One day, when I was five years old, I was walking home from school (that happened in the ‘80s…don’t judge) and a boy from my school that was two years older than me (he seemed like a giant) jumped out of the bushes in front of me. He had a snarl on his face and he was punching one hand into the other repeatedly then said, “Everyone’s waiting for me at my house to beat you up! They all want me to beat you up because you look like you’re covered in caca.”
He had bullied me days before, screaming out in front of everyone, “cacaface” over and over again. “You look like you’re covered in caca, you gross caca face!” That day I ran home crying, but this day we were alone and he looked like he meant business. I turned and ran back toward the corner where our community crossing guard, Alex, stood. He was a sweet old man that always gave me tennis balls. Alex left his post and walked me all the way home.
When I arrived, crying inconsolably, my mother tried to figure out what had happened and who this kid was. I never was bothered by the boy again. Likely, my mom went to the boy’s house and went off on his parents. She was always pretty great at getting in front of anyone who dared bully me.
We’ve all been through something traumatic. If we were lucky, we had someone like Mom or Alex to stand up for us if we couldn’t stand up for ourselves.
Now think of your hair. Like me as a defenseless kid, it has no one to stick up for it when you are treating it badly. It can’t jump up and hit your hand when you touch it with a hot tool set over 400 degrees. It can’t scream out at you, “Hey, take it easy!” when you’re tearing through it with your brush. And it definitely can’t remind you to give it a healthy diet when you’re starving it of any nutrients.
I’m not saying that mistreating your hair is the same as bullying a human. But your locks are defenseless and that means you have to make a conscious decision to not be a bully. Think of your hair like a vulnerable child or puppy that just wants to love you and look pretty for you, but is helpless to how you treat it. Don’t look at it and call it a “caca face,” seeing only its faults. Look at how hard it works for you. It spurts out of your follicle and continues to grow, even when you don’t give it everything it needs. It lets you curl it, braid it, tease it, pull it, bleach it…all without complaint.
So, how about you stop being a bully to your hair? No more roughing it up with that terry cloth towel, tearing through it with your brush, or burning it with a steaming flat iron. Instead, give it the healthy diet, soft caresses, heat protection, and gentleness that it deserves. Here is where you can start:
1. Do a once-weekly clarifying treatment to remove all the build-up and gross stuff that has stuck to your hair and scalp in the last week.
Like that old saying “treat others the way you want to be treated,” your hair can only deliver health, shine, softness, and manageability when it’s treated with kindness, support, and love.
Written by Natalie Palomino
Natalie Palomino is a Master Stylist, educator and Founder of North Authentic. Through advanced education and commitment to her craft, she built a vast clientele providing haircare education and hair services. In 2020, she created North Authentic, a conscious haircare retailer that puts the health of its customers and the planet at the forefront.
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