That’s not a typo in the headline, folks. After pouring my heart out about the final choice between a life with my mother and a life of sanity, I’m here to talk about hair. Specifically to talk about the new perm that I put (or inflicted, depending on your point of view) on my hair last weekend.
I’ve had a natural look for most of my life. The reasons were partly religious. I’ve mentioned my staunchly religious upbringing before. For whatever reason all our church elders made it a point of doctrine to discourage women from chemically treating their hair. They would preach, and some women would listen. But honestly — telling 200 or so black women not to perm their hair is like cat wrangling, don’t you think? Any way, there was always a preference for natural hair among some strains of Christian men in my upbringing, so wearing my hair natural, braided or texturized was never a big deal. I’m also somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to cosmetics, so I always felt more comfortable with my look.
But I also like to try new things. I have a walk-in closet packed with clothes that I love to play in, and more handbags than should be decently allotted to one woman. Naturally (no pun intended), I wanted to try something different with my hair. Years ago I had a perm and a fierce short haircut done by a stylist whom I’ve since lost contact with. I walked into a semi-trendy salon in my city’s downtown, where for some time now, my regular stylist has been dying to do something far far different than my standard wash/cut/texturize. I held back from putting on, say, a hairpiece on the top so I could rock a Rihanna-style bob.
No sooner had I walked out of that place with my newly bone-straight, short style, I felt a little crestfallen. No more natural hair. Sure, sure, I used a brand of a relaxer that had ‘soothing botanicals’ and which did no harm to my scalp. But I had just saved an issue of Essence magazine that listed salons that specialize in braids and natural hair and gave great tips on maintaining braids. Even though one of the listings was for Hair by Nedjetti (a big name in the tri-state area for natural hair styling) in a neighboring town, did I follow through?
Obviously not. So, although I give a LOT of credit to you women out there who can maintain a perm and get your hair to always look great, I think I miss the stylist (Ferrari) who put that amazing cut on my hair years ago and I might have to take this whole chemically subdued look one day at a time before I say I’m thrilled and my life is sooo much better.
Hubby likes the new look, although he is partial to my low-maintenance look and might huff and puff if I get all high-maintenance and over protective of my permed hair in misty weather. Or if I shy away from a dunk in the pool because I don’t want the chlorine to ruin my hair. Or if I take so long to style my hair that it cuts into morning chats about this or that.
As a backup, I’m going to keep tabs on Nedjetti’s Web site, and follow the goings on of other stylists who specialize in natural hair, like Diane da Costa.
Interesting side story: I met and interviewed Nedjetti Harvey for a magazine launch several years ago. Although the magazine did not ‘blow up’, Nedjetti has gone on to be successful, I would say. She runs a salon and has been featured time and again in several fashion and hair styling magazines. If you remember the Internet miniseries “30 Dates in 30 Days”, you might remember seeing her in the credits as the stylist. That miniseries was fun — it set up five black women on six dates, allowing viewers to choose the guys, theme of the date and their clothes. I hope they do it again — and maybe show a more “diverse” pool of bachelors. Hint, hint.