Friday, April 12, 2013

My Hair in 5 Faces -- The Jheri Curl

The Jheri Curl, circa 1989
I once read an article called "My Story in 5 Faces"  by Connie Schultz in Parade magazine.  The article began with a quote by George Orwell.  It stated, "At age 50, everyone has the face he deserves."  I found this to be an interesting inspiration.  So, I decided to take the same concept and use it to capture my healthy hair journey.  Enjoy!

Here I am in the second grade.  This was my first professional style -- The Jheri Curl.  I can remember details about getting this style.  It was done by a family friend, who I guess was licensed.    She would later be the same person who relaxed my hair on the cheap in later years.  Anyway, I remember going to her home and having her wash my hair in the kitchen sink!  I can remember the perm rods and the end papers being rolled into my hair.  I don't think I even realized what was happening.  I do remember the finished product -- a head full of curls that moved!  It was dark when we left her home, and I remember getting as far as the front yard before I had to shake my head from side to side and feel my hair move for the first time.  I also remember her and some of her family members standing on the front porch laughing at me.  I didn't care.  Even as a tomboy, having flowing hair at that age was a dream come true!  I think my mom had the process done, as a lot of mothers do, to make doing my hair a lot easier.  I can remember the big ol' jars of curl activator....I love the smell of curl activator for some reason.....and sleeping in the shower caps.

 I don't really remember what happened to my Jheri Curl.  I do know this was the year my sister was born, and I had to rely on the men in my family to do my hair for school.  When my mother went into labor, I remember someone putting that brown old chair in the middle of the den.  I sat in it with no feeling as curl activator was gooped onto my hair.  I never looked in the mirror...I was a tomboy.  Who does that??  But, I would get all the feedback I needed from the adults I encountered that day.  I remember the bus driver looking at my head and asking if I was okay.  When I got off at my school, I walked past my teacher who said, "April, you okay?  Your mama must be in the hospital getting ready for that baby, huh?"  I wondered how she knew.  I guess my hair told her all she needed to know.

I even remember visiting my mom after she gave birth to my sister.  I had on a Christmas sweater (this was late January mind you) and my hair was crazy.  Before I could get a look at the baby, she was hauling me off to the bathroom talking about how terrible things must be at home without her for me to come to the hospital looking like this.  Thus, my Jheri Curl experience had come to an end.

Soft hair and headaches

In the ongoing quest to find products that leave my hair soft and shiny, I decided to give glycerin another go.  When I was transitioning to natural hair, I read the stories and watched the videos about making your own glycerin leave-in and how it was a miracle worker for people with naturally curly hair.  Glycerin was a complete fail during transitioning, but I've learned that some products are worth another try.
Google Images
Google Images
So, a year and a half into my natural hair journey, I decided to try it again.  It worked beautifully.  My hair was soft and shiny, and I didn't have to re-moisturize my hair for at least three days.  Usually, I have to put something on my hair each night in order for it to look like something the next day.  Unfortunately, I learned that glycerin has side effects.  During my two week re-test of the product, I suffered from headaches every day.  Now I know most naturals say use a vegetable based product like the one on the left, but I chose to go with one like the one on the right.

I knew it had to be the glycerin, since it was the only change I had recently made to my regimen.  Research later revealed that glycerin may, in fact, cause headaches particularly when it is consumed.  Consumed???  Obviously, I wasn't drinking the stuff.  So, my next thought was that it was seeping through the pores in my scalp.  But guess what? I was eating the a sense.

I'm often doing two or three things while doing my hair and realized that my glycerin laced fingers probably touched my face at some point.  It could have been a simple nose rub or scratching an itch on my face or touching things and forgetting to wipe them off after having products on my hands.  Oh well, lesson learned.

Hair Gardening Tip:  Always wash your hands after applying fertilizer to your garden.  Even though it is a natural product that will eventually lead to a stronger, healthier yield, it's not always meant for ingestion and may be toxic to the rest of the plant.  Think about it.  Just because manure is good for your plants doesn't mean you should eat it.