I can’t believe that it has been six months since I did my big chop. My hair has grown substantially I have transitioned from the BC to the TWA. Now that I am at the TWA stage I find myself becoming impatient with my hair. My hair is long… just not long enough to style. I should correct myself; my hair is long enough for extensions. I recently removed box braids from my hair. The braids were nice but I wasn’t happy with the braider who braided my hair. She originally asked me if I wanted her to braid past my natural hair and I said yes… when I got home I found several braids that weren’t braided past my hair. (I only have three inches of hair!) Within a couple of days the braids in the back where coming out. What I was most upset about was that I tipped her $20. I can’t stand when you’re paying for a service and the person who provides the service is lazy. So I removed the braids after five weeks that style could have lasted me six to eight weeks.
So now I’m back to the TWA. I researched the TWA stage and found out that this stage can last 1-2 years depending on your curl pattern and shrinkage. Since hair grows an average of six inches in a year and my hair shrinks about 50% I’m just going to concentrate on caring for my hair. I’ll continue deep conditioning and applying leave-in whenever my hair is dry. Once my hair becomes a little longer I will start to experiment with two strand twist and braid-outs.
When I decided to transition I knew I needed to purchase hair products that would benefit both my relaxed and natural hair. The first thought that popped into my head was that I should take a trip the beauty supply store (BSS) and purchase a few things. If you have never walked into a BSS before it is like walking into a different world. If you ever wanted to become a different person take a trip to the BSS you can transform into a new person in a matter of hours. They sell any type of hair you can imagine. For a quick style you can purchase a wig. If you are interested in something a little permanent try weaving or braiding hair. But that’s not all the BSS has to offer, you can purchase relaxers, hair coloring, hair tools (i.e. combs, brushes, etc…) and lots of hair products!!! There is a special language we speak too! For instance when I needed braiding hair I told the clerk “I needed two packs of wet and wavy hair 14” in a number 2”. Translation please! Can I have two packs of dark brown (number 2) shoulder length (14”) wavy hair (wet & wavy). Okay all jokes a side…
When I went to the BSS I really couldn’t find any products for hair that is transiting from relaxed to natural. What I did notice was that the products they did carry didn’t help our hair but hinder it. Don’t get me wrong they offer some great products for anyone who is not on a natural hair journey. Believe me I was in the BSS every three months purchasing my Mizani Butter Blends Relaxer. What I am saying is that the BSS main concern is making money, their goal is to convince us that we need to have straight luxurious hair. You know the type of hair that does not grow out of heads, so of course we have to go purchase products to get the straight effect. We can create the straight hair look a number of ways using relaxers, weaves, wigs or heat tools (FYI they still sell hot combs). If we were all natural the African-American hair industry wouldn’t be a 200 billion dollar industry.
What is heartrending is that the African-American hair industry is dominated by Korean. The Korean dominated the hair industry by becoming the number one supplier of hair products to BSS and then opened up their own BSS; in return making it virtually impossible for anyone to get into that 200 billion dollar market. Despite the fact that African-Americans are financing this industry that is enough to get the United States out of this deficit and we can’t even get into the market. Am I the only one who thinks this is ludicrous?
What I have decided to do is purchase hair products that have been created by African-Americans with ingredients that are close to if not 100% natural. I would rather spend my money on a product that someone like me has created to benefit my hair type and at the same time assisting that entrepreneur on he/she business.
Here is a list of a few African-American owned hair companies:
- Miss Jessie
- Jane Carter Solutions
- Darcy Botanicals
- Carols Daughter
- Oyin Products
- Curl Junkie
- Shea Moisture
I have to say there is one store that is selling natural hair products and that is target so kudos to them!
I have been on this hair journey (as we like to call it in the hair world) since 2008. This is when the big wave of information flowed in on the topic of how to care of African-American hair. I bought the products, read the hair forums, joined the hair social networks. I experienced some victories; I was able to grow my relaxed hair to almost APL (Arm Pit Length) but as soon as I almost reached that milestone my hair broke off (or the stylist cut it off).
So fast forward to 2011 and I was still experiencing the same thing. I would grow my hair to almost (I’m talking an inch or two away) APL and then I would have a set back. I know what your thinking… did you try this; did you try that? and the answer is I’ve tried it all. The last set back took the cake!
I decided to give my hair a rest and got my hair braided. The woman braided my hair and slipped knot each braid. I didn’t think anything of it because she braided my hair fairly down so I assumed that she knotted the braids past my actual hair. Boy was I wrong! For anyone who has taking out slip knots before knows that its faster to just cut the braid right above the knot than to individually untie the knots. To make a long story short I cut off a lot of my own hair…
I decided (well after crying) that what I have been doing to myself over the past three years is insane. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I am not saying that if you want long relaxed hair and you’ve had some set backs you should just give up. what I am saying is that for me it was time to try something new. I sat back and really thought to myself… what is your relaxed hair goal? What are you going to actually do to your hair once you meet that goal? and the answer is that I wanted BSL (Bra Strap Length) and after meeting that goal I was going to wear my hair in a ponytail because I’m a low maintenance kinda chick. If I can’t get myself together within 20 minutes than it’s not going to happen.
So I decided that the best thing for me to do was grow my hair out and wear it natural. I thought to myself what’s the worst thing that can happen? I don’t like it? Well I can go to the hair store and purchase a relaxer and that will be the end of that. I decided that I was going to grow my hair out for nine months because in a sense this is a rebirth. And my birthday coincidentally landed on that ninth month.
So a week from today I will cut off the remaining relaxed hair and I will embark on a new journey. I hope that you will join me.
- * Topic: Natural Hair * (gutseylulu.wordpress.com)