I have had the immense pleasure of watching the Chris Rock, HBO documentary, Good Hair. As a person with “bad hair”, it resonated deeply with me because I have hated my hair since I could hate anything. This post is going to be honest; there are going to be some hair-raising photos in this one. This is my THS (True Hair Story).
I have the Asian equivalent of nappy hair. It’s frizzy, too light and has no definition whatsoever. I could live with curly hair but I don’t have even that. As long as I can remember, I have seriously loathed my hair and had no idea what could be done with it. I tried everything – shaved it, John Frieda-ed it, had the Toni Braxton cap, spiral permed it, and of course, the home straightening.
I remember the first time I ever had my hair ironed. This was in 2002 and I was buying some time before meeting my then boyfriend. I stepped into a hair salon for a wash and the lady suggested ironing it for me. It was literally so beautiful, I remember crying after that (that’s right, I cry!) and even the hair stylist gushed over me. My boyfriend didn’t recognise me and even snapped these photos of me. Until today, I can still remember the feeling of being so utterly in love with my hair, which I’d always considered my sworn enemy.
And I got hooked. Soon after, I rebonded my hair and never looked back. Oh dear lord, the silky, smooth tresses that danced playfully in the breeze and framed my face and shoulders. The ease of wash-and-go saved me almost half an hour every morning and finally, a man could run his fingers through my hair without the fear of losing of a digit. I could wear it up, I could wear it down – I could finally have hair to match my moods and outfits.
But with any magical gift, there is a downside. In 2002, rebonding didn’t come cheap. You were looking at $300 per session, every 4-5 months, on your ass for about 4 hours each time. Good hair needs sacrifice! Since then, rebonding your hair (or in my case, freshening my roots) runs around $150 and for that, you get an army of hair minions blow-drying, washing, ironing and cream-applying. And for an additional $50, you can throw in a colour rinse. You then have to suffer for a couple of days with ridiculously flat hair but it fluffs up soon enough. It’s finally the accessory it should be.
And then, there’s the “in between hair” time. Normally, I give my head about 3 full months before I rebond the roots and of course, my hair is the one thing about me that grows at an alarmingly healthy rate. So, I have some rebonding down time on my hands and for that, a girl needs a trusty gHd straightener. My last straightener literally shortened out and had sparks flying out from it. I now use my straightener to curl the ends of my hair and give that fake/natural wave. Deathly straight hair is a specific look and not for everyday. Plus, if my hair was full-on straight, everyone’s gonna know it’s bullshit! I’m brown!
The in-between time is also dangerous when trying to date someone and water activities are involved. I will absolutely not go swimming because there’s no way I can explain straight hair going in, and half-and-half coming out. Having your hair rebonded is a commitment – once you start, you have to go all the way. Once the roots start showing, you have to touch that up.
The pressure to realise your hair as your crowning glory is crippling sometimes. I’m still the same person I was when I was 15 (well, essentially) but you can’t toss frizzy hair about while flirting as readily as you can with long, straight hair. With straight hair comes confidence – the self actualisation that this is the final thing you can do for yourself to ensure you are at your best looking.
I know everyone always jokes that women want the opposite of what they have – but I have never known any woman to wish for frizzy hair. They may wish for curly hair but nobody in their right mind, would ever wish for frizzy hair. I’m pretty sure it’s a birth defect.
I now watch my 4 year old niece, wish her hair was straight, like her Barbies (which are all white, by the way. I’m buying her a brown Barbie next). Everyone but her loves her curls and honestly, isn’t her opinion the most important? As much as I’d like to believe that the world should love and embrace you for who you are – it’s a ridiculously hypocritical belief considering I should be owning shares in M.A.C. by now. Having frizzy hair is a social stigma that I’ve acknowledged with the very act of straightening my own hair. By the look of where my niece is headed, it’s a social stigma that’s growing wild.
So, I now (painfully) bring to you – the plethora of hairstyles I’ve had over the years (none of them good) in order to counter this messy mop.