How I Do My Hair

After posting about my feelings towards my hair (I love it but I am more than just it), a friend of mine asked me about 2 things:

  1. Cultural Appropriation
  2. How the hell does my hair take 10 hours????

Seeing as today is Wash Day, I’ve decided to liveblog question 2, and save question 1 for when I’m feeling more political. Be warned, I am in no way a hair professional, please do not follow any of my steps and do not take any lessons from this whatsoever. If you need someone to teach you how to tame your mane, might I suggest CurlyNikki or Naptural85?

Ok here we go.

Stuff I use: Olive oil, Almond oil, Cocoa butter, that labelled hair stuff that says Africa on it so you know it’s gonna work, a wide toothed comb, and 4 packets of the cheapest marley hair that doesn’t feel like Barbie hair cuz you know Barbie’s hair was never on point irl like it was on the ads.

Combed her hair so often she looked like Cynthia

7:00pm: I started late because I dread Hair day and it’s not like I have anything to do tomorrow so I can stay up till 2am twisting my hair! I’ve had my afro out all summer and I was loving it, but as the days get shorter and the new academic term approaches I really can’t be bothered to maintain my hair throughout the winter. It is hard work. I tried it once when I was transitioning and slathered it with coconut oil, only for it to go crunchy in the 6 degree weather. I learnt my lesson that day. Anywho, I’m starting out with a hot oil treatment! My oil of choice is olive because it hasn’t made me bald yet. I heat it up and slather it on my hair, then sit for about 30minutes and do the single most important step in this whole debacle.

Eat.

Now hold on, I’m not just eating because I’m a glutton. This is something I’ve learnt the hard way. I wash my hair in pretty humid conditions, and it can take 45mins-1hr on a good day to complete. You know what happens if you have thick hair, you’re stuck in a humid room and your blood sugar’s low? You pass out, that’s what happens. There is a short list of ways in which I would like to die, slipping in the tub and cracking my head open so that the paramedics find me naked and bleeding, is not how I want to go. So full meal first, for the sake of myself and the paramedics’ eyes.

8:00pm: Stomach full of oxtail, hair full of olive oil I set camp in the bathroom. The door is locked and there’s a “Do Not Disturb” sign added for good measure (unless I scream while falling in the tub nekkid). I first detangle my hair using my wide toothed comb, have a small ceremony for the ball of hair I flush down the toilet, then begin the washing. I use this brand with the silhouette of a black lady and Africa on it. It’s green and got bits in it. I trust it more than I trust most people. I put on some D’Angelo and get to scrubbing (D’Angelo, if you didn’t know, is Frank Ocean before he was Frank Ocean. He dropped a fire album in the 90s, waited a decade, graced us with another album, waited 2 years and graced us with his latest. He and Mr Ocean are now going to hibernate for a few more years, satisfied that they have adequately soothed the hordes.)

I have an undercut for a variety of reasons that I’ll go into at some point in the future, but one benefit of having one is that it takes half the time to wash it. So instead of 30minutes, it takes about 15-20 to wash and rinse. Man, I’m gonna miss it when it grows out. Anyway, I then slather my hair with deep conditioner (orange this time, with bits), stick on a shower cap and sit under my cheap hood dryer that makes me look like I’m about to abduct a hick in the countryside. This goes on for 45minutes. Time to watch Catfish!

9:00pm: LMAO HE THINKS HE’S DATING KATY PERRY!

9:15pm: Alright, time to rinse

9:25pm: Time to blowdry! Many natural vloggers say that blowdrying is the devil but I’d rather the devil I know than 24hrs of damp as my hair slowly airdries like a wet sponge in  drizzle. To minimise heat damage, I towel dry most of it and then add some heat protectant before blowdrying on the lowest, coldest setting. Helping me is my one true love, the afro-pick attachment. Everyone should have one, even if your hair isn’t ‘afro’. It’s a blessing in disguise.

10:15pm: Tea break. My hair is dry and my arms are sore. I make a cup of tea, have a snack and contemplate baldness.

10:30pm: Let the twisting begin!

11:00pm: Still twisting.

Midnight: Still twisting. Have stopped only to load episodes of Catfish. Send help

12:15am: OW WRIST CRAMP

1:00am: I thought I was close to finishing… until I touched the top of my head and felt a huge tuft of hair. Also I’m running out of unwatched Catfish episodes. End me.

1:30am: I’m down to my last packet of fake hair and my last tuft of real hair. The end is in sight. I hear the angels singing. I feel blessed.

1:35am: OW WRIST CRAMP

2:00am: Almost there…

2:15am: DONE.

From start to end, and not counting my slowly growing undercut, it has taken me 7hrs15min. I have used 3 packets of hair, and my biceps feel so toned now, like I’ve done 200 bicep curls. My butt is asleep, my legs are asleep and I’m close to following suit.

When I first agreed to do this, another friend asked why white people find our hair so mysterious considering that none of us have ever really been curious about white hair. It speaks volumes that mainstream media is so Eurocentric that we all have a basic idea of highlights, flatirons, asymmetric bobs and dry shampoo, but cornrows are a mindblowing concept, and it wasn’t something I realised until the conversation occured. I can’t help but feel that we’ve got a long way to go when it comes to representation in the media before our norms can be considered everyone’s norms.

But that will happen tomorrow. I’m going to bed.

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