August 5, 2012

My Natural Hair Journey: The Year of the Pressing Comb

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So I want to share parts of my natural hair journey with you all...but to write about it all at once...would be one crazy long post. So I'll post different parts of my journey in the Dem Curls: My Natural Hair Journey series.

When I went natural the first time (after my first perm), I managed my hair by pressing it. Rule # 1: regular bi-weekly visits to the hair dresser. I planned my life around those appointments, and I never missed a beat either. Between the hours of 8am - 2pm, every other Saturday I was unavailable. I would get up early on the Saturday, reach the hair dresser by 8am...and 6 hours later...I would leave with fried pin straight hair.

I couldn't comb my own hair to save my life. Literally. I didn't know how to handle my natural hair, nor did I have the patience. I grew up with my mom combing my hair and when it became too much for her, she permed it. I went natural the first time because my hair was falling out, but the prospect of having to comb my kinky hair scared me. I didn't want to have to deal with it, so I never missed an appointment.

For the two weeks inbetween my appointments, I avoided water around my locks like the plague. Rule #2: NO WATER. I wore shower caps in the shower, I carried umbrellas everywhere and I tried to avoid activities that resulted in unnecessary perspiration. So this meant no swimming, physical exercise, or extended periods in the sun or extreme heat. When I started monitoring the weather forecasts...for my hair...I knew I had issues.

I remember one day in particular, I had 5 days to go before my appointment and I really wanted to wash my hair. I hardly moisturized my hair when it was pressed...because that would require moisture...or some kind of liquid...which would be in direct violation of Rule #1. But I had dry scalp and it was itching me like crazy. So I thought...okay, let me just get it a little wet...and then I can blow dry it straight or something. Don't ask me why, but it sounded like a great idea at the time.

It wasn't.

My hair shrunk up it rightfully should. I got scared and brushed the hell out of it ...tears included (because fine bristle brushes don't work well on 4b hair). I managed to put it into a ponytail and didn't touch it for the rest of the week, other than adding grease and gel to keep it down. When I got to the hair dresser that week, my hair was a tangled knotted hot mess and it took forever for my stylist to comb it out...tears included.

After about 1 year of pressing, my hair dresser and family convinced me to perm my hair for the second time. Everyone was like, it'll do better for your hair, not having to fry it every two weeks. -_- I hated having to do bi-weekly wash and presses, so I gave in. It's a process - 6 hours of my life every Saturday!

1. Wash hair.
2. Deep condition.
3. Blow dry.
4. Run through hair with hot pressing comb.
5. Run through hair with curling iron.

That's 3 sources of get my hair straight. Talk about frying my hair! Once I went to the drug store after my appointment and a guy was in the aisle with his girlfriend. He looked around, sniffing, and said "something smells like burnt hair..." I bounced so quickly out of that aisle. LOL

The next perm was the worst perm...I had almost no hair at the end of it. But I'll save that story is for another time :)

I've been natural over 3 years now and I definitely don't miss having to press my hair. I don't miss the accidental slips of the curling iron on my scalp, the burnt hair smell, or the pulling and tugging on my hair to get it straight.

Have you tried the hot comb to manage your natural hair? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Peace. Love. And Fro-Yo.
:) J

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