Like many African-American women, and I believe women in general, want to pull back from doing too much styling with their hair during the sweltering months of summer in New York. I like being able, well sometimes, just wash and let the curls fly freely or in a bun. I feel more comfortable pulling my mid-back curly , kinky textured hair into more protective styles during the warmest months of the year. Let’s face it ladies and gents, with everything else going on in our hectic lives hair needs to be the last thing on that proverbial list to make sure is on point.
But I have derailed already, I love my hair-like really LOVE my hair. I have always had long mid back hair, had strangers come up to me and ask if it was real, daily members threatening me if I ever cut it. But I still had a huge disconnect with how to really take care of my hair. This was really tested once I moved to New York, and did not have my Aunt do my hair bi-weekly Like I was used to.
This new transition on trying to “deal” with my hair on my own for the first time in my life was the true journey in itself. A few crossroads, revelations, and my hair basically breaking off due to a Dominican blowout that went awry for me to finally accept and admit. I never had to grow out a perm, but I was blowdrying, and manipulating my hair regularly chasing that ideal “European” look that just is not me. Another story to explore another time. I am not here to bash or shame my fellow sisters on how they wear their hair, it’s their choice. But for me I was glad to finally get to a point where I was embracing what I have.
Now I know you are asking. What does that revelation have to do with how you wear your hair during the summer months? Well, as I stated I love my big curly hair, but maintenance for said head of hair was becoming more of a chore. When my hair broke off, I got a new cut and knew I had to really nurture it back to health like never before. It was when I began experimenting with box-braids my hair finally was able to take a nap.
It was 2012, August in New York, and my curls where half straight half curly due to the damage. I grew tired of wearing it out because in my head it looked awful from what it once was. And the chic low bun was getting equally annoying as well. Le sigh.
I began looking for other hairstyles to rock while my hair was getting “It’s groove back”, but easy for me to do on my own. I was so scarred by the Dominican blowout and I didn’t want anyone else to touch my head! Numerous youtube videos later I was finally presented my ahaha moment in the form of a video titled “How to Box Braid Easier”.
I think I viewed the 10 minute video twenty times before I was inspired to run to the nearest beauty supply store and bought 20 bags of Kenekelon synthetic hair (too many bags, but I was prepared to mess up) to do my hair. With the Youtube video on loop and my memory of how my aunt braided my cousin’s hair when we were younger, so I knew I had this.
Ten hours and ten bags later I viewed my reflection in the mirror. I was transformed into Janet Jackson in “Poetic Justice”, Patra driving that droptop with Tupac in the passenger seat of her music video “Romantic Call”, and Brandy during her “Moesha” days. I was obsessed with the hip-length tresses, but more excited it came out really good on my first try. After sweeping up the mounds of excess synthetic hair off my apartment floor and dipping the braided ends in boiling hot water I knew this was going to be my new look for the following months.
Fast forward to 2017. My natural hair has grown back longer than before it was damaged, and I am still braiding box-braids into my hair once summer rolls around. Box-braids have become my summer hair look. So much so that friends ask when will the box-braids make an appearance once it starts warming up. The definition of “summer Hair”, for me anyway, is a statement to embracing and nurturing my hair during the summer months. What is your definition of “Summer Hair”?