Some time back I was reading an article from a hair blog called ‘From Grandma’s kitchen’ that was commenting on a pictoral article of a Caucasian father raising an adopted Ethiopian girl. The article was explaining how the father cares for his daughter’s hair. He has taken it upon himself to learn how to care for kinky black hair so that his daughter can keep her natural hair rather than have to straighten it to make it more manageable. Quite admirable.
A particular section of the article tickled me silly and subsequently became the inspiration for this post. In one of the pictures of dad and his daughter he was shown separating her hair into sections using a fork, yes a fork. Below is the authors reflection on that picture…
what’s funny is that as downright humorous and wrong it is for this man to be using a fork and vaseline to style this poor child’s hair (imagine how greasy she must be on a hotlanta day), black folks engage in the same types of asinine maintenance. you may not use a fork but have you…
- ever used vaseline on your hair?
- refrained from washing your hair for 2 or more weeks…..
(Read the full article here)
Then I began thinking ‘what absolutely ridiculous maintenance mistakes have I made with my hair in the past before I knew better? Below is my list, let me know if you relate or if you have any to add! Majority of us are guilty of a few I’m sure!
Have you ever…
- gone WEEKS without washing your hair?
During my relaxer years in an attempt to keep the hair bone straight after a relaxer application I did this quite often. Because of course water brought out that kinky nature we were trying to run away from.
- assaulted your hairline by constant braiding?
Good lawd have I! It ended up being one of the reasons I went natural. My hair would break due to pulling by braids that are too tight, too thin or too heavy but after unbraiding and relaxing, 3/4 weeks later I’d be back in braids. #dumb. I had a belief that braids ‘make’ your hair ‘grow’, #sodumb.
- worn a head scarf or scrunchie so tight that it gave you a headache?
This one makes me laugh! Beauty is pain I suppose.
- not washed your hair after swimming?
I went to a school that was predominantly Caucasian and thought I could just swim and go back to my business as though I just hadn’t dipped my poor hair into a giant tub of chlorine like the Caucasian kids did. My sister’s hair broke so bad because of that she had to chop it and start again.
- applied heat to your hair so often it eventually broke your hair?
When I bought my first flat iron I was so excited I wanted to use it ALL THE TIME. For a couple of weeks I constantly flat ironed it when styling and needless to say it broke quite badly. I actually noticed it getting shorter so I had to cease and desist with the heat.
- kept your braids so long the braid would eventually be hanging for dear life on 5 strands of hair?
I know, shameful. Why I would just stare at them is beyond me. Nowadays if a braid is showing the slightest signs of committing suicide I put it out of its misery or just unbraid all my hair.
- kept braids and/or weaves for more than two months?
Two words; Filthy and shameful. Especially since your are unable to wash your hair thoroughly when its braided up. No matter how often you wash your hair (especially in braids) when you unbraid it there will be that clump of dirt and oil at the root of the braid that has been collecting since day 1.
- left relaxer in to the point of burning your scalp to get your hair as straight as possible?
Those burns were just NOT ayoba. I’m pretty sure I’ve injured my scalp for life in some areas. But a relaxer was not considered successful until you had what I called the bald headed look, i.e. your hair was so straight that when you tied it back you looked bald.
- relaxed your ends?
I don’t know why I ignored that rule, I paid dearly for ignoring it. Re-relaxing already relaxed ends causes more breakage.
- refused to trim your hair in an attempt to keep it ‘long’?
I could never make the association between breaking brittle hair and bad hair care practices. So I would trim it and not change my hair practices which would in turn continue to cause breakage. So in my head the problem was the constant trimming. #dumbdumbdumb.
- rarely moisturized your hair?
I would oil my scalp (which I now realize is not really that necessary) then massage some oil through the bone dry hair and leave it at that. My hair was dry all the time. I now know that putting a coating of oil on dry hair just keeps the moisture out. Sometimes I would use pink hair lotion to moisturize before styling however not often because I hated the greasy residue.
- put so much grease/oil on your hair that you’d leave marks or stains on pillows, couches, windows etc?
Black women and grease…a hard relationship to break.
- Used anything other than shampoo to wash your hair? Like washing detergent?
Give me a side eye if you must but sometimes, things got a little desperate….
- Used any product that claimed to ‘grow’ your hair?
Now that I have learnt what chemicals are bad for black hair (petroleum and sulphates) I shudder at most of the products on the shelves in hair care sections. Honestly some products have so much petroleum they can be substituted with car grease. And who still uses Sulphur 8? Or any heavy oily thick sulphur containing hair oils? Cease and desist. Now.
For the record no product can “grow” your hair, only good hair care practices “grow” your hair. If you don’t take care of it, not a single product on God’s green earth can help you.
And that’s my list! Any more to add?