Monday, December 22, 2008

People Who Better Not Say NUTHIN' Bout My Hair

Okay, I'll just get to the point. You know what really "burns my cookies"? When a guy gives an opinion about a woman's (particularly a Black woman's) hair. And I don't mean saying, "oh, I like your hair" or anything like that. Example time! Back in the day, I used to have this roomate that wanted every *BW to go natural. And while this was a noble plight, his thinking was very, very jaded. He would ask any and every BW with long hair if they were wearing a weave and if they weren't, he would congratulate them. If they were wearing a weave, he would put them down. If they were wearing a perm he'd explain that while BW aren't able to grow their hair very long, that doesn't mean that they should conform by trying to straighten out what little length they do have.

Okay, wait...what?!

Now on the other hand, around that time, I was dating a new guy. About a month before we made our relationship official, I permed my hair. He told me that if I went back to natural, he would leave me. Said jokingly, but still a very fu... , I mean jacked up statement to make on his part. He said that natural hair didn't look right. If I was having a bad hair day and wanted to sport a cute head scarf, he was very much against it. He said it looked too ethnic or whatever, I was a long time ago. He thought my weaves and extensions were nice looking, but teased me about them occasionally. (He didn't know that I was wearing these as protective styles, because I was gradually going back to natural, and leaving his dumbass-oops, I cursed).

So with these stories, I make the point that the people who were the most judgemental. That had the most to say about how I (or other BW) should wear my/our hair are always the same ones who don't know anything about how to deal with "our hair". (Oh yeah, and the first dude-my roomate...was Hispanic) I can understand an opinion. Liking or disliking a hair style. But judging a person based on their hair is especially bothersome to me, and even moreso when it is done by a guy. Black men especially, because they can feel particularly self righteous as if they are the ultimate authority on Black women in general.

Hair is sensitive to us. Why? Because it is a struggle that only a BW would know. Hell, we have the most fragile kind of hair known to man. So, I try to keep the judgement down to a minimum. LOL, except for when it comes to this chick hehe, joking. Having experienced our kind of hair, I have a certain amount of respect for the challenges we face, having to overcome the traditional standard of beauty every day. Hours of research, care and maintenance. Finding a hair routine that is simple and effective. Finding a hairdresser that is good at her job. These are pains we take in order to look good, feel good, and (yes, I'll admit it) to please our boyfriends/husbands/partners.

I guess it just peeves me because I'm a strong believer that Black women have it hard enough as it is. We're hard on ourselves, and when society isn't completely ignoring/dismissing us, they are hard on us too. On top of that, we have our "brothers" (some who mean well) throwing out insensitive comments that end up hurting women and adding to the complexes most of us already have. Imagine if I wasn't a confident, self-aware person. My ex-boyfriend would have really made me believe that my hair in its natural state was ugly. Or my roomate, telling someone that is wearing a weave that THEY are a fake person. Two men, very different opinions, both wrong on so many levels. This is the kind of judgement that a lot of BW have internalized and walk around carrying.

One more point and then I'm done:
A big one that I hear is the argument about BW wearing rollers while in the grocery store, as if that woman is a bad person or someone with low self esteem. How about that woman is busy? Granted, I don't do this, probably because I rarely wear rollers. And yes, I'll admit that I try to look a certain way when I go out whether it be to the grocery store or to the gym. But I don't pass down judgement on someone who is wearing roller sets or a scarf. I just assume that they have somewhere to go later on and want to look sharp. One day, a looong time ago, I was in an emergency situation prior to a big event and had to run to the cornerstore ( yes...curlers, scarf and all). You should have seen the nasty looks I got from the men folk. It was unbelievable. The women, didn't seem to mind so much. They all gave knowing glances with the "I feel you girl" grin. I was in "getter done mode" so I didn't pay too much attention to the self righteous attitudes of my "brothers" the same brothers, mind you that would be trying to holla at a sistah at the event a few hours later. It was interesting how quick the judgement was passed in the stop n' shop, but everybody was winking and grinning at the banquet hall.

Sooo in conclusion, brothers...if any of you read this. Probably not. Probably just talking to myself anyway. Every time you go to an event and see a fine looking woman, with nice hair, makeup and dress; remember that she may have been the very same chick in the store with the rollers and 'house shoes.' LOL And in seriousness, every time you are about to say or even think something about a woman that may be wearing their hair in a way that is not to your liking remember the hangups that she probably has had to deal with throughout life. The work it takes to have to deal with her hair everyday, in whatever state it is in. And remember that whatever you might decide to let come out of your mouth, may do more hurt than good. And nobody needs that. Any ladies care to weigh in?

*BW stands for Black Woman (or women depending on the context). I write that word way too many times in this article for me to be spelling it out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oil ain't so bad ode to EVOO

I had a pretty good experience not too long ago that I would like to share with y'all. It kind of counter balances my previous post about how certain types of hair (extra thick, course hair like mine) needs a cream or lotion to keep it hydrated and moisturized. On the other hand, oil serves it's purpose as well. Warning: detailed hair washing regimen ahead... Couple days ago, I washed my hair with the desert essence shea butter hydrating shampoo & conditioner mentioned a few posts ago...
I did a deep condition using the desert essence conditioner mixed with about a half cup of olive oil, wrapped my head in a bag and used a blow dryer to heat up the concoction. (Remember kids, the objective is not to dry your hair or blast it with heat, it's just a way of getting all that moistur-ey goodness to seep into your hair and scalp so use medium heat or a low pressure.) Kind of like a steam job.

So, I washed that stuff out, towel dried the hair enough for it to be damp and drippy (rather than soaking wet) and decided not to retwist using my usual mango lime locking gel.

Which smells really really goood, but I've been on a 'no residue' kick lately, and I'll get into that later. Instead, I decided to retwist with some good ole' fashioned EVOO.

The whole time I was doing this, I was thinking to myself that my hair is not going to hold as well with oil. But I finished retwisting (which has become increasingly easier, since I am already locked up-aaand, I got a little help from the boyfriend ;-) I blew the hair dry with my blowdryer, (set on medium heat) and not only did they manage to hold, but they hung straight and did not leave any residue at all, except a beautiful shine.
Oil was very important back in my permie days because it gave me length, as well as shine and added a little weight to my hair without product buildup. I must have forgotten that, because I was really shocked when I finished blow drying my hair after retwisting with oil and ended up with hair that laid down a bit more and had a smoother texture, rather than a fluffy texture (which dries out quicker). There was no residue at all and I actually felt the hair on the back of my neck, slightly touching my shoulders a little bit. I wonder if my hair would have turned out a little more cylindrical if I'd have done this from the start. But I don't want to think about that...lalalala! (Places fingers in ears and shakes head)
I feel like my scalp is an indicator that tells me how I'm holding up in the moisture department, and it was feeling itchy lately (meaning it was dry). But not lately. When I feel my scalp and the hairs close to it, everything is pretty soft. So all is good in the neighborhood. I would not advise this to anyone who is in the process of locking, because I don't know if it will work as well...but then again give it a try anyway, who knows? Either way, it's a great way to keep the moisture in your scalp and hair sealed up.
Now the only problem is...what do I do with all those extra containers of mango lime locking gel?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Hair is a Sponge

So another day in the land of locks and I'm easing on down the yellow-brick road, like the Wiz. No complaints. In 38 days it will be my one year loc-aversary and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with myself...but that's all the way in Emerald City for now, so I have some time to sit in the poppy fields and figure that one out.

Why the Wizard of Oz references? (Screaming) Because I look like a mother freaking scarecrow! (Awkward pause) That's why!!! (Throws empty beer bottle against wall) Damnit!

I'm sooo joking, lol. Just in a rambling mood today. But onto business. I haven't been moisturizing my hair like I should, henceforth, the scarecrow reference and the handy and very dandy, wool-knit hair net I am wearing today. (I know, I know...'foo on you, should be moisturizing your head!') I'll be honest. My days have been a toss up between being really really busy with work and running errands or really really lazy at home. So last night, right before bed, I made a weak attempt to fix the problem. I smoothed some oil into my hair real quick (knowing good and well that won't do a thing for my hair, except give it sheen) and tied a scarf on.

Which leads me to my next little blurb. My hair is a sponge and unless I moisturize with a thick hair cream or cowash (which for me means, wash with conditioner), oil does absolutely nothing for me, except give me a temporary shine. I think I've been fooling myself for some time, thinking that all I need is more oil and more oil. When truth is, if I don't wash or moisturize with a cream first, it doesn't matter. Before I locked up, my hair would get so dry sometimes it would sound like a crackling fireplace. HEY! You know what? Maybe the scarecrow reference WAS right on. (Straw is a kind of sponge.)

Oil alone works for some people. The "oil and go" crowd, so to speak. But not for me. The longer I wear locks, the more I realize that the hair on my head has the same personality as I do. It's different (not like anybody else), it means well, but it will not conform at all. Sometimes, I wish it would but I'm sure there are people out there that wish that I would conform too. When I wore it in a perm, it broke the permed hair in a subtle way, continually pushing through. There was no mistaking my hair texture. The more I tried to cover it up, the thicker and stronger it became until I had no choice but to let it be.

Since I'm talking about what kind of hair I have, I might as well mention that I looked up Andre Walker's hair types to see what category I fall under a couple weeks ago. I didn't post about it because when I saw that there were only 4 choices that I would be picking from (Straight, wavy, curly and kinky) it was a no brainer. I have thick, nappy hair. Um, no kidding...thanks Andre. But I added the site here and there are a bunch of links to different products (good for kinky hair) at the bottom of the page. I'm not much of a product junky, but I like the names...curly custard and whipped pudding. Makes me hungry, mmm. lol

To tell you the truth, I like the LOIS system, because it shows you how to look at your hair and find out it's exact pattern. I haven't done this yet, but I plan on doing it sometime soon. So check it out if you haven't already tried it.

And for good measure, I will give you the recipe to my little hair concoction that's in the spray bottle these days.

What you'll need:

1 8 oz. spray pump bottle (of course)
1 cup pantene relaxed and natural conditioner (looove how this smells)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tbs glycerin oil
Mix ingredients, pour (or funnel) into the container. Spray and go. Coat with oil afterwards for shine or to lock in the moisture (if your hair is anything like mine).

That about it! Now, ease on down ease on down the roooad!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Nothing significant. Just an update. Took all the crap out of my hair and uh, back to the same ole same. I'm going to be honest. I've been kind of bored with the locs lately. Still too short to do some of the things I would like to do and the things that I can do require a whole lot of time and a whole lot of bobby pins. I want to try something different, but I don't think my motor skills are right for braiding hair at the back of my head like some people seem to be able to do. Anywhoo...that's my depressing little update.

I think it has more to do with my working all of the time than with my hair really. I just need a break, but with the current economy a sistah has to scrimp up as many duckets as possible and stop worrying about being creative and different with the tresses. And if that means throwing my hair into an updo everyday or wearing it all lose and wild with no rhyme or reason, then so be it.

(pictures coming)