A moment of silence please for my niece’s hair…

Her length totally bites the dust!

First though, can we all just have a moment of silence as we mourn for my niece’s hair. Sadly, she’s at that age, where peer pressure and being very cute is much more important than protecting her length. Over the winter, I’d been noticing that her hair was looking shorter and shorter. Then one day, I stretched one of her twists down her back and it was a good FOUR inches above her bra strap. 

See that shorter twist? That’s about the longest length of her hair now. Maybe just a little longer than that but not by much…

So I’m like…hold on. What happened to your hair? The last time I photographed her hair, it easily stretched to her bra strap, and I was soooo jealous. Blogged about it. (Click Hair Envy to catch up on that story) But, when I mentioned this to her mom, she was rather ambivalent about it, but I’m was incredulous cause you have to be doing some serious stuff to your hair to lose that much length. The ONLY thing I can think of is that her mid-winter puff really did her in. It was cute as all get out but she wore it for the majority of the winter, she never moisturized it and I’m positive she was constantly picking at it — a major hair cut in the making…

Then when she finally did get it cornrowed again, my eyes kept telling me that her braids looked shorter still. Then last week or so, batting her eyes at my mom finally garnered enough sympathy that she decided to give in and press the child’s hair. Mind you now, my mom is on OXYGEN, and has NO BUSINESS standing over a hot stove, breathing in smoke constantly to straighten anyone’s hair. By the way, my mom has even given in to the pressing comb as well. So right now, I’m alone sporting the naps. Well, at one point, my niece came into the living room to show off her hair, and I looked at it and declared, “Your hair is getting soooooo short.”

“I, know,” she said, “Ma’ma said the same thing. That’s why I’m going to stop wearing my puff.”

Now, while she says she’ll stop wearing her puff, I’m sure that doesn’t mean she’ll stop wanting to see her hair straight. And I think she’s putting pressure on my sis to put a relaxer in her hair taboot. Since she’s so active in sports, pressing is unrealistic so the ONLY answer to both of them is a relaxer.

I’m sad about that cause I’m pretty sure the lye is envitable. I think the memories of that disasterous relaxer my niece had at the age of six is but a distant memory to my sis. I’m pretty sure she’s convincing herself that if she takes better care of it this time around (that’s a joke cause my sister was pretty meticulous with her maintenance the last time) that she’ll have better success. I’m sure in the back of her head there’s a twinge of better judgement there, but at the same time, she lives to please her child and so I predict lye in my niece’s near future.

So I’m trying to prepare myself for the enevitable. It won’t be easy. But my niece is NOT ignorant to the consequences of having relaxed hair and neither is my sister. So all I can say is that WHEN it happens, they’ll both be making an informed decision. All I can do is continue to sport my natural hair proudly and continue to be an example. She’s been natural most of her life, and she knows the deal. At least, should she decide to return to her roots some day, they’re beauty, versatility, maintenance and care, won’t be a foreign concept to her. And to that end, right now, I’ve shown how to love and be proud of her nappy hair, and that’s all I could hope to do. It’s up to THEM now so we shall see….

So stay tuned…


12 Responses to “A moment of silence please for my niece’s hair…”
  1. jerseybred says:

    I love her hair, I hope she decides not to relax but if she does maybe she could try telaxing?
    Hopefully she sees the light-Kinky coils all the way!

  2. Mikou says:

    This makes me sad, but I can understand how societal pressure can get to a child, especially in the teen years. I only wish I could return to those years and make better choices.

    Has she ever considered braids or cornrows with extensions to give her hair a rest? Then again, those won’t allow her to straighten her hair, so she might not be into it.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that she doesn’t make any choices she comes to regret!

  3. nappyme says:

    jerseybred // April 16, 2008 at 12:38 am (edit)

    I love her hair, I hope she decides not to relax but if she does maybe she could try telaxing?
    Hopefully she sees the light-Kinky coils all the way!

    Well, I don’t think that one chemical process is a lesser evil than the other… especially when you’re after the aesthetic of straight hair. Chemicals are just opening the door to years of torcher and disaster. You can’t have straight hair with out the blow dryer and the flat iron and the curling iron. So it will be a matter of time before the child has straight and broken off ratty looking hair. But hey…I’m hoping against hope but I’m done with it. WHEN she does get a relaxer, there will be nothing left for me to say to her accept “I told you so.”

    Now I’ll try not to go there but there’s no guarantee

    Hi Mikou,
    My take on this is that her desire for straight hair is about several things all rolled up into one,
    *Manageability (she wants to be able to comb her own hair WITHOUT spending a lot of time on it
    *She just likes the look of straight hair. I’m not sure what her “fantasies” are about having straight hair but let’s face it, she bombarded with the same images of beauty/straight hair that we are. She has a cousin that has a relaxer whose hair is seemingly always on point. I’ve never seen it broken or damaged so I think SHE thinks she’ll be able to wear a relaxer just like her older cousin…never mind the fact that she, her mom and I have never had great success with relaxers.

    Sometimes I’ll touch my sister’s hair and yeah, it’s straight and yeah it’s “manageable” but it ALWAYS feels like hard, dry straw. The only time it DOESN’T feel this way is right after she’s had a fresh touch up but after that…I swear we could cut her hair off and use it to make a broom with to sweep up the floor.

    So I have NO confidence that she’ll be able to help her daughter take care of her hair any better than she’s faired with her own.

  4. jerseybred says:

    “Now I’ll try not to go there but there’s no guarantee… ”
    you are too much 🙂 try not to be so hard on her and the new pic of her hair is gorgeous!!!!!!!!
    I know all of her friends are jealous of her.

  5. jerseybred says:

    And your right a chemical process is a chemical process:(

  6. Dany06 says:

    I totally can empathize with you. My cousin is 12 and since the day she was born she has had long hair up until recently. I know she has had a few growth spurts but I can tell breakage when I see it.

    My cousin want hair that is thin and not frizzy. For a long time my aunt put her hair in a million of long plaits and her hair thrived. When she turned about 8 my aunt started letting her wear her hair out mostly in ponytails cuz it was so thick.. So By the time my cousin turned 11 my aunt went ahead and relaxed her hair. It really didnt remedy much. My cousin hair was still very thick and tangly and frizzed up. So back to plaits it went. Atleast two french braids. But the more active in sports and extra curricular activities my cousin got the more she was pressed to relax more often. Now her hair is about bra strap length and much thinner. She’s been going to a stylist now for the past 2 months and her hair is getting shorter and shorter. My cousin is happy that now she can get a more grown up hairstyle and she doesnt have to worry about her hair tangling but she now misses her length.

    I know how hard it is to go from waist length to bra strap length is less than a year. It took me a few years for me along with stylists and my mom to take my midback length thick hair to thin shoulder length hair.
    My aunt does seem very concerned about my cousin hair but isnt sure what to do. She suffers from short relaxed hair and seems to be stuck at that one length. I would like to preach the gospels of natural hair or at least help out but who is going to listen to the bald headed nappy girl. I cant do much if I dont look to good myself. This is the main reason why I plan to get this natural thing right this time.

  7. nappyme says:

    Hey Dany thanks for sharing that story. While some folks might think that my concern for her long hair is an obsession with length (which it is) it also has a lot to do with the fact that when you start losing length, and you’re not trying to, it shows that you’re NOT taking good care of your hair. Having long hair, in my opinion is a by product of having healthy hair. Now I know that not EVERYONE can grow really long hair, so in that case the goal should always be to have healthy hair first and if it’s meant to be (health, genetics etc., in your favor) you will have long hair. So to see her hair disintegrate over the winter like that has been really hard to take…especially since, my sister has been taking really good care of her daughter’s hair.

    OK…so slap a little sense into me. At the moment the relaxer has yet to happen and today her other auntie put her cornrows back in. It’s really cute. For the first time in over six months, she showed up WITHOUT one of those damned head bands on, but I swear her cornrows looked really tight to me.

    Yeah, so now I’m complaining about her cornrows… Hahaha…so sue me!

  8. Karena says:

    1st: Thank you for this great website and your links to Natitwists. I’ve had my locks since Dec 1999 and have never regretted the decision. But, I still enjoy learning about our hair, what to do to it and what to not do to it.

    2nd: What about head scarves used only for the sports activities? I hate having my locks in my face and am sporting one everytime I’m doing anything physical. Otherwise, I don’t wear one. Could that be an option for your niece? Or would that be too similar to the headband?

    Thank you again

  9. Maria says:

    I think I know how you feel because when my daughter was 14 and decided she was too grown to have me do her hair I used to always worry about her hair. She’s had natural hair all her life, but her problem is not combing it on a regular basis and going from black hair to blonde to brown. Trust me, dying your hair alot is just as bad as relaxing it. So she went from waist length hair to just above her bra strap in 4 yrs. Now she’s 18 and finally taking care of it and putting it up in protective styles. Her hair is bra strap length again, but its not as thick as it was 5 yrs ago but at least its better than it was a year ago. Your niece will have to live and learn. She might be like the rest of us and get a relaxer, regret it and start all over again. I know that sounds sad, but it might make her appreciate her hair more 🙂

  10. nappyme says:

    Maria…you’re so right. The other day this child told me she wanted a relaxer and that she was going to dye the tips of her hair blue. I said ok, here’s what has to happen to your hair in order for that to take place. And then I described in great detail all the damage that has to take place in order for her to have that. Then I told her, “Now that you know, you can make an INFORMED decision so that if you choose to do all these things to your hair, when it becomes damaged, you can’t say you didn’t know. Cause I’m telling you, you WON’T have any hair.”

    Then I told her that if she were my daughter, I’d let her go ahead and get the relaxer cause she obviously has to learn from first hand experience. She almost looked hurt. But I would y’all. Really. There’s no sense in fighting this. She’s at an age where you can’t really TELL her anything, she has to SEE IT, TOUCH IT, FEEL IT, TASTE IT, EXPERIENCE IT before IT is real to her.

    Ok, then so be it.

  11. Chic Noir says:

    Your neice is like a lot of YBW today in that she will probably go back and fourth between being natural and relaxed. I guess it’s better than never having known your true texture like many older blk women.

  12. Oneya says:

    I was too scared to relax..so I texlaxed about a 2 years ago,right now I am transitioning. Can she just tex lax, it’s still bad but if she decides to become natural again like it did it will be much easier to transition. I would hate for all of her hair to burn out, stylists are not that careful these days.

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