Archive for August, 2011

Surviving Irene

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

So, I spent this weekend surviving Hurricane Irene. We don’t get hurricanes that often where I am, but sometimes Mother Nature has her own plans. Initially it was forecasted to be a Category 4 storm, but when it struck the Outer Banks, it had been downgraded to Category 2 and by the time it hit NYC (where I am) it got downgraded to a tropical storm. There is flooding but not a lot of structural damage, which I’m grateful for. However, there was a whole lot of hype by the media for what eventually turned out to be a minimal hurricane. Rant of the day-I understand that meteorologists can’t always pinpoint the exact strength of storms of this nature as they can be unpredictable. However, making every hurricane out to be the next Katrina does the public a vast disservice. I, along with a number of other people figured that the hype surrounding Irene was overblown as storms of this nature are usually not that strong when they get this far north and ended up not taking the warnings all that seriously. I actually did get some water and some canned goods and made sure I had extra batteries for my flashlight but some people didn’t even go that far. If a stronger storm ever actually did strike NYC, the amount of lives lost might be substantial. People may not take future warnings seriously since the media cried wolf before. Rant over.

Since most of my weekend plans went down the drain with Irene, I stayed in the house for most of the weekend. I did actually go on a date with M on Friday night to a comedy club. We were assigned a table right in front of the stage, which can be an issue since comedians tend to harass the patrons in the front row, but we didn’t have a choice in the matter. Sure enough, the host of the place asked some members in the audience to introduce themselves and say where they were from and since we were right in front of him, we were one of the first people he asked. So I said that we were on our third date and that M lived in the Bronx and I live in Brooklyn. The host went, “Bronx-Brooklyn connection, eh? Good luck.” Some snobs think that if you date somebody outside of your damn neighborhood, they aren’t worthwhile. If you’re with a good person, they’re worth traveling to the other end of the country for under certain circumstances, but that’s just me. One woman comedian went, “It’s your third date and your holding hands? How cute. You know what comes next, girlfriend!” as the audience guffawed. Some of the other comedians kept messing with us too, but we took it in stride. And no, nothing more intimate than kisses happened. At the end of our last date, M stated that he was a gentleman and that he was willing to take it slow, which I really appreciate. Some of my previous relationships exploded over the fact that we were intimate before we really got to know each other as friends, so I won’t make that mistake with M.

I also did go out for some Japanese yesterday, but that was it. The city was on lockdown last night and this morning, mainly because the subways and buses were and are still shut down. Hardly a soul could be seen on the street and for a place as densely populated as NYC is, it was extremely eerie. I never lost power. Also, my apartment building is still in one piece, so nothing happened to it. I can’t say anything for the rest of my neighborhood as I haven’t been outside at all today, but I doubt any substantial damage has occurred.

Since I’ve been on lockdown, I decided to really do some of the things I’ve been wanting to do to my hair for a while but haven’t had the time to do. I did a protein treatment with eggs and mayo. I have very fine hair, so it needs all the protein it can get. Besides, a week and a half ago, I blew out my hair and that can be really drying, so a protein treatment is supposed to restore some of the bonds in it. I know some people think putting food in your hair is gross, but eggs and mayo have been a proven protein treatment for years and they’re cheaper than anything you can get in the store. After putting the food in my hair, I put a plastic cap on it and left it in for about 20 minutes. Some people suggest that you don’t use a cap, but I don’t want the stuff to potentially drip anywhere. So after 20 minutes, I rinsed the stuff out, lo-poo’d with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle shampoo, conditioned with Suave Naturals, deep treated with Deva Curl’s Heaven in Hair for 20 minutes, then rinsed that out and then flat twisted my hair with Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie and ORS Twist and Loc Gel for a twist out tomorrow. Protein treatments can leave your hair feeling and looking like straw, so it’s extremely important to do a deep treatment afterward. If the flat twist out comes out nice, I’ll take a picture, provided I even have some place to wear it to. I have no idea if the subways will be running tomorrow, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to go work. That’s the only way I can get around since I don’t have a car. We shall see.

Length musings

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

Hey all!

As I mentioned previously, my bathroom wall was repaired on Monday. Wouldn’t you know that yesterday, when I was awakened at 5:45 AM by Hazel demanding her breakfast, I went to use the bathroom and discovered that the bathroom ceiling was leaking for only the 698th time. I called the super on his cell and probably woke him up as he sounded groggy but I didn’t give a shit. The ceiling was still leaking 2 1/2 hours later when I had to leave for work, which was when he finally decided to come to my apartment to check the leak out. I couldn’t afford to take the day off as I had a very urgent deadline to meet. I have no idea what caused this latest leak. All I know is that it had stopped when I got home yesterday. And just when I had the bathroom wall repaired. Probably figures.

As far as my hair goes, I co-washed it this morning for the first time in a week. I usually co-wash my hair twice a week and lo-poo about once every other week, but I was lazy. I couldn’t afford to be lazy much longer as my hair gets extremely itchy when I go more than a week without washing. I co-washed with Suave Naturals, then used Kinky Curly Knot Today and then the Kinky Curly Curling Custard for a wash n ‘go. I’ve been doing a lot of those this summer as its a style that doesn’t require a lot of manipulation and thus it can result in less breakage. I didn’t take a picture today but here is an example of what my hair looks like with KCCC:

 

I do like that it defines my curls so well but the time the stuff takes to dry is ridiculous-anywhere from 12-18 hours depending on the weather. Since I’ve gotten the Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream, I haven’t used KCCC as much since the Jane Carter stuff isn’t as sticky and doesn’t take as long to dry, but I have a tub of KCCC that’s three quarters full right now. I’m not sure I’ll be able to use it all before the cold weather sets in, since I don’t do wash and goes all the time. We’ll see.

Also, you can’t tell from that picture, but my hair stretched is approaching APL (armpit length). Curly and kinky hair are usually longer than they appear. In my case, I have very tight curls that coil around themselves and when my hair is dry, it shrinks about 60-75%. The last time my hair was armpit length, I was a child, so I’m very excited to be approaching that length again at this point in my life. Initially, when I first went natural, I figured I’d be happy enough to get to APL but now that I’m nearly there, I’m figuring, why should I stop there?  My new goal is BSL (bra strap length). It’ll probably take about a year or so for me to reach that goal, but I’ll enjoy the journey on the way there. Since I’ve been natural, I’ve also come to change my definition of what long hair is. For many years, I considered shoulder length hair to be long. A lot of black women do, actually. Many people think that black people’s hair doesn’t grow. Which isn’t true. Your hair is always growing. If you have permed hair, after at least 4 weeks, your hair always has new growth at the roots, which is your natural hair. The issue is retaining length. The caustic chemicals that relaxers contain eventually break the bonds in your hair, which lead to breakage. Also, kinky hair is actually the most fragile of all hair types due to the fact that its tight curls coil around themselves and each coil is a potential breakage point. Many people think all natural hair is thick and coarse, but in actuality, although it may LOOK that way, a lot of them have fine and thin hair like I do. Many black women engage in hair practices that actually perpetuates breakage, such as using relaxers, getting tight braid extensions or weaves, using fine tooth combs, etc, which leads to the stereotype that our hair doesn’t grow. However, after perusing the You Tube channels of African Export, Rustic Beauty and Sera2544, all of whom have long hair past APL, I saw what could be possible if we give our hair the proper care. So now I no longer consider shoulder length hair to be long. These days, that’s medium length hair to me.

I’m not sure if I’ll want to grow my hair past BSL though. The longer it gets, the more time you need to devote to it and I’m finding it hard to find the time to devote to my hair now at its current length because my life is kind of full. I work full time, go to the gym 3-5 days a week and see friends about once or twice a week, so that doesn’t leave a lot of time to devote to pampering my hair. I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it. Many naturals swear by protective styling to retain length, but many protective styles are either off limits to me or look horrid on my hair. I can’t do buns even though I’m at the length where I could do one. My edges even after nearly two years of being natural are still very thin from previous abuse from relaxers and too tight braid extensions. A bun would just pull at my edges and possibly make them thinner. And forget twists and braids. Without extensions, they look sickly on my head. I don’t have a lot of strands on my head, so they look very scalpy on me. Besides, I don’t have the time or the inclination to devote 5 odd hours to putting them in every week or so. There are tuck and goes, but the ones I’ve attempted to do in the past were fails. When it gets cold, I might try those again. There are some naturals who retain length while rarely doing protective styling, like Elle, so there is some hope that I can do the same, provided I give my hair the proper care. However, her hair is way thicker and coarser than mine, so I don’t know. Would I be able to retain length without protective styling? What do you think?

Dribs and drabs

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

I had my second date with M  (his first initial) on Sunday. Initially we were thinking about doing a picnic, but the weather was too iffy, so we ended up doing lunch and a movie instead. We saw “Sarah’s Key.” The subject matter was  a little heavy, particularly if you’re seeing it on a date, but it was good. We went to Starbucks afterward for some tea and to chat some more. Before this date, I had no idea how old M was. He has salt and pepper hair, but that doesn’t mean anything as a number of people grey early. I started getting grey hair when I was 25, however, 17 years later, the majority of my hair is still dark brown. I’m only about 10% grey. I often dye it though, because I have a very young looking face and it’s incongruous with such old looking hair. I figured he was about 50, tops. Turns out, he’s 55. He doesn’t look anywhere near his age. It makes him 13 years older than me. Many of the guys I’ve dated have been older than me, but by 3,4 or 5 years, not 13. I’ve never dated someone where there was such a big age gap. For a number of people, I imagine it can be an issue since your cultural points of reference would be too disparate and often, the couple involved are at different stages in their lives. It hasn’t been problem between M and me so far as we have a connection. I’m hoping it never does become an issue.

Here’s someone I’d like you to meet:

This is Hazel, my cat. Many people think all cats are aloof and anti-social, but not my Boo Boo. She’s very chatty and friendly. She hasn’t been all that well lately, though. For awhile, I noticed that she kept shaking her head and scratching behind her ears. I took her to the vet two weeks ago, and was told she had some impacted wax and a growth in one ear. I was given ear drops for her and told to bring her back in two weeks for a checkup. Then last week, she had a cold. She seemed congested and sneezed a lot and had watery eyes. I felt bad because I didn’t have anything to give her that would ease her symptoms, but luckily it only lasted about four days. Her checkup regarding her ear issue was yesterday morning. The vet stated that while the wax did clear, Hazel still had the growth in one ear. The vet felt it was best to have it removed as it would be constant source of irritation otherwise. It has to be taken to pathologist to be read because right now, we don’t know how serious it is. I won’t know until the end of the week. I had to leave her at the vet’s all day while they removed the growth. It pained me to leave her there all alone because I’m sure she must have been scared. She was able to go home last night and she’s about 75% of her normal self. She’s still shaking her head every now and then and she’s only eating about half the amount she usually eats, but that’s probably the after effects of the surgery. I just pray that whatever she has, that it’s not serious.

While Hazel was at the vet, in the afternoon, somebody the super recruited finally came to repair my bathroom wall. It was simply a patch job, as usually. They slapped some sheetrock, plaster and paint over the hole that had been there. I’m sure next year, I’ll have another issue with it.

I had an interesting return to the office today. I work at a Medicare and Medicaid managed care plan. I went outside during my lunch hour. I often go out on my lunch hour if the weather is good, like it was today. When I returned to the office, my co-workers told me that there had been an earthquake. “You must be joking,” I said. “The building shook and everything,” one co-worker said. I went online and sure enough, it was all over the Internet that a 5.8 quake that originated in Virginia had been felt throughout the entire Northeast. I never felt a thing. “It wouldn’t have been as noticeable if you were outside,” my supervisor said. I felt left out somehow. Two friends called and told me that they also felt the quake. However, I don’t feel so bad anymore as M said he was working from home and never felt a thing and another friend mentioned on Facebook that she didn’t feel it either. It was still wild though since quakes rarely happen where I am.

Anyone else have something interesting happen today?

Natural birthday

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

Hello lovies!

As I mentioned last time, I have a hole in my bathroom wall. I was told on Thursday that the super would be coming on Saturday (today) to repair the wall and paint the bathroom. It could have been done yesterday as I had the day off work, but it was my birthday and I didn’t want that kind of stress on my birthday.  It’s almost 1 PM and no one has come to repair the wall. Figures. I’m off on Monday, but I have an errand in the morning. If it’s not fixed by Monday night, I’m putting a stop payment to the rent check I sent the landlord. No service, no payment. Stay tuned.

So as for my birthday itself, it was a good one. This is the front and back view of my hair:

What I did was the night before, I shampooed with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle shampoo, conditioned with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut conditioner and deep conditioned with DevaCurl’s Heaven in Hair. I usually use a heating cap when I DC as I feel the conditioner penetrates my hair better with it. I try to DC twice a month but it doesn’t always happen as I hate hopping in and out of the shower. Thursday night was the first time I’d DC’d in August, so I’ve not had a great month on that score. I used the heating cap for about 15 minutes, rinsed out the deep conditioner, put in the Shea Moisture Curl Milk as a leave-in, then blow dried my hair. I haven’t heat styled my hair often since I’ve been natural. Blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons provide concentrated, direct heat that can potentially damage your hair to the point where the cuticle is stripped and your hair loses its ability to curl. I did it this time because I wanted to do a bantu knot out and air-drying the knots are an epic fail, at least for me. They take forever to dry and if you take them down when they’re still damp, they’re an undefined, frizzed out hot mess. I put grapeseed oil in my hair before blow drying it as it’s supposedly a natural heat protectant. I’ve used commercial heat protectants when I’ve blow dried my hair before and many of them are sticky and make my hair hard and I hate hard, helmet like hair. Plus, most of them contain silicones, which can dry out hair for a number of people. In the ingredient list, they usually end in -cone or -xane. Personally, I’m not adverse to using products containing cones as long as they aren’t sticky or make my hair hard, as they don’t have adverse effects on my hair, but a number of curlies avoid them. How I did the style was I used the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as s styler, then I put in my hair into 15 two strand twists, then twirled them around themselves and used bobby pins to secure the ends.  Before I went out to dinner last night, I took the knots down, fluffed my hair and the above is the result. My hair looks a lot fuller than it usually does due to the blow drying and the style itself came out fluffy. I clipped the front down since a couple of the twists came out frizzy in that section for some reason.

Dinner was in a Colombian restaurant in Park Slope. My friends and I were 30-45 minutes late for it because on our way to the place, the city experienced a drenching downpour which at times, made it impossible to walk the streets without getting soaked. The usual weather forecast for my birthday is “clouds and sun, chance of thunderstorms,” and yesterday was true to form. I had the Colombian chicken stew with yucca and it was slammin.’ One friend had the pernil and pork emplanadas as an appetizer. The emplanadas had raisins in them, which isn’t a usual ingredient and it gave them a sweet pungent taste. Another friend had some red snapper. I also had a margarita. All and all, some fun times. Afterward, one friend and I went to this lounge in Flatbush. The margarita I had there sucked as they made it too strong. The crowd left something to be desired too. The patrons were approximately 25-45 years old and not to disrespect anybody, many of the other women looked like hoochies. Everything they wore was short and/or tight and most were permed or weaved up. The music was decent though.

I’ll be celebrating all weekend it I’m going out tonight and I’m supposed to have a date tomorrow, so I’ll be a busy bee. Later.

 

Just as I am

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

Feeling some kind of way today. I’m an 80’s child and it just so happens that this particular song came to mind as it perfectly describes my mood right now.

First off, I came home from work tonight to find fallen plaster from my bathroom floor in my tub and on the floor. There is now a hole in the wall, like so:

I’ve had issues with my bathroom almost since I moved into my apartment nine years ago. I’ve have countless leaks in there. Around five years, I even went so far as to take the landlord to court over them. The leaking has decreased significantly since then, but it still happens here and there. Many landlords and supers think slapping some plaster and paint fixes everything. Well, guess what? It doesn’t. The leaking resumes months or years later. The issue is with the old pipes that are located behind the walls, but it’s too much time and money for them to thoroughly fix the issue, so they do half assed patch jobs. I haven’t had a major leak in my place for about two or three years, but during that time, the plaster on the wall has bubbled up and over the last couple of months, it has started turning black, meaning mold was developing there. It was leaking, only I wasn’t seeing it because it was happening behind the wall. Sometime during the day today, some of the plaster came loose. This had to happen a few days before my birthday too. I refuse to deal with this shit on my birthday and the super doesn’t work weekends in my building, making him practically useless. I’ll be off on Monday, but I have to take my cat, Hazel to the vet in the morning. I definitely won’t leave my bathroom like that though. I’ll work something out.

Now to the point of tonight’s post. I’m introverted by nature, though it may not seem that way by some of my previous posts. I was depressed, shy, socially anxious and more introverted from childhood until my late 20’s. Over the last decade or so, my introversion has decreased somewhat as I’ve become more comfortable in social situations, but I still have introverted tendencies. Most people think shyness and introversion are one and the same thing, but they really aren’t. An introvert enjoys time alone and gets emotionally drained after spending a lot of time with others. A shy person doesn’t necessarily want to be alone, but is afraid to interact with others. Introverts often aren’t shy. They can have good social skills, but they don’t derive their energy from being around people like extroverts do. They derive energy from being alone and contemplating things. In my case, although I was a natural introvert, I also wanted to be around others, but I was often too fearful to interact with people because I feared rejection and ridicule. We live in an extroverted culture that extols teamwork and socializing with others which makes it difficult for many extroverts to understand introverts. We’re considered anti-social, snotty or boring. It’s more vexing being an introverted black woman, because we’re generally stereotyped as being loud and bossy. Once people saw that I didn’t fit that mold, I’d get the side-eye. I can’t tell you how often I heard these phrases said directly to me or behind my back- “You’re too quiet,” “She must think she cute,” “Why are you so serious?” Extroverts think that they are trying to draw introverts out with these statements, but speaking for myself, they only made me feel ashamed for what I was and they only made me retreat further into my shell, to the point where there were times I contemplated suicide. I didn’t even realize that I even was an introvert until I was nearly out of college, but even then, I thought something was wrong with me because I wasn’t able to be as outgoing as society felt I should be. I was in and out of therapy for 12 years and was on and off anti-depressants during that time too. Honestly, I had limited success. I did learn to open up and share myself with someone, something I wasn’t able to do until that point because I didn’t trust others. However, I didn’t learn sufficient social skills while in therapy and as such, I had few friends. I had to learn to acquire social skills on my own. The way I did it was to join various activity groups and attend as many events as I could stand, usually one or two a week. It was extremely intimidating at first as I quickly learned that in order to meet people and expand my social circle, I had to develop some extroverted conversational skills, such as small talk. Introverts generally think small talk is pointless but deep conversations are often inappropriate for events like mixers and brunches and such. Only by constantly attending events and practicing my social skills did I become sufficient at them and eventually, I grew to become comfortable at events, something I never thought I’d be. I’m no social butterfly by any means, but I often can get by these days. It’s easy to say that I’m implying that people change their nature in order to fit in, which I don’t think I’m doing. Shyness and social anxiety were painful for me and hindered my life, so developed strategies to overcome them. Actually, these days I think I’m the person I was always meant to be. If you’re fine being an introvert who prefers reading a good book to hanging out at a bar, then do you. And you should be able to do you without others making you feel guilty, which isn’t always easy in a culture that views introversion negatively.

The point of that long diatribe is that I often communicate better in writing than by speaking. In writing, I have time to think about what I want to say before I type the words out. Face to face conversation doesn’t always work that way. Introverts can be considered slow and boring by extroverts because we’re not capable of thinking on our feet. We have to contemplate everything before we do it.

I was perusing some natural hair sites today and came across a discussion about a popular blog that will remain nameless. Someone made a comment that she felt this blogger put too much personal information on her site. Personally, I like the fact that this popular blogger puts some personal things on her blog because it makes her more personable and accessible to the readers, but some people have concerns about safety. My thing is, with the Internet, there really isn’t a whole lot of privacy anyway. I know a lot of information about me is already out there if someone is curious enough to dig deep and search for it, even though my real name isn’t listed here. So I don’t think it matters all that much what I say on here. Already, I’ve posted things on here that some people may think is TMI, but I really don’t care. You’re not forced to read my blog. I feel that if my experiences can help even just one person, then doing this is worthwhile. So I’ll keep doing me.

Here are some links about introversion:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/2696/

http://jerrybrito.org/post/6114304704/top-ten-myths-about-introverts

 

 

 

Rainy day musings

Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

I’m doing something new here. I’m a musical person and there are times I want to have a song in my posts to represent my mood. So, first up is something from an all time favorite of mine, Jill Scott!

It’s pouring as I write this. I feel like it’s Noah’s Ark or something. I was out late last night with a friend, first at karaoke and then at another bar afterward and it rained sheets then too. I was nearly drenched just dashing from the venues to her car. My hair was always on point, though. I must say that karaoke is something I never thought I’d be able to do. I was shy and had social anxiety disorder when I was younger, so the mere thought of getting up and belting cheesy songs in front of a live audience used to terrify me. Within the last few years though, I’ve been around friends who are really into it and like anything else, the more you do something, the more you get used to it, so I don’t get so mortified anymore. I will qualify this by saying that I’d probably find it easier doing it in a bar when you may never see most of the people again. There are a couple of places in the city where you rent a small room with four of your friends to do karaoke and since it’s so intimate, I might find that a little more intimidating.

I must update you on the date I had on Friday! We went out for some Indian fare and then went out for dessert afterward. It was probably one of the best dates I’ve ever been on. I was less nervous than I’d thought I’d be since I made a concentrated effort on just enjoying the moment. My date was fairly easygoing and easy to talk to and went out of his way to make sure I had a good time. I didn’t want it to end, really. As far as the check went, he paid for the dinner and I paid for dessert . I had an anxious moment when it came time for us to part as I had no idea whether to kiss him, shake hands or what. We ended up hugging and kissing each other on the cheek which was kind of sweet. A handshake would have been way too rigid and formal, I think. A kiss on the lips might have been a little too intimate for me at this point, so what we ended up doing was perfect. He wants to see me again! The thing is, my birthday is this coming Friday and I have plans. I did invite him, which may not have been the right thing to do, really since I don’t know him that well and since I’d be among friends, he may feel awkward. He didn’t commit anyway, saying he already had plans. They wouldn’t conflict that much with mine, since my plans are at night and his are during the day, but I don’t expect him to show.  The next time we’d both be free would be next Sunday, so we’ll see what happens.

This was how I wore my hair on Friday:

 

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but I put one flat twist on both sides and just pinned them back. The rest of my hair is in a twistout. I don’t have a good picture from a side angle. As far as the dress goes, it’s actually a vintage Vera Wang one from the early 70’s that I got in a clothing swap last year. At first I didn’t even think it was vintage. It doesn’t look dated at all.  I’d noticed that the size on the tag said 14 and figured I couldn’t fit into it as I’m usually an 8. But the organizer stated that it was vintage and they sized differently back then, so a size 14 40 years ago would be equivalent to about a size 10 or 8 today. The dress fits me perfectly. I got compliments on it from my date, too!

I’m debating whether to do my hair today. It would behoove me to do a deep treatment. I washed it on Thursday night, so it really doesn’t need to be washed today, but I need to clean my house too. Decisions, decisions.

Can Natural Hair Make You Broke?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 by Confessions of LadyV69

I came across this article from Essence just a little while ago which purported that maintaining natural hair can be just as much if not more than relaxed hair and that black women were still slaves to their hair. Personally, I haven’t taken Essence all that seriously in years. Their content went from mostly relevant and thoughtful commentary about the issues facing black women to fluffy crap like, “How to make yourself irresistible to men,” around the time they were sold to media conglomerate Time Warner around 12 years ago. I actually didn’t to their directly to peruse the article. Another site posted this article. My thoughts? As I stated last time, maintaining your natural hair can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. It may be more costly when you first go natural as you try to find products that work for your hair, but once you find your staples and have your regimen down, your outlay could decrease. At least in my case, anyway. It’s not necessary to spend $30 on a conditioner, particularly one which you’ll just rinse out of your hair. That’s money down the drain, to me at least. You can get Suave Naturals or V05 Moisture Milk for less than $3 at your nearest drugstore and they’ll work just as well( I personally like Suave Naturals better since it’s thicker). The pricier products don’t necessarily work any better than the cheaper ones but some people get caught up in their marketing. One example is Miss Jessie’s. They’re hella expensive but their stuff is full of crappy ingredients such as mineral oil. You can find similar products in any of the so-called “ethnic hair care” aisles in the drugstore for a fraction of the cost. I paid nearly $40 once for the Curly Pudding and that stuff dried out my hair. Then I’d paid nearly $30 for the Baby Buttercreme and that crap felt greasy and sat on top of my hair. After a few times,  I ended up tossing over $60 worth of product in the garbage. It was an expensive way to learn a lesson. One of my staple lines now is Shea Moisture and their stuff is around $10 and don’t have harmful ingredients. You don’t even have to buy commercial products if you don’t want to. You don’t have to go much farther than your kitchen cabinet and refrigerator for maintaining your hair. Olive, castor and coconut oils are great sealers. You can use eggs, mayonnaise, bananas, honey or yogurt for deep treatments. The only thing limiting you is your imagination.

If anything, maintaining relaxed hair was more costly for me. Depending on the salon, as I went to a number of them over the years, I’d paid anywhere from $50-$80 every 6-8 weeks for a touchup. If I wanted or needed a deep treatment and/or trims, that was another $10-$15 on top of that. As I also stated here, I often didn’t do my own hair, so there were times when I’d go every two weeks to get it washed, wrapped or roller set. That was another $20-$50, depending on the salon. The products I used to use on my relaxed hair, like Pink Oil, weren’t that expensive, so each month, those were at most, $15. Every month, I’d spend anywhere from $40-$160 paying other people to do my hair. It’s not uncommon to hear of black women going without lights just so they can get their hair on point. We spend about triple (or more) what other ethnic groups do on hair products, primarily due to the brainwashing we’re subjected to about straight hair being the gold standard.  I don’t spend nearly that much on my natural hair. For one thing, I rarely go to salons these days. I’ve seen too many horror stories on the hair boards about stylists cutting 5 inches of hair when the person only wanted a 1/2 inch trim and stylists frying people’s hair with flat irons and blow dryers causing heat damaged hair to risk it.  Plus, natural hair salons tend to be expensive so I couldn’t be a regular customer anyway. Also, I have my staples now so I’ll spend around $30 a month on products, though some months I don’t spend anything at all. So contrary to the Essence article, natural hair isn’t making me broke. It’s saving me money, money that I’d now rather use on other things. Also, I’m not a slave to it either as I don’t have to endure day long sessions at the salon. But your particular mileage may vary.