I would like to share this my story to everyone and hope someone out there shares the same journey I’ve gone through. I would like to be an inspiration to colored girls out there who feel the need to change ones skin color to feel you belong. I submitted this to an online magazine and I still haven’t heard from them as of this writing so I just wanted to self publish my story for the world to hear.
My Relaxed Hair Journey by Charisma Starke
I started relaxing my hair at age 18. It’s a rule my mom would want me to follow, which pains me during my teenage years, but I still obliged. Being raised in the Philippines, wherein being beautiful is defined with having fairer skin and straight smooth hair. I always had difficulty in fitting in and disliked the way I look. I’m half African American, half Filipino. I’m always known in school as the girl with 2 braided pigtails. Before I relaxed my hair, you may find it difficult to believe that I don’t know how to comb my hair. My aunt Victorina is the one who patiently wakes up at 5am to do my combing and braids from age 2 until I reached 18. Not only I am insecure with my hair, but also with my skin color. I always gets teased my people I met in the streets and they often say “Black is beautiful, but too much black is charcoal!” So I became self conscious with my skin color and I’ve decided to start using a Papaya whitening soap daily with monthly visits to the salon for skin bleaching on top of that. I dreamt that I could be 5 shades lighter, I would be more attractive, accepted and be finally called “You’re beautiful!”
And the day came for my 18th birthday. Aside from the modest debut party my folks gave, my Mom Aurora gave me a gift certificate for a hair salon to get my hair relaxed. I’ve never felt so happy and a sense of becomingness in my life.
I came here in the US at 23. I’ve never thought I’d be welcomed and never felt an inch of insecurity for my skin color and hair. It’s a turning point in my life where I finally felt that I AM BEAUTIFUL!
Ever since I relaxed my hair, I do some touch ups on the new growth every 3 months. If I fully colored my hair, I always ensured not to bleach it and to deeply moisturize my hair at least once a week. I relax my hair after a month of hair color. I also became adventurous in terms of hair styles. I had it cut to an A line bob, the shortest hair length I’ve ever had. In 2013, I finally made a decision to grow my locks. It’s pretty hard to deal with at first since I do relax and color my hair on a regular basis on top of the heat styling tools I used daily.
Here are all of my favorite hair care essentials for growing as well as maintaining the moisture for my relaxed hair. By the way, I only wash my hair twice a week. These products worked pretty well for my relaxed hair after years of experimenting with different ones.
Nature’s Gate Mandarin Orange and Patchouli Sulfate Free Shampoo for Color Treated Hair
Coconut Hot Oil Treatment (for deep conditioning after hair relax and color done once a week)
Matrix Biolage Color Care Conditioner
Styling Tools buddies applied on damp towel dried hair before blow dry and flat iron
Matrix Total Results Iron Tamer
Matrix Total Results Moisture Cure
Hair Brushes I Love:
Spornette DeVille 2.25” Round and Paddle 100% Boar Bristle brushes
100% Triple Filtered Emu Oil (3 drops applied daily for a non greasy shiny hair)
Rusk Deep Shine Color Care Invisible Dry Shampoo (applied on Days 2 and 3)
How often do you relax and/or color your hair?
Charisma: My routine is I color my hair with no bleaching involved. Bleaching makes my hair more brittle. I relax my hair at least 6 weeks after I color my hair. Sometimes, I grew out my hair for months, with no hair color touch ups, for an ombre look. My natural hair color is chestnut brown. I relax my hair for regrowth every 14 weeks.
Did you experience any breakage?
Charisma: Yes I did but not a whole lot. This happens if I relax my hair 4 weeks after a permanent color done.
Was you hair too dry after you relaxed it?
Charisma: Yes! But I use a hair reconstructor during the first week with an extensive hot oil treatment.
How often do you wash or shampoo your hair?
Charisma: Not more than 3 times a week. Sometimes, I skip on shampooing it and just condition it. I do these during humid days like summer time.
How often do you use styling tools?
Charisma: I always blow dry with a round boar bristle brush after washing my hair. Before I do my blow dry session, I twist it in a rope-like manner and blow dry until it’s 80% dry. Then I proceed with blow dry with a round boar bristle brush. I use this process all the time to keep the moisture within the cuticles and less breakage.
Thanks for taking the time to read my relaxed hair journey.
Clinical Lab Scientist by Profession
Beauty and Fashion Blogger