Hair Me Out! Part 5: Before I address my black sisters (ahem), let me take a step back to my first year of returning natural. I didn’t have a clue what to do with my natural hair and I certainly didn’t know how to keep it moisturized. Take the daily shampoo routine for example, mara, how was I supposed to know that I was stripping my hair of its natural oils? (And those with “4c” hair type know that greasy hair is the least of their concerns, unless aided by external products). The result of my daily shampoo treatment? Dry scalp, shiny dandruff (courtesy of pomades), brittle hair and impressive hair loss!
A capital sin that most ethnic hair salons are guilty of is the use of teeny weeny fine tooth combs on lush natural hair. (This is often accompanied by lots of grumbling from the hairdresser on how “stubborn” your kinks are!). We must speak out against such harmful hair practices in our salons which result in unnecessary pain and massive hair loss. When it comes to natural hair, and particularly “4c” type, a wide tooth comb (after moisturizing your hair) is a must! Another lesson I wish I had known back then. Despite my fro-frustrations, one thing I knew for SURE was that chemical treatment was NOT an option.
When Sisters Hate on Your Fro…
Hell indeed hath no fury like sisters hating on your afro! This was by far the biggest shock I got from going natural. Yup, not all sisters are down with your (or their) God given tresses, and that’s a sad fact! I don’t know much about the brothers, but I came across “Steve Harvey Show” where a marriage was at stake because a sister got fed up with chemical treatments and the brotha wasn’t impressed. Brotha had a “thing” for long swishy hair (mind you, at any cost), so I instantly developed a “thing” for going “Mike Tyson” on him – luckily the “thing” faded after a cold glass of water (besides, I don’t promote violence).
The push back against natural hair by many, has its roots in hair standards that are not ethnic. Natural hair is often labelled as: scruffy, untidy, unprofessional, blah blah! I urge the natural hair haters – and particularly the black community – to ask themselves one question: Against whose hair type have you set your barometer for professionalism? I bet it’s against some Pantene advert! Salon hairdressers are forever coercing me to indulge in a ‘Soft n Free’ chemical treatment. Listen up, natural hair is by nature Soft OK, and the only thing it needs to be Free of, is your chemical treatments! (Add to that, your warped mentality on natural hair). A black colleague who insisted I “do something” about my natural hair texture advised me to at least “texlax” – the buzzword back then, meaning a milder form of chemical treatment that would “tame” my kinks – I didn’t budge. The fro-battles are so real, I tell ya. To make matters worse, I was still stuck in that not-so comfortable zone I told you about last time, EISH ! Something had to give; I was sinking fast into despair. Check out what happened next in Part6.