When I was in high school and college, going natural wasn’t all that common among Black women. It was a luxury for those with wavy or responsive, easy to manage hair, be they racially mixed or just plain lucky enough not to need a perm to manage their hair in a reasonable amount of time. The women at my childhood church, where modest attire was the requirement and wearing wigs was considered overdoing things, put relaxers in their hair.
Shopping for natural hair care products wasn’t easy, 20 years ago, either. Back then, women would “greez” their scalps, instead of frequently moisturizing with water and light oils. And if a black woman wanted to buy products that were beneficial to her, she would have to order the products, mix them herself, or hunt down a local natural food store to find what she wanted. Maybe the store would be in some hole-in-the-wall place off of a high street in an urban neighborhood. Not these days. Bruising the hair care aisles now looks like this:
The Twisted Sista Line
It’s so much easier now to find good (or passable) products. Word is out that women with curly hairy don’t have to subject their locks to overheating and harsh chemicals to look good. Information and resources about holistic living have proliferated, and are now wisely accessible. I think it’s one more incentive to take my hair natural again. Or at least ditch the bone-straight routine.
Treading carefully into Shea Moisture.
Now that Baby’s hair is long enough to style almost every day, I feel like I should make an effort to send her out-of-doors putting her best foot forward. A few weeks ago, I decided that I didn’t want to deal with brushing and parting her hair every morning. Hubby and I both have jobs with frequent writing deadlines, so minutes in the morning are precious.
I decided to do one style a week. I part Baby hair in the way that I want the night before, then brush in shea butter and a small dab of coconut oil onto each section. Then I plait (platt, if you are Jamaican) each section. Baby’s ends are sometimes too slick to simply roll into place and tuck under the braid itself to secure it, so I double the braid over and secure it with a small Goody Ouchless band. In the morning, I let down the sections and put a light amount of Curly Q milkshake on each section, then brush it and put it into a ponytail holder. Each section is already neatly parted, so it saves me about 5 to 10 minutes. I’m sure that’s a trick every Black mom has used since forever, but hey. It’s my first time, so I thought I’d share my results. Here are a few shots with Baby’s hair in pretty much the same sections on different days. I changed the ponytail holders to match her outfits.
Parting and "platting" the sections to prep for the morning.
It's a pink day.
Looking preppy in her white polo shirt and blue ponytail holders.
If you intermarry and have kids, it is never safe to make assumptions or predictions about what physical traits your bi-racial child will inherit from each parent. In my case, I thought Baby would have deep brown skin, and inherit a lot of other dominant, prominent black features. When I saw her first sonogram photos, especially the one where she seemed to already have my grandmother’s serious jowls, I was convinced she would look like me.
Well, guess what? Most of the time, people draw similarities between Baby and Hubby. It is understandable: Hubby is her father. She got her paternal grandmother’s overbite, which is very cute, and most of Hubby’s facial features, from the small set eyes to the perky nose. She is very tall for her age, which she gets from both our families, as we both have tall parents and tall siblings. Also, she inherited a very light complexion from Hubby. Indeed, she is honey colored, and when the two of them are out together it is obvious that her mother is not white. But when Baby and I are together, the difference in our complexions sometimes strikes me as dramatic. What she got from mommy, was the frame of her face, which explains the jowls from Mississy (a lot of Jamaican kids call their grandmothers that). Her forehead, cheeks, dimples, chin, and the thoughtful, downward curve of her mouth all came from me. And all that thick, jet black hair!
I came across “Is That Your Child?!!” recently, a terrific weekly podcast for women of color with mixed kids. Take a listen. I think in this episode, host Michelle McCrary talks directly about the issue with Monique Fields, a writer, blogger under the moniker Honeysmoke, and a mom whose two girls emerged with lovely—yet unexpected—features.
Is That Your Child 118 Special Guest Honeysmoke 3/25/2011 – MMcCrary | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio.