I’ve always been addicted—to cream crack that is. You know it when you see it. It’s white, it smells putrid and if you leave it in too long, it burns like all hell. I’m talking about hair relaxers and it’s a process I’ve received since the tender age of 7. With the exception of my middle school years, I’ve always worn my hair straight. Even before I was introduced to relaxers, my mother would straighten my tresses with hot combs.
A few months ago asked my mother why she introduced me to relaxers and why it was so important to be “straight” back then. Didn’t she know relaxers would eventually thin out my hair, leaving it stringy and life-less? Her response: “Your hair was so thick and you would cry all the time. I couldn’t deal with it. So, I relaxed your hair.” Her reply was quite familiar to a few of my college friends whose mothers also suffered from manageability issues back then. One friend has been relaxing her hair since she was six.
When I was 7 I relaxed my hair a few times a year, but as I grew older that turned into every six weeks. These days, my go-to style for almost every occasion is a short, low-maintenance style. I call it my Halle Berry-esque do’, though I look nothing like her.