Now in my fifth year into natural hair journey, my hair – and particularly hairline, is the healthiest it’s ever been in decades, no lye! My tresses stand tall (ahem, effortlessly defying gravity), and I’m so proud of how far I’ve come but of course the struggles continue…
Unlearning Bad Hair Care Practices
Everyone’s hair journey and growth rate is different and I’m making a conscious effort not to compare my hair journey with others, especially with YouTubers constantly glorifying length over health (my honest opinion). It’s important not to lose focus on what’s critical here – healthy hair! These days I insist on loose braids particularly along my hairline, a request that is often met with baffled looks and muffled laughter.
A hairdresser once told me: “Sisi, if I make it loose it will not look neat”. Others insist I use chemical treatment for aesthetic beauty and for effortless blending of synthetic hair pieces with my hair, when such extensions are added. Another’s argument was that my braids will get undone faster unless tightened. These are valid points, but at what cost? I’ll never again lose my sleep – try sleeping with tight braids on, and hair – think alopecia, over other people’s ignorant opinions of how I should look, period!
The Sad Realities…
As you can see, the battle to stay true to our afro roots is real and sadly, these battles are often perpetrated by the black communities. During braiding sessions, any ‘kink’ that pokes out of synthetic hair extensions is chopped off with a pair of scissors – mind you, this is an “improvement” from using candles and fire lighters! Can you imagine how much of my unprocessed hair is likely to stick out of those sleek synthetic hair extensions? And what chopping them all off would do to the final state of my natural hair? Time to speak up ladies! If muffled laughter is the only price you pay for keeping your tresses intact and healthy, needless to say it’s such an insignificant cost!
But before you go, I have something for you to ponder on. Here’s an old family photo (that’s me holding a white doll). Pretty harmless huh? Now check this video out…Food for thought!