Taming a Mixed Girl’s Half-fro

For all my life I have had a lot of issues taming my hair. I’m half black and half Korean so the texture of my hair is thick, frizzy, curly, bushy, and nappy. So the effort to gain control especially in areas that are more humid is an extreme battle. My hair isn’t coarse enough to stay put or fine enough to fall back into place. Most of my life I had been getting my hair relaxed with products such as “Just for me”. I would use the kid’s product so that it would be gentler for my hair. Relaxing is a chemical process to loosen or straighten the curl of the hair. Now I began getting this done to my hair when I was about 5/6 and my last relaxer was when I was 18. After the process my hair would be a little straighter but it would still be nappy and the chemicals would damage my hair. I would put so many products on my hair to try to moisturize and save my hair from the breakage. Even with all that hassle, my hair would still be untamable. I was advised to wrap my hair, which involves combing hair in one direction which would make a honeycomb shape on your head and covering it with a wrap scarf. Of course me being a rebel with super rebellious hair, I toss around in my sleep so that hair wrap would never stay on.

For several years after that I went “natural” which was not any easier! In order to do my hair on a daily basis I would have to wash it in the morning or wet it, cover it with globs of product, and then covering it in a mountain of gel, mousse, or jam. All of which would not keep my hair in check. When it was down, it would take on a life of itself and grow into a curly afro. When it was up, the shorter strands would start fraying out and frizzing up. Then depending on the gel I use, when it dries it gets crusty and starts turning white, NOT SEXY. Also, curly hair is super thirsty! The ends would often be so dry and I would get so many split ends. I braided it occasionally and that would last about a week. The braids would give me headaches because of how tight my scalp was being pulled. Then each day after the braids weren’t fresh, I’d have to constantly maintain the fresh look with jam or gel because strands would come unloose. After so many days in the braids, my scalp would get itchy and dry. It was time to find a new solution!

One day I was driving home and I drove by a salon called “Dominican Blowout”. So when I went home I looked up what a blowout was. It was pretty self-explanatory. With high heat, the hair was blown dry straight in little sections. The process took a little while but afterwards the hair would stay completely straight and manageable and straight for up to 3 weeks as long as you didn’t get your hair wet or wash it. My first blow-out lasted about 2.5 weeks. I would just use light coconut or Moroccan oils for my ends. I also invested in a dry shampoo which you spray on the roots of your hair and brush it to distribute the product to the ends. This was definitely an improvement but not quite permanent enough for me.

The stylist I went to recommended I try a Brazilian keratin treatment. Some keratin treatments use formaldehyde and other noxious chemicals so when looking for brand, I usually try to find an organic or formaldehyde-free. Anyways, the salon I went to had an organic brand so I made my appointment. First the hair is shampooed with a clarifying shampoo in order to strip the hair of any products and to cleanse the hair. That way the keratin can bond onto the hair more successfully. Then the keratin is applied in small sections to the hair. Once in the hair, I find that putting on a plastic cap and sitting under a heat lamp helps to infuse the product to your hair. Most people don’t have a heat lamp at home, I don’t. So after you apply the product to your hair, you have to blow dry your hair straight using a round brush in small sections. After the hair has been thoroughly blown straight, in small sections flat iron your hair with relatively high heat. The fumes can be pretty strong so it’s important to do this in a well ventilated area. My hair requires super high heat and the keratin helps to protect the hair. Then for the hard part. For at least 48 hours you must keep your hair perfectly straight and you can’t wash it. No hair ties, no hair behind your ears, no sweating, no sunglasses on top of your head, no scarves, nothing. Why? If you crimp, bend your hair, or wet it, your hair will stay like that. So for example one day you tucked your hair behind your ear, your hair will want to keep that curve in it. For better results wait longer before you wash it. The product will feel a little heavy on your head and so the urge to wash it will become harder to resist. Once you decide it’s time to wash it you have to use SULFATE and PARABEN FREE shampoos and conditioners. If not your hair will be stripped of the keratin and you will be back at step one. . Another thing you have to avoid is chlorine.  My first treatment lasted for a couple of months. The new growth of my hair is ultimately what caused me to get the treatment redone again. Since then I have been getting keratin treatments and enjoying my life a whole lot better. I just wash it, blow it straight, flat-iron it and put some coconut oil on it and it stays manageable for days! I can go out in the humidity without fearing the appearance of the fro. Until at least your new growth comes in, then you can get what I call a half fro.

So if you’re mixed or have super thick curly hair, you might want to give the keratin treatment a chance. You may find you have a lot less bad hair days!

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