Black Hair- the topic of many discussions. We have read that the hair care industry makes billions of dollars a year. From weaves to relaxers, that thing on top of our head is a cash cow. However, as I view most people’s hair, majority of it looks a mess. Over-processed hair, dependency on weaves, thinning hairlines, and extreme split ends that lead to breakage, all plague the heads of black women; and the poorer the woman the worse it gets. Every time I see a woman with bad hair, I want to grab them and give them a lesson in “Hair 101.” It’s like bad hair care is just passed down from generation to generation, and the more damaged the hair gets, the more weave is thrown into it to cover up the matter (which ultimately makes it worse). Weave is not the savior; hair education, and maintenance, is.
About four years ago I went natural. I couldn’t take what relaxers were doing to my scalp, because it is very sensitive. It was a grueling process but I eventually trained my hair to do what I needed it to do. I can wear it curly or straight, and it’s healthier and stronger than before. I’m a fan of natural hair and encourage everyone to do it, but it does take a lot of patience. Even though I don’t relax my hair, don’t think that I’m anti-relaxer or anti-weave. I just feel that everything has to be done correctly so as to not damage the actual hair on your head.
For instance, 3-4 years ago lace-front weaves became affordable to the masses, and now you see women with half their hairlines eaten away because they are abusing the process. Women are wearing them for months upon months, without giving their hair a break, and the glue has eroded their hairline. People get lazy, careless or are ill advised when it comes to their hair. Some hair stylists would rather have you spend that money on a full head of weave, instead of telling you to take a break and care for your natural locs. Or you are the stubborn one and have become addicted to something that isn’t even yours, while neglecting what is naturally yours.
I think we let people, and media, define what is beautiful and acceptable in our community. Only when someone like Rihanna sheds her golden weave to rock a funky short hair cut, or a figure like Amber Rose cuts off her hair and flaunts a blond caesar, do we take the plunge with him or her. We become carbon copies instead of wearing what best flatters us. Being trendy is fashionable, but not if the sacrifice exceeds the benefits. Most of us don’t have Beyonce’s money to bounce back from a trend gone wrong, but instead we are often times left with a hairstyle disaster to correct. Just like some haute couture clothes are meant just for the runway, some hairstyles need to be reserved for the celebrities, unless you have the money for the upkeep.
My hairdresser(s) know how anal I am about my hair, but because of my persistence, my hair is healthy. And yes, I said hairdressers because no one person cuts, colors, styles, or does my hair the way I want it. It is ok to have more than one hairdresser who specializes in one thing for you. Your hair can become immune to certain processes and shampoos if it is monotonous, in my opinion.
Here are a couple of tips and products that I use to help keep my hair healthy. Some you’ve probably heard of before and chose to ignore, and some you haven’t.
1. Get a trim. I hate seeing girls with long hair and dead ends. It will grow back.
2. Change your weave. Stop wearing your weave until it’s hanging off of one thread or glue patch. If you can’t afford it, don’t get it.
3. In my opinion, constant use hair glue, or sewing in of the weave, without a month or two break to condition and nourish your real hair, weakens it and erodes the follicles.
4. Make sure your hair stylist is a good colorist and knows how to manage upkeep of color-processed hair. Color can cause extreme damage and breakage if not maintained. I sit under the dryer with a conditioner every time I go to the salon. I like Paul Mitchell color products.
5. I use Kerastase products, which can be expensive for most. However, if you can only afford one product from their line, I would suggest the Oleo-Relax Serum. I use it to protect my hair from any heat damage from blow dryers and flat irons. Ojun is another great line to alternate with. I carry my own products to the salon. I’m very anal about what is used on my hair.
6. Also, get a clear rinse every few months. It helps boost the shine of your hair without having to add unnecessary color.
7. Don’t let your hairstylist pressure you into anything. It is not their hair. It is yours.
8. If your hair is a mess, try a new hairdresser.