I mainly wear protective hairstyles about 75% of any given month because:
- too much hair to deal with on a regular basis.
- I like the way they look. It took me a hot minute to get into the swang of wearing protective styles, but now that I am hooked, you can't tell me NUFFIN.
- If I wear my hair loose for an extended period of time, that spells Trouble with a capital 'T". My hair is very prone to single strand knots. The only way that I have found to reduce the frequency of them is to either wear my hair in stretched out loose styles via braid outs, twist outs etc, or to wear protective styles. Protective styles= less manipulation and less manipulation= less damage which = a happy fro and happy Ms-gg :)
Added June 20, 2010
My hair is damp and freshly detangled here (this is an old hair shot too that I fumbled across while looking at my fotki album:
I always preferred the LOIS hair typing scale because it more accurately describes my hair pattern. My hair is not uniformed and has like a thousand things going on at one time. That is why I think I have a hard time detangling my hair when it is longer (it can take anywhere from 4 hours to 10 or more on a bad BAD day), the multiple hair textures+ having porous hair which means my cuticles are not laying flat, which encourages my hair strands to be rough and intertwine-I just have a lot of factors working against me and not with me.
But anyway, on the LOIS scale, my hair is a mostly O and S patterned, with L's sprinkled in there too. You can visit http://www.tytecurl.com/v02/hairtypes.htm.so you can figure out your hair pattern too.
My Hair Story
(pictures will be added when I located my scanner software)
One thing that I dreaded more than going back to school after a long and carefree summer, dreaded more than stepping on the scale in January after I grubbed from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve on everything from candied yams to my momma's bomb cornbread, was getting my hair done as a child. Yes that gawd awful jherri curl. I mean, I understood my mother's intentions were good, but boy oh boy, I hated that darn jherri curl.
At around 7 my scalp began to do something weird. I was too young to really know what was going on, but I just remember going to the dermatologist every once in awhile because my mother saw some
weird stuff on my scalp. So the dermatologist took samples of whatever it was from my scalp and told my mother to use some special soap for my hair. I will never forget the smell of that soap. Thinking back on it, I think it was sulfur, because sulfur has that distinctive smell, but all I really remember was my momma washing my hair every few days using that funky medicated soap in a dark brown bottle. My poor hair was coming out from that soap. Why? My mother had to wash my hair frequently with it and as we know, shampoo is drying to the hair. And my mother did not know how to properly keep my hair moisturized. Back in those dark stone ages there were no internet forums, there was no online community, there was no youtube, and even if there was, my 50 something year old mother could not use it anyway! She is very technologically illiterate (I love my momma though!).
But my mother did the best that she could with the knowledge she had and tried her best to keep her little precious baby looking good. She blended my natural hair with kanekelon type braiding hair to give my pigtails and braids more fullness. Nothing over the top and nothing fancy, just enough extra hair to give me a little hang time. A she did a good job of camouflaging the weave, and this is the first time I have ever told anybody this, or this information has been made public. My mother told me as a child to never tell anyone she was adding extensions to my hair. Back in those days, wearing a weave was taboo and no one was really open about the fact that they were wearing extensions, even though it was obvious because the quality of hair was horrible. But like I said, my mother did a good job of blending in the hair she used and if you looked at my childhood pictures you could never tell.
The next year when I was in the 3rd grade my mother decided to try out the jherri curl on my hair. Good ole juice curls or jurly curls as I called it until a couple of years ago when I saw the proper spelling of it. Man, it was only twice or three times a year that I would go to my cousin's house and she would go through the long process of setting my hair in the jherri curl style. Since it has been well over 10 years since I had a jherri curl I can barely remember the process. I remember the perm rods and that funky, strong, distinctive smell of that creme. That odor would overpower the room and leave tears in everyone's eyes. I swear they mix tear gas in it! My little cousins would complain about how bad the smell was and I was so embarrassed.
The first couple of times I got my hair processed I liked it- until I got teased at school. That's when I hated it. But that's how it is as a kid. Until you realized you are different from everyone else and different is bad, you don't really have a care in a world. I think this was my first battle with being self conscious and having low self esteem. I didn't want to be different. I didn't want to be the plump big girl in class with the sticky jherri curls.
But my hair was healthy again and my mother did the best she could do. But at the time, I did not appreciate what my mother did for me. I wanted out. So during the winter break of the sixth grade in 1997 (yikes!) my mother allowed me to get a regular perm like every other little girl and woman in the 1990s. I was enthused. I was about to be normal, at least so I thought. When my mother permed my hair, she put the perm all over my hair from root to tip. Bad move. You aren't suppose to ever perm your hair from root to tip if your hair has already been chemically processed. My hair was so damaged, my split ends had split ends! I'm not lying! It was a scary sight to see. My mother transferred the responsibility of taking care of my hair to me, and I looked a mess. It was barely even neck length and it was severely damaged. I then began to get teased for my damaged, raggedy looking hair all over again.
So by the time I made it to high school I found a new desire-I wanted a wrap! If I got my hair wrapped in a salon by a beautician I would have beautiful hair like the other girls at school with long beautiful hair! So in the spring of my freshman year of high school I began to see a beautician regularly to get my wrap. Boy oh boy.! Next I convinced my mother to let me get a blonde frosting on my hair. After that you could not tell me anything! I had my hair cut right above my shoulder, just a shaking my new hair. My hair never looked this good (sounds familiar right?).
Then the problems began. By the tenth grade, the nape of my neck and a little bit of my edges began to break off bad. Everytime I got my "relaxer" my edges burned something serious. One day while my beautician was washing my hair I literally had tears in my eyes because that relaxer had burned my scalp something serious in the front. Till this day my edges are still not 100% normal.
Fast forward to 2004 and I made up my mind that I was going to relax on the relaxers. The modern day online lingo calls this "stretching your relaxers". Well, I was stretching my relaxers before I ever heard of the term and I knew that it was a good way to retain length. For as long as I could, I stayed away from relaxing my whole hair. I only got the front of my hair relaxed in May 2004 because I wanted to get a long "Pocahontas" type weave in my hair for my senior prom.
In 2005, I tried to go natural for the first time. I saw a girl at my school with a beautiful puff and I wanted one! So I got my hair permed for the last time on February 4th, a day before my birthday. In March, I got micros, took them out in June and got kinky twist in August. I loved the way my natural hair felt between my fingers... As long as I have lived I never remembered touching or seeing my hair in its natural state without heat damage. I loved it. Although only the roots were natural I still loved looking in the mirror in amazement at how unique God had made me.
But that was short lived. After a talk with a friend and my mother in September of 05 after 7 months of no relaxing, I ran to Wal-Mart and bought an Optimum perm for 7 bucks. My hair was a few inches away from arm pit length and it was extremely healthy. My hair looked better than it ever had before (sigh).
A month after I had my mother to relax my hair and proclaim "my daughter's back" when she saw my permed tresses, I went back to my beautician again. This time I had a new plan: I want color! And not just any color! I saw so many girls at school with brown hair and blonde streaks and I wanted it. I wanted it bad. So I bought Clairol's Bronze color, and told my hairdresser specifically I wanted brown hair with blonde streaks. On that cold dreary day in October or November of 2005, I got messed up big time. First she dyed my hair the bronze color I picked out. She let the color sit in my hair for the recommended time and washed it out of my hair.
When I returned to her station and looked at my hair, it wasn't the prettiest color but hey, I could deal with it. Then this is where the story gets bad-my hair is still wet mind you at this point: she takes me back to the sink and sits me down. Next, she takes a cup, I thought it was conditioner or something, and she puts the mixture on my hair. All I could here was popping and sizzling. Is she frying a steak on my hair or did she add pop rocks to the conditioner mix? What's going on here? I didn't know what she was doing at first, and on top of that I thought she knew what she was doing. I trusted her. After all, she dyes her hair like she changed her socks and she was the beautician, the one who went to school and got a license to do hair and passed all these tests and has the certificate on the wall saying she knows a thing or two about hair.
But I knew in the back of my mind that something was not right here, my hair is not suppose to be popping and sizzling. And then it dawned on me-she put bleach on my hair. I happened to catch my hair in the mirror as I sat down to get my hair roller wrap. I kid you not, my hair was orangery blonde, yellow blonde, reddish brownish brown. She had me looking like Dennis Rodman. What the hell? I trusted you.
So I missed 2 classes at school the next day, and came to school with my "this ain't my day" wig on and my hat. I was mortified. She ended up dying my hair back brown the next day, and a few weeks later I dyed it red, something I always wanted to do.
I decided that as soon as my hair gets back to a healthy state I would try to transition to natural again. After all that abuse my hair was the weakest and the unhealthiest it has ever been. I was tired of having jacked up hair and I was tired of trusting my hair to other people and getting burned. I wanted to take my haircare into my own hands.
Sites like nappturality.com and naani.com told me not to tell anyone about your natural journey (like
your friends and family) so they won't deter you from your goals. But at that point in my life I didn't care what anyone had to say, I was going to do me. I went from fried dyed and blow dried and now I want to love me for me and I don't know how long this feeling will last, but we'll see...
(originally written 9/26/2006, the day of my bc and amended on 7/12/2011)
Check out my Big Chop story here