Does your hair define you?
I am a part of a podcast, The Party of Four, and in our first episode we unpacked and discussed the Netflix series, Self Made. Hair, black hair specifically, was a major focus point of this short series. At the end of that podcast episode, we shared our perspective on if our hair defines us.
This is a summary and continuation of my response:
I had traditional locs for 16 years. For so long, I did indeed believe that my hair defined me. I was 6 when my mom started them, so I did not know who Alex was without locs. If I cut them will there be anything of substance left? I have been known as the girl with the locs practically my whole life. Who would I be when I cut them? Would I be less attractive, less exciting, less confident?
So I went short…real short, for many reasons. One being that I needed to let a lot of sh** go. This may sound odd to some but memories that I wanted to forget were trapped in my mind and in my locs, and it was holding me back. So, cutting them off completely, signified that process.
This is my hair journey:
High School – College Years
My locs were a part of me, and I assumed that was the first and only thing people saw when they saw me. My mom is a natural hair consultant, so she did my hair until I began to do my own around the 5th grade, and for special occasions (birthdays, dance recitals, school dances, when I didn’t feel like it lol). Not many people my age had traditional locs, not at my school anyway, so they made me stand out from others, they made me unique. I would dye them and style them in different ways and I would get questions and compliments all day. If I cut them what would be left? Would I even know how to do my own hair?
I went back and forth about cutting my locs for years so one day I was just like no better time than now. I went to my mom’s house and asked her to cut my hair with no plan on what I was going to do next. She seemed slightly confused…slightly hesitant, but did what I asked.
I felt free…for about 2 days… and then balled my little eyes out. What was I thinking? I didn’t have a comb or brush, because I never had to use one before. The only hair products that I had besides shampoo and conditioner was gel. What kind of hair styles could I even do with my hair at this length…so I went shorter.
Chavon actually was the one to cut it the second time. She then styled it for me for a girls night out and boosted my head UPPPP. I started to gain confidence.
About two weeks after that, I realized it was hard to maintain, learn how to do, and have it like I like it for work, so I went even shorter and dyed it. Honey, let me tell you, after that, you could not tell me anything. I was absolutely in love.
I was then able to grow with my hair and perfect my hair styling craft as it grew out. It was still a slightly difficult process, but I was up for the challenge. I would go through periods where I felt beautiful and creative and the next I would be lacking confidence and feeling slightly defeated. I enjoyed seeing my progress though, my growth, and how creative I could get.
Once it did start to grow out, I didn’t realize how long it would take. Shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, detangler, oil, curling cream. “I took my locs for granted” is an understatement. After all that, I still have to part my hair, flat twist it, two strand twist, coil it, something. This was all very very new to me. Shout out to the many black queens that make hair videos and update them to YouTube because those were a life saver.
So, after all of that, did my hair define? Does it still define me ?
I like to view my hair as an extension of me. When I had the short cut, I was all that was left (because I barely had any hair LOL). Throughout that process, I started to realize that there is so much more to me. Who I am doesn’t change when my hairstyle does.
*plays I Am Not My Hair by India.Arie*
My hair is a factor that is considered when defining me but I am not defined solely on that. It makes me proud to see what I can do, even if it may seem like a simple style to others. As long as I like it, and I can recognize my progress, that’s all that matters. It’s a form of self-expression. It’s a form of self-love. We have a complicated and frustrating relationship but it’s a part of me that I love and am proud of.
The answer is different for everyone. This is just mine.
As I am continuing through this process, I still haven’t found my ultimate go-to products, so I was very excited when my mom, Thump, had the idea to do hair reviews. For the rest of the week, we will continue sharing a series of these reviews from various companies. Today, I want to share one of my favorites so far, Taliah Waajid, a black-owned hair product.
Step 1: I started with the Silk Milk Curl Softening Shampoo.
It left my hair soft and my curls started to come through. The smell was subtle. It smelt good but not like anything specific.
Step 2: I applied the Repair & Restore Hair Strengthening Treatment Masque and let it sit for about an hour.
Now this did not smell good at all, but I have to say it really started to define my curls and allowed my hair to remain soft
Step 3: I used the Great Detangler: Leave-in Conditioner and Co-Wash.
I used it as a leave-in and first finger detangled. Then, I used my detangler brush to thoroughly detangle in sections. This had the same smell as the shampoo.
Step 4: I had both the Curl Sealer and Curly Curl Cream, but it is stated that they should not be used together. So, I used the Curl Sealer to do my two braids in the front of my hair.
Step 5: I then used the Curly Curl Cream on the rest of my hair to do mini twists.
I was very impressed with both products. They seemed to both leave my hair with a shine that I barely see with any hair products. My twists also stayed almost as tight as they did when I first did my hair, which also rarely happens.
Out of all of the products that I used from her, I will continue to use the Curly Curl Cream or Curl Sealer. The day after my initial wash, I twisted everything except the front two braids. Unfortunately though, as soon as I took the twists loose (which was my target hairstyle), it poured down raining outside and the style was ruined. I will definitely be using some of her products in the future. The Curly Curl Cream gets a 10/10 from me though. I’ve also tried a wash-and-go with the cream applied to seal my curls. I am still perfecting my wash-and-go skills, so if you have any tips, please let me know!
Comment your favorite products below or share your experience with Taliah Waajid along with your hair type!
LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex