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Sunday, January 20, 2008

I am not my hair

To wear a weave or to not wear a weave? That is the question. This past weekend my best friend was playing hair stylist to my other best friend by putting a relaxer in her hair, with a fresh perm my friend decided to complete the hair styling herself and proceeded to put a fake bun in her hair. When she emerged from bathroom her hair was slicked down and in the back was an attached bun in the center of her head. How does it look she asked? I piped up and offered my opinion and simply asked her, “Why don’t you wear your hair?”

“I don’t like my hair,” she replied. Then we went into a discussion to why she doesn’t wear her own but opts to add attachments and sew-in weaves. In the years that I’ve known her, I have rarely seen her own natural hair that sits on the top of her head. What is there not to love about your own hair? In our conversation about our hair, I was the first to admit that I had my own hair insecurities. I too was a slave to weaves. It all started in high school when I decided to try a new look and add some hair to my own. The new look turned into a six yearlong relationship with Yaki human hair and glue. Every two weeks I would religiously go into the beauty supply store buy 12 inch Yaki straight and have my hair stylist gel down my own hair and attach the weave. When the two weeks was up, I then struggled to wash all the hair glue out and started the process over. Now, if anything my weaves were fly and I often received compliments on my hair. But underneath the weave, I had no idea what my own hair was doing and I completely neglected my natural hair by continuously adding glue on top of glue, and no matter how many compliments I received, sporting around fake hair by Europeans still didn’t do it for me.

I had to carry around hair glue in my purse in case a track slipped, I would never allow my boyfriend to touch my hair and when I started to sweat during gym class, I was relived that I had my hair glue in my hobo bag. I was also envious of other girls who could wear their own hair, I took notice to every girl who had a healthy feather wrap, beautiful bouncy curls, a hip natural ‘fro or two-toned locs. I yearned to have my boyfriend run his fingers through my hair not find a head full of tracks. So for my 21st birthday, I decided to break free of the weave chains and wash out the glue for the last time and cut my hair.

I felt like a brand new woman, I had a cute short Malinda Williams do and I finally had a hairstyle with my own hair! I would constantly run my own fingers through my hair, examine my hair in the mirror and I felt great! I was no longer a slave to weave, I finally understood that underneath the glue and tracks lived healthy hair that was all mines. Not only, did the new hair cut boost my self esteem, it showed up my facial features, brought out my eyes and smile and I no longer hid behind a long hair that wasn’t mines. Plus, guys loved my new look!

In my continued conversation with my best friends, I convince my friend to take out the bun and have my other friend flat iron her hair. 20 minutes later, my friend had a full, healthy feather wrap, when she observed herself in the mirror; she shocked herself. She never knew that her hair could look so good, she too felt like a new woman. It was simple; she just needed someone to push her into seeing how wonderful her natural self was. If one chooses to wear a weave there is nothing wrong with that decision, but when one opts to become a slave to weave you might have to look deeper into yourself. If you’re attempting to achieve a look that isn’t you, try to find your own personal style.If you’re going to weave, rock the hell outta of it! And if you wearing your own hair keep it healthy, remember it does lie on top of your head.

How to keep your hair healthy:

Drink lots of water. Water makes up one-fourth of the weight of a strand of hair. Moisture makes the hair supple, so make sure you get plenty of fluids. Do not wait till you are thirsty to drink water, being thirsty means your body has lost water and you are dehydrated. Drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day will help keep your hair silky and shiny.

Eat Protein
Protein is one the key to healthy hair. Protein will give the shaft if your hair more strength and helps reduce the likelihood of damage through brushing and splitting. Foods such as fish, meat, milk, cheese and cereals contain tons of protein.


There are several minerals that help aid in having healthy hair:

  • Iron helps to carry oxygen to the hair. Without enough iron, hair and its follicles get starved of oxygen. This means that the ‘goodness’ in the root of your hair is much less effective along the length of the strand. You can increase your iron intake by eating red meat and dark green vegetables, or by iron supplements.

  • Zinc builds hair protein, which helps to prevent hair loss. Meat and seafood are the foods highest in zinc.

  • Copper is involved in the pigmentation of hair. You can optimize your natural color with a diet with plenty of copper. Who needs hair dye and fake color! Shellfish, liver, fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds and meat are all high in copper

    Get Familiar with these vitamins to maintain healthy hair:

  • Vitamin A will give you a healthy scalp, because it’s great for the skin! You can get vitamin A from foods like vegetables - in particular, in carrots. (So it’s good for the waistline too!)

  • Vitamin B and C are important for good circulation, hair growth and hair color. If you ensure that you have enough vitamin B and C, you’ll have strong, supple strands of hair that do not split. You can get these vitamins from eating foods like fruit, vegetables, cereals, eggs, milk and bread.

Adding Shine to Hair:

Fine Hair:
Look for a shampoo that has wheat proteins and polymers as ingredients. They coat the hair shaft, making it appear thicker. Learn to use spray volumizers. They light enough to deposit a light mist of shine in droplets on the hair without wilting it.

Normal Hair:
Use a shampoo that has silk amino acids. It adds softness and repair hair structure. Lecithin restores hair texture. Gels and creams will add shine without weight. First, it's necessary to pour the product in your palm. Rub your hands together, and then lightly pat over head.

Thick Coarse Hair:
The best shine enhancers for this type of hair are old-fashioned pomades. They work not only to deliver shine, but to moisturize this type of hair.

Tips For More Shine:

* Use heat-activated shampoo * Deep condition at least weekly * Don't use too many styling products that can dull the hair by coating it.

Try this homemade hair mask, it work wonders for your hair and you can snack on the fruit while adding shine to your hair!

Strawberry Hair Mask: Mash eight strawberries with one-tablespoon mayonnaise. Massage into washed, damp hair. Cover with a shower cap, then a warm towel. Wash out with a shampoo/conditioner combination. This luscious mix of rich acidic berries will leave your hair both conditioned and with rich gloss.

Products to try:

Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Oil- Tea Tree Special Shampoo Fresh and Clean – A special combination of cleansers and Australian tea tree oil leave hair refreshingly clean, while enhancing vitality and adding lusterStimulates – The combination of tea tree oil and peppermint create a cooling tingleInvigorates – The unique combination of tea tree oil, peppermint, and lavender creates a refreshing fragrance experience $11.99

Organics Conditioning Hair Oil This organic conditioning hair oil contains of sesame seed, sunflower and olive oil and few drops of this potent blend, is all it takes to revitalize and rejuvenate coarse hair. It also protects your strands from the harsh exposure of pollutants, smoke and the sun. $22.50

Keune Phyto Protein Spray Used by celebrities, this protein-rich spray, which can be rinsed out or left in, conditions locks while natural green tea and chamomile extracts help to calm. It also helps protect your hair and scalp before, during and after coloring and perming. $16.80

Listen to this, " I'm Not My Hair" by India Arie featuring Akon

1 comment:

Lauryn said...

THANK YOU for writing this! So many of us Black women and girls alike find ourselves in this war with our own hair. It is so important to break the mentality that there is only one type of hair, and the whole "good hair" thing. We always said that "good hair" is clean hair, no matter what shape, length or texture.

Another product that you should look at is any of the ApHogee products. From the shampoos & conditioners to the leave-in treatments, they really are the truth. They really do stop the breakage and dryness instantly (seriously).