Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ebony and Ivory

When Chris Rock was on Oprah promoting his documentary Good Hair he said that the thing he learned about White hair is that no white woman has their natural hair color and a lot of them are gettin' weaves too. The thing about Black hair is that it's all relaxed and, Oprah aside, any time you see a Black woman with hair longer than her chin, 97% of the time that's a weave. See the movie. (NY Times review: http://tinyurl.com/yhmtucy) Even if you're not interested in hair, you'll learn a lot about people and culture and the beauty industry -- and America.

Yesterday's practical was on relaxer. Of course I was the only one who had NO IDEA what I was doing. I didn't even understand the demonstration -- what the hell does "base it up good" mean? Finally I had to say: "Miss Lisa, I'm just an old white woman and I don't know a thing about relaxer; I need help."
Tiara, who's been doin' "kitchen hair" since elementary school chuckled and then she and Miss Lisa came over to walk me through it.

Like I learned from Good Hair, the relaxer is so toxic that if you don't base the head first (cover the scalp with a think layer of protective ointment) the client will get chemical burns and sores. And if you're doing a relaxer touch-up (which was the assignment), and you go beyond the regrowth to the previously relaxed hair, the hair will break off. Not is MIGHT burn and break off; it WILL Burn and Break Off! Remember Salt and Peppa from the '80's? Remember how she shaved off half her hair -- that was the result of a relaxer accident!

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