Saturday, June 16, 2012

The many hairs of Lola

You've asked. I've delivered.
This post is a culmination of the many hair conversations I've had with white and non-black brown people in my nine and a half years in Knoxville. You guys sure have a lot of questions about black hair! Sometimes the conversations have been awkward and other times, just plain amusing.

I'm honored that you trusted me enough to ask. I've smiled each time someone has asked to touch my hair. We're all learning together, yes? And I've frowned each time folks have tried to bounce stuff off my 'fro. Er, that's a no-no.

For friends and acquaintances who just never got up the courage to ask, this post is for you. Wonder no more :)

(I confess that this post is a bit strange to write. Hair is one of those sensitive topics for women. But hey, what's life without a little transparency?)

At any given time, I'm sporting one of three hairstyles: a pulled back afro, double strand twists or a head of defined curls.

This is the way my hair grows out of my head. My hair basically grows up because the curls are so tight.

When I walk out into public, however, it looks like this: pulled back with a ribbon.

I gave up perms and braids in college following a series of conversations with my white boyfriend at the time. He was very curious, which prompted me to think hard about why I styled my hair the way I did. A period of introspection made me realize that I didn't really like my hair. Psalm 139:13-14 came home to me in a fresh way and was a great reminder that God made no mistakes in the way that he made me -- my hair included. In fact, he delighted in every one of my features, which is why he gave them to me.

I've been wearing my hair naturally since then. And I love it.

Low maintenance is key to everything I do, including my hair. Washing, conditioning, trimming and twisting my hair (more on this in a second) are about the only things I do.

When I get tired of wearing my hair pulled back in an afro, I get it twisted, which loosens the curls. Twists are like braids, but they're two strands instead of three. This is probably the only time my hair hangs down. It stays straight for about two seconds. It's so curly that once humidity gets a hold of it, it shrinks.

I keep this style for a little while and then untwist them. The neat thing about twists are that they make my curls more defined and they look like this:

Pretty soon, I get tired of the curls and it's back to the afro. My hair's versatility matches my love of variety. I rotate between the three styles all in a month.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this post as much as I've enjoyed writing it.


  1. OH my word how I do love you!! AND YOUR HAIR! :-) Although probably awkward to write, very interesting to read :-) And a great reminder that God delights in all our features - that is why He gave them to us!

  2. Loved this! Love You! He knows the number, twisted or straight, braided or permed...even those stray gray ones that remind us of our mortality.

    Mama Lloyd

  3. I don't think that we've ever had an awkward hair conversation, but I certainly have silently admired your hair for quite a while. You've got quite a sense of chic, my friend!
    - Frances

  4. I love your facial expressions in these pictures! You are so much fun. And when I saw this post pop up in my google reader I thought "ah, the long awaited hair post!" Thanks for sharing!! You answered questions I didn't even have ;).

  5. This post was fun to read. :) Your hair is lovely. Having a variety of styles is great -- my hair has several phases of styles/curliness like that too, and for me a lot depends on humidity level. :)

    I could really identify with this:

    A period of introspection made me realize that I didn't really like my hair.

    Except for me it didn't require a period of introspection to discover: I hated my hair for years, from grade school into college. I resented what I thought was "ugly" frizz, and didn't know what to do with it other than trying to hide it or force it to look more like my friends' hair (soft, shiny). But what I didn't realize is my hair is naturally curly, and God didn't design it to ever be soft, shiny, and easy to pull back in a perfect ponytail. I eventually learned how to care for it and embraced what God gave me instead of trying to be like "everyone else" (which I can now see was not everyone else, anyway). It's so true that God delights in every part of us because He made us. How good it is to recognize that and learn to delight in it too!

  6. I have always loved your hair!! Thanks for sharing. At almost 35 I am still learning about my hair. It was always straight as a stick and would "bob" naturally. Then it gained a very tiny amount of wave and about 2 years ago I woke up one morning and it was crazy curly. Absolutely no reason for this. I think it's staring to straighten back out now for the most part but I have been playing with curling irons and rollers on special occasions. Sometimes it's fun to put a little effort in. I even throw on some make up now and again too.

    1. Thanks, Heather!! I know what you mean. After 30 years, I'm still figuring out my hair, too. I've been a product junkie for so long trying to figure out what works best for this crazy curly mane of mine. I think I've finally figured it out -- at least for now. For a few months now, I've been using a regimen of mixed natural oils (shea butter, jojoba oil, castor oil, coconut oil, a dash of olive oil and some vitamin E) that I concoct in my kitchen.
      My hair feels healthier and I don't get much product build up as I did before. We'll see how it goes.
      Thanks for reading!!

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