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JUMPING ON THE NATURAL HAIR CHRONICLES BANDWAGON

(written while I was on the subway and in a doctor's waiting room) 


I've been reading travel logs by people cruising along the road to reclaim natural hair. What's natural hair? Let's define it as hair unadulterated by chemicals. Anyone can decide to ditch hair product science experiments, not just people of African descent. My blonde neighbor relaxes her long mane. We've discussed how her morning routine would change if she went natural. A Latina friend with corkscrew curls uses a mild texturizer to loosen her curls. She professes that this makes the tangles easier to manage. And, just between us, an Eastern European girlfriend can't remember her God-given hair color. You see? Going natural isn't solely a Black thang. 


No judgments. Have fun with your locks. The only rule is that you be pleased with your look. Since I forced my naked hair pictures on you earlier this week, I decided to go all the way and share the tale. My story isn't much of a saga. A couple of years ago, I went through one of my no relaxers, let the hair rest phases. This one lasted longer than previous recuperating periods: no big health, political, or religious epiphany. I wasn't cultivating a counter-cultural image. I was just being me. 


I've never been a clothing, hair, and make-up person. The stuff women do in pursuit of the right look baffles me. Once I committed to natural hair, I went into research mode. I watched a few YouTube videos and perused blogs. I confess. I possess little patience for learning about in-depth hair care. Some devotees had complex regiments. I guess that's why they had fabulous curls, kinks, afros, puffs, and textures. I couldn't go there. In anti-diva fashion, I decided to commute to the kitchen for my mop care products, mostly water, vinegar, coconut oil, olive oil, lavender oil, and Shea butter. 


Wearing my chemical-free hair out and glamorous every day was too much work. All of that night, braiding, misting, pudding, and whatnot made this woman dizzy. I'm a put it up, braid, or twist it gal. No worries. I had the perfect team until my long-time salon went out of business. Darn that recession. Fortunately, the F.B. family helped a sista find a new shop. With it came a new do from a stylist who understood my lifestyle and girlie-girlie challenges. She was fun and artistic. But girlfriend ran on her own time, was easily distracted, slow and disorganized. Things were so bad that the shop owner gave me discounts to compensate for her silliness. In case she worked my last nerve, I found an alternate salon. It was a nice shop with an efficient, albeit pricey, professional cosmetologist. No worries, her dependability was worth the extra cash. When she moved stores, I followed. When her cell phone number stopped working, I mourned. I promise it wasn't me. I'm on time, tip, and everything. Eventually, I was tired of chasing her and found another less expensive, not as fancy, but a good hairdresser. Pray that we do well together. 


The client-stylist relationship is complicated. Finding a hair home is more challenging than choosing a life partner or spiritual leader. The necessary nuances of trust and understanding cut through the core of one's being. You must be at one with The One whose hands are on your head. I may not be trendy-glam, but I know you have to be feelin' the stylists on some undefined cosmic level that is incomprehensible to observers. 


I love a full wig. That's why I add extensions to my fur. Because I have salt and pepper hair, I buy dark brown and grey extensions. The plan is for the stylist to mix the colors proportionally to match my natural hair color. Apparently, my natural hair color is subject to interpretation. Sometimes I wear more silver than dark brown hair. Other times, it's mixed in at a 50:50 ratio. I'm donning predominantly dark brown tresses with modest touches of silver. Whatever?! Later in 2014, I will twist it using only the strands attached to my scalp. That will solve the color issue. But what about volume? Alas, more research and decisions. Will it ever end? My tale is to be continued. What's your story? 

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