Tag Archives: hair journey

Thank you Daddy for the little things, like trying to style my hair

One of my fondness memories as a child is of my dad styling my hair. Now he like most dads had ZERO experience in this area. In fact I have one word to describe my look for the that day…GREASY. My dad went the full nine yards. He pressed out my kinks with the hot comb and managed to slick my hair down into a side ponytail. By the end of that styling session, my hair and face was slathered in hair grease. You could easily spot me in room because I was glowing, you hear me?

This past Father’s Day made me think of that story and a similar story I had read about President Barak Obama. At a recent private dinner with four contest winners, he and Mrs. Obama shared memories of their young family. When talking about their children, the President fondly shares,

My favorite story out of this is Malia, when she was 4, she had a little dance thing. Well, Michelle was gone that weekend so I’m taking her to ballet. And I get her in her little leotard and her little stuff. I did her hair, put it in a little bun. We get to the dance studio and one of the mothers there right away comes up to Malia – she thinks she’s out of earshot of me and she says, ‘Sweetie, do you want me to redo your hair?’ And Malia who she’s 4 says, ‘Yes please, this is a disaster’ you know, she didn’t want to hurt daddy’s feelings.

Wow! Even at four years old, no daughter wants to hurt daddy’s feelings. We look up to our daddies and we only want to please them.Unfortunately, in some circumstances that image of “daddy” is stained and sometimes even shattered. When that happens we are left to pick up the pieces of the part of our identity. I can say that I am blessed to have had my daddy around, imperfections and all. It’s no secret that he struggled with and overcame drug abuse which at times made my childhood difficult.

So, I am grateful for the greasy forehead as I am sure Malia is grateful for that messy bun. We don’t ask for dad to be perfect–just be there. And moms, I know we do a lot, but let’s not forget to praise dad for the little things he does, even if he doesn’t do it “right.” Thanks, Daddy for little things that made a big difference.
Has your dad/male-figure ever tried to style your hair? What is the fondest memory of your dad or male-figure growing up?

Do you ever want to go back? Going Natural and Staying Natural

Source Unknown

The other day I was explaining to someone that I have been natural on and off for over ten years. I have been rocking natural since before it was a “trend” or a “movement”. The woman I was talking to asked me, “So, are you here to stay?” Excitedly I declared, “YES!”. We proceeded to chat about how we could never go back to perm. I say this now, but 3 years ago, this was not the case. So, what changed in the way I felt about my natural hair?

First off, I developed a new attitude. The new buzz phrase in the natural hair community is “Natural Hair, Don’t Care.” To rock natural hair with confidence, you really have to develop a certain sass or swag about your hair. Now, I’m not talking about becoming phony or bourgeois, but when people see you, they need to see a woman who is not ashamed of the big puff atop her head. The naysayers about my hair suddenly became irrelevant in terms of the way I styled my hair (even family members). Either you were for me or against me. If you were against my hair, then I quickly changed the topic. My choice to go natural was not up for discussion. In the past, I let folks get to me, but not anymore.

Second, there are more resources now than ever before. From blogs to Youtube to online communities like the Love Your Naps Facebook Group, you are never without support in your decision.

Lastly, I learned how to adapt to the way my natural hair behaves instead of trying to make fit into the permed look I was used to. I also learned how adjust my schedule to my texture. Styling and manipulating afro-textured hair everyday in the same manner as relaxed hair is just not an option. You will either be late for your appointment or be tempted to use damaging hair practices to whip the hair into shape. Instead, I learned to plan out my styles for the week.

So, do I ever want to go back? Sometimes. I mostly dream of going back on bad hair days. But then, I remind myself that I had bad hair days even when I was relaxed. Other times, I think of going back when I just want to blend in and assimilate. I don’t always like the attention that comes with natural hair. But then, I wake up and realize that, “HELLO! Our very presence as Black people commands attention. So, get over it.” Stand up and be confident in who you are.

Tell us, do you ever want to go back to relaxer? What keeps you natural? Please use the comment section below or join us on Facebook.

 

Growth Chronicles Part 2: How Hair Grows, and why Black Hair is Different

Do you have problems with hair growth? Have you ever wondered why your hair does not grow as fast or has seemed to stop growing? In our part 1 of this series, I shared my personal story with hair growth. Now, I personally want to take my hair to the next level…but can I? Will highly textured, tightly coiled hair grow free outside of braids and locs? I think that an understanding of why and how hair grows and why Black, afro-textured hair is different may ease some of the frustration. For some of you natural hair vets, this may seem elementary. Of course, I will put my spin on it, so here goes.


The Basics: What is hair?

Source

Hair growth begins inside the hair follicle found under the skin. The only “living” portion of the hair is found in the follicle. Other structures of the hair follicle include the oil producing sebaceous glands which lubricate the hair. What we think of as the hair that grows out from our head is the hair shaft. Once the hair shaft (hair) grows out from the follicle it is considered “dead” because it has no biochemical activity. The living part of the hair is bottom part of the shaft surrounding the papilla called the bulb. This bottom part is the only part fed by the capillaries (blood supply). The cells in the bulb divide every 23 to 72 hours, faster than any other cells in the body.

The hair shaft/strand is roughly divided into three zones: the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The cortex, the middle layer is the main structural component of the hair. It is primarily made up of the keratin protein and is the primary source of mechanical strength and water uptake. The cortex also contains melanin, which gives the hair color.

The phases of growth
Hair production occurs in phases, including a growth phase (anagen), and transitional/cessation phase (catagen), and a rest phase (telogen).

Anagen phase: Anagen is the active growth phase of hair follicles. The stem cells of the hair are dividing rapidly, adding length to the hair shaft. During this phase the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Your hair can stay in this active phase of growth for 2–7 years. The amount of time the hair follicle stays in the anagen phase is genetically determined. At the end of the anagen phase an unknown signal causes the follicle to go into the catagen phase.

Catagen phase: The catagen phase is a short transition stage that occurs at the end of the anagen phase. It signals the end of the active growth of a hair strand. This phase lasts for about 2-3 weeks.

Telogen phase: The follicle then goes into the Telogen or resting phase for two to four months, during this time the hair still does not grow but remains attached to the follicle. Approximately 10-15 percent of all hair strands are in this phase at any one time. Therefore, all the hairs on your head are in different stages of growth.
 What makes Black hair different?
Source

A study by the British Journal of Dermatology showed that Afro-textured hair is not as dense as other textures. Specifically, the average density of Afro-textured hair was found to be approximately 190 hairs per square centimeter. This was significantly lower than that of straight hair, which, on average, produces approximately 227 hairs per square centimeter. Further, the study found that Afro-textured hair grows at an average rate of approximately 256 micrometers per day, while straight hair grows at approximately 396 micrometers per day.


Our hair texture can range anywhere from pin-straight to extremely curly. Follicles that are round in cross-section give rise to straight hair. Those out of which curly hair grows are oval. Very tightly coiled hair is due to the nearly flat, ribbon-like structure of the follicles. This hair texture is very common in people of African ancestry. Afro-textured hair is wiry, tightly coiled and often coarse. And though Afro-textured hair produces the same amount of oil as straight hair, due to the tight curls, the oil fails to spread evenly along the hair fiber.

Without lubrication, the fibers become very dry. This causes the brittle strands to flake and roughen, resulting in hair that is coarse to the touch. The brittleness of Afro-textured hair adds to the illusion that it cannot be grown long. The tight curls create stresses at each turn in the hair fiber. The hair strands become weak and fragile, making them prone to breakage. As a result, tightly coiled hair tends to stay quite short. This is why moisture and oil is so important to combating breakage.

So, now what?
Don’t be discouraged. Black hair does grow. It may just grow a little slower and take a little more TLC. If your hair has reached a plateau in growth it could possibly be in a state of rest. In which case, keep taking care of your hair and eventually growth will accelerate on its own. If your hair is not growing, then you may want to look at dermatological, medical or even emotional reasons. Take an honest look at your hair practices and regimen to see if that may be the source of the problem. Please subscribe and check in as we discuss more reasons for sluggish hair growth, stimulation, genetics and healthy hair practices.

Web References
http://www.hairlosshelp.com/hair_loss_research/hair.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair#Texture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro-textured_hair
http://www.thetech.org/genetics/ask.php?id=107
African hair growth parameters – Loussouarn – 2001 – British Journal of Dermatology – Wiley Online Library

Growth Chronicles Part 1: My experience with hair growth

Big chop 2008 after hair loss

We are starting a new series on hair growth and hair problems. I thought I would kick things off by sharing my hair growth journey and struggles with growth. I really have not measured my hair since my 3rd big chop in 2008. The reason I BC’d in 2008 was because after I experienced a considerable amount of growth in 2006 and 2007 I decided to “reward” myself with a perm. I figured that a perm would allow me maintain my new length and give me that long flowing hair I always dreamed about. Well, my dream turned into a nightmare when ALL the hair in the back of my head fell out after getting the perm, leaving me bald.

Growth in early 2010

There are a number of other factors that could have contributed to my sudden hair loss (alopecia areata). The fact I had had a baby about 6 months earlier and disturbing news about a family member. Fast forward to today, my hair is measuring at about 9 inches on top and 6-7 inches on the sides and back. People ask me all the time, how did you get your hair to growth back?  I don’t claim to be a hair expert. Ignorantly, I did everything right. First, I stopped perming to prevent further damage and scarring. I cut off all the rest of my hair off into a cute style where I faded my hair into the thin area to give the appearance that the baldness was on purpose. I left the ends at the top with a few permed pieces for a funky, spiky look.

Length today–maybe one day I’ll
let the professionals blow it out
really straight. lol

Next, I did something, that I only recently discovered. I massaged my scalp with herbal oil daily. I didn’t even know at the time that essential hair oil massage is a remedy for hair loss. Lastly, I just let time do it’s thing. My hair grew out a lot in 2009, with the back growing much slower. Once, my hair grew out enough to hide the back, I started getting it blown out straight every two weeks. Jump to 2010…I’m pregnant!…again…lol. I will admit. I became extremely lazy with my hair. Wigs were my best friends, then microbraids (which I left in way too long and took down incorrectly). I have made just about every hair mistake imaginable.

Fast forward again, today, my goal is to practice the principles that promote healthy hair and healthy living. We will be sharing more hair mistakes and healthy hair practices and growth remedies. So subscribe and stay tuned!

Length today-in preparation
for a dry twist style

Share your hair growth experiences with us.