this ever happened to you? Youre washing your face or brushing
your teeth in front of the mirror and, quickly glancing up, you
startle yourself. Youre just standing there with your mouth
open thinking, "My God, what has happened to my hair?"
all been there. That moment can be traumatizing. It's such a shock
to think you would let your hair get in such bad shape. The ends
look as if they been chewed up and are so dull and dry that they
have a shallow gray cast to them. Maybe we just hadnt really
been paying much attention.
of color have a particular challenge with their hair because it
has a natural tendency toward dryness to begin with. Remember as
a kids, having much longer, much healthier hair than as an adult.
Our mothers would let it down to wash it or comb it, and it was
quite a head full of hair. Reaching adulthood our hair always remained
at the same unhealthy length. So now we have to figure out what
in the world is happening!
must be things we are doing that cause these problems. There were
also things we need to stop doing. There were three things I was
not doing for my hair and I pondered the reasons why. Maybe
something will ring a bell with you too.
I HARDLY EVER TRIMMED MY HAIR.
not? Because I wanted it to grow long, and cutting any off would
defeat the whole purpose of trying to get it long, right? At least
thats how I looked at it. I didnt realize that a clean
trim was going to help prevent the ends from splitting upward on
their own and causing my hair to become even shorter.
else did I not trim it? Well, I remember when I was in Junior High
school, and my mom cut my hair to give me a new, cool look for school.
My grandmother reacted as though there had been a death in the family!
I mean, she was really not happy. Wow! And I thought it looked so
cute! My little heart sank with the look on her face. Apparently
Id made a bad mistake. I felt as though Id violated
some unspoken cultural code: "NEVER, EVER CUT YOUR HAIR! WHY,
DONT YOU KNOW YOUR HAIR IS YOUR GLORY?" Sound familiar?
My grandmother was sending me a signal that my hair was never going
to grow back and I think subconsciously I believed her! Of course,
now that my average, kinky, afro-textured hair is down to my waist,
I realize she didnt know much about hair; but man, could she
bake a peach cobbler!
I DIDNT GIVE MY HAIR THE CAREFUL HANDS-ON ATTENTION IT NEEDED.
not? I didnt really think there was much point to it. I didnt
know of anything I could do to change my hair. After all, Id
always heard people say that hair like mine just doesnt grow.
Whenever someone would come along with long, beautiful healthy hair,
people would excuse it away as "genetic". So I just figured
that kind of hair was for someone else and not for me. I never considered
putting forth any long-term effort, since I was sure it wouldnt
in grade school, Id button my sweater around my head and run
home with the sleeves flopping in the breeze; my version of long
hair. I remember how excited I was to get to wear my hair down for
"picture day". By the time I got to school it was a big,
frizzy puffball (looking back, it wasnt the hair that was
so bad, it was that missing tooth!).
else didnt I give my hair the proper care it needed? Because
wash day was torture. Fierce tangles, pulling, snapping, hair coming
out everywhere, so much heat and so much time! Id rather be
doing anything else!
the most interesting reason why I didnt take care of my hair
was: I didnt know how.
looking back, the problems I was experiencing with my hair werent
technical, but emotional. Id been subconsciously discouraged
about my outcome before Id ever gotten started. The problem
wasnt with my hair; the problem was in my head! My view of
my hair just wasnt favorable enough to prompt me to take the
proper action to care for it.
discovered that long hair happens when you keep your hair healthy
for a long period of time. But as a woman of color, there are some
specific things you have to do on purpose to help the process along.
is not the focus, its the overall condition of your hair that
counts. However, my point is that if any woman feels shes
always wanted to experience what its like to grow out her
own hair, she can go ahead without feeling as though its some
ethnically impossible dream. In "HAIROILS PRACTICAL GUIDE
TO HAIR CARE" Ill step you through some basics that will
help get you off to a good, healthy-headed start.
some of childhood memories sounded familiar to you, youll
be happy to know that my hair forecast was about to get brighter.
The mess in the mirror was getting ready to turn around! Understanding
what I needed to do was about to get less complicated and the mystery
was about to be solved.
getting too deeply scientific, I began to realize that my type of
hair wasnt so hard to understand.
SIMPLE TRUTHS ABOUT HAIR
body produces normal hair growth just like every other human body.
Theres nothing odd or different about the way your hair
grows. Hair and nails are by-products that the body eliminates
after all the nutrition you take in has been digested and assimilated.
The body constantly outputs this by-product called hair. The object
is to preserve the oldest part of the hair (the ends) while the
newest part of it grows (the roots). Simple.
You are the ultimate caretaker for your hair. Youre the
one responsible for what happens to each hair and nobody loves
it quite the way you do. Thats the way it should be; after
all, it is attached to you!
Your hair is a gift. Its a delicate natural fiber that needs
to be cultivated and cared for in a thoughtful, gentle manner.
And when its in good shape, its absolutely beautiful.
You can transform your hair and it is not difficult. You can adapt
a routine that will change your whole perspective. We get letters
everyday from women stating this kind of change has taken place
for them. Remember that getting a great result has more to do
with your personality makeup than your genetic makeup. If you
are diligent, consistent and patient, youll pleasantly surprise
yourself. And you know how you are once youve made up your
mind! Its your hair! You can grow it long, you can cut it
all off, you can lock it, you can knot it, you can slick it all
back, or you can flick your head aside and toss it behind your
shoulder (youre so full of drama!). Theres only one
thing that you can never do again; you can never listen to any
more myths, rumors or legends about what cant be done with