Hi, my name is Teneil and I had my last relaxer in June 2007.
Why do black women make such a big deal about their hair?
Let’s skip some of the history (but if you really want to delve in here’s a great explanation by Chime Edwards: The History Of Natural Hairstyles and Black Hair (Chime Edwards) – YouTube).
Anyways, we’re usually told how hard, unmanageable, unprofessional, difficult, and generally unacceptable it is. When we finally learn our hair and figure out how to do cute styles we get comments like: “is it real?”, “is it all yours?”, or “are you mixed with another race?”.
It seems as though we’re damned if we work it, and we’re damned if we don’t.
Personally, I didn’t have any great epiphany before returning to my natural hair.
I got my first relaxer at age 11 and at about age 17 I had a lot of breakage mostly in the front. Basically one day I decided I wanted bangs, so I cut it myself of course, but after about 2 hours I couldn’t deal with the hair constantly resting on my forehead. I initially planned on growing out my hair for a year and then returning to a relaxer. I ended up transitioning for 9 months before cutting off the relaxed ends.
This is me right after my big chop.
What caught me off guard is how much I would love my hair. I went online and came across a natural hair community of women who shared ideas on caring for our hair (www.napturality.com) and that was it! I made up my mind that I never wanted a relaxer again. Mind you, this was before the YouTube gurus were popular.
I’ve learned so much about my hair and about myself over the years. In 2011 I found both the book The Science of Black Hair and the YouTube vlogger kimmaytube. Both resources really helped me to understand the chemistry behind my hair, and to know how to listen when my hair is telling me what it needs. I also learned a lot from Chicoro (a blogger).
Once I began to incorporate protective styles and listening to my hair, and also began using the right products, it felt like my hair sprang to life almost overnight. Well, it seems like overnight to everyone else but I definitely remember all the hard work, and trials and errors.
This is just the beginning!