Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fro and I

Okay as I have said before I rock an afro but have I ever told the story behind it? I don't think so. Sit back for a bit.

I grew up during the 80s (born in 80 to be exact) and pretty much the routine for black boys in my area was to either cut it very close, cut designs into it, or copy whatever the current top rappers were wearing. Having grown up in the country there was no barbershop to go to on Saturday like inner city black guys speak of. What we had was a setup of the traveling barber. Now it wasn't a formal business, just that any guys that knew how to cut hair would go around town cutting hair whenever her could and we would even have occasions where the barber may be at one guy's house and several of us would chill at that person's house waiting for our turn. So in a way I guess you could say it was a barbershop. And that's pretty much how it was. Close cut, high top fade, cut some lightning bolts in the side, close cut, low cut fade, etc... Simple cuts and nothing serious.

Well around freshman year of high school I had dry, itchy, dandruffy scalp something horrible. I mean it was to the point that I was washing my hair every other day and it was not cutting it. Once I got into college I realized something, I no longer had regular access to a barber. Well there were a few guys here and there that cut hair in the dorms (note: If you are reading this and are about to go to college on VALUABLE trade skill is hair cutting. You would be surprised at how many college guys need a barber.) but it felt so impersonal from my younger days of actually knowing the guys that cut my hair. So at this point I decided to do what some of my other male friends had done, just cut it all off. You don't need a barber if you are just cutting all your hair off anyway.

After I left college I still pretty much just cut all my hair off until one day I just decided that I do not look good with all my hair cut off (it has to do with my ears sticking out). (I also think that part of my desire to change was because at the time I was still trying to cope with my mom's death.) Well I didn't want to have to maintain a fade that would require a cut every 2 weeks and I didn't have access to someone that could regularly braid my hair so that is when it hit me, Afro. So over the course of about a year I just let my hair grow and only got edgeups (as in cutting around the edges of your hair to establish your hairline) and Fro was born.

Thankfully no one at work has tried to give me any serious lip about my hairstyle (which still shocks me because out of about 300 employees I'm the only black male) and I've been happy. However throughout the years even after no longer having insane amounts of dandruff there is still one demon that haunts me and my hair. I have some of the most coarse, most rough, most dry hair you have ever seen and I'm desperately trying to find a way to remedy that.

I've spent the last year or so trying out different hair products in hopes of finding one that would help soften my hair. The one good prospect I found was a gel called Daily Flake Control from the Soft Sheen Carson Dandruff Solutions line. The stuff cost about $6 for an 8oz. bottle that would barely last me a month. Shortly after I started to buy it it because very hard to find and after a while I had two choices, a hair store that was 100 miles away (hey I live in the country) or buy off the internet. Well about a month ago I found out that that particular product was discontinued. Yeah the only product out of the whole damn line that I used got canned. Well I picked up two other products and while they work just as well (and cost just as much and are just as hard to get) I've decided that I need another solution for my goal of getting Fro to be softer and more manageable. I'm going to try homemade solutions.

I've been looking for sites that focus on black male hair and have not had much luck beyond copying celebrities and ads for shaving products. Well then realized that at the root black male hair seems to be a lot like black female hair so I figure getting some tips and ideas from there can't hurt. So while a lot of what I'm going to do is going to be borrowed from black women's hair sites I'm going to be applying to my black male hair which may sound odd but I don't think it will be that big a deal. And for something this big I will need a place to document my experience. Well what do you I've got a corner right here where I can do such a thing.

So that is the gist of it. Fro needs help and I'm determined to find a way to provide it. In fact I've already started.

Since my main order of business is to get my hair softer I figure moisturizing will be a good place to start. I need a way to moisturize my hair that is not too expensive while still being effective. My first bit of research has been in the way of essential oils and making my own mixtures however there are startup costs that I'm just not quite ready for (I'm trying to hold onto money for my vacation which starts next Friday) yet so I've gone with a start that is a lot cheaper.

Conditioner and Water in a Spray Bottle
I'm not sure where I got this from but I did see it on a site and decided that its at least a cheap start. Basically I got a bottle of conditioner (Suave Naturals Refreshing Waterfall Mist), a bottle of spring water (I would have preferred distilled but there was none available), and a simple spray bottle. I just mixed the water and conditioner in a mix of 5 parts water and 2 parts conditioner.

I've used it once tonight to get a feel for how it would work and so far I like it. The main purpose of this is to be a daily (or twice daily) spray to apply to my hair so that I can break one of my worst habits, combing my hair while it is bone dry. I've been working on breaking that one for the last few months and I can already tell by way of having way less hair breaks in my afro pick and wide tooth comb.

This is just the start. Hopefully by the time I have my routine down I will no longer be using any store bought products for my hair and will be mixing my own moisturizer and eventually shampoo and conditioner. In fact I think the Suave Naturals conditioner I used in that mix I mentioned above has some of the ingredients I saw on a list of ten things not to put in your hair.

I'll get to that in due time.