Hello lovely ladies!
Please enjoy each of the Hair Stories below, and cast a vote for your favorite in the poll to the left. The writer of the Hair Story with the most votes will receive the free bottle of SheaMoisture Shea Butter from my personal stash. The poll will be active from today, through next Wednesday night (Oct. 22) at 8 p.m.

Later Gators

~CN~

#1
Ever since I could remember, I’ve hated my hair. I’m bi-racial and grew up with a family full of straight haired white relatives on one side, and straight haired Black relatives on the other side. As a baby, my hair went from straight and jet black, to a head full of sandy brown curls. My mother made a point to educate herself on how to care for my hair and kept in in cornrows for most of the first 5 years of my life. Then I got old enough to realize that my hair didn’t look like ANYONE else on either side. I knew my hair was fairly long, but all I wanted was to feel it swish down my back. My mother didn’t realize that combing and brushing my hair, especially dry, were a huge no-no, so my hair was always a frizzy mess.

Then came the blow dryer. After every wash, my hair was tugged and brushed straight(ish) to the point of melting many a brush so that I could have the pigtails and down styles that I coveted so badly. Adding this to the fact that my father allowed his girlfriend to put a relaxer in my hair (she had no idea what she was doing) my hair was damaged beyond all hope by the time I turned 7. My mother cut it all off to start over, leaving me with a teeny weeny afro. I cried the whole time.

The cycle of blow drying started all over again, and when I was 10, I decided I could care for my own hair. That was about when I discovered I had curls. In my book, they were much better than the frizz I’d had all my life, but still not the “good” hair I’d always wanted. I wore it curly fairly often, but still had my mom blow dry it most of the time.

Around 13 I discovered the joy of hot combs, large barreled curling irons, and the all powerful flat iron. (Insert sound of angels singing here.) I wore my hair curly a lot more by this time, but the flat iron was my best friend. I still didn’t know to put down the brush, but I knew that when I wore my hair curly, I’d better not mess with it or it would turn on me. For the most part, I was a flat iron junkie, and my hair showed it. It was pretty enough, but the fact that it never grew beyond my shoulder blades proved how damaged it was.

Fast forward to today… I’m a mother of 4 gorgeous kids, and I want them to know exactly how gorgeous they are. My oldest is my 7 year old daughter. She has beautiful, extremely thick hair. It really doesn’t have a curl pattern. It’s just fluffy and big and I love it. Earlier this year she asked my to straighten it like mine. It hadn’t occured to me until then that no matter how much I tell her how beautiful she and her hair are, I continually reinforce that straight is better by tormenting and complaining about my own. I decided right then that I was going to love my own hair just as much as I love hers, and that I was going to figure out a way to get it healthy without shaving my head and starting all over. ;o)

I started searching the internet for products and techniques to repair my hair, and the third link I clicked took me to naturallycurly.com. I guess the rest is history. I learn from the women there every day. I’ve changed the way I care for all the heads in my household, and they all show it. My daughter had horrible breakage a month ago. I would do her hair fully dressed and find broken off pieces in my bra that night. It was truly awful. Now when I do her hair, I’m hard pressed to find a single hair on her shoulders. It’s softer than ever.

My own hair is soft and shiny, and now that I’m taking care of it, it works with me. I never knew my hair was capable of the strength and managability that it has now. I finally love my hair and every single twist, turn, coil, and crinkle that comes along with it. Mostly I love the fact that I’m no longer telling my children to love and accept themselves, while showing them that I don’t accept myself.

Sommer

#2

I was born In Jamaica, on October of 1985, to a single mother and a older brother 3 years my senior. The first 5 years of my life as I remember it as if it was yesterday, was very difficult since my brother and I grew up without our mother. What we didn’t understand then, she was working hard to bring us to Canada. My early experience on my haircare maintenance was of my god mother combing my hair for school, giving me cute styles with braids, twists and ribbons to match my school uniform. Another of my memories was surviving hurricane Gilbert, I could remember being picked up by a family member at 3/4 years old before the roof of our house was blown away … Its memories like this that kept me going.

My brother and I immigrated to Canada in March of 1990. I can still see the snow falling, feeling cold and everything else all at once. It was a new life with a bigger dream. A few months later we discovered that I was losing my hearing, I would someday become profound deaf. My hair journey started when i was constantly told how thick and coarse my hair was. My mother began by pressing it out, by around 7 or 8, burning my ears and having her apologized and getting tired of handling my nappy mane which led to using chemicals.

I stop using Chemicals in 2003, simply because I was tired of my scalp being burned, fried etc on top of that my hair was super thin before getting past neck length it would break off. I had family members who were already natural, one of which encouraged me, but instead of embracing it, I was addicted to heat, pressing combs, blow dryers, curling iron. you name it. I was ashamed to embraced the hair god has blessed me with. Sometimes with my extra thick hair, I would let it do its thing in front of family and friends. My boyfriend at the time was horrified when I showed up with “permed looking hair” I had gotten my hair pressed the day before at a salon and i wasn’t rocking my big hair like he have seen me with. I simply informed him that my hair would go back to its natural state, and he told me i should wash it as soon as I get home, simply because with my afro I looked like an African kueen. Lets just say that was what I needed to hear embrace the true me.

As a member of a Mac makeup-site, (2007) I was surprised to learn that there were other naturals like me, from there I learned from sites like motowngirl.com and nappturality.com and I became quite obessed. The new found knowledge finally gave me the ability to accept all of me, It became a healing process for my difficult childhood (hearing loss) and any hardship i was going through. I couldn’t wait to become a “real natural” I did the big chop on September 14th, a day before my mothers birthday. Since I was already natural, I had to get rid of the permed looking ends, since I fried it silly. As a new natural, I’ve gotten lots of compliments, and my self-esteem has gown through the roof.

Koffee “Trecia” Dyme
http://touchofkd.blogspot.com/


#3

I had actually been thinking about going natural for a couple years, on and off. Whenever I saw a girl rocking an afro, I started to salivate with jealousy. For the last year or so, I noticed that my hair, which stopped between my shoulder blades, was breaking off. My hairdresser noticed it, too. When I went to get touch-ups, every 6 weeks, she always had something to say… suggestions like, “You should wrap your hair at night instead of just stuffing it into a satin bonnet…” She told me that my hair was breaking off because of all the salt that came from me sweating so much when I exercise. My hair was also really tangled when I went in for touch-ups. Instead of wearing my hair in a ponytail, I began to wear it in a bun, because my ponytail did not look healthy. My hair also began to thin at the crown of my head, but I think this is a hereditary issue. I had started brushing my freshly relaxed, bone-straight hair back instead of parting it on the side or down the middle because I was self-conscious of the thinning in the middle of my head.

The last time I got a relaxer was on the last Friday in June 2008. I remember sitting in the chair while my beautician was applying the relaxer and feeling physically ill. There was this strange feeling in the pit of my stomach and a dull headache. I remember asking myself, “Why am I doing this to myself?” However, I set up my next appointment before I left the salon. I thought about the answer to that question for days, and the answer I came up with was, “I am doing this out of habit.” It’s so true. My mama used to press my hair every Saturday evening to get me ready for church on Sunday. However, at age 4, my hair was so thick, she could not stand to press it. So, she started sending me to my neighbor, who is a beautician, to get my hair relaxed. This is all I have known since I was in pre-school… every 6-8 weeks, get a relaxer and spent up to 5 hours waiting and reading magazines in the salon.

As I got closer to my August 8th touch-up appointment, I started getting nervous. I called Mama on a Friday and told her that I wanted to go natural and she told me she thought that I would look beautiful. On that next Tuesday night, I tossed and turned all night and had heartburn! I only got a total of 2 1/2 hours of sleep! I knew that I had to do something! That was the longest night since Christmas Eve when I was a kid. The next morning, July 30th, at 9am, I called Regis Hair Salon and it wasn’t open. Next, I called Great Clips. They were open for business, so I raced over. I told the young lady that I wanted a wash and a cut. She washed my hair and we went over to the styling chair. When she started detangling my hair, I told her that I wanted all the relaxed hair gone. She asked me one time, “Are you sure?” I said, with confidence, “I am positive.” As soon as she started chopping it off and inches and inches of hair started falling to the floor, it felt like the weight of the world was lifted up off my shoulders. The heartburn and butterflies went away.

It was as if because I am currently in a transitional stage in my life (about to earn a Ph.D. next year, most likely move farther away from home, and start my career), I needed my hair to match. The final style was fly, too. I didn’t know that I would end up with a crest in the front of my head like the young white guys! It is too cute! To top it off, the total charge was an even $15.00! How about that?! That day, I called up my now former beautician and canceled my upcoming hair appointment with no explanation. I have no regrets.

Arena

#4

This is my third time transitioning from a chemical relaxer. My aunt paid for my first relaxer at age 18. My Mom would press and curl my hair every two weeks from the time I was about 14. I couldn’t wait to fry my hair so I could be like my friends. I didn’t even realize my hair and scalp were damaged until I read “Good hair” by Lonnice B. Bonner. I was looking for a solution for my extremely itchy flaky scalp. I was scratching without removing much of the flakes. It took very little to break the skin and the bleeding frightened me. I really enjoyed Bonner’s book and began to see my kinky texture as something good for the first time in my life. I don’t remember how many months I transitioned but I big chopped to a teeny weeny afro (TWA). I was 22 years old and newly married. My husband and I never really talked about where I was going with my hair. He was shocked and dismayed when he came home from class to my new look. I had gone from a straight layered armpit length style to a kinky TWA. His first words to me were, “you look like a dude.” My hair grew fast and two years later it was a little longer than armpit–probably bra strap. I never measured and have zero pics. I relaxed several years later because I lacked confidence and gave up. A bad burn was the catalyst for my next transition but I relaxed again after giving birth to my second daughter. I was scared silly of doing 3 heads. I’ve learned that maintaining a healthy relaxed head is still plenty of work. I’m transitioning now because I’m ready to embrace myself. My new growth teased me every 3 months. I love to feel my naps. I have three beautiful daughters and one son. I want to help my girls to embrace themselves and my son to celebrate them as they are. I have to lead by example.

*I define “NAPPY” as the unique hair texture of tightly shrinking coils, curls and zig zags typically seen on people of African decent. I reject any negativity associated it.*

Thanks,

Nevergiveup…

#5
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a relaxer. I remember what must have been the first time my mother put a relaxer in my hair. I believe I was in the third grade, and my hair was soooooo straight. When I went to school the next morning, one of the boys in my class said I had static because my twists kept unraveling and were sticking out of my ponytail holders. I was highly upset.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have some vague memories of having an extreme dislike for the hot comb as my mother straightened my hair once a week, but no real recollection of my hair’s natural state. I’ve seen pictures as well and I’ve heard stories about what a soft hair texture I had. Yet I don’t know what my “real” hair feels or looks like. For years I’ve talked about locking my hair. These talks usually came about during the topic of having children (since it’s recommended not to relax while pregnant, I’d grow it out and lock my hair..why not kill two birds with one stone?) or after having my hair micro braided for 2 months.
Finally at the age of 26 I’ve decided to go natural. The decision came after going on vacation with a group of girls in May 2008. All of us were friends, of a friend, of a friend and it was an opportunity to meet new people. We spent seven days in Barbados and it was absolutely wonderful! However I noticed almost none of us wanted to get our hair wet and some went to extreme lengths to do so from not going swimming to wrapping their hair in elaborate scarfs and blowing drying immediately once they were back in the room (that was me). I had two inspirations on that trip. One of the girls in the group just went natural, and a nice little, curly fro. The other was my friend Melissa stating how Black women are usually slaves to their hair. I couldn’t agree more as I thought back on my “hairstory”. I remember not going to school on occasion because I needed a relaxer or perhaps not getting on water rides during a family vacation. Or more recently working out and being highly upset that my hair was flat from an intense session. Enough was enough.
I returned home and on June 1st I received my final relaxer. Besides having one more dance with the creamy devil, I needed time to come of with a game plan. I refused to walk around looking like a mad woman while I went through this transition. I spent days researching the transitioning process, styles, and various products to use. I became hip to such lingo as “BC” and having a “no-poo” hair routine and learning the truth about hair myths (such as Black women can’t wash their hair everyday). I’m not going to lie, some of the information I read scared the hell out of me (like breakage *shivers*), but I didn’t let it discourage me.
The next week I scheduled my bi-weekly appointment with my hairdresser via e-mail and told her that I wanted to go natural. I was shocked when she encouraged me to do so (she just cut my hair like Victoria Beckham in a short bob AND added more highlights…a little more than a month prior to scheduling this appointment with her)! Not only that, she gave me a run down of suggestions that will help me in the process.
Since then I’ve had a new BFF in rod sets and bi-weekly deep conditioners. My hair has been holding up wonderfully, not to mention I have the support of my hairdresser, friends (one decided to grow out her relaxer as well), and family….oh and Naturally Curly.com 🙂 I must say all of the ladies on the board are truly an inspiration to me. All the different and beautiful hair textures push me to keep going through with this transition. I must say my curiosity is peeked to see what my hair looks like. My mother always condemned the “good hair, bad hair” talk in our household, and for the most part I fell into line with those ideologies. Now so more than ever, I watch how I speak of my hair and the hair of others. I embrace the various levels of kinkiness and curls.
So hear I am, in my fourth month of transitioning and I couldn’t bee more proud of myself. I got over the “two month hump” (I RELIGIOUSLY got a relaxer every 8 weeks..no exception) without a problem. Some days are easy…others not so easy (especially after African Dance class). But I look myself in the mirror and tell my reflection that my hair is growing strong, healthy, and beautiful. Then I pull out the bobby pins and moisturizer and get to work!

Chavon