This Labor Day weekend, I was fortunate to celebrate with good food, music, company, and conversations. Among the discussions was talk of naturally curly hair. Yes, yes, if you’re around me long enough, the conversation does veer into fashion, art, pop culture, and hair! No one is safe!
So I was overjoyed when mom of three boys (bless her), LaToya, willingly shared her hair story for us to learn from. The themes she addressed will ring familiar for some of you. For others, it’s good to know that you are not alone. We are here with you, though you’re far away … Okay, I’ll cut it out. Back to my Q&A with LaToya.
Nay (eyeing LaToya’s wavy hair, tied in a ponytail): Your hair looks great! I hope you don’t mind the question, but is your hair natural?
LaToya (raises ponytail): Thank you, but these curls are weaved.
Nay (drops mouth wide open, stunned at being duped but impressed by how naturally the weave blends into LaToya’s hair.): It is??
LaToya: Yes, I’m wearing a weave, but my hair needs a rest from it. It’s been a while now, so I’m going to take it out.
Nay (promising that I’m not a natural hair pusher): You’re working the weave, but what about the rest of your hair? Is it naturally curly?
LaToya (surprised by my own surprise): No, I have a perm, but I have gone natural before. I wore my natural hair for 10 years, beginning when I was 18 years old. It was my senior year in high school. My sister was getting married, and a beautician did everyone’s hair for the wedding. I got a bad perm that was left in my hair … She didn’t wash it out completely.
LaToya: Yes! It led to a lot of breakage, so I just decided to go natural. I wasn’t alone (cue song). My best friend went natural when I did. I also had an old-school stylist who knew how to take care of natural hair and helped us to transition. Whenever I wanted it straight, she simply pressed it. I also tried a lot of products like hair mayonnaise.
Nay: You went natural for a long time. What happened?
LaToya: I like to be versatile. Weaves had trouble blending into my natural texture. I sweat a lot too, and when I sweat, it causes a big puff. Permed hair is easier to weave. Your look stays preserved. Plus, I can go to a salon and have a beautician easily do my hair. I don’t have to figure it out.
Nay: So what’s your hair plans for now?
LaToya: I’m staying permed for now but taking time out from weaves. I do miss my natural hair. It was longer and healthier.
Nay (I’m not a pusher!): Do you think you’ll go back to being natural?
LaToya: Actually, my best friend stayed natural. She has figured it out, and her hair is nice. For me, it’s hard to find products that I can consistently use and will moisturize my hair, but I heard Carol’s Daughter is good. I’m also seeing more salons that know how to do natural hair.
Here lies most of our problems and an issue that drives many curlies back to straightening and perming—maintaining natural hair’s moisture (click here to read my tips on how to moisturize curly hair) and acquiring reliable products for styling. A las, there is hope. We are finally making strides, and resources are increasing each year. Plus, as a community, we have nailed down some methods and acquired the basic science to our hair. Of course, you’ll find details here at My Curly Mane. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!
Have you had a similar journey as LaToya? Please feel free to share your story.
Stay tuned for an interview with LaToya’s son Jaden, whose naturally curly hair will bring you tears of joy.
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