We've experimented with conditioners and cremes, purchased silk scarves for bedtime, tried our hand at braiding and beading, and logged many, many hours sitting on the couch, braiding and detangling. A few months ago we tried extensions for the first time, and loved them! Our friend, Grace, braided long, fake hair into Selah's hair, for braids that stayed smooth and nice for over 2 months. She could wear the braids down, pull it back on the sides, or put it in a ponytail, and it required little day-to-day maintenance. A couple of weeks ago we started the process of unbraiding the extensions and combing out her hair...whew!! It took us a total of about 5 hours over the course of a couple evenings!
For about as long as Selah could speak, she has been begging to have her hair straightened like her sisters....which brings up a whole slew of questions about black hair:
How can we encourage our brown-skinned daughters to love their naturally curly hair instead of wanting to look like Hannah Montana?
Do we send our daughters the message that straight/smooth is better when we straighten their hair - chemically or otherwise?
When is it okay to do extensions or relaxers?
For almost 2 years we've put her off....explaining that it's alot of work to straighten her hair, that it isn't the healthiest for it, and that it wouldn't be permanent....we kept telling her that maybe for a very special occasion we might do it.
And finally, on Christmas Eve, we surprised her with her first visit to the salon!
Now, I've talked to many people in our community about where to have her hair done. Several mentioned a local salon that had both black and white stylists, so I went in a week earlier and explained that I needed someone who could do a little consultation with us about the condition of Selah's hair, how much should be trimmed (since it had NEVER been cut as far as we know), and how to take care of it. The receptionist made an appointment for us and insisted this stylist would do a great job.
We brought her to the salon and as I began asking the very nice (white) stylist questions about Selah's hair, she stopped me and said, "well, I'm not the best person to ask, because I don't have alot of experience with this kind of hair".
So, our first hair appointment was quite the ordeal. 3 stylists detangling, 2 helping blow-dry it, and then the flat iron. 2 hours. And about the same cost as having extensions put in (read: not cheap!). I can't believe I didn't take an "after" picture....we were all a little traumatized after the whole thing was over. This is definitely not something we'll do often. But to see the look on Selah's face was priceless. She LOVED it!