Reclaiming My Hair

There comes a time in your life when you have to decide to be honest with yourself. Not sugarcoating anything but being truthful with how you feel on the inside; that way you can learn to embrace the things you wish you could change. I recently had to have this deep and intense conversation with myself. For as long as I can remember I  have always hated my hair. I wished I had longer, thinner, looser curls… I wanted to have “good hair”. Instead I was given extremely thick, medium length hair that I constantly wished would somehow magically change if  I tried hard enough. My childhood was spent sitting  in the beauty salon getting relaxers and spending an hour or two under the dryer to my stylist’s dismay.  I constantly used heat to give me the silky smooth hair that I  desired.

Having hair stylists make remarks about how my hair was too thick to even wash and how it would never get dry, had a damaging effect on my self-esteem. Instead of them giving me tips on my hair type, the negative criticism made me hate my hair even more. At this point I felt as if I could never go to a stylist again because I didn’t want to burden them with my “difficult” hair. My mom tried her hardest to get me to see that the hair I was given was good enough, but I could never see it. Until one day I stumbled upon a Youtube video by Naptural85. Seeing her opened my eyes to a world that I had never even thought I could be apart of. She had the same hair type as me and her hair looked healthy and long just like I had always wanted for myself. On that day I stopped getting relaxers and started my transition.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 10.49.27 PMI knew that I couldn’t keep straightening my hair because it would start to become heat damaged and doing the big chop was something that I was too scared to do so the next best thing for me was to get sew-ins.  Sew-in extensions became my best friend, having my hair in braids underneath assured me that my hair would grow and stay healthy while allowing me to  have  versatile hair styles. This was my comfort zone for many years and instead of it helping, it hindered me. I was no longer waiting for all of my relaxed hair to grow out but rather deepening my hatred for my own hair. As I got into college I would strategically schedule hair appointments so that none of my classmates would ever see me with my actual hair. I would even go so far as to skip class and call off work so I wouldn’t have to be seen without my “hair security blanket”. It got so bad that my hair stylist was pleading with me to stop with the extensions and to let my hair breath. I knew that in order for me to stop running away from my hair I had to run toward it.

On December 20th I took down my last sew-in and for the first time in three and a half years I wore my hair out. The first full day was the hardest, I constantly looked in the mirror at myself as I tried to adjust to this new person in front of me. I felt self conscious as if wearing my hair in a twistout would make me the target of piercing eyes.  I was worried that wearing my natural hair would make me stand out more thanks to the ridiculous standards of beauty that we are taught. Instead of all of my greatest fears coming true the complete opposite happened, I was comfortable.

The stigma that I associated with my hair was gone and I felt like this afro style suited me better than any of the styles I had previously. As each day goes on I’m learning more and more about my hair and how to take care of it.  I know that not everyday will be a good hair day but the more I accept what I can’t change the better my attitude about myself will be.  The India Arie song I Am Not My Hair contained lyrics that made me ponder even more about my decision to accept my kinks and coils. “Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person? Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Oh Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity? I am expressing my creativity” These lines resonated with me and helped me in the decision to reclaim my hair and to no longer be ashamed of it.

 

 

Related Post

Women of Color Finally Getting Nude

Nude is a trending color this year. Whether its cosmetics, shoes, clothing even nail polish, one thing that hasn’t changed until recently is the fact that nude products were not fit for women of color. For years, nude has been one very pale “flesh” tone shade of pink or tan that many product manufactures have used as a general consensus to what nude looks like. But for women of color this “nude” never looked like the color they saw when they looked in the mirror. Something as small as a Band-Aid with its claim to be “flesh tone“ on the label looks very different than the tone of ours. Now however, that’s all about to change thanks to three companies that have developed products with women of color in mind.

The Nubian Skin company which was founded by Ade Hassan in London felt like there was something missing on the market. Being inspired by women like Iman and Eunice W. Johnson she made her dream a reality when she created her lingerie and hosiery line in a variety of tones for women of color. She experienced the same struggle of trying to find a perfect skin tone match when it came to under garments that didn’t show through sheer clothing. The lingerie and hosiery comes in four colors: Café Au Lait, Caramel, Cinnamon, and Berry. The Bras range from $36 to $49 dollars, Panties range from $17 to $22 dollars and Hosiery ranges from $10 to $13 dollars. To find out more about these product go to https://www.nubianskin.com/. They are also now sold at Nordstrom stores

.

Our second company is Tru Color Bandages. The company believes in #DiversityInHealing and was started by a father who was inspired by his three adoptive children who didn’t like the lack of compatible flesh tones in the average box of band aids. The bandages come in three shades Light, Medium and Dark. The bandages which come in a waterproof bag cost $6 dollars and can be purchased at http://www.trucolourbandages.com/

 

Image result for tru color bandages

Lastly, cosmetic company Black Radiance, which caters toward women of color has also decided to dive into the nude color trend. With many mainstream cosmetic companies offering nude lip colors geared more toward woman with lighter complexions, Black Radiance strives to encourage women of color to “Love your shade of beauty” and has produced not only nude shades that look good on deep complexions but also vibrant colors like gold and hot pink. Their nude Dynamic Duo Lip balm and gloss goes on creamy and smooth. Its nude color is deeper than most so that more women of color can get the nude look without the bright discolored lip look. It cost $3 dollars and can be found at Walgreens, Walmart and CVS.