When I was a little girl I had very thick, curly, and long hair. My hair was very hard to manage. My mother didn’t know much about how to do my hair because my older sister had a different hair texture than mines. My sister had very thin straight hair, which was much more manageable.
My hair would tangle and mat very easily if not combed through properly or taken care of; and it didn’t help that I was tinder headed. The slightest little tug or pull of a strand of hair would feel like the worst pain ever. I would cry and scream whenever I had to get my hair done.
Desperate for help my mom decided straightening my hair would be the best option. So she turned to perms. A perm is a highly toxic chemical that many people put in their hair to change their original hair texture to their desired hair texture. This method is damaging to natural hair and can become a drug for the hair. If the natural hair is permed, the hair will not return to it’s original state because the chemicals in the perm have damaged the hair shaft. This is the reason why many people who ‘go natural’ will do the ‘big chop’, chopping off all of their hair as a way to start from scratch.
My experience with perms was terrible. When you get a perm there is a burning/tingling sensation that you must sit through until the perm has set completely. After that the perm can be rinsed out. One day I was getting a perm and it set for too long, and it resulted in a chemical burn to my scalp, forehead, and face because of how fast the burn spread. For years my scalp and skin were severely damaged and I was one of the lucky few whose skin complexion returned after the sight of the burn; and my scalp luckily did not seal.
That became on of the worse experiences of my life, and after that I told my mom that I wanted to go natural and she agreed. I did not chop my hair off, however, I went through transitional periods. I did a series of protective styles to grow out my hair and as my hair grew I would cut the dead ends (the permed hair) off. This process took a full year to complete but it was definitely worth it. I don’t blame my mom for perming my hair, but I am happy that I was able to learn how to take care of my hair and embrace my natural hair so that I could share my experience with others.
Please think twice about what products you choose to put in your as well as in someone else’s.