Saturday, October 6, 2012

Natural Hair and Beauty Expo

Last weekend I attended the Natural Hair and Beauty Expo at the the Double Tree Hilton in Orlando, FL.  It  was my first time attending, but hopefully wont' be the last. The room at the hotel was filled with sisters proudly wearing their hair in its natural state.  The black entrepreneurs hawking hair and beauty products, that you won't t find on the shelves of CVS or Target, were inspiring. Unequivocally I am a beauty product junkie. My new addiction is a Lemongrass Leave in Conditioner by Alikay Naturals which, I picked up a their booth at the expo.

Black women are unique in the fact that wearing our hair in the texture we were born with is considered making a statement. Changing our hair texture is fully embraced but choosing not to is still frowned upon in many circles.  If a white or Asian woman decides she does not want to alter her hair with a chemical or weave no one blinks an eye.  My natural hair journey started in 1996 when I decided to give up the perm forever.  After years of scalp burns, breakage and emptying my bank account, I realized I needed a drastic change. I didn't do the big chop, I opted for growing it out with braids.  Not the best idea because months and months of braiding can weaken your hairline. By 2002 I began the process of locking my hair.   I am not a member of the natural hair police.  I don't put people on blast for straightening their hair, just because I decided to stop.  I believe you should wear your hair as you choose.  But, I don't regret going natural, it has freed me in many ways.  Five reasons I am so happy to be nappy.

5.  The Public Reaction, mainly the men.  I am not saying you meet a better caliber of men; just that their approach is different.  The conversation many times starts with how long have you been wearing your hair like that, followed by a series of compliments.   You meet women as well, who engage in an effortless conversation about their own natural hair journey, or how they are considering it.

4. Water is no longer the enemy.  I am not afraid to get my hair wet.  My locs cannot turn back, because guess what, it is already back.  That means I can walk outside in the rain and not panic because I don't have an umbrella.  If I want to get it wet at the beach, it is not a catastrophe.  

3.  My bank account loves it.  My pockets are heavier.  All that money I spent on bi-weekly hair salon appointments or purchasing human hair for braids can now be used for other things. I just have to keep my love for experimenting with new hair products under control.

2.  Sweating is good.  I have no problem sweating my hair out.  So now I work out without waiting until right before my next hair appointment.  I can now get my exercise several  times a week.  It is a plus when it comes to sex as well.  I am not laying there wondering if I am going to sweat out the hairdo I got earlier.  I can focus on the task with total concentration.  Another positive, getting my hair pulled is a turn on.

1.  My self esteem has improved.  My self worth is not wrapped up in whether or not I have good or bad hair. I still cringe when I think about those mornings sitting in the kitchen, waiting in fear for that hot comb to singe the top of my ears.  Memories of  the eighties and one of the most atrocious styles to come out of that era, the jehri curl are not good ones.  Pouring sticky gook on my hair to get that "soft texture" was an all time low for me.  Today I have learned to love the texture of my kinky hair and not care who likes or dislikes it.

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