Afro Puffs and Blowouts

I cut my hair without really knowing what to expect. Back when I first went natural I only had kindergarten pictures to remind me of what my hair looked like before it had been chemically straightened at age six. I saw pictures of what looked like a wispy soft fro pulled into tight puffs. The escaping hairs looked soft enough to blow in a gentle breeze. I imagined it would take a while but eventually my hair would revert back to this texture.

afro baby

Boy was I wrong. Compared to the straight hair that remained on my head, my new growth seemed tougher and courser then I had expected. I didn’t care. I kept growing it and flat ironing it as long as I could. Around that time natural hair relaxers seemed to be making an appearance on the late night infomercial circuit and I bought in. I can’t say that the products worked. There was a law suit that happened at one point with one of the companies and reports of a lot of hair loss. I went from that product to a similar one without blinking an eyelash.

Thankfully nothing really bad happened to my hair but I didn’t get the straight hair that I wanted. You see, when I went natural I didn’t do it to have natural hair. I just did it because I didn’t want to use harsh burning chemicals anymore. At that time the natural relaxer seemed like a dream come true. When that failed I decided that flat ironing my hair was my best option. I had seen a few friends with great results and wanted my hair to be straighter than humanly possible too.

I went to a hairdresser and told him I wanted my hair washed, blow dried and flat ironed. He tried to explain to me that my hair was uneven and damaged and that I should chemically straighten it. He told me he had state-of-the-art relaxers (He actually said this). When I held my ground and said no he then outright refused to do my hair. I felt like some kind of freak of nature. A hairdresser refusing to do hair? Was my hair that bad? I knew deep down that my hair was great. Even with the confusion of having new natural growth and straight haired ends during my university days I was still able to pull of the straight styles that I wanted and train upwards to five hours a day at the gym.

Feeling humiliated I quickly left the black owned salon. I figured he just didn’t want to do the work for the price quoted and wanted to attain a new slave-I mean repeat customer. He assumed that my vanity would rise higher than my principle in that matter and he assumed wrong. I already had lived most of my life with relaxed hair and I had a hope for something better.

To be continued

For Black Girls book

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