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Kinky Curly. Pink. Carol’s Daughter. Jam. Organic Root Stimulator. Proclaim. Dr.Miracle’s. The dollop of gel to slick the hair back, the spraying of hairspray to keep it in place, the dime-sized amount of pomade spread on the scalp. Oh, the bountiful amounts of black hair care products! At age 14 I became obsessed with them.

My trips to the local beauty supply were always worthwhile. My mind was set on buying one product after researching and reviewing it the previous night. “Dr. Miracle’s Gro Balm or Organic Root Stimulator’s Hair Mayonnaise! Which one should I pick? ” I anxiously asked my sister. Already annoyed with the countless options I had set before her, she carelessly responded, “I don’t know, Jodaëlle!” That particular day I found myself leaving the store with the Doo Gro Hair Oil.


Jodaëlle’s Hair Obsessions didn’t die at the door of Sally’s Beauty Supply. They continued on the internet, in my conversations, and in my mind. I not only researched hair care products, but also the chemistry of hair itself. I learned that hair was made of keratin and grew from a hair follicle creating a hair bulb at the scalp. I learned that each and every hair strand has its own separate life cycle where it grows for a period of time, then has a period of rest where it stops growing, and then falls out with a new hair strand being made at that hair follicle. I learned that approximately 100 hair strands shed per day. I learned that a split end could not be permanently mended, and the only way to get rid of it was to cut it off.


Before permanently straightening my hair my mother would say, “Your hair is breaking,” while roughly stroking it with a wide tooth comb. Okay? Was I really supposed to be shocked at that? This was something I heard regularly. My hairs to my head were leaves to trees during the fall, slowly breaking from the branches and falling off by the handful. I turned to what seemed to be my only solution—the “creamy crack,” or in its original term, a relaxer. I watched as my mother stirred the solution slowly and soon after applied it to my mane. I experienced a painful, burning sensation on my scalp quickly after the application. “Mom, wash it out!” I would scream. I had to go through this torture-fest nearly every two months.

“No, it’s not straight enough,” she responded. I wrestled in my chair almost in tears and then finally I got what I yearned for: Cool, refreshing water putting out the fire in my hair. Yes! The kinks were gone, and the straight, luscious, shiny hair emerged. This brought me temporary satisfaction and another problem—thinning hair which led me to researching even more products.

“My hair is so thin! What should I do?” I complained to my cousin.

“Why don’t you just leave your hair alone?” she asked. Why was I letting my hair consume my thoughts? I always wanted it to be long, but instead it continuously became thinner. The more I agonized, the worse my hair got. On the other hand, I noticed those who were stress-free grew longer and thicker hair.

Today, three years later, I am still self-conscious about my hair. However, I’ve ceased to be obsessed with it and the products, especially the “creamy crack” because I’ve realized that the more I care, the less hair. I am now natural and no longer force myself to endure the burning sensations of a relaxer. After years of experimentation and research, I’ve come to the conclusion that no product will satisfy me and make me content about my hair. This new experience has not only allowed me to steer away from agony, but it has also taught me to accept myself because no matter how hard I try to become something besides my true self—physically and mentally—I will end up disappointed. Rather than new scalp burns and bald spots every two months I’ve decided to let my hair be. I may not be pleased with my kinks, but I’ve learned to accept them as part of me.





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