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The Natural Hair Talks in Black Families

I am a mother of three beautiful daughters, a teenager and 2 rapidly approaching those havoc teenage years.

the-natural-hair-debate-in-black-families

Hair Care Prep Day

The joys of wash day can be excruciating and resounding all in the same statement! Having a house full of girls with varying lengths, textures, and attention-spans can be a mixture for a horrible cake one Sunday and an amazing cake the following Sunday, or vice versa. Yet, I carelessly prepare myself Saturday night for what to expect Sunday morning. I ensure to prep a stock pile of towels and t-shirts, a full container of a deep conditioner, shampoo, oil mixture (caster oil, extra virgin olive oil, argon oil, and 4 drops of peppermint oil) bottle, plastic caps or bags, my container of combs, hair clips, and ponytail holders. I say a silent prayer before retrieving to my bed, while ensuring my tablet is charged to fade out the crying and complaining, and an ice-cold beer in the fridge-just calling my name.

My 3 Natural Hair Beauties Bio-

I have 3 daughters ages 11, 12, and 16 with varying personalities, preferences, and attitudes. My oldest daughter is a charismatic teenager, who cares less about hair styles, boys, or anything typical 16-year old’s care about these days. She’s the first one to get her hair washed, doesn’t care about the time it takes to get it done from start to finish, and desires the most basic hairstyles in the world. I love her to death! Her go-to style (go- to styles: are styles people typically wear that are simple and quick to do) flat twist in the front and two ponytails with the hair tucked in the back. She doesn’t care about hair jewelry or head bands. Straight up basic and to the point. She does well with tying her hair down at night, because she doesn’t want to worry about her hair during the week. She rather spends her time focusing on her studies and music instruments.

Then there is my 12-year-old daughter that cares more about her hair, than keeping her room clean; although I pick my battles with her carefully because she’s a consistent honor student. She has amazingly thick kinky coily hair. She loves to wear her hair in twist-outs but prefers her hair to be straightened. This is my nightmare child on Sundays. She doesn’t believe it’s important to tie her hair down at night, she expects her hair to be finished within an hour from start to finish, and loves taking countless selfies of her hair Sunday afternoon.

The worse of the best is my 11-year-old. She cries from start to finish. She’ll start crying at the concept on knowing she’s up next to get her hair washed. She has long, 4C, kinky-coily hair and prefers pony tails and high puffs. Those are horrible for us 4C folks and a nightmare to detangle on wash day. I’m talking about a half a bottle of detangler or rinse out conditioner and about 10-12 twist to prevent from having to detangle her mop again. This is the one that makes me drink a beer every single Sunday evening. We’re talking about two and a half hours of crying with two 20-minute breaks in between. She’ll typically make herself a strawberry jelly sandwich and cuddle up on her bed watching YouTube videos.

The Hair Debate

The girls have been natural for approximately four years. The first few months were a roller-coaster ride but thank God they were younger with little opinions. After reaching the hurdle of the one- year celebration, things began to take a turn for the worse. All of my children have always gone to school with a diverse student population. They are typically the only AA girls in their classes, which has never really created any issues. Their friends are always intrigued by the “bounce and volume” of their natural hair, let alone the diversity and creativity in weekly hairstyles. Although, the middle girl became fascinated with having her hair straightened on wash days. I have given in a few times and straightened the girl’s hair but the time and energy can be exhausting. I have straightened their hair maybe 3 or 4 times.

Although, my issues with this are the following:

  • She sweats a lot and her hair smells bad every weekend.
  • She won’t tie her hair down at night, let alone shower with a shower cap.
  • She is consistently playing in her hair.
  • She never attempts to do anything to her hair when it is stretched, so why waste my time straightening frequently.
  • The point of them going natural was to stray away from the perm, which has decreased asthma attacks among all the girls, to stray away from the harmful chemicals, and to grow health hair.

This past weekend, the girls had their All City Spring Concert. It’s a big deal for them and a reward for me. The spring concert is the end of Saturday chauffeuring! M middle girl desired to have her hair straight for the performance but I refused to straightened it because she was required to have all of her hair pulled back. My daughter being the wonderful child she is decided to reach out to a few family members to vent to them about her hair “nightmare”. I had a few people reach out to me to share their conversation with my daughter and to express their personal opinion. I figured I would be a good sport and listened with no rebuttal. I figured, if they bothered to reach to me to share these conversations, maybe at some point in the conversation, they would hear how ridiculous the nature of their call to me came off. The conversations seem to go on for what seem like hours, only to hear them rehashing the same statements time and time again. Nonetheless, they sided with my 12-year-old all the way, never really offering her any sound advice or advice at all. I think they confused her more than helping her.

Absolutely: No Resolution

The family members she reached out to are all natural and have been natural for years. They are firm believers of getting their hair straightened every three to four weeks. One of the family members gets her straightened one week and a sew-in the next week. She hardly wears her hair because she claims she doesn’t know what to do with her hair. While, I am not knocking them for their decisions and hair choices, it is mind boggling how ridiculous they sounded over the phone. My daughter felt comfortable enough to share her conversations with me this afternoon and couldn’t understand why they sided with her but never wear their hair in its natural state. I didn’t think she was mentioning the conversation to start a dialogue around her hair issues but to randomly ramble about anything and everything.

Is anything one else suffering from the family debate over natural hair?

Please feel free to comment below……

© 2019 Dominique Mahon

Comments

Dominique Mahon (author) on May 22, 2019:

Hi VirginiaLynne,

Thank you for the inspiration! I'm just waiting on the day mines get to that point in life but cheers for you!

Virginia Kearney from United States on May 22, 2019:

Dominique--You have a great article and I hope that you keep on writing for HubPages. I am not African American but I do have 4 daughters with different hair types (two adopted) and I can certainly relate to the hair dramas at that age! Now that they are all in high school it is a lot easier when they can do most of the work themselves or for each other!