My dad is very old fashioned and while he did not personally care for my hair (minus a few times my mom was out of town) he was very influential in what care would be given to my sisters' and my hair. My father had made up his mind that his girls would not have any chemicals or weaves put in our hair. I believe this stemmed from his love of natural hair as well as my mother's bad experience with chemical processing.
My mother was not very good at styling and caring for hair despite the fact that she had 4 girls. I had some terrible hair days!! I would go to school with my hair sticking up in pigtails and be sooooo embarrassed! The only decent hair days I had, compliments of my mother, were the first days of school. Two nights before school started my mother would wash my hair, plait it, and put on a pantyhose to air dry. Yes I said a pantyhose! My mom was straight old school and was not spending extra money on head scarfs I could not keep up with. After a day of air drying my mom would sit my sister and I in the kitchen and press out hair using Blue Magic Hair Grease. She wasn't very good at straightening our hair. She did not get my hair straight and it came out big and puffy.
There were some times I had great hair days. My cousin, aunt, and mother's best friend were very talented when it came to doing hair. They would press my hair so well you would have sworn I had a relaxer. They would constantly try to convince my dad to let my sisters and I get a relaxer, but he would not even entertain the thought.
I started taking care of my own hair when I was in middle school. I grew tired of the way my mom did my hair and I was ready to take my hair into my own hands. I began pressing my own hair probably on a daily or weekly basis. I even purchased my own electric pressing comb. My mom used the stove-top pressing comb. I probably caused a little damage by pressing my hair, but none that I remember.
I struggled with doing my own hair! There were times when I was so frustrated with my hair that I took the scissors and chopped off huge pieces! Yes, I was pretty dramatic! This did very little in helping me style my hair. My hair was thick, but never extremely coarse. It was considered "long" (Probably right above APL). I was often told I had a "good grade of hair". I think if I were taught, I probably could have managed my hair in its natural state.
I continued to beg and plead with my father for a relaxer, but he was not letting up. He even said that if I went out and got a relaxer he would cut ALL of my hair off. At this point I was willing to take that chance. I could not do anything with my hair and it was contributing to my low self-esteem. I started seeking out family members and friends of the family who was willing to relax my hair. Everyone wanted to relax my hair, but was terrified of my dad. He can be intimidating at times. I guess it's his big build and authoritative voice. I was soon loosing hope in being able to manage my hair.
When I was 15 I got a job and with my first paycheck I went to the salon and told them to give me a relaxer. I paid $30 for a virgin relaxer (those were the days). I have no idea what brand was used, but I was very pleased with the results. My hair was straight, but not bone straight. I still remember having volume in my hair. My dad had no idea I had went out and got a relaxer. Someone eventually told him I got a relaxer (I'm pretty sure it was my mom) and he confronted me. Of course I told him I didn't have one and because it looked like I had a good press, he didn't have anything to say. At any rate this ended my natural hair state and started my relaxed one.
Not Too Long Ago
To keep up with my relaxers I would wash my hair maybe every 2-3 weeks. My SIL would do my relaxers when I needed them. I think this is when my hair started to be processed bone straight. When she could no longer do them I began self-relaxing. I've never had a bad experience relaxing my own hair and I can not recall having damaged hair.
In the recent years I kept my hair up by going to my stylist every 2 weeks faithfully. I loved my stylist. I can't recall having any bad experiences with her. My hair was healthier than it had ever been at that point and it was growing. Then my stylist switched occupations and I went to a new stylist. This stylist was ok. She just took entirely too long to do my hair and her technique was not the greatest. I would later find out just how terrible the technique. Check out this post to read all about it.
I was debating on going natural because my hair was shedding something terrible after having my son and my hair was shorter than it had been since I was a little girl. My hair was also thin and limp. I kept layers cut in my hair so it could appear thick and full. I began doing some research and came across a few blogs that talked about a Healthy RELAXED Hair Journey. I read the blogs from start to finish (I still do this when I start following new blogs). I then discovered a few hair sites and after about 2 months of research I decided to start a Healthy Relaxed Hair Journey.
I started my HHJ December 4, 2011 and my hair is thriving! It's healthy, has reduced shedding, and finally starting to grow again! My ultimate goal is to reach and maintain MBL. I have no certain date in mind. I'm just enjoying experimenting with different products and obtaining health and growth. Follow my journey to a Healthy MBL hair!