There and Back Again – A Hair Journey

What Drove Me To It

So back in October  I took my hair out of braids.  Not a big deal at all as I wear braid quite a bit, but this time I wanted something different.  I had seen some cute styles and wanted to try them out, one of which was two strand twist.  My inspiration was the hair of this gorgeous blogger.  I sent some pictures to my sister who does hair and she said she could do it no problem.  She easily performed the task but not at all to my satisfaction.  See, my sister mainly works with artificial hair – weaves, braids, wigs – but also does pressing and the like.  The problem is none of these styles use natural hair which mine “kinda” was at the time. I use “kinda” because the ends still had the texturizer/mild relaxer in it.  Different hair textures coupled with my sister using beeswax as the setting agent instead of twist gel left me with an icky stick mess that nearly had me in tears.

Days later, after trying to make do with my do, I had to get rid of that style and Wash.My.Hair!!!Leaving me without a hair style or stylist 😦

The Dreaded Journey

Knowing that I was fairly deficient uninterested in doing my own hair in any high maintenance style, my other sister helped to refer me to a local stylist to try my hand again at two stranded twists.  When I got there I saw that he had long cultivated locs that looked GORGEOUS.  I got in his chair, chatted with him about his hair, flipped the script, and told him I wanted to start my own locs.  A head full of comb twists later and I was on my way to my new look.

Started September 2010

Now I knew nothing about dreads except they looked EASY and EASY is what I was looking for.  I even found new inspiration via this lovely woman’s loc styles on Youtube. But then reality set in for me.  I was going to a fairly high priced salon, I had to go every two weeks for washing and styling, styling took about 2.5 hours, he only worked on Saturdays, by week two – not so lovingly known as hat week – the coils had started to frizz and look bad, in addition to the hat week two was pretty much itchy scalp week, my edges were just not taking to the process and neither was my self esteem.  For all these reasons EASY became a chore and in a fit of desperation, and a glass of wine later, I started taking out my starter locs after 4 months.

Let us, us FREE!!!

So with a lightened heart I began untwisting and untangling the locs.  Many of them were surprisingly more loc’d than I had thought.  However, there was no regret in the decision.  As soon as they started coming out I felt much relieved and free as a bird.  Did I know where I was flying to?  Nope.  I just wanted to wash my hair…LOL!  But then I started searching YouTube, my new teacher of all things, and was once again rewarded with inspiration and renewed hope.  So I am now back to fully O’ Natural.

This pic was right after I had finished combing out my hair

for the first time in months 😀

I am NOT my Hair

Or maybe this portion should have been termed “Hate on me Haters”…LOL!!  Because I know that going this natural is going to freak out some folks in my life.  I work and commune a lot in OC so the presence of black people, let alone those sporting large natural hair dos is pretty small.  I also work with a large number of men who never fail to point out the fact that my hair has changed with a quizzical look.  Then I have my family where I was raised on perms and pressing combs who understand that those styles are not for me but still see the world through a very “good hair” point of view.  I showed my mom the picture of my combed out do and she said it looked like that time she was away and my dad got me ready for school picture day.

Please note, my dad did NOT do hair…LOL!! So I was sent to school in a dirty blue turtleneck, crazy crocked and disheveled pony tails, and at the time I was on a pretty aggressive asthma medication that was causing my baby teeth to rot (thank goodness my mom took me off before the adult teeth came in…go mom!!).  My mom would always tell me, “you can smile but don’t show your teeth”.  The funny part is, despite looking pretty jacked up, it is amazing how happy and self assured I looked in that picture.You would have thought I was a super model…LOL!!  That said, you can understand that her comments stung a little, then I thought about that picture and how I felt and then said “Thanks!”

So What Next?

Since reverting back to O’Natural I have been feeling pretty good.  I am learning how to do my own hair via YouTube, which by the way is teaching me how to do makeup too 😀

I have sported my combed out fro, twist outs and faux hawks,  which my coworkers lovingly call my Toad head, lisa simpson hair,  and mr. T hair.

I pity the fool who can’t guess which one is me 😀

I have received compliments on all these styles and they have taken minimal work to achieve.  I also discovered an amazing world of ethnic hair care products at my local Target!

I have NEVER seen this many hair care products in one area of a main stream store but then again I was in Lakewood/Long Beach 😀  I have also never seen or at least not comprehended hair cream for $58.00 a container!

My future plans for my hair are always unknown, which is one of the benefits of a culture not afraid to don a long straight wig right after cutting off all their hair…LOL! But for now I plan to enjoy my “new to me” hair and see how long/big it can get and rocking the puff 🙂

Peace Out!


26 thoughts on “There and Back Again – A Hair Journey

  1. Ah ah! The long-awaited hair post :-). I can see why it took you long, it’s a long story. I like all your iterations myself, and am in total agreement with your philosophy that hair should not take up half your life. And especially not every entire Saturday afternoon. I do think dreads are very low-maintenance in theory, but I have to admit that the best set I ever saw was on someone whose mama was a textile fiend, very well-versed in felting.. So how low-maintenance it is to do entirely yourself may not be quite all that.

    Very sad, this ‘good hair’ syndrome. Even worse that your own family wouldn’t support you looking like your own self. Although you look so happy in that school picture, just fabulous :-). As to the others.. people should mind their own business more.

    I do remember in the late 60s when I became my little sister’s hairdresser while we lived in Germany, because the Germans wouldn’t touch nappy hair under any circumstances, and the Americans only if they could first straighten it. Sheesh. We went from baby bun to short afro eventually. Now she has thick braids, which look very fetching. In fact, it’s much easier cutting nappy hair, as long as you don’t try to rip through it with a fine comb, you can just see it as very 3-dimensional, kind of hedge-trimming, it behaves in a very forgiving way.

    In fact, I like the current direction you’re taking, what could be better than looking like Angela Davis :-)? You go, girl!

  2. I love your hair au naturel in these pics! it looks chic. I love it when I see women who have the smallish, in-between fro- it looks cute, and a bit saucy.

  3. I love your hair, loced and loose. Growing out my natural hair was the best thing I have done for my hair. Learning to care for it and style it has been exciting and frustrating. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I hope you have the same joy in your hair journey.

  4. Love the natural hair! As a fellow curly [a white/ jewfro curly] I have gone through straightening and all the awkward uncomfortable hair style that are available. Natural is best- it looks the best and feels the best. Love it. And I was gifted a tube of the Miss Jessies Quick Curl cream [even says on the bottle “for white girls too”] from Target and it’s great!

    Your hair looks awesome and I am happy you found a perfect style for you!


  5. Congrats! Yeah, that Target display blew me away the first time I saw it, too! I have found there are cheaper products that do the same job. Plus you can always mix your own products. Youtube is a great resource for that info, also. Check out Glamazini and Beautifulbrwnbabydol on there. Full of all kinds of info and hair tips. Congrats again!!

  6. Beautiful! No matter how you style it. We are NOT our hair. That is so right. I’ve been there and done it all with my own hair and finally committed to loc’ing a little over 2 years ago. I DID go through the oh-noes-it’s-coming-aloose phase but stuck with it. It’s not for everyone. The main thing is to simply care for our hair no matter the texture/style, and rejoice in its natural beauty!

  7. You look great, thanks for taking us through the journey. Hair decisions always seem traumatic to me!

    And ps, your current pictures confirm you never lost your ability to work the camera!

  8. WOW, I locked my hair in 1999 and cut them off in 2010. I can tell you that locking your hair is a mental journey. You have to be prepared mentally. I remember most of my friends made stupids comments and 10 years later they frowned because I made the decision to cut them off. I was going to a salon every two weeks in the begining and eventually I realize that the person that was doing my hair kept coming it out, this way my it would take longer for my hair to locked. After that I took care of it my self and it was long and beautiful. I am glad you found your way back to happy. Thanks for sahring

  9. LOVE IT! Love love love it! It’s got a Lauren Hill-esque to it!
    The girls in the 1970’s with their afro’s looked so damn cosmopolitan & hip! It’s a funkadelic style that looks awesome on you! Got a fist comb yet???

  10. Hey Mo!

    I’m sorry your locking journey didn’t go as you wished. I do hope you will try again and hopefully you’ll find the resources to help you. Here’s a lockhead who’s spreading knowledge: she’s a member of Nappturality and I know she’ll tells it like it is.

    Locks are easy, even from the get go, clearly the loctician wanted to keep you as a returning customer.

    Anyhoo love the frohawk and I hope you’ll enjoy your napptural journey. I’ll leave you with a link KimmayTube, one of the YouTube gurus.

  11. As a little girl all the girls I went to school with had braids with beads or with the multiple pony tails and the colored animal barrettes and I used to be so jealous. I was in like 5th grade before I realized why I couldn’t have those lovely dos. I think your hair is beautiful natural.

  12. Trust me, I know your journey. For it has been mine too. Some days I love my natural hair and some days I do not. Such is life.

    A product worth trying and paying for is the Kinky Curly “Knot Today”. It is a leave in conditioner and detangles like nobody’s business. Honestly, the whole line of Kinky Curly is absolutely amazing. It’s a all natural organic product that is ph balanced and provides moisture…Two things you want for healthy natural hair. Some Target locations carry it.

    Still haven’t purchased the Huetiful steamer yet, but its on my list. I’ll keep you posted.

  13. Oh! If you have not already, check out kimmaytube on YouTube. She is like a hair scientist or something. Well not really, but she documented her natural hair journey and its growth and its really impressive.

  14. You know the best thing about hair – You can always change it! You can cut it, grow it out, change the color, get it straight or go curly. You can be high maintenance or wash and go! And, if you so choose – shave it all off. Did that once. In college. On a dare. I loved it. My mother – not so much . . . but, it all grew back, eventually. Saved a lot of money on hair care products that year. . .

  15. Monique, love your story! I’m going through my own hair dilemma right now, trying to figure out what to do! It so great to see you come to peace with your hair. I have three sisters and one brother who are locked but, I’ve never considered it. I wore my hair natural for so long but, just recently started getting it pressed out. Now, I’m considering going back natural – maybe cutting most of it off and wearing it short again. Decisions. Decisions. Thanks for sharing. . .

  16. Hey Monique, you are always entertaining, in more ways than one. You go girl with your fab hair and hope to see you at knitting some time soon. Becky

  17. ACK! I missed this! You look beautiful!! I’m right there with you on locs not being an easy style. I know I could never last the beginning stages. Youtube and natural hair blogs didn’t exist the first time I went natarul, so I eventually went back to perms. I know I won’t do that again. We are armed with MUCH information now!

    About that Miss Jessie’s….there is NO CHANCE of me ever paying that price, even if it worked. Which for me it doesn’t, I tried a sample. Don’t bother with Kinky Curly unless you don’t mind slightly sticky hair. If you’re curious I have an entire jar, I can send you some. Right now, I’m using Shea Moisture on the whole family. It’s worked a miracle on the dry scalps of my hubby and sons.

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