Me and my hair have been on the natural journey since 2014. I know at the time of writing this article it has been roughly 8 years, but in hair years it def feels much longer. I’ve had challenges beyond measure with my hair and scalp and this past year I have FINALLY found some things that worked for me 🙌🏾 I’d like to share my learnings in hopes that maybe if there are similar challenges faced, this can help give some hope. Let’s jump in!
So a little hair history, I grew up only ever wearing my own hair. The one time I recall having my first faux hair experience was in 7th grade when a lady from our church installed crochet braids in me and my older sisters hair. That’s it. The end.
In addition to never wearing faux hair, my hubby has always preferred my natural hair (still does 😏). He’s always running his hands in it and touching my scalp lol! After having kids though, I got more serious about trying to figure out ways I could wear faux hair to save myself some time (cause listen, doing my own hair is a job, but doing 2 other heads of hair…well, there ya go).
Whether he was ready or not, I told him get ready cause I planned to figure this out! My first attempt since junior high was back in 2021. My sister had been getting crochet faux locs and they always looked AMAZING, so I figured I’d give it a go.
They didn’t turn out half bad! My mom cornrowed my hair after years of not having that done and I installed them myself. I enjoyed the look for about a week…and then, darkness. Jk, but it did start to suck. I held out as long as I could but the roughness of the locks ended up causing me contact dermatitis reactions on my neck 🤦🏾♀️. This is truly my hair life because I have crazy sensitive skin. It’s to the point I use mostly natural fibers in clothing as much as possible and fragrance free laundry detergent.
I temporarily threw in the towel and went back to the drawing board. They say when using faux hair to do an apple cider vinegar rinse to prevent issues. Even though I had done that, the locs still caused problems. I put a paused on the hair until I could figure out a different route. 5 months later, I was pondering the idea again. What could I wear that wouldn’t be just a tragedy to my skin??
I decided on some human hair curly clip ins and this choice was an absolute win! They cost some money, but it was well worth it! I had found something that didn’t irritate my neck or scalp. It did take some getting use to, but once I got the hang of them, I enjoyed the look. Even hubby couldn’t tell the difference between my hair and the faux hair. Guess I blended it all too well 😏.
After the success of the clip ins, it reignited my heart to find something that I could use in my hair as a braid or twist style. I ended up trying a pre rinsed pack of faux hair for crochets and even though it started on the right path, it ended with me removing the hair after 5 days and a visit to a local dermatologist.
Confused and fed up with what I took as an overly sensitive scalp, I could feel myself giving up. When the dermatologist took a look at my scalp, she suggested something I didn’t expect. She told me that it sounded like I might have a dye allergy to the chemicals used in black/brown colored hair. I walked away with a new idea that if I tried a different color, it might be ok!
A few weeks later, determined to find something that would work I scouted YouTubers who had tried out varying styles of faux hair specifically for PPD allergies (the name for the hair dye used). While skimming over comments, I see a lady who is talking about going back to hair yarn. Hair yarn…what’s that??
A quick google search landed me tons of pics of ladies using Brazilian wool hair yarn as their braiding hair for braids and twists! Not only did it look nice, I couldn’t tell the difference between that and typical braiding hair! I ordered some and y’all, my hair life has NEVER been the same 🙌🏾
What’s great about this yarn is it’s acrylic. Whatever dye used doesn’t cause me any scalp irritation or contact dermatitis. It’s super lightweight too so I’m able to do a variety of lengths with no worries about tension and pulling. Annnnnd it comes in lots of fun colors!!
I ended up trying out a red hue that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve always wanted to color my actual hair, but I don’t want to deal with any potential damage so this is a safe way to avoid all that. Most recently I installed coffee colored twists and that looked really cool and natural. In the future I plan to try more colors and styles with the hair. There’s so many options and I’m a kid in a candy store since I found something that FINALLY works as a protective style.
It took me almost a year to find something that stuck for me. I just feel like the older I get, the less I tolerate not being able to do things in a way that benefits me fully. I refuse to wear hair that will make me itchy. I refuse to wear a look that is just uncomfortable in the end causing me irritation. I don’t want the hair to look cute, but cause me trouble. I’d rather just not. Thankfully, I kept looking and my search was rewarded. I hope this encourages anyone having hair woes to keep digging until they find something that works for them. It’s out there for sure!