The eighties were good to me! During my early childhood, my hair was always at least arm pit length (APL).
When I was 10, I talked my mom into getting me a jheri curl. I finally had the walk-and-swing hair I envied in my classmates! Unfortunately that ended with my brother and a lighter—nuf said. We decided on a safer alternative—creamy crack a.k.a. a relaxer. It shed and broke off like crazy! But I figured it was normal. And at shoulder length (SL) it was still longer than most people I knew.
By the time I went to college I was ready to reclaim my natural self. I noticed there were a lot of young black ladies on campus with beautiful long hair. So I began asking questions. I found that a lot of them were natural (no chemical processes) and those that weren’t went to the salon regularly to get their hair shampooed and styled. Since weekly visits to the salon were out of my budget, I decided to go natural.
I grew my hair out four about 8 weeks then did the big chop (BC). I loved it! I felt so free. I hadn’t realized how much time I was spending worried about my hair. It was truly liberating! I decided I was going to get to know my hair. It was about an inch long and curly (3C/4A).
Since it was the late 90s and I wasn’t aware of any black hair blogs or websites back then, I just listened to my hair. If it was crying out for moisture-- I oiled it. If it felt dirty-- I washed it. It became a habit to wash my hair at least once a week. I noticed it would dry out easily so I was always applying oil or pomade. In hindsight, the frequency of my shampoo - pomade - dirty - shampoo cycle was due to the mineral oil or petrolatum in the pomade. But it worked! My hair was healthy, strong, and growing like a weed. As it grew, I kept it in two-strand twists for a few days then I would wear it untwisted until wash day.
A year later my hair was back to shoulder length. It was amazing! What took me years to achieve with relaxed hair I achieved in one year with natural hair. So logically I stayed the course. By the following year my hair was arm pit length (APL). A couple years later I was mid-back length (MBL).
But I was tired. I was spending at least three hours washing and twisting my hair—with help twice a week. I was not happy. I felt like I had become a slave to my hair again. Now that I knew my hair and what it needed I felt I could maintain it better than before. So I decided to go back to the creamy crack.
FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!
I was MBL and silky straight. Back to an hour a week-wash and go. I stuck to my moisture routine. (Though I didn’t need as much) I was maintaining my length.
Then came the fateful day at the hairdresser. I said ¼ inch all she heard was 4 and inch. Yep back to shoulder length. And thanks to too frequent trims and relaxers (oh I see why they call it creamy crack—an unhealthy addiction to the flat edges and an aversion to new growth). My hair went back to thin and struggling. I knew I could grow long beautiful healthy hair and I didn’t want to do a BC again.
I had my first HAIR INTERVENTION when a friend (THANKS RYNA!!) introduced me to the black hair world on the internet. Long Hair Care Forum, Hairlicious Inc., and Keep It Simple Sista became my road maps for my new hair journey. She showed me where to buy all my products and how to look for ingredients instead of names and descriptions. She opened up a whole new world to me when we ventured outside the ethnic hair aisle to find products. I was hooked. I made a hair care regimen and stuck to it faithfully. I stretched my relaxers 17 to 20 weeks. I moisturized and sealed day and night. I deep conditioned twice a week and wore protective styles constantly. It was working!!
My hair is now arm pit length (APL). It’s strong and healthy. I have to yell it from the rooftops!
That’s why I started SO Lovely Hair (SOLH)!