And I swore I would DIE with a perm in my hair
True story – I was born with a thick head of hair and gray eyes. The parents wondered where I came from until my eyes turned (and stayed) brown. Anyway, I had long, thick hair which unfortunately was too much for my mother to manage. So when I was about eight years old, I was introduced to the hot comb. For folks unfamiliar with the hot comb – it is a comb with very small teeth that you heat up over the fire and it
rips out and burns the crap out straightens your hair. Since it is heated up over fire, it is super hot. What eight year old do you know that can stay still while a hot instrument is 2 inches away from their head? She does not exist. Hence, the small scars behind my left ear. That girl in the pic is not me btw – it’s just a good pic of the hot comb.
Fast forward five years. I am thirteen and scratching scalp sores from a perm that was left on way too long. Apparently, pressing was too hard to keep up and it took too long so my mother slapped a perm on my hair every six weeks. The perms burned so badly, I actually missed the hot comb. Sigh.
Perms became part of my life, nonetheless. I swore by them. So every six weeks, I sat in a beauty parlor to get whatever new growth I had
damaged relaxed. In college, I stared at several of my close friends in disbelief as they cut off all of their permed ends and rocked short natural afros. They were nuts! I vowed that I would die with a perm in my hair despite the persistent damage, dandruff, and breakage.
I began transitioning to natural hair during my second year of law school partly because I was pregnant with my son and did not want any chemicals to seep into my brain and affect his brain (I know). I ultimately decided to do away with perms because I hated sitting in the friggin beauty parlor for 7 hours at a time to tame my hair. I found a stylist in PA who pressed hair really well (hmm looks like I was practically back to the hot comb) and I loved her especially because she got perm results with no chemicals. So, I assumed that my hair was strong because it was perm-free and it could withstand some color and highlights. WRONG. Just call me “Patches”. Nope, no pics of this. I try to block this period out of my memory.
So I cut it all off one day. Hated it! As did everyone I know including my fiancé. I wore wigs and started taking good care of my hair underneath. That is, until my dear fiancé hid my wig!! I had no choice but to embrace my hair at that point.
Fast forward to the present. My hair is in the most healthy condition it has ever been. No breakage. No damage. No dandruff. And, I am finally able to retain length. So, it looks like I won’t be dying with a perm after all. 😉
The Trendy Diva