|prints c/o thepairabirds|
Read the stories after the jump
when i decided to go natural, it wasn't a statement. i had permed hair, then started getting my hair braided. it grew out under my braids and after a time grew longer and longer and thicker. october 2011, i thought about getting locs and stopped braiding. seeing my hair out i thought, i wondered, could i just have it this way? i started with researching products online and blogs and youtube. and thats where it began. i didn't know what i was doing or why. my sisters were horrified - if it wasn't short and "neat" then i should go back to braids or perming.
but i liked feeling my own hair which had been alien to me for YEARS it felt like. i liked seeing what it was. i realized i spent all of my life disguising it or hiding it or covering it up. i tried so many products and techniques and hair styles. i seriously didn't know ANYTHING. i still kinda don't. i only NOW feel like have some idea of what works in terms of products and process.
my hair is a type 4c, zigzag. some parts look like spiral curls almost though - at the very back. the top front is the most stretched out and looks like a textured weave almost. the part i like the best IS at the back though, those spiral curls. my hair is long and thick, when i pull a lock, it reaches past my shoulder but it looks like a longish, blowout afro kind of most of the time. that's how much it shrinks down. i spend so much more time and money on my hair than i ever have. i read the labels of all hair products that look interesting. i find myself googling products, techniques all randomly. checking my hair in the mirror.
i used to be jealous of straight hair, white girls hair - how wash and go it is. having this hair has made me SO psyched for ethnic hair. i feel bad for people who don't have this volume and funk and style. i am always checking out other women's hair on the subway, ethnic women esp women with natural hair, wondering what their techniques are and often talking to them about it. i have a completely different relationship with my hair than i did just a few months ago all because of a fluke decision really...
I started transitioning from the creamy crack in 2004. Prior to that, I'd had a relaxer for at least 10 years, so I had no idea what my own hair looked like. I started locing it on the same day that Katrina came ashore; I consider that my anniversary date because I had an appointment that day to get my hair combed out and retwisted. I think it's a 4b/4c, thin on the crown and edges, but crinkly and strong everywhere else.
My hair regimen is still a work in progress, primarily because I have a toddler who could care less that I need more than 30 minutes at a time to deal with my hair. I also have not had it professionally done since my 38th week of pregnancy, for similar reasons. Now that I am back in New Orleans, I am trying to wash it once a week. I was a Carol's Daughter devotee for years, but I find now that her products leave a lot of buildup in my hair that makes it feel hard and bothers my scalp. In dry months, I like using the Wen Tea Tree conditioning shampoo, and during the summer, I use Dr. Bronner's castile soap, diluted with water. It takes at least an hour to 90 minutes to retwist my locs, and now that they reach past my shoulders to the middle of my back, the weight has caused some of the locs to thin out and become frail at the root. I'm trying to go back to using aloe vera gel to twist, and a combination of oils to moisturize - almond, coconut, grapeseed, lavender, and olive. Using tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar helps me deal with itchiness and occasional flakes. I also sleep with a scarf on at night to protect my edges.
Mooks' daughter's hair: