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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Monday. Don't Give Me Any Problems!

This blog post was supposed to be about my first experiment with mayonnaise. Instead, you'll hear how I narrowly avoiding possibly committing a violent crime.

It was Monday morning, and I was preparing for another trip to North Dakota (doesn't that just sound like the beginning of a nightmare?). I took a shower and washed the glorious curls from my hair (see previous post. Thanks for all the supportive posts on Facebook) and was prepared to recreate the look at home with bendy rollers I bought at Target.

You know all the unbelievable homemade beauty solutions you read about in magazines like mayonnaise for hair conditioner -- I'll get to that later.

When I got out of my shower, my hair was locked tighter than a... a pair of Spanx. The hairdresser not only wrapped my hair around bendy curlers, but she had also twisted my hair before wrapping it around the curlers. Then when my hair dried, and she removed the curlers she twisted it all with her fingers again.

I HAD BEEN TRIPLE TWISTED!

It made me want to grab a pair of scissors and chop off all my hair. It made me want to do something very violent to the hairdresser. I'm proud to say that I used my better judgment, and did neither of those things. I combed through my hair -- slowly and painfully -- and set my hair in the rollers.

About an hour later, the results were much better than I expected. I have wavy curls that I could actually run my finger through. It's touchable.

What products did I use?
Carol's Daughter Tui Hair Oil
Bumble and Bumble Tonic Spray
Hair Milk Lite Curl Booster

The mayonnaise? Yeah, I tried that mixed with a little Paul Mitchell Detangler. I wouldn't recommend it. Let's leave it at that, friends.

I think this works for me. It's as humidity resistant as any hairstyle I could find. Humidity just makes it bigger.

You like?


If anyone out there has had success using mayonnaise as a hair conditioner, tell me about it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Natural Hair in the Professional World

I should start out my clarifying that I have not EVEN gone totally natural. I'm in transition. But that doesn't stop me from being offended by the reactions and presuppositions people have to natural hair in the workplace.



Today's staff meeting was my new 'do debut for my teammates (there are only four of us, so a grand debut is not in the cards). I walk into the staff meeting and my boss says, "What did you do to your hair?"

"I'm trying something new," I quickly replied.


"Do you like it?" she asked, without missing a beat.

"I do," I replied blithely. "It feels more like me."

This exchange might have gone unnoticed to others in the room, but it was something I had been anticipating. My boss lady is a very corporate type in many ways. Nothing else about my appearance has changed since my first day of employment. I expected her to comment of my hair long before now. I've been growing my hair for a while, and many days I didn't know what to do with it. Bad hair days? I've had more than my share. Some days, honestly, I know my hair has looked a hot mess because I've been fighting an uphill battle alone: trying to go natural in the midst of summertime humidity without professional help.

The fact that she never commented on my hair during the last six or seven months tells me something: curls elicit a unique response from people. It made me wonder if you look like you're trying to conform to the norm, even unsuccessfully, does it still earn some respect? Some credibility?

Maybe curls are a statement that say, "I won't be suppressed!" As long as I was at least trying (however unsuccessfully) to straighten my hair, I was still sending a message that I accept that norms. I have no piercings or tattoos. Maybe because I've been so "mainstream" all my professional life, different reactions to my appearance seem so unsettling.

Curls -- messy curls -- defy the norm.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Little Afro Annie

Yesterday, I tried a new look. I'm not fully committed to it (as if you couldn't tell from the photos).

Since I haven't mustered up the courage for the big chop, I'm still looking for styles I can pull off during my transition. I trusted a new stylist, who recommended a tight roller set. You know the bendy rods that look like something children would play with? She used the smallest ones I think I've ever seen.

It's been years since I subjected myself to a roller set, mostly because of how long it would take to dry my hair. Yesterday, I sat under the dryer for more than 90 minutes, and there were still sections of my hair that didn't dry completely. The rods were wrapped tight and it was painful.

As a result, I have the tightest curls I've every had in my life. The stylist assured me the curls would loosen over time. "You could wear these for three weeks," she said. If that's how long it takes for these curls to not look like little Afro Annie, then I've definitely made a mistake.

My children greeted my with laughter. My oldest daughter said, "You look like Claudia (the youngest.)"

I'll post photos over the next few days to share how well these curls loosen with time. I have my doubts!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Hair is My Legacy

Somewhere in an earlier post (as if I've written so many), I shared that, for me, the journey to natural hair was also a journey of self-acceptance. Learning to live with and love my natural beauty can't happen without it.

I won't contradict myself with this post, but I have to admit there are more important reasons I'm on this journey: three more important reasons, actually. These three reasons are learning the most important lessons in life right now. They're my daughters. Three little ladies. These little ladies with their curls. It's a parent's job to instill their children with confidence and a sense of pride. One day, I realized what I hypocrite I'd been, telling my daughters to be proud of their curls. All the while, I was having my hair straightened.

If you’re a parent you know children watch everything you say and see everything you do. It wasn’t the legacy I would want to leave with my children. The day I realized that I was lying to my daughters was the day I realized that I had to do things differently.

After I committed to this journey, my husband admitted to my that the girls all thought I had naturally straight hair.

"Hee haw!" That's the sound of the jackass I felt I'd been all these years! A royal jackass for lying to my daughters.

My eight year-old is still waiting for the day that I have curls that are as long and thick as hers. It will take some time, but I'm anticipating the day when I can be an example for my daughters.