Musings in the Dark: Learning to Love My Hair


Learning to Love My Hair

I’m a full grown adult, but my hair and I just met recently. When I say “my hair,” I mean my natural hair. I’ve been getting my hair relaxed since I was old enough to stand the process. Prior to that, I got kitchen perms (or the hot comb). It was standard practice for any girl my age; no one wanted to be seen with nappy hair.

I’ve spent maybe thousands on hair care and products over the years, and I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve also spent many hours sitting in salon chairs and fighting my hair at home. Repeated abuse of one’s hair leads to hair rebellion and my hair started falling out.

I got tired.

Last summer, I got my hair braided and kept it that way for three months. When I took out the braids, I had about three inches of new growth and made the decision not to put another relaxer in my head. That was stressful, because it is difficult to style half a head of relaxed hair while the other half is natural. I knew that I wasn’t ready to cut it at that time. So I got my hair pressed for a few months to let it grow out some more. Hair pressing, or the use of a flatiron, is reminiscent of those old-school kitchen perms I used to get when I was a child. The only difference is that the stylist didn’t burn my ear the way my mom would sometimes. However, all of that direct heat made my hair thin out even more, even though it was really long.

I was concerned about my hair’s health more than anything else. It was difficult to manage because I couldn’t make it look presentable and I wasn’t ready to hack it all off. My head looked like a rat’s nest. I didn’t know what to do. So I was advised by several ladies I know to use hair products specifically geared towards natural hair.

One lady told me, “You can’t use on your natural hair the products you used on your relaxed hair. You don’t even know your hair yet.”

Simple, yet profound. She was right; I didn’t know my hair. I discovered that my hair had two different textures. The top and sides were relatively straight and the back is extremely thick. She told me that I would have to experiment with several products to find what works best for my hair. She also said that because I have dual textures that I may have to use two separate kinds of hair products to treat both.

Since then, I’ve been experimenting with various natural hair care products. I recently hacked off seven inches (yes, seven) to rid myself of the last of the relaxed hair so that I could really see the difference.

The ironic thing is that my mother had naturally curly hair that I always dreamed of having. She could wake up and walk out of the door and do very little to maintain it. What a surprise it was to discover that my natural hair is as curly as my mother’s was. I still have two textures (that won’t change); the top and sides are loose spirals and the back is tight coils. The products I’m currently using are designed to bring out the curls and I’m pleased so far with the results. I love touching my hair. I haven’t used a comb in almost six weeks, nor have I spent any of that time underneath a hair dryer. I feel so liberated!

I just got rid of my wigs, weaves, phony ponytails and curlers. I gave my sister-in-law all of my shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers and sprays. I intend to give her my curling irons and flatirons. I have no need of and no use for them anymore. I was amazed at the amount of space I freed up in my closet. Yet another liberation of the natural.

Don’t get me wrong; natural hair care products aren’t cheap. The products I use are expensive and I am still experimenting. Healthy hair costs money, no matter if it’s relaxed or natural. What my natural doesn’t cost me is time, and that’s worth the money I’m spending.

I absolutely love my hair. I can’t keep my fingers out of it. It’s a cap of short, tight spirals and not at all what I’m used to, but I will adjust. The main thing is that my hair is healthy. It will grow, I’ll get better at maintaining it, and I will never ever have another hair rebellion.


  1. 7 inches is a lot, but your hair is all the more beautiful for it! Natural Black hair is amazing! I'm glad you are embracing your natural locks! As a graduation gift, my sister gave me this book called "Thank God I'm Natural" by Chris-Tia E. Donaldson; it has helpful tips hair styles and product do's and don't's for natual hair and transitioning from relaxed to natural.
    I think you would look really good with twists. Have you heard of urbanbella? It's a hair salon that specializes in natural hair styles. While they are very expensive, I think it would be worth it to go there once and let them analyze your hair texture, recommend products, and give you twists because afterwards, it's really easy to do the twists yourself, so you don't have to go back there if you don't want to.

  2. Lawd, are those products NOT cheap. They are expensive as hell. But they are sooooo worth it; buying and using and recommending them makes you a part of something. You're taking care of kinfolk, and they're taking care of you.

    The lil sis and I are really into Bee Mine products right now. Watchu usin'?

  3. i'm so happy for you. it looks great and the style fits your face. you i've known you through the relaxers, braids, the named wigs and ponytails, and now the natural. you've never been a girlie girl...the one to play in her hair and try different styles. so i'm delighted that you have been liberated and set free from what society has deemed our kind of hair as a curse. be proud of those naps; it's those naps that keeps us from getting!

  4. Ankh: Currently I'm using "Mixed Chicks" after experimenting with "Miss Jessie." The funny thing is that Miss Jessie's products are excellent on the top and sides of my hair and Mixed Chicks products do great with the back. I may find myself using two separate products to achieve maximum benefits.

    Taurus: Girl you know I've never liked being bothered with my hair. What this has done for me is life-changing. I encourage every woman who is sick of her hair to let the creamy crack go. Natural is the way to go...

  5. Last I checked you were lookin' into Bee Mine. How'd that work out? Did you cringe at the price range, 'cause the lil sis and I do?

  6. Ankh (sorry for the lateness of this reply, but you know why): Mixed Chicks can be purchased in my local hair store, and I am pleased with its progress on my hair and so I haven't tried Bee Mine yet. Don't worry; I'm sure it's coming.

  7. @Shabaz,

    Sorry for the extreme lateness of this reply (been busy, ya know).

    I cannot tell you anything about Remy Lace wigs and hair pieces. I always purchased my hair from the local beauty supply store and I was never loyal to any particular brand. Sorry I am unable to help you. Good luck in your search.


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