A lot of women think about going natural but decide against it because of fear or lack of knowledge.
Ready Or Not
At Sephora the other day, just to pick up my free birthday gift a little early, and a lady walked up to the counter at the same time I did. She had long twists, but I could tell her hair was not natural. (It didn’t matter to me–I don’t make judgments on how other Black women wear their hair now that I chosen to wear my hair natural.) When I complimented her, she told me she wanted to go natural, but didn’t know what to do with it, so for now she just twists it. She told me I looked good natural because of my texture, but I told her I didn’t know what my texture would be like after my big chop. Until a few months ago, I faithfully relaxed my hair every month or so for the past 20 years.
My daughter recently confessed that she doesn’t like my TWA (teeny weeny afro); she prefers it “down.” But that’s fine with me, as long as she likes her own hair. She doesn’t particularly prefer brown dolls either at this point, but I just want to continue a sense of self-love in her.
Check out this premiere episode of Living No Lye featuring my daughter and other girls with “Tiny Tresses” at the Carol’s Daughter store in Buckhead, Atlanta. Shouts out to Tress Talk ATL for putting on the event (starting at the 4:15 mark)! All the girls are shown at the 5:36 mark (mini-me is the one with the big pink flower).
Hair Rules from Anthony Dickey
I had the pleasure of sitting on the front row at a (free!) Urbanbella University class in Atlanta earlier this week with renouned hair stylist Anthony Dickey of Hair Rules in New York City. He was frank, funny, and answered lots of questions. From my perspective as a new natural (I was the only one there with a TWA), here are some of my takeaways.
You can’t over-rinse or over-condition. (You can over-shampoo.) When shampooing and conditioning, you don’t have to use a comb for detangling if you can get your fingers through your hair. Put styling product on your hair without drying it first. Your hair should be soaking wet when you put styling aids in your hair.
Heat damage occurs when you use too much heat on your hair too often. If you dry your hair when it’s already dry, heat damage occurs and it won’t revert back to being curly. Dickey used a tiny-toothed rat tail comb to part and flat-iron the model’s hair after blowing it straight with a comb attachment. Dickey did not air dry– he used the blow-dryer on the highest setting, but he didn’t run over the hair multiple times– just enough to get it dry. He knew he was going to apply more heat with the ceramic flat iron, which was on high also (425 degrees). He said the whole process starting from the shampoo to the finished style should not take more than 45 minutes. (I suppose if you have more hair it would take longer, but the point is that you shouldn’t have to sit in a salon all day to get your hair looking good.) The model’s hair was full of body when he finished, and he set off the style with a trim.
Cut/trim your hair 1/4″ no more than every 3 months. You only need to cut/trim it to maintain the shape of your style, or to remove damaged ends. Cut the hair when it’s straight and dry (it doesn’t have to be flat-ironed, but it should be blow-dried so you can actually see the ends that you’re cutting–you can’t see this accurately when it’s curly). If you see knots at the ends of your hair, that hair will break off on its own if left unattended. Knots are an indicator that you need a trim.
Naturals can maintain a straight hairstyle for about a week in the winter– don’t even bother in the summer (because of the humidity). For a straight style, wrap your hair at night or make two loose ponytails with with scrunchies and smooth the ends, tucking it all under with a scarf. You can do two-strand twists after you’ve worn the straight style for a while without wetting it or washing it–just use a little cream and you’ll have beautiful twists.
I’m still fighting the urge to go back to my low Caesar cut from this summer but my tiny curls are cute, too. Plus I’m starting to feel that cool winter air on my neck…