Saturday, February 24, 2007

to smush or not to smush

I love my it. I love touching it, twisting it around my fingers, massaging products into it. I haven't regretted my "Big Chop" decision for a moment.

But I'mma be real honest, getting up every day trying to get hair together before work is a significant pain in my ass. For most of the last 11 years, I have had a weekly standing appointment with my beautician. He or she knew that I had no specific requests of them as far as style. I only ask that whatever they do be professional, presentable in the conservative corporate workplace, and that I not be required to do anything to it during the week. So that meant, during the course of any week I may have combed my hair once or twice...maybe. Depending on the style, I may have had some hard rollers in my hair over night for two or three days. And I slept in a bonnet. Beyond that, my only responsibility to my hair was to write the check, have a seat & be fabulous.

Now, when I go to bed at night, I look like this...

...and when I wake up in the morning, I look like this...

Ever since I discovered the curl-defining power of glycerin, it has been a lot harder to get my hair to look like this again...

So, I rushed out (to and bought a slew of Carol's Daughter products to try to help the process along. Not to mention I was trying to find some natural, chemical-free alternatives to that stankin' gel that I had. The first of her products that I tried was the Carol's Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey.

In addition to the yummy fruit & flower extracts and essential oils, the Hair Honey has some sort of wax in it, so I thought surely it would be helpful in the smushing process. I was pretty adamant about this smushing thing, 'cause I wasn't feeling like I had any other hairstyle options for work right now. All the compliments I got from bosses were about how "professional" and "neat" it was. (I'm not about to spend any energy here dissecting the subtext of these comments...but you can feel free to deconstruct them.)

So my product came in the mail, morning rolled around, I rinsed the products out of my hair (whatever was left from the day before) and worked in a nickel sized dollop of Mimosa Hair Honey in, brushed through it and tied it down. A couple of hours later...

Talk about smushy!! You can see where the rag was tied down though, on the sides & the back.

Smush success was indeed achieved!

But no process is failsafe. Over the course of the next couple of days, I learned that:

* if you slide the tip of an applicator bottle through your hair, it will leave lines
* those lines will be visible all day, no matter what you do to try to pat them out or smooth them down
* if your hair doesn't have a chance to dry under the scarf, it won't be as flat & smushy as you want it
* it's hard to know what shape your hair is smushed down in under the scarf
* there are going to be days when smushing is simply impossible

I experienced my first "no-smush" workday this past week. Due to some unforseen circumstances, I was not able to go through my usual morning beauty & hygiene process (ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies). As always, I had put a generous amount of leave in conditioner in before bed, so when I woke up it was just as soft and moist as can be. I had to think fast. In that moment, the decision was made...the people at my company are going to have to find out sooner or later that despite my "neat and professional" appearance, my educational history and my dazzling ability to articulate, that I am Black and turns out my hair is nappy.

DISCLAIMER: Please do not attempt to take photos of yourself while driving your car on the freeway in rush hour traffic. This was a really bad idea on my part, no matter how positively cute I was and regardless of the fact that I knew I needed to document my first official un-smushed workday...taking pictures of yourself while draving is a bad idea. And I will try really hard not to do it again.

So, what I did was spritzed a little water mixed with Rosemary Oil, just to refresh the leave in conditioner. I massaged it around a bit & tied the front of my hair down with a knee-high stocking. (The next day I used a trouser sock.)

And I have been unsmushed ever since...


girlnextdoor said...

You look gorgeous! I'm sorry I'm not there to see your journey on a daily basis!

Roxy said...

great post...i had no idea about smushing...maybe one day ill try it..:)