Let’s Get Real
Black hair is no joke and certainly not for the faint hearted and what makes it even more complicated is no two hair journeys are alike. Take us for example, siblings, yet we have completely opposite hair types and completely different takes on how we manage our hair. Let’s discuss the struggle.
Our journey to embracing the hair we’ve been given hasn’t been short of shocking hair days and even worse hair style choices. When I decided to stop perming my hair appropriately six years ago, it wasn’t for fashion or trends (trust me, the Afropunk wave hadn’t hit little old Montreal yet). I had made the choice, because I was fed up of the breakages and pain associated with putting toxic chemicals in my mane- just didn’t seem appealing to me any more. Weeks and months after I had made my decision, I felt extremely self-conscious and had thoughts of going back to straightening my hair. I felt like my hair took forever to grow, I perceived myself as looking masculine and to be perfectly honest, I felt like a circus act. This could be purely my perception, but I felt the looks and I even got requests from people wanting to touch my hair (those conversations were always interesting). So much of our identity as women is tied into our hair and when you don’t see images of people with your hair type/style it can be disheartening, but I already knew what straightening my hair was like, so I stuck to my guns and simply wore make up on the days I felt more masculine.
It is not to say that I am against perming, I just realised that for me and particularly for my hair type, I couldn’t keep it up. I soon started checking out my local West Indian shop and bought a lot of products, they call it a natural hair movement, but we definitely do NOT lack on products. I scoured the internet for videos, pins and Instagram accounts to follow for advice and inspiration and to my disappointment all of them were American. Not that that is a huge issue, I just aimed to find someone on this side of the border, particularly for availability of the products (sometimes living in Montreal can feel like a vacuum). Nevertheless (I love this word), six years down the line what have I learnt?
My 7 Revelations
- I will never safely say I know or will ever know what Beyoncé’s natural hair looks like…
- Don’t compare yourself to others (hence my Beyoncé comment), this applies to a lot of things in life and hair is no exception. The sooner you accept and eventually love your hair, the better and easier your journey of discovery will be.
- Be patient, it takes time to get to know your hair and what works for it, time to get adjusted to the awcks stage (kinda like dating)…
- Do a treatment every 6 weeks or so. I know #aintnobodygottime, but trust me, it will do your hair wonders. There are some awesome homemade recipes, using ingredients you already have in house (see recipes below).
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Water helps to keep moisture IN our hair as it’s so naturally dry. I even spray water in my hair and then add oil before bed.
- Moisturize your hair with oils. I have made my own blend of hair oils (carrot oil, tea tree oil), bought myself a mini spray bottle and I spray it in my hair right before bed, wrap my hair and done!
- Protective styles will save your hair. Throwing back to when our mothers used to do our hair, doing twists or braids help to keep moisture locked in the strands, but also protects our hair from manipulation and from drying out. Plus, I love nothing more than rocking a twisted style and then mid week undoing it and having an awesome twist out or fro!
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