You would think that growing up in a Caribbean Island we would be more aware of how to take care of our hair, however, I find this to be so not the truth. As a child living in a Hispanic household where my mothers hair is full of silky curls, her lack of knowledge as to how to manage my hair that was not so silky was passed on to me. For a better part of my life all my mother new how to do was make sure my hair was clean and brushed back into one thick braid or ponytail. My mother had no knowledge of how to tame my hair or do two strand twists, or cornrows simply because her hair was easy to manage. Therefore of course I was excited when at the age of 13 I could finally get a perm. As I got older I never fretted about my hair it would grow nicely and because I have never been a hair person I would chop it of and keep it moving.
Being blessed with two gorgeous daughters whose hair is not particularly easy to manage, I myself never new what products were best to nurture their hair. As many Caribbean people do I simply washed it and greased it, it never mattered what ingredients were in the grease just as long as it helped me keep those cornrows in place and helped their hair look shiny.
Now that I am natural once again and I am educating myself as to what products love my hair and my hair loves back I am in awe of how little of those products are available in the regular hair market her on my island of ST. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands. Most of my products I have to purchase on line. I am also amazed of how little we Caribbean people know about the versatility of our hair, how locks or dreads (sister locks) as we call them here are not the only styles that we can rock as we get older and opt not to go the way of a perm.
I get stopped everywhere and asked how did I get my hair that way, what did I use to get those pretty curls, is there a texturizer in my hair? I always stop and explain what is in my hair how I achieved the look and encourage the person to try it with their young daughter or if they are natural to do it on their own hair. Most people reply “oh no my hair is real African hair not like yours” to which I say every one of us has good hair, coily, beautiful, full hair. I wonder how many people have experienced a self awareness once they went natural and were able to see themselves as God intended them to be? Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against a good perm, my eldest daughter has a perm in her hair and even though she has been contemplating putting locks in her hair she is still very attached to her perm LOL