Halle and Hairplay

Can I confess something horrible?

As a longtime naturalista, over the years, I’ve caught myself judging other Black women. Not in an overtly hostile way. But I fell into a mindset where natural hair was the only hair that made sense to me.  I thought it was the best choice for everyone. And for the life of me, I couldn’t grasp why some Black women would insist on regularly wearing wigs or weaves.

I mean…I could understand getting braids every now and then. However if I saw a pretty girl with a fly wig, sometimes I would actually take the time to wonder why she didn’t sport a ‘fro. (Selfish, I know.) Never mind what she did on days when I didn’t see her. For some reason, I couldn’t help but thinking that every Black woman would be better off wearing her hair natural 24/7.

Now, I’ll admit it. I still absolutely love natural hair. But I’ve become bored. Although my last big chop was in 2009, for a long while my hair has shown no signs of going past collarbone/shoulder length. When my hair was loose, occasionally I would wear a twistout, but 99% of the time, my tresses were in an updo. (Never mind all of the times when I’ve been angry with my hair, but not angry enough to sport a fade.)

Needless to say, I’ve been in an incredible hair rut. For about a year I’d been thinking about cutting off a few inches, but I couldn’t bring myself to follow through.

And then, less than a month ago, a switch went off in my brain. I wanted crochet braids.

My natural hair is now braided up and on vacation. I love this look and could honestly see myself experimenting for a few months, if not the rest of the year.

Wearing extensions has given me an epiphany. As I said, I love my natural hair. But I’m glad that I released myself from the pressure of thinking that I should only do certain things to it. There are deeper issues involved here, but for now I am enjoying my hiatus. I love messing around, aka engaging in what I’ve come to call hairplay. And as I told someone long ago, “This is my hair, on my head.”

Speaking of hair revelations, can I talk about Halle Berry?

This isn’t her Oscar dress. But her hair’s just as it was on Oscar night.

On social media, I’ve seen comments on Halle’s hairdo. Criticism, to be exact. I’ve been bothered by some of what I’ve read.

What I’m referring to didn’t feel at all like your typical annoying awards season chatter. (Cut to a petty entertainment host, whining, “Halle’s hair was a little too big for my liking…”) Rather, the remarks have been downright odd.

I have yet to read a critique of something specific about the way Halle wore her hair. Instead, more than once, I’ve seen vague suggestions from Black women that she or her people should “know better” than to let her wear her hair “like that”. Whether the people who made these statements meant it or not, their words suggested to me that they felt Ms. Berry’s hairstyle was shameful on a personal level. They reminded me of people who complain about natural hair, and see it as culturally embarrassing.

Overall, their statements made as much sense to me as those made by folks who complained about Gabby Douglas’ edges.

We all have taste. I think a bad style is a bad style, period. But why do some of us still feel the need to baselessly police another Black woman’s hair? In my own way I know I’ve been guilty of the same type of behaviour. But I’m thankful that I’m learning. These days, when it comes to hair, I think it’s best to let people live.

Natural Hair – Products: The Clean-Up Crew

This is the end of the series on my haircare basics. If you missed my earlier posts, you can catch them here and here.

Today I’m sharing what I use to wash my hair.

haircleaningproductsHerbal Essences Hello Hydration – In June I bought the largest bottle on the shelf right before I started to undo my hair. (It’s over a liter of conditioner!!) Little did I realize that when it comes to taking out locs, the best thing for me to do was use either water, or nothing at all.

Nevertheless, the purchase wasn’t a waste. I’ve always loved using Hello Hydration on my loose natural hair. In addition to cowashing, it’s great for detangling.

I figure the size will save me money in the long run. The bottle is one point eighty-nine litres. I expect it to last me until doomsday Christmas.

TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo – Although I love cowashing, every now and then I use a regular shampoo on my hair.

I bought this brand purely based on the reputation of its conditioner counterpart*. If it disappoints me, you’ll be the first to know.

*If you type “tresemme naturals conditioner natural hair” into Google, a ton of search results will appear. Apart from Hello Hydration, TRESSemmé is the only other brand name that’s really been on my radar.

Amen and hallelujah.

“I love my hair because it’s a reflection of my soul.”

It’s appalling to me that from childhood, many black women are taught that their hair is nothing but a problem that must be dealt with. Rather than being told about how to care for it, they learn that it needs to be altered or disguised in order to be considered “beautiful”.

Thank God for Tracee’s video. I need to get around to making a response.

Couldn’t we all use a little…?

This is the best parody I’ve seen in a long time. (Featuring chescalocs aka chescaleigh, the Urban Bush Babes, Taren Guy and Hey Fran Hey.)

On various sites devoted to natural hair, inevitably you’ll find them: Posts by black women fretting over the fact that their hair hasn’t grown by leaps and bounds…But when you read more of their story, it turns out that they’ve only been growing it out for a few months.

Heck, I’ve struggled with whether or not to loc my hair* over the years. Lately whenever I’ve put it in two-strand twists, I’ve waited a few weeks. Then I’ve panicked because my hair wasn’t nearly as sexy or long as I wanted the end product to be.

All good things take a long time, folks. Including long hair.

*More on that later. I have an announcement.