• Dee Porter

Top 5 Memories From Your Mama Doing Your Hair

Ah, that wonderful time as a child, before you knew what a beauty shop was, because your mama set up shop in her bedroom in front of the tv, or -if you're really hood like me - in the kitchen. The only reason I started going to the beauty shop is because my mama dropped a hot comb, and I instinctively clamped in between my thighs. I still remember those black comb prints on my 7 year old inner thighs, just like I remember all the "joyous" times from my mama doing my hair. I'm sure you can relate.

5. Getting the Tip of Your Ear Burned to Pieces

You know those 3 words that struck fear into every little girl getting her hair curled: hold your ear. If there's anything scarier than the fear of getting your little fingers burned to a crisp, it was the same thing happening to your ear. But mama didn't care; those roots were gonna get straightened and curled today! All I'm saying is...if you have to bend down your ear to straighten the hair....then it probably won't even show. So save these children and let their little naps be.

4. Learning to Meditate as a Distraction to Your Scalp Being Burned Off

There was always an internal countdown as to how long you would make it until the inevitable burn from a no-lye relaxer hit your scalp. We've tried all kinds of techniques to try and delay the pain from what we thought was a necessary part of being female: thinking of how silky our hair will be after, reminding ourselves that pain is temporary, and finally, simple breathing treatments. You didn't realize it, but as you were breathing and reminding yourself that it'll all be over soon, you were practicing guided meditation. We learned our zen from that little box of death. Look I was burned so much, I went natural. 

3. Bending in the Kitchen Sink and Fearing You'll Drown

The scary part is over. You've made it through the relaxer, your roots are straightened, and now it's finally time to rinse it out. You rush to the sink, begging your mama to get it out...then remember you're at the mercy of the faucet. And your mama swears half of your body needs to be in the sink in order for her to wash the relaxer out of your head. Don't even think about putting your arm in the sink to plug your nose; you just have to hold your breath and pray. Did your mama have the fancy detachable faucet? Yea mine didn't. But what we did have was a double sink, so while I was praying I wouldn't suffer death by perm water, I was also getting my head banged against the side of the sink. Any time I go swimming, I close my eyes and think back to that kitchen sink. Yea you know I'm lying; I don't swim. I'm not gonna purposely mess up my hair. (Note: as I searched for pictures, I realized my mama must've been the only one who made me bend over the sink. Oops...)

2. Crying, For Obvious Reasons, but Still Getting Cussed Out

You ever got a whooping, cried, then your mama told you, "shut up before I give you something to cry about!" That's how it feels to get your soft, fresh, seemingly-unmanageable natural hair combed. Before #TeamNatural, or hashtags in general, were a thing, there were no YouTube tutorials on which products worked best for your hair texture. Your mama had a wide-tooth comb, some hair grease, and more barrettes than any child should ever be forced to wear. So as you're sitting there meditating, trying to remind yourself how cute you'll be for school tomorrow...your mama digs deep, deep into your roots and hits that one spot that the comb refuses to easily slide through. (Fun Fact: I later learned in life that you're supposed to comb starting at the tips, not the roots. Too little, too late.) Your mama puts her foot on the dresser, flexes her right arm, and proceeds to make you feel like you're about to lose 1/3 of your hair. Then has the nerve to yell at you for squealing!! Mama, you mad that I'm loud, or are you reliving the harsh memories of your mama ravishing your roots??

1. Breaking the Comb

There's a reason we were doing all that crying when our mamas were trying to comb through our hair like it wasn't nappy. How many times did she really think she could try and force that comb through our heads before it gave out?? You're squealing, she's yelling, and then you hear SNAP! The comb is no more. Mama is mad, but at least you get a few moments of peace. But not to fear; mama has a drawer dedicated to wide-tooth combs. You gone get these ponytails. I think I hold the record for the number of broken combs, simply because I broke a brush. Thug life.

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