Hair Matters: Don’t Do it Again

Trying Something New

I went against my own credo to leave my hair alone and stop experimenting. Out of curiosity – because I’m always curious – I decided to try something new: leave conditioner in my hair.

Now, I’m asking myself: Why did I do that?

I did it, because I wanted to see if I could emulate a loose curl, kinda wavy look for my hair that I get when I put in conditioner. I may still seek out a product that does it, but I don’t want a sopping wet, heavy mess that feels like a jherri curl.

What I Learned

I’ve been seeing breakage on the ends I haven’t seen in years. It’s not as bad as used to be in the past, but any little amount is alarming to me.

So, I will note to myself: never leave conditioner in the hair again. Sometimes one can overdo it and I have to keep it simple. My hair doesn’t want more of anything, it requires less.

Wet Two-Stand Twists

Recently, I’ve discovered that I can’t twist my hair while it’s damp anymore. That used to be the fastest way for me to take care of my hair. I’m not big on detangling, or combing hair. I don’t see the point. I don’t trim my hair either, unless there’s a knot I can’t undo.

My hair knots up in twists so bad, I can’t open the twists without cutting the ends or snapping the hair apart. It’s horrible. I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter what I put in my hair. I just know I can’t twist or braid it while damp. I have to wait for it to dry.

That sucks.

At a current length of being an inch or so from bra-strap, or between shoulder blades, my styling options are being challenged. I have to stick with big plaits, but not too big. At the moment, eight plaits work.

The oil of choice, right now, is castor oil. But since I can’t wet my hair at the moment unless I’m going to wash it, this is the product that softens my hair.

Maybe it’s the weather and come the Spring / Summer the dryness and tightness will go away.


I Miss Wearing A Lot of Jewelry

I used to wear a lot of jewelry: brooches, necklaces, a half dozen bracelets and nearly a ring on every finger. Gradually, over the years, I’ve worn less. Now, I am down to two modest sized gold hoop earrings. I can’t even wear rings anymore.

It’s tragic! I love jewelry!

I can’t even wear costume jewelry, fake gold, silver or even bronze. I’ve always had an allergic reaction to touching metal, but over the years it’s gotten worse.

For instance, when I go shopping I do not touch the doors of the store, metal coat racks, counter tops, or even coat hangers. If I do my palms and fingers will itch, tingle, and swell up. Whenever I ride the subway in NYC, I wear gloves.

I’m one of those people that’s always heading off to the ladies room to wash her hands. I do this to ward off any finger swelling.
I still like necklaces, except that they get tangled in my nape hair and clothes.


Politcal Exhaustion: The Democratic Presidential Nominee Race

The Republican contest ended quite soon, and surprised many a pundit who wrote off Senator John McCain. The Democratic race, in contrast, is still going.

I wonder why.

If Senator Obama lost 20+ primaries / caucuses to 10+, and was trailing in popular votes and delegates, I’m sure he would have been asked to get out of the race for the sake of party unity. However, his opponent is Billary, so the fight will continue up to the Democrat convention.

I don’t consider all the gender and race conflicts breaking out amongst party loyalists to be serious. Most of it is media generated, because a long race makes the newspapers, magazines, cable and national networks lots and lots of money.

The line between celebrity and celebrity politician was crossed many decades ago. So those who complain about Senator Obama‘s recent celebrity and popularity, as if his support is negligible aren’t being honest. Billary is a celebrity too.

I’m pretty much done with following this race.

I find the ratcheting up of the “she who is greatly offended” brigade tiresome. The argument that Billary is being hammered, or not voted for because she is woman is a joke. She wouldn’t be able to run if she wasn’t a privileged white woman. Her husband is an ex-President. Billary‘s claiming that all his achievements are hers as well. If everything in the name of feminism is this twisted, what is the actual philosophy?

I also think Senator Obama‘s ardent supporters need to relax and have confidence in the man. He keeps his cool, which I admire. They should do the same.

Watching Pastor Jeremiah Wright (Trinity United Church of Christ) go off as he did was damaging and unnecessary. Was he jealous? I think the success of younger blacks bother some of their elders. It has to. Watching the young achieve heights that limited the older folks has to drive some of them batty. That’s no excuse, but that’s the only insight I could come up with.

All I’m saying is that Pastor Wright may be working off of an old, negative, angry, bitter and disappointed historical, social and personal template. He can’t or wont see that times have changed for the better. Let’s be real, it’s not great or perfect, but it can be fabulous in the future. However, refusing to acknowledge the positive changes in America is a failure on his part, not Senator Obama.

There is no easy way to become President of the United States of America.

Does anyone think achieving the most powerful job in the world would be a cakewalk? The person who occupies the White House literally has direct affect on the lives of millions, if not billions, of people. Ever notice how much it ages the occupant?

There’s no limit to what people will call a Presidential candidate or the President. I find the language used, regardless of party affiliation, Democrat or Republican regretful.

I think supporters of the Democratic nominee for President, be it a black man or a white woman will have to get used to the insults. It’s not fair, but think of all the names President G W Bush has been called. He has no political identity group that protects him on that basis alone. I understand that he is the standard / stereotypical powerful white male, but he is a human being with feelings.

As each individual (representing a political identity) group moves into a role of real power it cannot hold onto the mantel of victim. The insults on this person will be the norm. Perhaps in a twisted way, that is progress.


Hair Dryers: I Own Three

The Bonnet

I believe in going easy on my hair by not manipulating it too much. I might comb it weekly, biweekly, or more. However, I don’t ascribe to the belief that naturals should walk around with a damp or wet head. Perhaps if I lived in a hot climate, instead of the northeast, I would consider that option.

I use the bonnet dryer after I wash my hair, which is almost weekly. I keep the setting on medium heat setting, never high. My ears hurt on high heat. I stay under the bonnet for 10-20 minutes.

I have to use a hair dryer after I wash my hair. It prevents my third day headache and head cold. I envy people who can wash and go. I cannot. I get sick walking around with a wet head.

Hand Held Dryer

The next dryer I have is the common hand held type by Revlon. I bought it because it was one of those new ionic which dries quickly, without static, and keeps my hair soft. I always use it on the lowest setting.

I pull my hair taunt with a concentrator when I use this. It doesn’t get it straight, but provides a nice stretch. Even after I use this dryer, which is rather infrequent, I still sit under the bonnet for 15 minutes. I don’t take any chances.

The Hand Held Straightener

Last, but not least, is my newest acquisition: Infiniti by Conair Tourmaline Ceramic Wet Dry Straightening Hot Air Styler. Repeat that three times real fast. (Who comes up with the stupid names for these things?)

I’m loving it, which means I cannot use it too often. Bad girl that I am, I used high heat to get it straight (stretched). I was in a hurry, next time I’ll stick to medium heat.

Hair Types

For my hair type, this is almost as good as a flat iron (I have one of those too). The Hot Air Styler has four tension settings. My hair is very delicate. I kept it at one – the loosest.

One thing I notice about some products is that the manufacturer gives straight hair the lowest, most gentle settings, and advises thick, very curly, sometimes even fine, hair to use the highest settings. I think that’s why there’s often damage to nappy, kinky, cnapp, coily, and curly hair.

Nappy, curly, and kinky is not the same as strong, coarse, hard, unmanageable, or problem hair. People have to start with the lower settings, be gentle and stay with it for a while before moving onto a higher or stronger option.

I accept, for myself, that certain kinds of hair should not be straightened (often) if the only way is to damage it. If hair wont go back to its curly or kinky state it is damaged. Lots of split ends are a sign as well.


I deep condition and apply setting lotion to my hair before using the Hot Air Styler. I was extremely pleased with the results. My hair came out fabulous. It felt soft and rather silky. However, it didn’t last long, because I have a hot head. Plus, I don’t know how to keep a style past day one.

I am so tempted to use this every time I wash my hair, but I must not!