perm and they didn’t know anything about natural hair so it was all trial and error on my part. Retrospectively this was an important time in accepting me and my hair. However at the time, I wore a lot of pony tails. A lot.

    5.It wasn’t until college that I began to learn how to “treat’ natural hair and all the things that you could do with it. There I learned about coconut oil and coco and shea butter. I learned about twisting and braiding. This is where I truly began to feel comfortable in my hair and that it could be beautiful. This is where I developed pride for my hair, for black hair.

    6.I still struggle with the role of natural hair in my life. Due to my career, I have to be in a lot of business attire, which is easy. What is hard for me is to know what is and what isn’t an appropriate way to wear my hair. Could I go to a congressional meeting with twists, a big puffy ponytail, or some sort of twist out? Does the way I wear my hair automatically categorize me to my peers and co-workers ( it’s hard enough being a woman and a person of color). Why do I feel that professional is straight and natural is not?

    7.I envy those that can go to work in bantu knots, fros, twists, braids or locks and not have to feel like their hair defines them.

  2. Danielle, thanks so much for sharing your experiences! Though we went to college together I had no idea that your hair had never been chemically processed. I just assumed you had a texturizer (turning the lens to myself, why would I have assumed that?). Whether it was or not isn't the point though. We are in hair solidarity, in both woes and wees!