Early Memories of Natural Hair: Extensions
Relaxers (or perms as I knew them growing up) were not a normal thing in my family. Women in my family wore their hair natural but not necessarily loose. After being part of the natural hair community for about a year and some months now, I’ve come to understand that getting a relaxer was like a right of passage for young girls in their pre-teens and teens. In my family, you came of age by getting extensions.
My cousins and my mother rocked all kinds of braided styles. Think of any black celebrity of the 90s who wore braids and that’s how the women in my family wore their hair. They even added yarn to their hair! My younger cousin and I pleaded to have our hair done like that because it seemed grown up. My mother said that she would do it for us when we turned 12. We were excited for a little while, counting down the months and years to get our hair done. But when the time came both of us had lost interest; I had become a bit of a tomboy and disliked the process of getting my hair done. And I became fully aware that it took a long time to add extensions. So I buried the idea.
To this day, I never get extensions… honestly because of the time commitment. I do not want to spend hours getting my hair done, LOL. Which is another reason I probably thought that having natural hair was limiting, unruly, and annoying because of all the time it seemed I had to invest in it, while other people with “nice hair” could shake and go and didn’t seem to slave away for hours doing hair.
I feel that natural hair is beautiful. It is an expression of becoming a different individual. I decided to go natural because I felt that I wasted money getting my hair relaxed. I like to work out so getting relaxers were eventually a waste of money and time. I sweat in my head first. I am now shampooing and conditioning my hair every week, and I usually roller set it to keep pretty curls. Thanks for the tutorials and stories! Keep em coming!
For the first 10 years of my life, my mom had the weekly ritual of washing and braiding my hair every Sunday. I was tender headed and remember crying the whole time she was combing my hair. She would give me about 4-6 dookie braids and then grease my scalp with smelly sulfur 8. After she finished, i'd go outside and play and my eyes would look "chinese" from the tightness of the braids and all the grease would melt onto my face.
I dreaded Sundays growing up but in hindsight, i know that my mom's diligent routine is what allowed my hair to grow thick and healthy. On the rare occasions that i wore my hair out, i would get TONS of compliments on how pretty and thick my hair was. I used to beg my mom for a relaxer but she was VERY against them. When she went to visit Nigeria for the summer, I tricked my dad into taking me to the salon for a relaxer for my 10th birthday. Needless to say, my mother was pissed at me AND my dad when she got back home! Ireally wish i would have listened to her and stayed away from relaxers, but hey, you live and you learn 🙂
I remember my Mom braiding my hair, she always kept my sister and I in cornrows. It was easier for her that way too. I also remember for special occasions, picture day, wedding, etc, she would press our hair. She would have us sit on a stool in the kitchen with no shirt on (so we wouldn't mess up the style by pulling our shirts over our head that night) and she would press our hair using Ultra Sheen Pressing Cream!!! LOL
I got my first perm in the 6th grade after the stylist my sis and I were going to told my Mom she needs to think about putting a perm in my hair, but she also made sure to tell her that my sis didn't need one.
Sitting on the floor and having my mom yell at me "HOLD STILL" while she struggled to get all my hair together to make 3 long, giant "Dookie Braids". Lol I loathed those darn braids! Cutting my hair with a pair of safety scissors (also with those pattern edge scissors!) and relaxing at 13 never combing it and letting it matte! Now I'm 19 and starting my dreads (which I love!)
I remember getting my hair pressed when i was younger, and i wanted it to stay straight longer so i got a relaxer. My mother saying, " you think you have good hair don't you" didn't really help either, but if i knew how to take care of my hair in the early years i would have never relaxed.
No relaxer for me until I was about 17 – just not an option. But my mom started pressing my 4b/4c hair when I was 6 years old. Imagine sitting next to a hot stove in a hot kitchen (this is Jamaica so we're talking 90 degrees) while my mom pressed every peppercorn in the nape of my neck with pressing grease sizzling. By the time she was done the roots had started turning back from the sweat. Running the fan was not an option because the breeze messed with the open flame on the gas stove. lol!
@putyohandsonme..you did NOT have a freeze in kindergarten LMAO. they teased because they wanted to be like you girl. i remember the freeze and don't forget fingerwaves(i remember trying to do those myself). I don't know if that was a South thing but those were the "it" styles back then.
I remember my auntie braiding my hair while I sat on the floor at my Granmother's house. She would braid it and put those little beads on the end with the aluminum foil to hold the beads in place. I LOVED it! I wasn't allowed to get a relaxer until I was 17 years old. Now I'm transitioning at 35. (those truly were the good ole days) 🙂
One of my earliest hair memories was begging my mom to do a freeze hairstyle on me in kindergarten, oh I thought I looked so cute and grown-up until I got to school and everyone teased me, oh 1990 what a year lol after that I stuck with beads and braids.
I wore a lot of cornrows with beads as a little girl, then I started getting my hair hot combed. I asked my mom for a relaxer at 13…silly me. lol ~KF519
@ Anon@ 9:21am: We called that "brushing over the top layer and leaving the rest a matted mess" "raking"! lol Memories lol
A relaxer wasn't a real option; we didn't know much about it and never desired to have one. When I turned 17, and was getting ready to go into the military was when I decided relaxing may be the way to go. Mind you, I was tenderheaded with a head full of long thick hair at that time and just the thought of "doing" my hair every morning with less than a couple minutes to do it while in basic training, terrified me! So I got a relaxer…by a family friend…talk about a nightmare but that's a story for another time! lol Wow…still shaking my head at that one!!
Rite of passage for us was when we were able to wash, comb and press our OWN hair! …every two weeks, faithfully.
looking a mess and not caring is my memory. I remember kicking and screaming when my mom came near me with a comb, hot comb, and relaxer. And actually winning sometimes in which she would say "well fine, go around looking like a crazy thang then". Around 5th grade my mom gave up and let me fix my own hair and allowd bangs that i wore like my sister and Salt-N-Peppa(1990). still not liking combs I would brush the top layers of my relaxed hair leaving the rest a matted mess. LOL thats when my dad started making me do the 100 stroke/day thing.
My early memories are getting my hair hot combed and holding my ear in fear of being burned. I hated getting my hair done. I have very wiry 4c hair that my step mom could not tame and she was so rough.
lol memories! my hair was relaxed as a kid, but it was almost never loose… schools back home are often pretty strict about girls' hair so mine was usually in cornrows. my sisters and i would get braids (or "Bob Marley" as it was called then, lol) when we went on vacation… lord, i LOVED flicking those braids around, no matter how many tears and hours went into making them.
funny, i was actually thinking about getting kinky twist done next weekend.
i was never allowed to get braids. my mother, who was a beautician, was against that and cutting it short. so, for most of my childhood, i had long, boring hair. i so wanted to change it up with braids or a short bob, but no go. main reason why i am natural.