Going Old School With My Hair

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I really hate that I had to cut my locs off a few years ago. I loved them so much, but hormonal changes after I had Kell really wreaked havoc with them and they became so fragile they began to break. I went natural back in 1998 and locced in 2005, well before the “natural hair revolution.” Back in the day there were really no good products available and many of us became “kitchen beauticians” as we devised our own hair care products based primarily on what we learned on various hair boards. I developed a very basic routine for my hair which I wore in two-strand twists almost all the time. I washed with Dr. Bronner’s, did an ACV rinse, then applied a home made shea butter, coconut oil, rosemary and sage blend. The only other product I used was Aveda Humectant because it gave my hair a nice sheen and I loved the scent. When I was locced I didn’t use any product at all. Just a weekly wash with highly diluted Dr. Bronner’s. This time around I was very excited about all the new products available for natural hair, and became a bit of a product junkie. And much to my surprise, I have found that I don’t like any of them. They leave my hair hard and dry. The shampoos in particular, were especially awful. They left my hair feeling stripped and fragile. My hair has been many things, but it’s never been hard and brittle, even when I was relaxed. So, yeah, you guessed it, it’s back to the tried and true. I blended up a batch of my shea butter blend and used it on my hair after washing. My hair was like, “Gurl, where the hell you been?” It so soft and moisturized I just can’t stand it. I was really worried because I was starting to think maybe it was a hormonal thing. But no, my hair just likes old school.

Haircare Advice From “Professionals?”

Afrobella is one of my favorite blogs. I have it in my reader and have gotten good advice there on fashion and beauty. i especially love learning about the latest nail colors there. But when I saw this post yesterday I had to respond. There seems to be this mindset that professional cosmetolgists give better hair advice than bloggers or websites. That has not been my experience AT.ALL. When I first went natural back in 1998 it was BECAUSE of piss-poor advice and experiences with so-called professionals. So the notion of them debunking ANYTHING is nearly enough to send me into hysterics of laughter.

I started getting relaxers when I was eighteen. I spent more than a decade trying to find a cosmetologist who would relax my hair as I preferred. They insisted on relaxing my very thick hair bone straight. I never wanted that look and hated it passionately. I would go home afterwards, wash my hair and let it air dry to get more texture. After some research I realized what I was looking for was a texturizer and that I also needed to stretch my touch-ups out to about four a year. When I tried to discuss this with my cosmetologist whom I saw at least three times a month, she informed me that such things were for people with “good hair.” I knew then that I’d never see another “professional,” and have not been back to a salon since.

Of course, I’m grateful now that I never got that texturizer and instead eschewed chemicals altogether. I went from having to spend hours in the salon every week to not having been in one for nearly fifteen years. I’ve saved thousands of dollars not to mention endless aggravation. From time to time I wish that I could see a “professional” for a little pampering of my natural hair, especially for color, which I hate doing at home, but I’m too vain to go gray. This was especially true when I was pregnant and was so tired, but then I remember the aggravation of the long waits and how little “pampering” was actually involved and move on. I wish, oh how I wish this was something I could indulge in. The type of beauty treatments other women can take for granted, but unfortunately I never found after dozens of attempts. I’ve made appointments over the years to get my hair professionally colored, but have always cancelled after having what could best be described as a panic attack at the thought of suffering that abuse again. This is why I don’t assume that just because someone is a licensed professional that their word is any less suspect than a blogger. I think many professionals are mostly invested in keeping you in the chair for their services, at least bloggers are speaking from their own experience. If it doesn’t work at least it has cost you nothing.

When I went natural there were few, if any, so-called professionals who wanted to have anying to do with natural hair. If it didn’t involve lye and a flat iron they weren’t trying to hear it. My only recourse at that time was sites like Nappturality, a gold-standard resource I’ll put up against any licensed cosmetologist, most of whom have received NO TRAINING on natural textured hair. Now they see what a goldmine natural hair can be and resent that women have empowered themselves and broken free of their disdain and tyranny. When I first went natural I had to make my own products from coconut oil and shea butter I bought online. I learned about ACV rinse and the power of herbs like rosemary. I learned how to two-strand twist and the glory of spending time relaxing in my own home as I took care of my hair. There are plenty of poducts available now, but I still like knowing I can take care of my own. Did I learn any of this from the so-called pofessionals? Nope. This is information I gained from Nappturality and I’ll be damned if I’ll stand idly by while these “janie-come-latelies” put that site and others like them down.