Thursday, May 08, 2008

“Ella a des belles boucles!"

Somehow with all the work insanity that’s come my way as of late, I totally forgot.
It's my one year Hair-iversary!

That’s right folks, it’s been more than a year since I did TBC (The Big Chop). I guess I’d just kinda forgotten about it since ya know…it’s just my hair, but in the last month or so my hair has had a sudden growth spurt and it seems that everyone but me is taking notice. Over the past week or so not a day has gone by when I don’t get a compliment on my hair from someone. Not too long ago I walked into the Beauty supply store and I overheard one sales girl say to another “Ella a des belles boucles!” Translation: ‘She has pretty curls!”

And frankly, I think they’re swell too. The best part is, this hair is about as low maintenance as hair comes. I wake up in the morning, spritz it with leave in conditioner, give it a fluff, and “Voila”---that’s it. Gravity defying hair! It’s so weird to think about all the time and money (20 euro shampoos and 150 dollar haircuts) that I used to spend on my hair, when now my weekly hair routine consists of a few handfuls of off-label conditioner I buy by the bucket at Tati and whatever bottle of shampoo my husband happens to leave in the shower.

So let’s take a stroll down memory lane shall we?

1. Do you smell bacon?
So this was my hair on my birthday in 2006. In many ways it was quite pretty, but the constant chemical processing, blow drying, and flat ironing had taken its toll. You can’t really tell from the photo, but that hair was relaxed & pressed within an inch of it’s life. Can't you hear it crying?

2. Hat-hair.

So, since I was to chicken-shit to just shave off all the old hair all at once, while I was growing in my new hair under the old hair, I wore all kinds of hair coverings, scarves, and hats to camouflage the to-the-death battle that was going on between the new hair and the old hair. During our trip to Japan I wore a different hat almost every day. Those were dark times. There were many tragic moments. Sometimes styling my hair required the use of scissors. But I got through it.

3. Look Ma! No hair!

Taa daaa! This is my hair the very morning I cut it: April 16th 2007. Teeny Weeny Afro in full effect. Doesn’t it make me look younger? I was an emotional wreck the entire day. I think I cried like 8 times randomly throughout the day. I didn't expect to feel anything when I chopped it, but I felt....something. Relief, release, grief, fear. Also, my neck just felt nekkid!

4. I'm getting the hang of this!

Finally--Cute Hair in August 2007. I know it sounds silly, but since I'd always chemically processed my hair for the past 20 years, I really didn't know what the hell to do with it when it started to grow in natural. It was completely foreign to me. It took me until August to figure out how to actually do stuff with it.

5. The Triumphant Afro-Puff!

By this past Christmas, I had finally arrived at my dream Afro-puff. I added a few hilights to accent the texture and to really bring out the curls. And if I do say so myself, what an adorable Afro-puff it was!

6. It keeps going, and going and growing...

Ok, here’s my hair from just last month, you can see that my afro puff has grown so fluffy that it has actually over-grown my fancy hair-tie. It's more of an Afro-bush. (Wait, that doesn't sound right....) In fact I got the impression that my hair no longer wanted to be tied down. And that about brings us to present...


A hair self portrait I took yesterday… make-up…..dear lord, but the hair looks scrumptious!

And immediately after I took this photo I thought of this photo taken of me and my mom at Christmas when I must have been maybe 2 or 3 years old.


Aaaah. How wonderfully fitting that now, at age 33, I once again have the same hair-do that I had at age 3.

Somehow I find this fact just too lovely.


Camille Acey said...

happy happy!

you and your hair our gorgeous.

i notice that a lot of us expat black girls rock our hair natural. just another reason to love us!

Camille Acey said...

oops, i meant
you and your hair ARE gorgeous.

Nicole J. Butler said...

Congratulations!! I did the 'big chop' about 9 years ago, and ain't looked back yet!

Your hair is gorgeous. So is your skin! Positively glowing.

Le Tigre in France said...

Seconded, you are gorgeous and I'm loving the hair, it rocks. You are so damn photogenic!

fashion survivor said...

Love it!

muslimahlocs said...

i love hair posts. your hair looks great! and yes, you do look a lot younger without the perm.
i have been natural for @ 20 years and would never go back to the "creamy crack".

Mignon said...

I agree with Nicole, Your skin is B-e-a-u-t-e-e-e-f-u-l... And your hair is fabulous.

Sara said...


im still mad i didnt get the full on jew-fro that my dad has :(

holly said...

agree with all the comments above. your curls look soft, boingy and totally gravity defying! girl what is your secret to that glowing, clear skin? do share! pretty please?:)
i too went natural several years ago but due to total lack of knowledge about what to do with my hair i kept it covered with wigs, scarves etc. needless to say those have left some damage; a grim reminder about the fragility of afro hair. i am nursing it back to health now and it's doing okay but was also thinking about putting in some colour, do you mind revealing which brand you used 'cos i thought colour was a bit of a no-no for us naturalheads! as an aside my absolute favourite hair goodies come all the way from your home country - i use oyin products - and they are amazing! i know you are pretty happy with your current hair regimen but hey! give it a go! you may find that it takes your already fly hair to an entirely stratospheric level.:D

Penny said...

Wow, you have got really cool hair!

Madame K said...

Camille- I readily admit that my decision to go natural was influenced by my move to France. I think if I had stayed in NY with access to all those fancy hair salons, I would have relaxed my hair forever.....well maybe not forever, but for a bit longer. I just kept seeing all these totally stylish Black girls in Paris with this HUGE amazing hair. It only took me 3 years to work up enough courage to try for huge hair of my own.

Sara- jew-fros ROCK!

Holly- I wish I had some real skincare secrets to share, but I don't. It's genetic. (Thanks mom!) I don't drink enough water, I fall asleep in full make-up, and no matter what product I use it always looks like this. I exfoliate once a week with whatever free samples I score from the make-up ladies at Galerie Lafayette and then I layer on Walmart brand fake oil of Olay with spf 15. That's it. That's my secret.

Hair tips? Now those I do have! I hilight my hair every once in awhile with those little garnier kits that you get for 6 euros at the supermarket. I just select a few curls around the front of my head, slap on the cream mix, and wash it out 10 minutes later. And since thats the only chemically processing I do on my hair, I don't worry about the small amount of damage it does to those few strands.

Also--I don't use styling gel at all. When I wash and condition my hair I just don't rinse out the conditioner! That little trick alone saves me 200 euros a year! Who knew?

Camille Acey said...

I have to wave my hands in the air for that fake WalMart Oil of Olay, I can't wait to get my hands on in it when I am back in the states. The best!

Also for hair care, I am gonna butt in and say that the best thing I did was to stop using shampoo and anything with the word "laureth sulfate" in it or conditioners with anything with an "one" or "cone" at the end of it. Bye bye dry brittle hair.People think I spend hours doing my locs every day but mostly I just give it a quick spritz of moisture spray and walk away. Amen.

Tori C said...


holly said...

it's refreshing (and sobering) to know that at the end of the day genetics do play a part, all our quests and striving for eternal youth or dewy ageless skin- are all really just- well...quests. we can try though, so i will be keeping up on the 6-8 glasses of water a day. who am i kidding, i can barely manage 3!-cups of pg tips, that is..
thanks for the hair tips. garnier highlights. will check those out soon. oh happy hair-ivesary!
haha! surely the olay range at walmart cannot be fake??!!

Felicity said...

You look lovely! Congratulations on your hair-anniversary!

Heidi said...

The hair is beautiful! It's a damn shame the amount of money we end up wasting and the amount of torture we do to our heads all in the name of beauty...when aunatural is beauty in itself.

I dye my hair every three weeks or so, because I just can't imagine gray being beautiful at the age of 38.

Samantha said...

Dude! Those are some belles boucles!!

L'oiseau de perles said...

hi, I just found your blog through Black Women in Europe and I really enjoy reading it!

You're hair is gorgeous, by the way. I went natural about six months ago and I went through the same period as you, not knowing what to do with it..but I'm just now figuring out what to do with it. I really love your hair color too, by the way.

Milk Jam said...

i love LOVE your hair!!! i would kill for hair like that, mine will never curl - i bet even if you permed it and my sister has little shirly temple curls i was so jealous as a kid.
that style suits you so much better and your hair looks so healthy and beautiful :-)

Suniverse said...

I need to delurk and tell you your hair (and skin, I must agree) is amazing! I love the springiness.

In fact, I'm envious. I have very, very curly hair that has a different curl texture in each spot, but what I want to do is just let it go big and cool, like yours. I hope I can bring myself to do it and feel fantastic about it, instead of embarrassed that my hair is so giant.

Seriously. You look amazing.

Cherise said...

I'm jealous of your hair. It looks great. Even looked great underneath the hair ties. The wild fro is amazing!

LOL at Sara's jew-fro. I've just got the Mexican Friz.

Cindie U. said...

I love that last photo...your hair is simply beautiful.

Olivia G. said...

As a person who is transitioning (not in France, but in the US...unfortunately) your blog post is truly inspiring. I'm going to be a sophomore in college in the fall and as a girl who has always dreamed of the expat life I stumbled upon your blog today and loved it!

Anyway, thanks so much for this post and this blog =)

P.S. How did you create the afro puff? I really love updos and buns and afro puffs, but I don't know how to do an afro puff with completely natural hair so do you wet your hair first then sculpt it with gel or pomade into a puff or no? Thank you!