As I wipe away tears reminiscing on my own teenage hair struggles in my forty plus year’s of life, I shed tears for my stubborn daughter and her struggles with teenage hair too. Mindful of the preteen to teen behavior, I tried to not repeat history. Let’s go down hair memory lane through my parenting.
As the technician says “it’s a girl”, my mind fast forwarded all the way to these teenage years where I suggest how to correct her hair struggles and her doing what she wants to do. Reminds me of when I was in seventh grade, and back then middle school had picture days and it wasn’t just for the graduating class.
My Teenage Hair vs. My Teen’s Hair
It was the years of long and full ponytails with the blow pops sticking out. The thicker your ponytail was, the more pops you stuck in your bobo. My teenage hair had thickness, but no length. It was not good times. Our beautiful curls and coils were straightened with the strongest creams off the shelf or in the salons. The bone-straight edges laid down with JAM gel, ponytails and burnt ends from getting the perfect curl with the too hot curling iron. If this wasn’t enough to give a new teen, what they call social anxiety today, can you imagine how my kinky haired self was when baby hairs came into play??
I have no pictures of this time, and this is because when you take a razer to your edges to “create baby hairs” you have to hide this foolishness with a HUGE bang. Like ear to ear part of my head push forward and curl. Hide your edges until they come back Katricia. Hide your edges. It’ll be alright. It wasn’t alright.
I. Have. No. Pictures. Seriously.
My child has eczema. I’ve discussed this beforebefore. When she was a baby she had a small amount of cradle cap and it is normal for most babies to have. From then to preteen, all was good. Her hair was thick, and long. Enter hormones into the conversation. Thank goodness she is an only child because our sanity, oh man was our sanity being tested.
Back to her hair.
We tried any and all types of products to address the concern we had with her scalp. Wash day on Sunday and by Tuesday her scalp was a flaking mess. She was embarrassed. She was mad. Hair would fall out in balls. Visited her doctor. Saw a dermatologist. They all said its dandruff, use medicated shampoos, drink water etc…
Just to address the drama of her hair during these middle school years, because I remember, because I know. I installed braids. She loved them. Insert a black girl and her braids. It didn’t cure anything for her scalp and we didn’t have to go through the weekly battle of my hair isn’t pretty phase. She loved them and associated beauty to them. Of course I now have a problem with this thinking.
Braids are beautiful using your own and purchased strands. There’s a history to braids and it should be discussed more with our children. While our ancestors used braids to store food and give our people paths on their journey, braids for me was a style to not have to bother with for a few weeks. If not taken cared of could cause more damage than intended.
We took the braids out to allow her hair to breathe. For her 13th birthday and start to her final tear in middle school, I setup an appointment with my Tribeca, NYC stylist Tamika WesleyTamika Wesley. If you’re in the NYC area and need a stylist, schedule a consultation.
Stylists in our teenage hair
If I told my 75 year old mother how much I have spent for her teenage child’s hair she would laugh in shock. My first stylist encounter was when I was 18 about to graduate high school. Using my part-time funds, I visited a stylist and got my hair cut. It was the year of Poetic Justice braids and Halle Berry Boomerang cut. I went for the cut.
With that cut, I was seen differently than all my teenage years. I loved my hair. It was straight, creamy crack era and it was styled. Nobody could tell me nothing. Until it started growing out and my part-time funds could not keep up. Now my hair wanted to grow so quickly and be thick – not when I needed it to be.
Tamika went through every single step of how this teen of mine would cleanse, moisturize and style her hair. We talked dermatology, we talked about her scalp, we discussed the issues she had and how to reverse her thinking. It worked for awhile. She loved her “new hair”. Received compliments from everyone, who doesn’t like compliments?
Insert, oh dear friend coming back to play… Laziness and stubbornness made all the efforts and let’s not quickly brush over the money, for this teenager of mine. Here I thought that I could pay for her to love her teenage hair and it’s imperfections at an earlier age than when I did and it didn’t work.
Using the products, the steps as instructed an even with us praising her beauty, it doesn’t matter. As with the bone straight ponytails, blow-pops and baby hairs, her vision of long curly hair is not her reality, as of today because of our common mental ideas of what our hair should look like instead of accepting what it is.
So here we are almost graduating from middle school, with pictures, vacations, and summertime fun. I can honestly say I’m tired of my teen and her teenage hair. At her age, my mom could have cared less about what I did to my semi natural hair. At that time, I was tasked with slapping cream on her roots and braiding my little sister’s hair. Times were definitely different. Reflecting back on my experiences, I am fortunate enough to introduce my child to hair stylists who not only care about their craft and the hair coming out of your head but you and your teenage self.
I wish I had this wisdom to not care about the perfection that our people put on our hair. Maybe back then I would have loved my teenage hair where it was and not how society thought it should have looked. Our hair is our crown, it protects us, it hides us, and for some it hurts us. I will hope that our teen learns quicker than I did, but then again this stubbornness is a personality trait that I unfortunately passed on.