Two weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to perm my hair. It’s been seven years since I straightened my hair.
Before you hit me over the head with a book, please let me explain. I’ve been extremely frustrated with my hair in this summer Texas heat. It’s been brutal. A couple of Sundays ago, my kinky-haired model friend, Zion, and I decided to go shopping for wigs and ponytails at the local wig shop. The experience was unbearable. The hair was cheap and the customer service was bad. Zion and I looked at each other in disgust over the whole situation. Why is it so hard for a kinky girl to get some decent hair in this town?
Frustration sometimes leads to desperation. Zion and I decided that at that very moment we were not going to think twice about it. We were going to take the plunge and perm our hair. We knew that we didn’t want our hair too straight—just more manageable. We also wanted to maintain our kinkiness. We had to find the best salon in town that could make this happen. I told her that I was not going to do it unless she did it and she said that she was not going to do it unless I did it. So we both took a chance and did it! We made an appointment that day for the transformation. The sisters’ pact was sealed.
The salon service was fabulous. I had a great hand massage while sipping on herbal tea. I hadn’t been “hair” pampered like that in so long that I didn’t know what to do with myself. Then reality began to set in. Less than five minutes after my stylist started to put the perm on my head, my ears began to tingle and then it started burning all over. I began to have flashbacks of when I was a little girl and my mom would perm my hair. I would jump around frantically saying, “Please mommy, take it out! It burns!”
My stylist rushed to the sink to wash it out. The wash out was torture. It felt like little prickly pine cones stabbing me all over. After thorough rinsing, my stylist noticed that my hair was still in a fro. The problem is, my hair is thick but my scalp is so sensitive I can’t leave a perm on long enough to actually straighten my hair. My stylist said, in the most peculiar way, “It seems like your hair rejected the relaxer. It’s just as thick as it was before we permed it. Girl, I’ve never seen anything like this.”
Oh, gee that’s great. Of course this would happen to me. Look where spontaneity got me.
My life has taken a twist. I know I always talk about the pressures of conforming to straight hair in the modeling industry, while fighting to stay true to myself and everything I believe in. It sounds crazy, but I had to see for myself how my life would change with a perm. Now I realize why I hadn’t permed my hair in seven years:
- No one can ever seem to get it right.
- I hate the way a perm makes my hair smell.
- My scalp cannot handle it.
- My hair is supposed to be kinky!
There are some benefits, though. I can style my own hair for modeling work—no weave wig or press necessary. I can wet set my hair with rods and still use naturally curly products like Curl Junkie Curl Fuel Enhancing Spray.  My hair is still kinky with more bounce. My curls are big and loose.
Maybe it’s spontaneity gone right. I still haven’t figured it all out yet. It’s a work in progress.
Photo courtesy of NaturallyCurly