Why I Re-Included Hair Salons into my Hair Care Regimen

Thick

adjective \ˈthik\

  1. When some people think of thick, texture comes to mind...à la a thick slice of cheesecake or hot dark chocolate

  2. Others associate it with shape; i.e. “Michelle Obama looked thick (in the best kind of way) on that Essence cover!”

  3. Some instinctively hear it first, as in, “his North Carolina drawl is thick.”

  4. With me, as the committed naturalista I am (I wish!), it’s majority about the touch and there’s nothing like putting my hands to my head to touch THICK hair.

I’m committed to being natural, 100% of the way. I can’t imagine my hair never being able to kink, coil, or curl with just the slightest touch of life’s elixir - water. What I’m not committed to, however, is my hair’s health.

And so easily you can see the paradox of my commitment, my commitment faux pas rather - because to be committed to being natural really goes hand-in-hand with hair care. If not, you will be in a constant fight with your hair, halting that natural bond and unity that you and your hair are destined for.

That being said, though I struggle with keeping to my routine, or any routine, daily or weekly. In case I didn't make My hair is thick. Anyone who knows me and has seen my hair would probably go with that very description first. It’s not too long or short, it has no definite curl to it (wash and go’s are iffy at most), and my ends, due to my hair lack of hair care, are not at their finest right now -- or rather they are at their finest (read: thinning). Therefore, I would undoubtedly say that my hair’s one standout feature has always been its thickness - that was until 4 weeks ago.

Four weeks ago, I sat, on the last day of my grad class, doing the usual - listening, periodically pitching my two cents, taking notes, and playing with my hair (a horrible habit, I know!). As I was lightly touching my hair, I noticed that the few strands by my fingers were thin. So thin that I could easily and very gently pull at them and they would just break. I started to feel more places of my hair and each time noticing how drastically thin my hair was and how easily it was breaking all over my head. Breaking, bad.

Of course, I panicked, but I was still in class, so I kept my cool (at least outwardly, inside I was ready to run to the nearest mirror to check). When I did get to a mirror, my hair looked exactly as it had felt in class -- thin. From root to tip, too many hairs to count felt extremely fragile and weak. It felt as if I had seared my hair on fire the day before and it was recovering. It was as thin as Angelica’s Cynthia doll. The thin that usually alerts you to cut your ends, that thin.

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Staying away from Google, to avoid burying myself with every possibility under the sun that could be wrong with me, I was hoping, at worst, it had something to do with what I put in my hair and not something more severe making hair fall out (to keep your mind at ease, I will let you know from now, it wasn’t). My boyfriend suggested I go see a dermatologist, doctor, or both; I went straight to ZocDoc to book both asap for the following day.

That day I woke up and decided to see my hairdresser to see if she could provide any reason and give me suggestions. I needed to be able to place blame on something I did to my hair (used a product that I’m allergic too, used a product too much, etc.). My hairdresser is less than 5 minutes away from me so I went before the dermatologist appointment. I told her the story and she provided me with a laundry list of potential causes: hair shedding naturally, different phases in menstrual cycle causing more shedding than usual, a new product I’m allergic too, etc. I already knew it wasn’t just the regular shedding that occurs naturally to our hair because it was a profuse amount and that didn’t explain the drastic thinness. My menstrual had already come and go. It was possibly a new product I had been trying but I had tried it a few times (over a month) and nothing had happened - although I wasn't ready to rule that out yet.

Slightly frustrated, I was ready to take that tidbit and go until my stylist threw in one more nugget that had me stop and think. She asked, “do you make sure to comb your hair out often? I mean after you use a product, before you wash? Etc.” “I was like yeah, I always comb it out, weekly, on wash days.” I learned early on from the YouTube Naturalistas that you should always comb your hair out with a wide tooth comb during your wash days. For all the other days stick to finger detangling as needed.

The problem is that “as needed” is a little too vague for those who have not yet mastered their hair, like me. From my hair stylist, I became privy to information about when and why to comb out my hair. I learned that, for extra thick, dry, undefined hair like mine, hair should be combed out often, especially when there is even the slightest amount of excess product in my hair or when my hair is going into a bun.

When you rely heavily first on either 1) Youtube or 2) Yourself when it comes to your hair, you’re going to run into problems like mine. Possibly not as drastic but the overlying issue of  damaging your hair will occur.

Tips from Youtube can definitely be useful, helpful, and can provide a nice framework for certain basics like learning to “moisturize and seal” and creating fun hairstyles. And you will always be one of the best sources for what your hair needs - it is yours, and you should aim to learn as much about it and taking care of it as possible.

However, you have to primarily learn from reliable sources who really know about the different dynamics of all hair types. A YouTuber is an expert on their hair and you should be learning to become an expert of yours.

No one knows hair like a hair stylist; a professional who has trained and graduated from a school that taught nearly every aspect of hair, studied various hair types, including natural hair, assisted under a seasoned stylist, mastered many aspects of hair care and style, owned or currently owns a both or salon, experienced multiple trial and errors and earned experience with their own clients, far before you even stepped foot into their salon.

After leaving my hairdresser, my concerns were equally confirmed by the dermatologist.

With that large lesson and fairly easy-to-swallow-pill, I’ve taken the past 4 weeks to go to my hair salon weekly. This has allowed me to do treatments, steam my hair, and get cute low-maintenance braid styles, and receive a very necessary trim.

As a result, my hair has been feeling much better and is beginning to return to its natural thick allure. And while my weekly salon appointments may be reduced to every two weeks as time goes on and my hair grows stronger and thicker, I am committed to re-incorporating hair salon visits in my hair care regime, in addition to maintaining my personal home hair care regime of moisturizing, sealing, twisting or braiding, and becoming one again with my bonnet and satin pillow! The compliments have already been rolling back in!