My Niece is Nappy No More…


It’s with a heavy heart that I write this. Poor some extra virgin olive oil out for my niece’s hair. About six weeks ago she came over with straight hair. I just thought she got her hair flat ironed. Yesterday, she showed up with very, silky straight hair. Today, we were watching a movie together, and she was propped up on a pillow on the sofa, and I was sitting right behind her. There was a very familiar smell wafting up from her hair that made me raise a brow. I just kept looking at the top of her head, and I sniffed at her hair. Then it clicked, so I touched her hair, and asked her if she’d gotten a r.elaxer.

She turned around quickly and said, “I thought I told you that a long time ago that I got a chemical fire cream.” Now, I’m surprised at my reaction, cause I flicked her hair out of my hand and replied, “No, you didn’t tell me that you’d gotten a r.elaxer. I knew it was flat ironed. You never said you had a r.elaxer.”

She kinda shrugged, and turned back to the movie. I know she knows how disappointed I am. I saw it coming last winter, but I was hoping against hope that she wouldn’t go there. As much as I hate that she’s gotten the deed done, I will hope for the best with regard to the health of her hair and scalp…cause truth be told, had I never had such horrible experiences with relaxers, I’d have never stopped relaxing to begin with. But thank goodness, she has had an opportunity to wear her hair natural and to have it styled and cared for lovingly so she knows first hand how beautiful her natural hair can be. In addition, she’s experienced little negativity with regard to wearing her hair natural (and certainly nothing that she couldn’t handle) and she shouldn’t have any hang ups about it that would have to be undone should she ever decide to go natural again in the future. Over the last couple of years, I’ve done everything I could to teach her about caring for her natural hair and how heat and chemicals can have potentially and lasting damage to her hair and scalp. While I know she’s only 13 years-old, I do think that as much as she’s capable of doing so, she has made an informed decision.

While I can’t bring myself to compliment it, I am resigned to live and let live. I have to admit that it is pretty but I just can’t make myself say that to her. ***Shrugs*** There’s nothing left for me to do. But at the moment, I am sooo sad.

In the meantime, here’s a look back at my niece’s nappy dos over the past several years.







11 Responses to “My Niece is Nappy No More…”
  1. Lala says:

    I’m sorry she did it, and I know how you must feel. My niece got her first perm a little while ago and she’s only 10 but she had beautiful natural hair it was just a self esteem issues ya know she wanted it to “look” long. But I’m sure your niece will go back natural later on in life as many do. She looks like you a lot by the way and I’m really glad you made this site.

  2. star says:

    You just have to let her be a kid for now. She probably doesn’t care about hair as much as you do. She go back to natural when she’s ready. Even if she chooses to stay relaxed, there is any reason she can’t still have it be healthy, it might just be a little more work.

  3. sandra says:

    Although it may be a disappointment, at least she rocked natural hair for a while, which to me means that she, perhaps, just wanted some variety. And we must consider the peer pressure from these star idols who wear their hair straightened, permed and blond. It’s incredible pressure on teens to find their own way and to rebel and experiment. But she has a great role model and seems to have great self esteem, and I’m betting in due time she’ll be back. Just affirm to her–and no doubt you will– that you love her and hair does not define who she is as a person and you wanted what was best for her; and to always stand up for what pleases you and makes you happy–don’t follow trends–but set your own. Just as long as she knows–and I’m sure you’ve affirmed this–that you love her; the seed has been planted.
    She’ll be back…I know it! I feel it!

  4. 😦

    Makes me sad, too. Well, at least she has a caring aunt that taught her the benefits and beauty of wearing her hair naturally.

  5. lonelysealonelysky says:

    I remember seeing this on Dee’s forum and I was disappointed, but not that much. Now I come here and realise that it was you who posted. I feel sad too.

    It makes me wonder if keeping my kids natural (I don’t have them yet, I’m only 19) won’t be enough to fight against the media and ignorant people who don’t like natural hair.

    I’ll try though…

  6. Helen H. Jones says:

    At least like you say, she had the opportunity to wear natural hair and know exactly how to care for it. Your niece will be running into sisters with natural hair, relaxed hair, etc. And she will learn the pros and cons for herself. At least today there is no more shame in natural hair for many of us. And we naturals have made leaps and bounds in understanding what works. You have given her the “Natural Hair Legacy. ” She now knows the pitfalls of hair chemicals, and can change before any damage happen to her scalp. You my dear, just keep being there, and updating her on what is going on in our hair world. Also see about taking her to a natural hair show.

  7. mixie says:

    Your niece is really cute – and Helen made a really good point. You have given her ‘Natural Hair Lagacy’ which she may come back to in time!

  8. I feel your pain, girl! My sis just went from natural to permed… and even though it looks great, I must admit that I was somewhat saddened. But I realized that, just as I do not want to be judged for choosing to embrace my natural hair, I would not dare impose that same judgement on someone who chooses to wear a perm. You are right, though. You showing her the beauty of our natural hair has allowed her to make an informed decision. I commend you! It is those who have not been shown the truth about our hair that I am most concerned about. Those are the ones that make decisions about their hair based on shame instead of love for their natural hair. That’s why I started my blog… to educate our women about the joy of being natural!

  9. kirsten says:

    in all honesty at her age i doubt she’ll go back to natural anytime soon. You know how kids are, if she does it’ll probably be when she’s like almost a senior in high school. I know at 13 my mom could tell me a flat iron or r.elaxer would do sooo much damage, but i’m sure i wouldn’t listen because in my head i’d be only thinking about how i want straight hair or to look like all the other girls at school.

  10. nappyme says:

    Kirsten, I am with you on this one. I think it will be many years…even decade…and quite frankly I won’t hold my breath for ever seeing her natural again. She seems so content to have straight hair right now and she could care less what I think. Actually…that’s kinda as it should be. I’m not her mom and let’s face it, she’s a teen, with a mom who supported her choice so case closed.

  11. Nettyboop says:

    Peer pressure is one of the main reasons that prompt black teens to relax their hair. My daughter pressured me to relax her hair and I decided I was not doing it until she made 16. I got pregnant and could no longer manage her hair. My fingers and feet were always swollen so I sent her to the salon. The hairdressers began complaining that caring for her natural hair was too much work for them. They did not want to service her natural hair. I tried several and they all complained. My daughter’s hair was very thick and coarse. I eventually gave in and allowed them to texturize her hair. The texturizer eventually became a full relaxer. Although my daughter begged for the relaxer because caring for her natural hair was torture (It took 6 hours to braid her hair), she now misses her virgin hair. I had searched for all types of products to soften her hair and keep it manageable but I was unsuccessful.
    My daughter and I recently read a magazine article about Keshia Knight-Pulliam (Rudy Huxtable) and found out that her hair is still natural. She just flat irons it. It made her consider going back natural.

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