• Brittany N Williams

Hair Razing: Thrilling Adventures in Black Girl Curls – Part 1

The summer after I turned 22 found me sitting in a Hong Kong studio apartment as Tarzan cut my relaxed hair off. When he finished I was left with 3 ½ inches of thick, curly hair that I hadn’t seen since I was eight years old.

“Do you like it?” he asked proudly.

I looked in the mirror, choking back tears as I looked at my now practically bald head in horror. I gave him an awkward nod head shake hybrid and squeaked out a “yeah”. Completely over-dramatic because he had done an amazing job (Thank you, Aaron. You have no idea what a Godsend you were). It was just harder than I anticipated looking at a me I hadn’t seen in over 14 years and one I definitely couldn’t remember.


(Look at that cutie with them smooth edges)

When I was a kid, going to the hair salon was a pretty regular occurrence (the alternative was a kitchen chair stacked with yellow pages, a towel around my neck, and sitting perfectly still so the hot comb didn’t catch my skin). Now the salon we frequented was black-owned and thriving so of course they had a shampoo girl.

Now the problem with such a lively shop was that you wouldn’t be seen for a while after you had been shampooed. This meant your hair would be mostly, if not completely, dry by the time you made it to the stylist’s chair. Each time I had to sit through having 8 years worth of tightly coiled hair tugged and tamed.

Anyone who’s taken a come to tightly curled hair or even tangled hair will know that that’s a level of torture that I’m pretty sure should be banned by the Geneva Convention. So when I was told that a relaxer would make my hair easier to comb, well I’m sure you know what I said to that suggestion.


(The 90s y’all. I’m giving smeyes, Tyra would be proud.)

From then on, every 6 weeks, I had my hair relaxed with only 1 near slip-up. The beginning of my senior year of undergrad I rocked the cutest braids for nearly 4 months. Bolstered by my extended freedom from the tingle and burn and blow drying, flat-ironing, curling, and water-dodging madness and inspired by the plethora of curly coiffed beauties at Howard I mentioned wanting to go natural.

“But you’re more marketable with relaxed hair,” exclaimed my friend with the most beautiful head of natural hair (I’m sure she doesn’t remember saying this though).


(My first headshot. Looking like a baby.)

That ended the dream until I got away from everyone who could influence me or change my mind and I finally did what I wanted to do with my head of hair.

What makes you style your hair the way you do? Are you afraid to change it?


The EGOTist

Read Hair Razing – Part 2 Read Hair Razing – Part 3

#blackgirlmagic #blackhair #makeover #brittanynwilliams #actualgpoy #thestartofmyhairtransition #relaxedhair

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