I remember walking out of my bedroom after taking a bath and changing into my nightgown, grease, brush and comb in hand, the floor between my mother’s legs awaiting my tush.
Every night this was the routine.
My mom would section and comb out my curls with a wide tooth comb, apply grease, brush through each section, and braid into a few loose plaits for bed.
In the morning, she’d quickly undo the plaits, and my hair would be extremely soft and puffy. She would then apply gel to my edges and nape and brush it onto a ponytail or pigtails for school.
I shampooed and conditioned my hair once a week, on Saturdays. I never wore my hair out in a wash and go 😦 and that’s how my hair routine went for 13 years of my life.
I craved freedom for my hair. I wanted to wear it loose like the other curly headed kids, but wasn’t allowed to. Once I disregarded the fact I couldn’t, undid my plaits at school, and got spanked when I got picked up.
My mother is Caribbean, and I noticed her practices when it came to hair were different than when I went go visit my stepmom, who is American, from Mississippi. There is an article on Black Girl With Long Hair blog site to confirm this. It highlights the difference between Caribbean women ( they acknowledged Hatians in particular) night-time hair routine of ‘plaiting’ vs American women’s routine of sleeping with their hair loosely in a scarf.
One summer I went to stay at my dad’s house, and my stepmom pressed my hair with the hot comb, and had me wear it out the whole time.
The last week I spent at my dad’s before returning to my mom’s house, my stepmom bought gel, washed my hair and applied the gel all over, and let me wear my hair out in a wash and go.
I was so excited, cause I had been wanting to do that forever! When I went back to my mom’s, she was PISSED! My hair was beyond tangled, course, hard, flaky. It took her forever to get the knots out.
Entering 8th grade, September 2003, I begged for a perm, and finally got one. My hair was down my back, and I loved it!! That proved my mom had done a good job of taking care of my natural hair; she knew what she was doing, whether I liked it or not.
Fast forward to the present. As you know, this is my second attempt at taking my natural hair into my own hands.
After damaging it from 2010-’13 when I decided to go back natural, I made a conscious decision to be as careful as I can with my hair after semi chopping it on February (2014), which includes my night-time routine. It was the only thing I was still struggling to figure out.
Hair scarves and pineappling are the bane of my stress.
Scarves and bonnets never ever stay on my head, no matter how calmly I try to sleep. They irritate me. I hate how they look, and they pull on my already fine edges.
Pineappling (sigh), not for me.. Or maybe not yet. I think pineappling a wash and go to preserve hair only looks decent the next day on shoulder length & longer curls.
I’ve tried every way to pineapple my hair, and in the morning it never falls gracefully. It takes the shape of the pineapple.
No disrespect, but I YouTubed countless videos to see how people with my hair length refreshed a pineappled wash and go, and their results all looked stupid. Sorry.
They claimed letting the steam from the shower penetrate your strands would allow your curls to fall into place, but that only makes your hair damp and frizzy .
Last week I finally came to this conclusion. Not everything this new natural community adopts means it for me, so I took it back to childhood.
What would mommy do?
My night-time routine below is as follows (grown up version)
– Wash and go 3x a week.
-to achieve second and sometimes 3rd day hair, I braid my hair in 2 loose braids. I do not use any styling tools or texhniques. I just apply a quarter sized amt of leave in to hair, separate with my fingers, and braid.
Braids doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m not trying to achieve a braid out look, just secure some curls.
My hair really seems to thrive on this nighttime routine