Long Hair, Who Cares?!

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Recently, I was on vacation and for the latter half of my stay I put my hair in large havana twists. It looked so natural that people–black people, surprisingly, could not tell that it wasn’t my hair. I was stopped many times and asked if this was my real hair, or how long did it take to grow? I was complimented and admired with, your hair is so beautiful, I love your hair. I had never gotten so many compliments on a hairstyle before. Moreover, every single person, with the exception of one, were men! Can you believe that??! Black men, asking me, a black woman, if this is my real hair! I didn’t know how to feel about this.. Happy? Amused? Offended?

After a while, I studied the situation and actually felt some kinda way, which I cannot describe in one word. I was not angry at the men who asked if this was my real hair per se, but I became conscious of the ideation of long hair seeming to be more admirable than short hair. It was as if being natural was no longer the problem of being excluded in worldly beauty, but now having shorter, natural, is what is specifically overlooked.

I began to feel as though we, as black people, did not entire break the chains of mental slavery. And I am not saying it is our fault. I believe that we had a breakthrough but it needs to go a step further. Yes, we’ve come far with the return of natural tresses, but many of us are still seeking length for beauty. We need to evaluate our reasons for desiring long hair. Some of us may feel inadequate or substandard having not attained long hair length goals. We protective style to cover up our “ugly phase” aka short hair and take hair pills to promote growth for long lengths. Now, if you are doing certain things for hair health, carry on, I support that!

However, from studying the encounters from my trip, I’ve concluded that there is still this ideation in society, that long hair is more attractive. This social construction of beauty was lurking in my subconscious for a long time and I hadn’t realized it until I was probed by these men. It had been whispering to me ever since I became natural, and long hair was my desire. Once I did the big chop, all I wanted was length, and then health was close for a second focus. Basically, I made length more important than health which really didn’t work out because heathy hair is actually what causes length (reduced breakage, etc). Point is, I desired long hair, all my life. But don’t get my wrong, I felt beautiful with my short natural hair as well. The problem was I saw it as a phase and I wasn’t content with staying in that phase. It was meant to be a passing and not a permanancy.

Today, I still struggle with my hair at its short/medium length. I struggle with natural protective styling and finding the time to care for my hair. But now being fully aware of the feelings that lurked in my subconscious for a long time, I plan to be more conscientious and loving to my hair. I plan to work on my self-esteem and self-acceptance. Having confidence as a natural is one thing, but one should decipher whether that is true confidence or wall of delusion and denial around societal standards deeply ingrained in your reasons for your hair goals..

#foodforthought

x0x0,
Sarahdee

My Hair Routine – Seasonal Cycle

I’ve created a seasonal pattern with my hairstyles. Since I started wearing wigs, I found it to be easy and low maintenance.

{End of Fall- All of Winter – Beginning of Spring}

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Living on the East coast with harsh winter weather, I prefer to wear my wigs as my hat and helmet to my own natural hair. Natural hair, in my opinion, is not made to endure such brutal cold temperatures. The wigs protect my hair strands from the cold and dry air and also keep my head warm. Also, I don’t have to protective style my own hair with twist outs, etc. which often require water. Twist-out preparations can also be time consuming and messy; in the winter time, I can do without those two factors. Low maintenance, quick styling wigs are a win win situation in my book.

I like to begin wig wearing at the end of Fall because that is when the crisp cold winds begin to pick up. Sometimes I will opt for a protective style involving twists or braids, or even my natural hair in flat twists. But by the end of the fall season, I cease all twist outs and afros. Then all Winter long I continue to wear my wigs. And the beginning of Spring, I continue to wear my wigs and plan upcoming styles for my hair when it gets warmer. My routine is not at all rigid, sometimes I take off my wigs for an occasion where I need to style my natural hair into a bun or updo which lasts for as long as a week before I put my wig back on.

Also, when it comes to the lengthy wearing of a wig, I make sure to wash my hair and scalp once every week and a half to two weeks. It is important to have a clean scalp because buildup will block your scalp from properly breathing and promoting growth. An unclean scalp can probably lead to bacteria scalp infections, mold, hair fall out and some other nasty stuff. (don’t quote me, do your research) So, I make sure that my scalp is cleansed often because a healthy scalp helps grow healthy hair.

 

{Mid Spring – All of Summer – Beginning of Fall}

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This is my favorite time, when it’s warm, because I can finally wear my hair out! The air is moist and temperature is warmer. My hair and scalp love both of those things. I can take my time to style my natural hair and this is the time where I bring out the twist outs and afro. This is when I most excited about the new growth acquired from the protective styling, low maintenance seasons. This is when I can wet my hair whenever and as often as I want. This is when I am obsessed with my hair! =D

So there goes… My Hair Routine for the seasons. I am sure a lot of naturals have something similar going on in their routines as well. And if you didn’t know what to do for the seasons, well I hope I helped you gained some routine inspiration from above!

 

x0x0
Sarahdee

Peruvian Straight Birthday Hair!

A couple months ago, I started making a wig for my birthday, I used close to 4 bundles of Peruvian straight hair (18″ 20″ 22″ 24″) which I purchased from an Aliexpress vendor called Hot Hair. The quality and construction of this hair was not the best. I almost didn’t wear it for my birthday because I was very unhappy with it.

I also added a Peruvian straight silk based closure to the top for styling versatility.

The wig is made onto a breathable cap which I also purchased from Aliexpress.

These caps are by far my favorite for wigs because my scalp and hair can breathe underneath it. I’ve used mesh caps, and spandex caps before, and now I’ve finally made a wig on a breathable cap. It makes washing and moisturizing so much easier than any other cap. The main reason why I prefer this cap above any other is because I sew my wigs on. I do not like having to take on and off a wig every night at all, nor do I like it clipped onto my hair because it pulls and gives me headaches. I prefer low maintenance protective styles and therefore I sew my wigs on and take them off when it’s time for a change weeks to months later.

Currently, I am still rocking this wig and making the best of it. I will keep up with this low maintenance protective style until the weekend of May 10th which marks 3 years since my Big Chop!! I plan to finally straighten my natural hair (carefully), for the very first time then, to celebrate the occasion! =D

I didn’t want to make a long post this time, so the rest of the details on on my Peruvian straight Birthday hair can be found on my newest Youtube upload here.

xoxo
Sarahdee

Natural vs. Relaxers, Weaves and Wigs

The ongoing hair war!!

Recently, I stumbled across a video on YouTube discussing Black women with weave vs. natural hair on the Trisha Goddard show. I believe that this topic is major and crucial in order to move past the judgement, criticism, and scorn that Black women receive about their hair and to gain understanding, acceptance, and support of one another. Here is the video below:

I do not feel that this video did this topic any justice due to lack of time and the differences in opinions from the panel of speakers. It seemed as though they lacked the necessary empathy and understanding of one another. Instead, some of them were trying to prove why their hairstyle was the best and the “right way.” They did not appreciate and respect one another as Black women and come to mutual grounds, hence the reason why I believe this cycle will continue.

We all come from different backgrounds, having different histories and upbringings, struggles and stories, etc. Not to mention that as individual human beings, we are all at different stages of growth in our lives. Combativeness, defensiveness and imposing opinions upon one another is not necessarily the most effective way to alleviate the proposed issues on our hair.

A part of me wanted to be upset and chime in on the argument, especially when the guy had his opinion on black women as “negropeans.” <–No offense taken as I do not identify with that. I had to take a mental step back and say to myself,

“…whoa, there is no need for me to get worked up over these opinions that these people are entitled to. They are expressing their beliefs as a part of society. That’s right, society..one of the main causes and contributors of corrupt mindsets and the development of self-hate. To argue would mean that I am trying to prove myself to them, society, once again, which I am not. Looking back on my hair journey, the American society’s opinions and standards of beauty was the reason why I permed in the first place! So nah not me, not again, I will not internalized the self-hate, the “negropean,” the “hiding” my natural hair with weave, etc. The only person I will answer to, live for, and seek my validation from is God. He is all for self-love and I have accepted MYSELF and love myself. My future husband will accept me as is and love me for who God made me, and God’s grace and mercy will always cover me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet! He has accepted me, He made me!, so who care about the opinions of anyone else? No need to live a life full of misery dictated by society’s ever-changing opinions, standards, and beliefs.”

And after my self-assurance, my thought processes were back on track and my soul was well.

Remember:
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.” Swami Vivekananda

The discussion of this topic on the show, in my opinion, was ineffective for the most part in terms of breaking down the dividing wall and creating cohesion and understanding. On another hand, ironically, it shed some light on the continuity of deeply rooted issues that black women generally face. We are judged for wearing weaves, and wigs, having relaxers, texturizers, blonde hair, straight hair, natural hair, especially in an afro, and anything else, you name it! People are going to judge, it’s almost second nature to formulate thoughts, make side comments, give looks of disgust and disapproval, etc. However, it is up to us to respond and reaction or lack thereof, or internalized and live a life controlled and validated by other’s likes and dislikes.

Here is my standpoint:

Today, I am a proud natural. In the past I’ve had perms, texturizers, Dominican salon blow outs, extensions, etc. Currently, I own wigs, and hair extensions to make wigs. I am all for doing whatever makes one happy with their hair BUT FIRST, you must come to terms with accepting your natural self at some point. And I am speaking to those who’ve chemically relaxed their hair like I had and had never been and remained natural all their lives.

I first became self-conscious about my natural hair at the age of 9, when I came to America. 99% of the black girls that I saw in this America had straight hair and I was the odd man out with natural kinky hair. I started to think that my own natural hair was ugly and unacceptable and I begged my mother to straighten my hair. I experienced the self-hate that probably most of the girls with straight hair did with their natural hair. Whether consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously, self-hate thrived within us because that fact that we got our hair chemically relaxed and kept up with it to rid of our natural, “unacceptable” curl pattern is proof that we did so.

Fast forward to 2011, I returned to my natural hair after transitioning for a few months because I felt that my texturized failed me for the first time causing my hair to break off in the middle. I took a leap of faith that Spring to do the big chop (BC) and rock my teeny weeny afro (TWA) in public. And let me tell you, although deep down I was slightly uncomfortable because change is at first uncomfortable, for the most part I was PROUD that took that leap of faith and reverted back to my natural self. I was not ashamed and I knew I stood out in school, in public, and among my peers. I didn’t mind the stares too much because I accepted MYSELF..my NATURAL self. I LOVEDDDDD my hair then, and even more now. It was the most liberating experience in my life thus far! I felt the chains breaking and I smiled from ear-to-ear, exuding confidence in my natural state and feeling FREE!!

After accomplishing that, I was able to do any and everything to my hair without purposely trying to disguise my natural hair out of self-hate and disgust. I no longer wanted what the majority had, as I did when I was 9, I just did what I wanted to do with my own hair. After all of this and that, I can go texturize my hair again or perm it if I wanted to because I have liberated myself from oppression and mental slavery that trends and things deemed acceptable by the majority/society is the supposed definition of beautiful. I can have extensions if I wanted to because I am my own definition of beauty and need no validation from ANYONE because my God is my only creator of ALL things and He has made no mistake on ME.

These days, I make hairstyle choices for fun, no longer to hide.

 And that is REAL acceptance.

You must become confident in the skin and with the hair that God has blessed you with. You must NOT be ashamed of your natural self and natural hair. It may take some time, but you CAN get there. Each person has their own rate of personal growth and it is not for us to judge anyone on their hair choice. We must be supportive, empathetic, and listen to each other’s stories. Once you’ve truly and fully accepted YOURSELF for who you truly are, THEN, I believe that it is absolutely safe to enhance your already-beautiful-self with whatever you’d like without getting too carried away.. Some people enhance their beauty with make-up, some with jewelry, others with a new outfit for a special occasion, etc. If adding hair, or straightening your hair gives you an extra boost, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember the importance of acknowledging and accepting your natural self FIRST and not getting caught up in the facade of excess enhancements and depending on them to define your beauty. Be your own definition of beautiful and never depend on society to define it for you. After all, God created you for His glory, not the world’s.

xoxo

With Love & Acceptance,
Sarah Dee

Fall | Winter Protective Style Challenge

This past weekend, I took out my sister loc extensions. Yes.. I survived a whole month!! *pats self on the back* Proud moment. =D Since my hair is currently in mini twists, which under my loc extension, I am going to challenge myself to leave them in until the end of this year! Yes!! That’s right!!! I know, I know, you think my twists will turn to dreads and knots and I’ll have to big chop again. Haha! I understand any concerns and this challenge will require attention and care for me to maintain these twists to prevent them from dreading. I personally do not believe that between now and December I will have dreads, so I am not worried, AT ALL. 🙂

Sister Locs – The Take Down

So this weekend, I washed the twists that were under the locs with my Kinky Curly Come Clean no-sulfate poo and conditioned it with Garnier Fructis  Triple Nutrition Fortifying Conditioner. Taking out my loc extensions before “wash day” was a pretty quick job once I figured out the best way to uninstall them. At first, I would cut the ends and try to unravel them, but as I pulled on the strand it would tighten around my hair and I’d have to cut or loosen it by pulling at it. Then I found the fastest and easiest way soon after where I just pulled down the coil from the root and the Marley hair gathered and slipped off in a perfect coil. Since my hair was still very moisturized from Shea butter, the coils which were already sort of loose from long wear and manipulating styles just slipped off like butter. This removal technique was super easy and super fast. I am not sure if it will work again, but I would sure hope so!

Anyhow, before washing my hair, I wanted to pre-condition and also deep condition. Those two things did not happen. Unfortunately, I only washed and conditioned my hair as if it were a regular wash day. Such a lazy natural I am, sometimes. I suggest that after wearing a protective style for a month or more, one should pre-condition and especially deep condition their natural tresses to restore moisture and strength and combat dryness and fragility.

After washing, I air-dried my hair and while it was damp I did the LOC method to seal in water moisture. So here’s what I did: I don’t always use the LOC method in order, sometimes it’s LOC, LCO or even just LC. I still like the method as a guide and simple reminder of what you need to do to retain moisture in your hair. So I used three leave-in creams first [after Liquid which is water in this case]: Shea Moisture Balancing Conditioner, Curl Junkie’s Smoothing Lotion, and Eden Body Works’ Coconut Shea Leave-in. I squeezed out about a quarter-size of each, mixed them together in the palm of my hand, and applied all over my twists. Then I used coconut oil to seal in the moisture. Here are the results:

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The next day, I realized that I had buildup of hair shed, dirt, and other elements near the root of my twists where the beginning of the loc extensions and my hair that was exposed met. I thought I had washed out everything when I washed my hair the first time, but apparently that was not the case. So as much as I didn’t want to, I had to untwisted and finger comb/detangle each twist and retwist them. This process took a long, long time—6 hours. <—-There went my Saturday night. -_- For this process, I sprayed my hair in sections as I went along with water. [It is better to detangle damp hair as opposed to dry hair to prevent breakage]. I also sprayed Lavish Curls Moisturizer from the Curl line at Target. That stuff gives my hair slip, so it was easier to remove the gunk with the combo of that and water. Then, I used raw Shea butter on each twist before retwisting it. This ensured that each twist was totally quenched.

In the end, this process was absolutely worth it and necessary to do so that I avoid any potential for my hair to dread!

Disaster waiting to happen!

Disaster waiting to happen!

Now I know for sure that dreads wont happen. And if I put loc extension back in before December is over, I will be sure to do this again!

Fall – Winter Protective Style Challenge

Now that the weather is getting colder, I am sending my hair into hibernation until next year, hopefully. Knowing that I have HIH [hand in hair syndrome] (lol) this is absolutely going to be a challenge. However, after changing up my hair so much and trying different styles for the past few months in the Spring an Summer time, I am feeling lazy and a little burned out from all the changes. So I am deciding to give it a rest for these two seasons and pick back up when my birthday comes around. Also, these mini twists are very small and it took time to put them in, and it will take time to take them out. I don’t want to have to take them out and then spend more time on trying to tame the beastly afro I will have let loose. That is another reason why I want to maintain these twists. Oh! and my biggest reason of all, is LENGTH RETENTION! I’ve hit a point in my natural hair journey where I feel like my hair growth has stunted or slowed down. More than likely, I’ve probably suffered a bit of breakage from high manipulation and also my eating habits are not the best so I am sure that contributed as well. Going from high manipulation to low or none is one of the best ways to retain length and prevent breakage [when done carefully and in a healthy way]. A combination of things, including drinking lots of water water, eating healthy and cutting out  or reducing the intake of not-so-healthy things can also help with the strength of ones’ hair to reduce breakage. So I will make a more conscientious effort to take extra care of my hair for length retention throughout this fall and winter. Once, I make these things good habits, then they will become a normal part of my routine.

As far as styling goes, I plan to maintain these mini twists underneath my handmade wigs. I have two curly wigs that I made last week for the fall and winter. So I will wear one for a month (starting next weekend) and the other for a month. Then for January, I plan to make another wig for the new year. But I digress, January is pretty far away and my hair plans can change LOL so that plan isn’t quite solidified yet. Anyhow, this has been one long update,  so thank you for taking the time to read it.

Please make sure to check out some NEW pictures added to my Hair Creations pages: Braids, Protective Styles, and Handmade Wigs!!! I’ve done a lot this past week so ENJOY!!! 🙂