About Your Natural Hair.Com
Welcome to Your Natural Hair.Com. Let me tell you the story of how this natural hair site came to be and relate my long journey from relaxers back to natural hair.
Until I was in 8th grade I wore my hair natural in a sense. Every two weeks I’d suffer through getting my hair washed, combed and pressed with a hot comb heated on the stove. My Mom would be frustrated and I would cry from the burned ears and scalp I’d have to deal with when I moved around. So once I became a teen and was headed off to Jr. High, my escape from the hot comb was a trip to the salon to get a relaxer put in my hair.
It was an exciting change, but ultimately didn’t turn out well for my hair.
Being so young, I had no idea about how to care for my hair. And my Mom, not having experience with a relaxer herself, had no clue either. What started off looking very cute for a few weeks ultimately became a broken off, asymmetrical mess. My father was horrified and refused to pay for another relaxer because the damage to my hair was not only visible but palpable. My hair felt spongy and dry no matter what I did to it. Hot oil treatments with olive oil helped some, but really it was just too late to do anything to fix my poor fried hair. I ended up getting it all cut off. I’m sporting a 3-4” afro in my 9th grade graduation pictures.
Next stop was high school. I went back to the press and curl to try to have what I believed to be a more sophisticated look and more styling variety. A year or so later one of my mother’s sisters was kind enough to take over doing my hair in exchange for weekly babysitting. It worked great for two years. During that time my hair grew like a weed and was amazing in texture and strength. Whatever my aunt was doing worked for me, very well. However, when I had to take over doing my hair myself, I used too much heat and my hair once again paid the price with breakage and hair loss.
I gave up and with money earned from a summer job not only got my hair relaxed, but I got a light brown streak dyed into it. When I came home I thought my father was going to blow a gasket! That didn’t work out too well either because at 16, I had no clue about how to care for color treated hair. Fun in the sun all summer long left my cute blonde-brown streak a brassy gold, and my entire head of hair was dry and crunchy. I looked a hot mess!
So as I grew that out I went back to the press and curl on the new growth, gradually cutting off the relaxed (and dyed hair) as I went. In college I took up weight training and running, so the press went by the wayside in favor of French braids, braided buns, and cornrows with extensions. My hair loved what we now call “protective styling” and it worked for my busy student lifestyle. I hated taking the time to do anything with my hair and preferred to use my energy doing other things than primping.
However, when it came time for my wedding and a job in corporate America, I was faced with a new dilemma. Natural hair wasn’t in at that time. I remembered a female news anchor here in San Francisco being fired because she showed up for work with a braided hairstyle with beads (that was the rage at the time you know). Yup, KGO fired her on the spot for looking too ethnic. Her termination created a huge ruckus and the ACLU and NAACP got involved. That battle opened a lot of people’s eyes to the racism involved in how a black woman is “supposed to look” when dealing with white America. Laws were changed to make such discrimination illegal in the State of California. The terminated news anchor eventually settled her case with the network and moved out of the area. I’m disappointed that I never got a chance to tell her how much her spirit influenced me, helping to motivate me to become the determined woman I am today.
Anyway, fast forward a decade and a half. In my hand is a picture of myself and my daughter taken on our first Mother’s Day in 1990. I have rollers in my hair and look like a truck hit me then backed up, and did it all again. That’s what no sleep for weeks on end will do to you. I’d returned to relaxed hair, which I kept for a few years after her birth. When my daughter was about three I decided to grow my hair back out so I put in some braids with extensions and began the transition once again.
However, in the summer of 1995 I started hosting a television show here in Oakland and the owner of the station adamantly refused to have a woman on his station with “nappy” hair. I told him I refused to pay a dime to do my hair just to be on his station, so he went out and found me a sponsor. Every week I went to the salon before the show and they would do my hair in exchange for a free television promo. The first thing they did was slap in a relaxer. It was kind of fun because they would try different things on my medium length hair – pieces, extensions, then ultimately they cut it into a cute Halle Berry type bob style.
But once I decided I wasn’t going to do the show anymore in October of 1997, I put braids with extensions in my hair for the transition period and never took them out. From 1997 until June 20, 2012 I wore my hair in braids! People I met during that time have seen me since I’ve taken them out and they don’t even recognize me! Can’t say I blame them since I hardly recognize myself.
So you might think, well what does SHE know about natural hair since she hasn’t even seen her hair in 15 years. The answer is A LOT!
Though I had my hair covered, I was the caretaker of my daughter’s long, thick natural hair since her birth 22 years ago. We’ve tried a wide variety of both expensive and cheap commercial products, locally made natural products, products which were shipped to us (Carol’s Daughter Khoret Amen line was a long-time favorite), and DIY concoctions made in our kitchen. We’ve gone through dozens of hairstyles, including flat ironing and hot curling too.
I also learned a lot about hair care from my grandmothers. Each of them had 10 children, with 12 females amongst them. My paternal grandmother was also extremely informative about caring for natural hair, and many of the tips and recipes for herb based products I’ll be sharing with you on this site came from or were inspired by her. She died at 92 with a full head of long wavy hair that came down to her bustline, with hardly any gray. Her skin was smooth and unlined with no blemishes or marks. Of course knowing what I know NOW I would have picked her brain and gotten a lot more information than I did.
For the first time since the 1960s “say it loud I’m black and I’m proud wear Dashiki’s and a fro” days, the natural hair movement is an important part of black culture. From all observances, it seems to be gaining momentum as more women make the decision to leave “creamy crack” behind along with the damaged broken off hair, expense of salon visits, and scalp injury. As more black women educate themselves about the risks and dangers of absorbing toxic chemicals contained in relaxers and dyes into the body, having straight hair that blows in the wind is becoming a lot less attractive.
I’ve been a writer, columnist and author for 20 years, and on the web since the mid-1990s. However, this site is my most recent site and just getting going. Your suggestions for content, questions on hair care, transition stories or DIY concoctions are welcome. Send them to us using the Contact Us form. We’re also taking your questions on natural hair care, transitioning, maintenance, and products. If I don’t have a ready answer for you, I have three professional stylists, experts in natural hair, at my disposal. The goal is to provide you with the latest scientific research and information on natural black hair care that has been proven to work.
Acceptance of one’s self with chocolate cocoa or caramel colored skin along with one’s nappy, curly, or kinky hair is a wonderful feeling. Acceptance of whom and what you are …all that make you uniquely you… are the foundational elements to high self esteem for black girls and women. Love yourself and love your hair.
Natural hair is beautiful – naturally!