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Emotional Guide

Introduction 

Has this ever happened to you? You’re washing your face or brushing your teeth in front of the mirror and, quickly glancing up, you startle yourself. You’re just standing there with your mouth open thinking, "My God, what has happened to my hair?"

Wwe’ve 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 hadn’t really been paying much attention.

Women 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!

There 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.

1. I HARDLY EVER TRIMMED MY HAIR.

Why 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 that’s how I looked at it. I didn’t 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.

Why 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 I’d made a bad mistake. I felt as though I’d violated some unspoken cultural code: "NEVER, EVER CUT YOUR HAIR! WHY, DON’T 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 didn’t know much about hair; but man, could she bake a peach cobbler!

2. I DIDN’T GIVE MY HAIR THE CAREFUL HANDS-ON ATTENTION IT NEEDED.

Why not? I didn’t really think there was much point to it. I didn’t know of anything I could do to change my hair. After all, I’d always heard people say that hair like mine just doesn’t 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 wouldn’t pay off.

Back in grade school, I’d 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 wasn’t the hair that was so bad, it was that missing tooth!).

Why else didn’t 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! I’d rather be doing anything else!

And the most interesting reason why I didn’t take care of my hair was: I didn’t know how.

In looking back, the problems I was experiencing with my hair weren’t technical, but emotional. I’d been subconsciously discouraged about my outcome before I’d ever gotten started. The problem wasn’t with my hair; the problem was in my head! My view of my hair just wasn’t favorable enough to prompt me to take the proper action to care for it.

I 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.

Length is not the focus, it’s the overall condition of your hair that counts. However, my point is that if any woman feels she’s always wanted to experience what it’s like to grow out her own hair, she can go ahead without feeling as though it’s some ethnically impossible dream. In "HAIROIL’S PRACTICAL GUIDE TO HAIR CARE" I’ll step you through some basics that will help get you off to a good, healthy-headed start.

If some of childhood memories sounded familiar to you, you’ll 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.

Without getting too deeply scientific, I began to realize that my type of hair wasn’t so hard to understand.

 

SOME SIMPLE TRUTHS ABOUT HAIR

1. Your body produces normal hair growth just like every other human body. There’s 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.

2. You are the ultimate caretaker for your hair. You’re the one responsible for what happens to each hair and nobody loves it quite the way you do. That’s the way it should be; after all, it is attached to you!

3. Your hair is a gift. It’s a delicate natural fiber that needs to be cultivated and cared for in a thoughtful, gentle manner. And when it’s in good shape, it’s absolutely beautiful.

4. 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, you’ll pleasantly surprise yourself. And you know how you are once you’ve made up your mind! It’s 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 (you’re so full of drama!). There’s only one thing that you can never do again; you can never listen to any more myths, rumors or legends about what can’t be done with your hair!

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