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!


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

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



Powered by Facebook Comments


  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


  1. […] deserves to be heard. Read along as she shares her life experiences. From her hilarious take on her natural hair journey to her refreshing point-of-view on local establishments, her “sunny” outlook, seamless […]

  2. […] my recent Lye ‘Til I Die post, attending the Evening with EDEN event was perfect timing! The event, celebrating the launch […]

  3. […] trip in Albany, NY and discovered the food truck craze. My favorite post of the Summer revealed my hair journey from relaxed to […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: