• Brittany N Williams

Hair Razing: Thrilling Adventures in Black Girl Curls – Part 2

(Flashback to the last of the relaxer days in China)

The first 2 weeks or so after I went natural were not quite traumatizing but damn close. I’d look in the mirror and see a near stranger with a face bereft of the curtain of hair to hide behind. I was alone and adrift and, Jesus help me, I had to take care of my own hair. The South African women I worked with were just as clueless as I was and I definitely wasn’t finding a natural hair salon in southern China (I did find a Chinese woman who gave me a great set of straightbacks but they were straightbacks…). So I did what any modern woman met with confusion would do: I googled my way to enlightenment.

(They at least gave me a cute headband for the High School Musical:LIVE! shows.)

I ordered natural products from US stores and had them shipped to me (special thanks to Treasured Locks for holding me down with their international shipping). I created my own mixes of essential oils adorn my hair. I taught myself to do bantu knots, comb coils, faux-hawks, and twist-outs. Honestly I took better care of my hair than I ever had before (or have since really) and I enjoyed the absolute freedom of being the only one who knew whether I had done it the right way. I was spoiled until I got home to a family whose only reference for natural hair were the epically sheened and coiffed afros of the 70s. My Grandmother’s hair was literally a work of art; her portrait hung over the server in our dining room.

(The picked-out ‘fro, I think I managed to escape the Dax this particular day)

Suddenly the modern, if messy, styles I’d cultivated in Hong Kong were being challenged and I was starting to look…dated. To this day I bear a hatred for the heavy, petroleum jelly-based hair grease. I thought all was lost until I found More!Hair Salon and Jo, 1 of the 2 best hair stylists to have ever laid hands on my hair (the other doesn’t really work with natural hair and I mourned her loss when I transitioned). Jo kept me stylish and cute until I booked the national tour of Curious George Live! and had to leave my stylist and fend for myself again. The day I met with the costume team I had decided to two-strand twist my hair on a whim. “Oh thank God!” the designer gushed, “We had no idea what to do with your hair.” The level of grateful relief was a little astonishing. I knew my hair could be styled nearly however they needed and could definitely fit under wigs and hats (this was my first glimpse at how little white people understand black hair and its possibilities).

(Rocking the 2-strand twists at the opening night party for Curious George Live! in Cedar Rapids, IA.)

For the next seven months I twisted, braided, and stuffed my hair into submission under my multitude of show hats. When I finally left the show I had learned 2 things. 1. Two-strand twisting my own hair every 2 weeks is exhausting. And 2. I wanted locs. Back at home and with my head of hair in Jo’s much more capable hands, I found it. The new style I’d been looking for.


Have you ever had to maintain your natural hair somewhere unusual? What were your go-to products?


The EGOTist

Read Hair Razing – Part 1 Read Hair Razing – Part 3 Read Hair Razing – Part 3

#blackgirlmagic #afrohair #blackhair #brittanynwilliams #naturalhair #actualgpoy #actors #transition #expectselfies

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