Lye Til I Die?

Confession: “lye ’til I die” has been my personal hair mantra for years. Referring to the active ingredient in many hair relaxers, this mantra is how I chose to express my allegiance to straight hair. In light of the many discussions about natural hair and relaxers, I thought I’d take some time to share my hair journey with you.

I grew up in a very Afrocentric household led by a militant single Black woman with natural hair. What do I mean by Afrocentric? Picture this:

Black Power!

The list goes on and on, but you get my point. My mom took great pride in doing our natural hair in elaborate braided styles, yet when I was 12 and wanted a relaxer she acquiesced. Despite my mom’s support for my newly straightened hair, our fellow sistren and brethren (my mom’s friends “in the struggle”) made it clear that they did not. I remember overhearing a couple of the sistas audibly gasp and whisper about my assimilated ways. I’m sure my having light skin didn’t help matters. I felt like an outsider. The one adult (besides my family) who accepted me ‘as is’ was my mom’s childhood best friend (yay Auntie!) who also had a relaxer, so I aligned myself with her as she too was often given shade for not being down enough for the “cause” . As a result of this experience, I was determined to show folks that my light skin and straight hair was in no way a measure of my level of consciousness.Thus the mantra was born.

Fast-forward years later and having a relaxer just became part of my routine…..that is until about a year ago when I was convinced by my new stylist to grow out my relaxer. My stylist’s comprehensive knowledge of hair care, maintenance and styling coupled with weekly visits = healthy, low maintenance hair! I’ve even picked up a few tips along the way.  I continue to get my hair straightened but am enjoying my hair’s natural texture and body which was previously dulled by the relaxer.What’s next in my hair journey? I don’t know but for now, bye-bye lye!

Relaxer-free

My hair, as with any physical attribute, is but a fraction of the whole that is me and I refuse to be boxed in by myself or others based on how I choose to wear it. Cue music:

If you are in the DMV and are looking for a stylist, I more than highly recommend my stylist Tucci and his partner, Khadija, at First Avenue Hair Design in Silver Spring, MD. You can find them on the web at http://www.firstavenuehairdesign.com/.

How would you describe your hair journey? Did you watch Evening Exchange? Do you prefer bean pie or apple pie? Leave your sunshine below.

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  1. I love it!!!! I knew you would come around soon 🙂

  2. Funny how we judge each other on our hair! I have super straight hair and used to be annoyed by it. Now I love it. Hair shouldn’t define us. 🙂

    Visiting from SITS today!
    another jennifer recently posted..Philanthropy Friday: Sharing Children’s Art and Helping OthersMy Profile

  3. I cut my hair off in March for about the 5th time. I found some pictures of me from 5 years ago and had the nerve to secretly miss the look! I will get through this, hopefully my husband will too! We aren’t our hair, but good luck with the journey!
    Whitney recently posted..Comment on Spyware, Viruses & Pain In The…Oops by WhitneyMy Profile

  4. I love your description of your mom, she sounds totally bad-ass. I’m sure you have bunches of great stories about her. Anyway, I’m really glad that you have had a positive hair journey; natural hairstyles can be wonderful!
    BarefootMedStudent recently posted..“When Last did you Major in Unafraid?”My Profile

  5. I absolutely loved reading your story. I believe that the reasons for “going natural” are very personal. I transitioned to natural about 4 years ago due to getting a horrible relaxer. I just told myself never ever again will I use chemicals. I’ll be writing about it on my blog near the end of the month. Love the blog! and I can’t wait to read more!
    Kimberly @ WIOG recently posted..Friday Fly: Styled By Me!My Profile

  6. Love this post! I’ve been fully natural for about 2 years and I love it. Every easy and happy hair. My favorite thing? Standing under the shower and letting the water massage my scalp. Sad that I missed out on that for so long!!
    Michaela recently posted..Celebrate the Fourth of July in Washington DCMy Profile

Trackbacks

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