Yes. You read that right. I actually let someone touch my hair; and lived to tell the tale. Of course, I won’t be going around inviting folks to run their fingers through my short coils, but I totally had a *eureka* moment, and wanted to share my revelation with you. Because it’s like a breakthrough. At least for the moment. So here is some natural blog story time for your reading pleasure…
I recommend reading my Hair Etiquette – Do Not Touch My Hair post to get a full sense of my irritation when someone reaches out to grab my hair. No, really, you’ll love it; so grab some tea and click here to read it. I’ll wait…
[popup_trigger id=”7128″ tag=”span”]Oh, and also, please read my disclaimer here.[/popup_trigger]
It All Started With Pink Hair
Right. Not my pink hair. The pink hair I’m in search of for one of my DragonCon cosplays. More on that later, if you’re interested.
I paid a visit to my favorite little beauty supply store during my lunch hour and we had just figured out that there was no other pink hair than a bright pink afro wig in the entire store. I am not going to speak on the afro wig – I’m going to leave that for you to process.
But it was pink. And big.
So as I was leaving, I stopped to check out the new items in the makeup aisle; and a woman walked in. From the door, she looked at my short, curly wash & go and said,
“Ooooh! Oh my god I love your hair! How did you get it to curl up like that?
I looked up and smiled, answering with a thank you and that I cowashed that morning and then applied gel onto my wet hair.
“What kind of gel you use?” She asked, coming to stand next to me.
“This morning I used EcoStyler.”
She looked surprised. “Wait, which EcoStyler? Because I heard it flakes up your hair.”
And then she proceeded to toss out questions about the how, what, where, and when.
I looked up and saw the sweet clerk looking at me apologetically.
“Sorry.” she mouthed. She knew I had to get back to work.
“It’s okay,” I mouthed back, “I’ll show her.”
Ask Me About My Hair, You Know You Want To!
Of course I never mind explaining my routines and sharing my favorite products with anyone who asks. I will answer questions and explain methods and processes whenever I’m asked. Natural hair ain’t always easy – especially to someone who is just getting their curls wet, you know? #naturalhairllife But letting someone touch my hair has always been, well, a touchy subject. Ha!
No? Okay, no more…
So my new friend told me that she had natural hair as short as mine under the wig she was rocking, and that she didn’t know what to use on it to get it to curl. Ideally, I would be able to look at it and better tell what may help. She was familiar with YouTube and watched some videos, but was still unsure what she should do. I couldn’t really see how it looked under the very cute wig.
I addressed the EcoStyler question, first:
Some naturals have mentioned that EcoStyler causes flakes and dries too hard. I’m sure that all gels will not work on all natural hair; but in my experience, if you pile a bunch of products on top of your hair before putting on the gel, you are more likely to have residue or buildup. Our strands cannot always soak in all of that product. Especially if your hair is not porous.
There are different types of EcoStyler, and you may have to try some different ones before finding the one that’s right for you. I advised her to try the smaller jars for $.99 before committing to the larger ones; that way. if she doesn’t like it then it won’t be too much of a loss.
Explaining My Routine
I explained as much of my routine as I could to my new friend. I wish I had time to go over it in detail, but here is my full routine:
I use the Moroccan (yellow) EcoStyler gel in the morning while in the shower and on soaking wet hair, only. I take it in my hands and rub it on and just continue to rub in circular motions all over my head until all of my strands are covered. I leave it alone and let it dry. When I go to bed, I cover it with a satin scarf or just sleep on my satin pillowcase, and use a spray bottle to spray some water on it the next morning. I quickly and lightly rub my hands over my sleeping curls to wake them up.
I cowash and deep condition my hair very well. That’s how I can put gel on my hair and not worry about it making it too hard and breaking it off. It’s important to condition, deep condition, and moisturize your hair. If I feel my hair getting dry, I will cowash it at night to get the gel out, and then massage some moisturizer or oil into my hair and scalp; it soaks in overnight and my hair feels much softer when I go to style it in the morning.
I do shampoo my hair about once every two weeks, or once a week depending on how much I sweat during the week (it is HOT here!).
I have an essential products video coming next week, but the products that she really wanted to know about were gels, deep conditioners, and oils.
EcoStyler is definitely my number one styling product of choice. My favorites are the Coconut Oil, Black Castor and Flaxseed Oil, and Morroccan Oil EcoStyler Gels. I also love my Organic Root Stimulator Lock and Twist Gel. (Check out some of my favorite gels, here.)
I am really loving the Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Hair Masque Intense Treatment and Pantene Gold Series Repairing Mask deep conditioners. They give my natural hair everything it needs in one sitting.
The kind of oil she was asking about was one to put underneath gel. I hadn’t really found one that gives me the results I’m looking for… until… Pantene did their thing with the gold Series Intense Hydrating Oil and I discovered that an oil existed that was light and perfect for going underneath my gel. It. Doesn’t. Flake.
And Then She Touched It
Okay, so she didn’t just reach out and grab my curls. I was explaining stuff to her and she mentioned that she thought her hair was just like mine and she wanted so badly to wear it out. She wasn’t sure, and I could tell she didn’t know if she should ask: “Do you mind if I touch your hair? I just want to see how it feels.” She just needed to touch my hair to compare.
My brain hitched – only for a second. I’m so used to drawing back when someone reaches for my hair, that my first instinct was to go internal like a turtle. But then I thought, why not?
When It’s Okay For Someone to Touch Your Hair
Most times it is totally inappropriate for someone to just reach out and pet your natural hair. It is more than inappropriate. But there are times when I think it’s okay to touch my hair:
- When your significant other wants to play in it. Just let them! It’s affection, and goodness knows we can all use a little more of that!
- When someone is doing your hair. This seems obvious; but my silly self will flinch in a salon chair when a stylist reaches for my hair. I mean, wth, Fern?!
- When someone is trying to get something out of or fix your hair. You know, lint, fuzz, other hair, frizz, misplaced strands… it’s okay to have help when you can’t see that strand sticking up like Alfalfa.
(Please tell me you know who Alfalfa is!)
- When you are answering questions about your hair and it’s difficult to describe your texture.
Let’s talk about #4, shall we?
In trying to (quickly) explain to my new friend my hair texture, thickness, etc. and what methods could work on her hair, I could not see what her hair looked like or what condition it was in. So it was hard to narrow down some specifics and I may have confused her a bit. So in order to compare her hair to mine, she needed to feel it’s texture – it’s thickness. She needed to touch my hair.
I’m not saying to parade your kinks and curls around Sally’s asking if people want to touch it. Someone may call the man with the straitjacket to come get you. And we don’t want that. Unless you’re forcing people to touch your hair. But I’m not saying to allow rude insincere people to reach out and pet you, either. #saynottothehaters
I’m saying that it is okay to help someone understand their natural hair a little better by touching yours. And only if you’re comfortable doing so. It may help them decide what to use and if this natural hair journey is for them. And if the community will help them get through it.
I Lived Through It
So she touched it – very gently and only for a few seconds. I think that I could see in her eyes a little more understanding about my hair and how it compared to hers; if she should follow my advice; and if she was ready to pull off the wig and wear her hair out. She actually seemed excited about her hair and the prospect of wearing it out as she went up to the counter with her goodies.
I always hope that my actions and my advice give someone the information and the confidence they need to rock their natural hair and love their natural hair. I may never see my friend again; but I kinda hope I do. And I hope it’s with a head full of natural coils, kinks, waves, and curls!
I call this “other growth”; not the growth of my natural hair, but the growth that comes from wearing my natural hair.
What about you? Would you let someone touch your natural hair?