My hair journey has been one of unintentional ups and devastating downs. I went for years trying to style my hair. Comb it to look its best, in ways that I thought looked nice for me. I really hadn’t given the science of caring for my hair much thought. I just mimicked what I saw everyone else doing as I grew up. You know, when I look back, though, I can see a very sharp distinction and change in the way that my and my families hair regimen changed over the years. I’m thinking of my youngest cousins on up to my grandmother. It seems to me, that most of us had healthy heads of hair, that seemed to grow quite well and was pretty thick. Even my brothers and boy cousins had long luxurious braids, that swayed in the wind as they moved about. This hair drove the girls crazy in our neighborhood. Still, I wondered why our hair seemed to be healthier then? What was the difference back then, compared to what I observe about our hair today?
Right away two things jump into my memory. One, I remember that most of them wore their hair natural, it was kept braided, corn rolled or pressed (hot combed). Most of my female relatives pressed their hair and braided or put it up in rollers at night. Then the next day, the hair would be worn in a curly fro or a nice curly style. The other and very peculiar thing, especially considering this website. Is that I recall that most of my family members made their own hair products!
I can remember my cousin sitting me down at the kitchen stove for what seemed like an eternity, running that hot comb through my hair, boy I hated that. Then she would part it in smaller sections, rub some of my grandmother’s homemade hair grease on my scalp and hair. I don’t know what it was made of, but I do remember it being cooling to my scalp. My hair was not left hanging out, it was twisted, braided or corn rolled. That’s why my hair stayed healthy.
My hair would also be revived and Conditioned throughout the week, with the hair grease that my family made. It was the only product that I can remember them using. Some old family recipe, that I never had the wisdom to ask about or the fortune to learn the recipe. At the time, it didn’t dawn on me that I would grow up and one day make beauty products. I can still smell that strong lovely clove-like scent, and I feel the coolness of the hair grease on my scalp.
That old routine sorta reminds me of a young lady that I have grown to love, in my natural hair journey. Her website was ”Long hair don’t care” Dominique. I credit her for helping me to return to freedom, the freedom of loving my natural hair. She said that once a month she washed her hair, blow dried it, flat ironed it, then braided it or corn rolled it back up. That girl had the most beautiful hair that I have seen in a long while. I am so grateful to have met her, if only in cyberspace.
Once I realized what was best for my hair, then my routine changed. I began to care for my hair in the way that I was learning from Dominique and others online.
I saw that it didn’t matter what my age because these girls were younger than I was. I could care for my hair in a way that would make it healthy and make it grow. It was simply, that I needed to create a hair routine, perfect it to my texture, and be consistent. This decision helped me to get my hair back into the great shape that I remember as a young girl.
Here’s one surviving picture of me when I was about 8 or 9. This was a Christmas day, I remember because of that outfit. I thought that it was the prettiest thing… anyway, this is what my hair looked like then after it had been pressed. I wonder how long my hair would be today if I had kept that same routine.
Remember my cousin’s I mentioned earlier, well I noticed that the ones that have kept the old routine with their hair care. Those ones have maintained their length and growth rate throughout the years. But the ones that started modernizing with the masses, getting their hair chemically treated, have lost hair and is now almost bald. I’m especially talking about the females in my family.
Just take a look around, notice what state most real hair is in, when it is not a wig or weave. I am speaking about all types of hair. When I observe different types of hair I noticed a few things. Some have long hair but it looks scraggly and lifeless. Some have super straight hair, but it is dry and flaky. Some have thick hair, but it looks dull and matted.
We just have destroyed the beauty of our natural hair. I love looking nice and beautiful, but who defines that beauty? Who decides the standards? I pledge that we as a people need to find what is best for our own hair, and do that. You will be freed from so many shackles placed on you by the world’s point of view about you. This is a decision I have not regretted, I only regret the years of hair growth that I have lost following the masses.