There’s this thing about women and their hair, it’s a sensitive topic for us and can even trigger an infamous slap here and there. If you’re Afro-Caribbean and grew up in the eighties like me, then you’ve lived through the pony clip experience, there were no woogies or elastic bands back then, just bubbles and animal-themed clips in every conceivable colour. If you know you know.
Combing one’s hair was a ritual we all had to endure: the parting (sectioning), the moisturising and subsequent greasing of the scalp and hair which often resulted in a greasy forehead, the endless brushing with the hopes of taming that afro sufficiently enough to fit into the pony clips or ring combs – the bigger the sections meant the dressier the occasion.
I fondly remember as a young girl, sitting on the floor between my mother’s knees, (I see you smiling) to get my hair combed. I know you all know what I’m talking about. It brings back some pleasant and not so pleasant memories because the combing and brushing went on interminably especially if your hair was knotty and was open all day, which was no fault of yours of course. This caused some tears and some quick raps on your knuckles if you dared to put your hand in your hair to determine how it was being styled. You have to understand that this was a sacred process and needed to be treated as such. My hair was combed on a Sunday that often lasted for the week because my mother didn’t have the time to battle with my hair every day. It was usually corn-rowed or cane-rowed (depending on where you live) and tied down with a headtie or scarf (again depending on where you live 😉) to keep your gren gren (now called edges) in check.
I never learnt the art of combing and styling my hair and trust me it is an art. I remember when my daughter was born, her father suggested that I buy a doll to practise, that’s how bad I was. Of course, I never bought the doll and forty odd years later I still can’t comb or style my hair.
During my teen years I would rely on my skilful friends to help me, which they graciously did until, eventually I had it chemically straightened. I did every conceivable thing to my hair. I wore it short and natural, long and natural, cornrowed, twist-outs, teeny weeny afro – TWA, bantu knots, weaves and braids. I did everything, everything except wear a wig.
I tried getting a custom wig made once and when the hairdresser put on the wig cap it felt like someone was squeezing my brain with a vice-grip, one look at my face in the mirror and she decided it was best not to continue.
When I was little, I often associated wigs with frumpy-looking old ladies whose wigs were often too black, unfashionable and made them look older and frumpier. Since then, wigs have come full circle and the variety is endless.
I think I’m ready to begin my wig journey.
Now if you started reading this blog with hopes of getting some hair care tips, you can stop right now because I have none to offer. I have been neglecting my hair for years and I think I am paying the ultimate price, along with perimenopause and excessive braiding my hair has begun to thin at my crown and temples. It is hard to come to terms with because I’ve always had thick healthy hair and I am very conscious about the thinning and wearing my hair au naturelle.
If you’ve ever done virtual wig shopping, you will know it’s no easy feat but I think I’ve come across one that I like. I will let you know how that goes. Stay tuned for Hairy Situations Pt. 3 and if you haven’t as yet, you can read Hairy Situations Pt. 2
If you wear a wig or you’re contemplating getting one, I would love to hear about your experience as well as any recommendations you may have. I need all the help I can get regarding wig care and hair care.
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