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The Physical (and Emotional) Journey from Long Heat Damaged Hair to Natural Curls

Avatar • Apr 2, 2009

so i’ve always been confused by women who already have long hair and still decide to straighten it.
well, allison has been down that road, and in this ‘your photos your thoughts’ she gives an inside look into the mind of the chick-with-the-long-curly-hair-who-still-wants-it-straight-but-then-turns-around-and-embraces-the-curls

allison now

allison then


on how the flat ironing began
i may have something of a unique natural story.  while i did have a perm when i was younger (all my hair broke off), i had a head full of hair by the time i turned “natural”.  i say that because i’ve been natural for about 9 years.  during the first four i was in high school and was a tomboy — i wore my hair in cornrows, flat twists, and buns ALL THE TIME — my hair grew an insane amount during that time because i was unknowingly wearing protective styles 24/7.  it wasn’t unil i sought to wear my hair out/styled more intricately, (or frankly, to not look a hot ass mess as i did through most of high school because i simply didnt care) that i felt like i was going through a transition even though i wasn’t prepared for it.  you see, even naturals transition.  there was a serious mental shift that accompanied the way i styled and cared for my hair as i approached adulthood.

the transition wasn’t seamless.  when i went away to school i felt the need to break out my $30 Hot Tools NON-Ceramic flat iron.  I didn’t know what I was doing, nor did I realize the irreversable damage I was causing to my tresses.  One time I left my dorm room to use the bathroom and heard people talking about a burning hair smell — it was embarassing and caused me to reevaluate how i dealt with my hair. 

on why she flat ironed, though her hair was long and her texture was fabulous
Well, wanting to fit in.  I was still very young and didn’t have all the self-confidence in the world.  I had a skewed concept of beauty and what/who I should look like in order to be considered beautiful and/or sexy.  None of my friends were natural, or rather none of them had natural hair coiled like mine — they all had loose curly hair or long relaxed hair.  Whenever we went out to clubs it felt like they got all the attention.  Thinking back I probably showed my insecurity on my face and in my body language.  It took awhile for me to truly embrace everything — now I carry myself with a great deal of confidence and it shows. 

on the journey to healthy hair care for her natural texture
i never considered relaxing again but I had no organic knowledge on how to care for my hair. So, I googled and found natural hair forums and began to change my routines…
i still had a long road ahead of me.  i became a product junkie — i became obsessed with “curl enhancing products” — harsh shampoos and conditioners that promised bouncy, frizz-free curls.  shit — my hair was confusing!  the front was wavy, the back hung in loose S curls, the sides shrunk in tight ringlets, and the crown had a mind all its own — naturals know what i’m talking about.  i thought, for sure, a curling product would unify my strands and they would fall down — not sideways.  i was wrong.  using products laden with chemicals ended up furthering the damage done to my hair.  nowadays, i do still use some “CVS” brand products, but I stick to salon-grade.  I mostly employ natural hair conditioning treatments.  I am still looking for the perfect moisturizer.

in terms of styling and care — i pamper my hair from time to time.  i’ll be honest — i don’t take the best care of it all the time.  i’m very lucky to have resilient hair.  but when i do give myself treatments i make it a super girly affair — i paint my nails, exfoliate — i find that turning hair care into an experience makes it seem like less work!  and honey, with all the hair on my head a styling session generally lasts around 3 hours — so i better be having fun!  i stick to twist outs because i can fluff up my hair in the morning and go, and i generally flat iron my hair once a month at most.  i rarely wear wash n go’s because my hair tangles like nobody’s business!   i’ve perfected my regime and i get my hair trimmed every few months.

on a horrid “self cut” that set her back
it all started one stormy night in cvs when i spotted…goody hair scissors. Lol!  No — I had some breakage and decided it wouldn’t be so hard to trim my ends.  Huge mistake!  I ended up cutting about an inch off all around and took out a huge chunk of the left side — there was an empty gap where a handful of hair should have been — i spent the next four years trying to grow out my misshapen haircut.  it really didn’t bother me at first — i had “wild hair” no matter how i styled it and it was never bone straight…but once i got my hair trimmed this summer my stylist (Perry at Bogart Salon on Wisconsin Ave in DC!) told me to never, ever EVER cut my hair myself again.

on reactions to her hair — which she now embraces ‘as is’
just recently i was at a basketball game in the Verizon Center and during halftime the cameras were zooming in on everyone.  i was doin a subtle diddy-bop L says ~ LMAO @ ‘diddy-bop’ and the camera spotted me!  after the game several people chased me down and yelled  “HEYY!! YOU WERE THAT GIRL WITH THE HAIRRR!!”  lol.  and then a couple weeks ago i was on a bus to NY and an older white lady tourist asked to touch my hair.  usually i say no, but the old lady had probably never seen hair like mine before, so i acquiesced.  Mannn why did she give me the best scalp massage of my life!?  It felt so wrong but it felt soooo right! Haha!  Now men wise, I get all sorts of reactions.  I generally involve myself with the ones who adore my hair in its natural, kinky curly poofy state.  That’s my personal preference.  once in awhile one will say he prefers it straight…and honestly he goes to the chopping block after that!  i feel sexiest when a guy can’t keep his hands out of my hair — you know, when his exploration evolves from curiosity to wonder…that’s the best!

more of the flat-ironed days


allison today




to see/hear more of allison, check out her vlog on youtube called the Nappy Hair Diaries — http://www.youtube.com/user/allienicole. You can also find her at www.fotki.com/allienicole2

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Chanel
Chanel
11 years ago

Oh her hair is the bizness. I love it. The texture, the color, the length. Ok im jealous.

Kahnee
Kahnee
11 years ago

Great Story. Your hair is so beautiful!

Steff
Steff
11 years ago

i think her hair looks better natural. full and healthy. But I am partial to curly hair.

Naturally Leslie
Naturally Leslie
11 years ago

I remember this girl from a few years ago. I stumbled on her fotki or saw her on another site or something. Her hair is amazing!!!!!

xoxOlivia
xoxOlivia
11 years ago

gorgeous lady 🙂

beautiful hair… Go Girl!

Beautifully.Conjured.Up
Beautifully.Conjured.Up
11 years ago

Allie’s hair is the truth!!!!

…so is her writing…

Claudia
Claudia
11 years ago

Your hair totally reminds me of my own. Love it, LOOOVE it. My natural hair has the same texture as her overall hair. 

This is truly one of the best do’s I’ve seen in a while.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Her hair is amaaazinng! Lord have mercy, I can’t wait for my hair to grow up!Lol on the hair trim! I did the exact same thing about two months ago and I was depressed to see what I had done to myself after all that work and care…but now I don’t stress about it. I personally don’t think wearing hair strait once in a while is a problem, I mean strait or curly their both cute styles and isn’t the point versatility? I think it’s when we can’t live without our flat iron cause we’re avoiding our texture, that’s when… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Her waves are funky fresh! Love it! She looks kind of like Kelis back in the day on the first pic.

jenteel
jenteel
11 years ago

i love how allie’s hair has grown in over the years. it has a gorgeous shape!

Mel
Mel
11 years ago

I love her hair!!!

Laurel
Laurel
11 years ago

Lol @ “I can’t wait for my hair to grow up!” I thought the exact same thing when I saw her hair..absolutely gorg!!

Missjailor
Missjailor
11 years ago

Wow!!!! That is just stunning. I love it and Allison is definitely fabulous with the natural hair

LoveLaughLiveLife
LoveLaughLiveLife
11 years ago

Even though I’m crazy late with the comment, ur hair is freakin amazing, I fell in love with it in Jamrock…haha. I’m so glad to know we share this hair addiction, we def gotta keep each other in the know..and you just might inspire me to start a hair blog/youtube/somethin of my own!

trackback

[…] it was called) in 1999. I don’t know if I ever forgave my Mom for letting me do that LOL. I was featured on BGLH awhile back and went into detail about my other questionable hair styling techniques. I […]

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