Growing up one of the things I struggled with was how to do my hair. If you know my story, then you know I’m adopted and I recently found out through DNA testing that I am 31% Native American, 24% England/Wales/Northern Europe, 12% Cameroon, Congo & Sothern Bantu Peoples, 9% Ireland/Scotland, 8% France, 6% Benin/Togo, 3% Spain and so on.
I tell you all this to help you understand why my hair was so hard to manage. When I went through puberty it was like my hair freaked out and didn’t know which ethnicity it should reflect. This, unfortunately, resulted in a SUPER thick, bushy, mostly curly with random straight places blob on top of my head – when before that point it had been fairly thin and straight. To make matters worse, I ended up getting a terrible haircut that the boys in 5th and 6th grade LOVED to make fun of. It was basically a big bushy triangle that I tried to poorly straighten. [The guys would tell the teacher they lost their pencil, then walk behind me and say, oh wait! I found it in Helen’s hair! – No lie, that happened.)
So, once I had to deal with this crazy hair, I did what anyone else who wanted to look their absolute best would do. I started searching for ways to make it better. Here are a few things that I’ve found that helped me get through all my tough hair stages.
Know When to Cut
When it came to my hair, one of the things I struggled with the most was knowing when to cut it. A few bad experiences and I felt safer outside the hair salon than in. I knew my hair was difficult and hair dressers seemed to never know how to cut it well. It didn’t matter if I went to the best salon in town, I was going to have random pieces shorter than the other or way shorter hair than I wanted. Fortunately, however, while I was Miss Arkansas USA, I finally found a hairstylist that cut my hair well. She demanded three things of me though [neither of which I had never really done up to this point in my life]. She demanded that I trim my hair regularly to keep my ends healthy and unsplit, that I invest in some better products even if I was a broke just-out-of-college kid, and that I refrain from coloring too much.
Use Better Products
Before that point, I always thought that all hair products were created equal. I never bought the high priced stuff at the salon because I believed it was just a higher priced version of the same products at Walmart. Not trying to knock the less expensive brands, but I can’t tell you the difference in my hair when I started using a luxury shampoo and conditioner. Even just in one use my hair felt better than ever before. And slowly but surely, as I continued to use better products, I could feel my hair changing. It was like I was giving it the nourishment it had been starving for its whole life. So if you haven’t invested in a salon quality shampoo and conditioner yet, just give it a try. You might end up being just as surprised as I was.
Only Color When Necessary
If you can believe it, in college I actually dyed my whole head blonde once. [WHAT?! Yes. I really did.] It was kind of a Beyoncé blonde before Beyoncé had gone blonde. I kept getting highlights and loading my hair up with them until my college stylist told me it would be better for me just to dye it all than highlighting my whole head. So I did. It was so bad. But I didn’t recognize how bad it was until I walked in my house and my mom said, “Nope. Go right back to the salon.” It took a long time for my thick, coarse, and now brittle hair to heal from that experience. Now I’m not saying it’s bad to put some color in your hair, it’s just something that should not be overdone. We see so many people with broken off and damaged hair from over coloring. My suggestion would be to find something that’s more natural for your hair. Rather than going to the extreme, try to see the beauty in how God created you. There’s something so stunning about embracing your natural beauty under all the dye.
Over the last 5 years, I have lived by these rules. I have a little color to enhance my features, I use good shampoo/conditioner, and I cut my hair regularly. It has made such a difference in the texture of my hair, as well as the level of my confidence. If you’re currently struggling with your hair, I hope these simple steps can help. Know that you are absolutely beautiful no matter if you’re dealing with a triangle bushy blob on top of your hair, or you’ve finally got your locks under control.
Love in Christ,