by Prissy of Black Hair in Paris
I am a new naturalista. But I never planned to be. I didn’t go for the big chop. I didn’t have a hair tragedy or develop an allergy to chemicals. I didn’t watch Chris Rock’s “Good Hair.” I came into the look I’ve always wanted simply by accident. Serendipity is my friend.
I got my first relaxer at 13. I tagged along with my aunt to the salon. While sitting there amazed at her glossy results, she asked me if I wanted one. I said yes, all gooey-eyed, and that experience led to me using chemicals for the next two decades. Before my relaxer, I got my hair “pressed” as folks back home call it. Every Saturday night we’d go to my grandparent’s and sit in the middle of the kitchen. I still remember my grandmother saying, “Grab your ear girl” and me cringing, hoping she wouldn’t slip and burn my finger. When she’d finished and all the smoke had gone, there we sat with our long hair reaching our shoulders. Happy. Proud. Ready for ribbons and church on Sunday.
Those were the days.
After I initially got my relaxer, I kept it simple until I reached 18. I was away at college and modeling part time. For one of the fashion shows, the organizers sent me to a hair stylist. She turned out to be a weave specialist and said, “Why don’t you try it, at least for the show?” I went from having a bob to being a diva overnight. That led to what I call my “Diana Ross Years.”
Afterwards, I wore long hair extensions (braided in, glued in, sewed in) off and on for several years. If I cut my hair and missed it, I’d go and get it weaved in again. If I simply got bored with my already long hair, I’d go and get even longer hair. Curly weaves were my kryptonite.
In 2006, I decided that length no longer mattered to me. I didn’t need super long hair. Not even long hair. I went for a super short bob and it was one of the best looks I’ve ever rocked. But then, I let my hair grow out and I was bored again. I returned to my old habits and went and got another weave. Sigh. The vicious cycle was hard to break. I finally got rid of it once and for all in 2009.
I was then expecting a bundle of joy. I didn’t want to go to the salon. I went for a long time without doing anything to my hair other than a simple shampoo and a pull back. After the baby came, I knew it was time to get my head taken care of. Nicole Pembrook of Polished Hair Care told me on my first trip back to the salon, “You know what? You don’t need a relaxer. I’m not putting one in. In fact you never needed one.”
I didn’t believe it. I’d had a relaxer since … forever. In the back of my mind I thought, “I’ll just try it out. She’ll see.” That day, I walked away with a shampoo and blow out. No one could tell that I didn’t have a relaxer. I would wear my hair blown out and flat-ironed for the next two years.
In December 2011, I was travelling home to America for Christmas. I had a weave specialist’s number. He was inexpensive and good. I didn’t want to go back to relaxers or weaves, but I wanted to change the texture. I wanted curly hair again. It turns out he wasn’t available (thank God!) so I decided to wash it myself. However, when I looked in the mirror afterwards, I didn’t recognize my own head: I had a head full of naturally curly hair.
It’s been two months since I had a blow out. My family, my friends, and most of all, ME love my new hair! The icing on the cake was when my daughter, who has curly hair too, looked at me, patted my hair and said, “Mom pretty hair.”
What more could a girl ask for? Absolutely nothing.