I remember hating how my press and curl would turn into a puffy afro if it rained in my humid Midwest hometown. At the age of 10, my best friends were two girls. One was biracial, with long, silky straight hair and the other was African American whose hair had been permed for years. I begged my mother to perm my hair for my 11th birthday. I wanted silky straight hair more than anything else in the world. My mother tried to fight off my advances for a perm and finally gave in the night before my birthday. I remember smiling as I went to bed that night with my hair so straight that it was basically stuck to my scalp.
Several years went by and by the time I was in high school, I was constantly rodding my hair because I had fallen in love with big, curly hair. It hadn’t occurred to me that this was the very hair texture that I had begged to get rid of just a few years earlier. Once my junior year hit, I wanted my natural hair back. I asked my mom what to do…she had no answers for me at the time. I purchased a product that was meant for starting dreadlocks (it contained beeswax) and went to work slathering it in my hair, especially at the roots after my rodding regime. This didn’t work so well, plus my hair was perpetually too greasy (which I have always hated).
Life events, like prom and senior concerts, promptly ended my short journey. I focused on getting ready for college, as there was little to no support or resources for my desire to go natural. I continued to perm my hair throughout undergraduate school. I even remember an instance where I had just finished putting a perm in hair and didn’t realize that the box didn’t contain the little bottle of chemical that halted the straightening process. Thank goodness my boyfriend (who is now my husband) was at my off campus apartment! He had to rush to the drug store to buy another perm. Only later did I find out that he had run into the drug store, ripping open a perm box and extracting the needed bottle of chemicals and ran back out of the store back to me. The whole while, he was hoping that all of my hair didn’t fall out! Ahhh…this brings back laughter now but then both of our hearts were racing.
After my boyfriend and I finished our degrees, we moved to Chicago. I decided I had enough perm in my life after finding out that I was battling fibroids and that the chemicals in the perm may have exacerbated the issue. I spent my first year of graduate school struggling to learn how to care for my natural hair. I could be found any day of the week with a dry puff on top of my head. I also had enough hair products under my sink cabinet to fill a drug store. As our wedding approached, my sweet fiancé let me know in a not so gentle way (I can laugh about it now) that he didn’t want to see me coming down the aisle in that darn puff. So, I tried pressing my hair and curling it but I was never able to look as “put together” as I liked. I gave in again and had permed hair for my wedding day.
That next year I had finally had enough! I was determined to go natural again. My hubby would just have to bear with me and enjoy the ride. Thank goodness my older sister had also recently gone natural and her hair actually looked nice! She shared her regime with me and I never looked back. I learned to embrace and love my tight curls. I am 8 years into my natural hair journey. Now, I prefer to either use very natural products or make my own. I am the DIY queen when it comes to self-care products.
I love incorporating natural butters and high quality essential oils into my current hair care regime. The exciting part is that I can safely use these same products on my children’s hair without worrying about them being exposed to chemicals.
From curly to processed and back again two times. I am a wife, mother to twins and a new blogger. My family and I are starting a small family farm to get back to basics and for community outreach. We live a very natural lifestyle and love showing others how to do the same. Our blog is The Little Learning Farm