I am sure many women will agree with me when I say that as a woman, my hair is one the most important components of my appearance. Much like other women, I have my good hair days and my bad hair days, but nothing comes close to the one hair disaster I will never forget.
As an African American woman with relaxed hair, I go to my hair stylist approximately every 2-3 weeks to have my hair washed and to receive a deep conditioning treatment. Because of my rigid hair routine, I knew that hair maintenance would be a major challenge for me when I relocated to London last fall for four months. How would a woman who never missed a hair appointment a day in her life and who vowed to follow her hair stylist wherever she went to whichever state she may move to cope with being almost 4,000 miles away from the only hair stylist she has ever been truly comfortable with? Because I did not want to experiment with my hair in a foreign country, I decided that I would wash my hair by myself. This was the biggest hair mistake I have ever made!
African American hair by nature is course, and it becomes tangled very easily if not treated properly. I thought that if I could mimic the hair washing technique of my hair stylist as well as the technique she used to blow-dry my that I would be fine, but sadly, this was not the case.
Early one morning I got my shampoo and conditioner together, got in the shower, and attempted to wash my hair. I started with the shampoo, massaging it into my scalp, then I went on to the conditioner. The more and more I added product and continued to wash my hair, the more and more I felt my hair tangle until a point that I could no longer run my fingers into even one inch of my hair. I immediately got out of the shower and attempted to blow-dry my hair with a blowdryer, despite the fact that my hair hair stylist never uses a blowdryer to dry my wet hair because it puts too much heat on the hair. Instead, she puts rollers in my hair and then I sit under the dryer. Attempting to blow-dry my hair only made matters worse. My hair became even more tangled until a point when I could not run a brush or comb through my hair without chunks coming out at a time.
I finally realized that this was an issue for the professionals, and I went to the nearest salon. They were able to wash and detangle my hair, but they still needed to use a blowdryer to dry my hair because rollers were not used at that particular hair salon, and they also had to straighten my hair afterwards because the blowdrying would make my hair puffy and I also wear my hair straight down. I was able to continue my routine of going to the salon every 2-3 weeks for a wash and deep conditioning treatment, but the continuous heat applied to my hair because of the blowdrying and straightening left me with some damage. When I finally returned home, my hair dresser was the first person I went to go see, and she told me that all of the heat had left me with breakage, split ends, and had affected my hair color. Before my hair disaster, my hair was a very dark brown often mistaken for black. However, the heat caused my hair to turn into a light brown which looks even lighter and sometimes red when in the sun or under harsh lighting.
My hair fiasco is something I will never forget, and it certainly taught me a lesson about the importance of hair care and treatment. If there is one piece of advice I could share with other women with hair similar to mine, it would be to avoid extreme heat as much as possible. The possible long term affects may not be worth being able to wear your hair straight every single day.