In addition to the blogs, forums, and YouTube videos I follow, I love reading books. One of the many reasons why I decided to transition instead of big chop was because I wanted time to learn how to care for my hair in its natural state. I prefer to read and learn from others, than to do trial and error on my own hair (unavoidable, I know :)). Unfortunately, I’ve only finished a couple of books because, well…I’ve been extremely busy, and now that I’m changing jobs and moving to a different state, I’m sure reading will fall low on my priority list once again. But I at least wanted to share a couple of books I found extremely helpful for two very different reason:
Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd & Lori Tharps
I can’t remember how I came across this book, but it was such an easy, quick read. At the risk of mentioning the obvious, it tells the story of African American hair. Just the fact that our hair had a story intrigued me enough to buy it. I won’t tell too much, but I will just say it does a great job of exposing the politics of our hair. And not just the obvious Black Power politics, but it explains the identity and symbolism of our hair starting with slavery all the way to the year 2000. It shifted my reason for transitioning from “I love the volume and versatility of natural styles” to “How dare I go through so much to alter how my hair comes naturally out of my head!” lol. But in all seriousness, even if you don’t want to be the next Angela Davis, it’s always great to know the history.
The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy
It took me a while to fully get through this one, but when people call it the hair bible, they are not lying! It is a very technical read, but so insightful. Audrey empowers every reader to take care of their own hair by giving in depth explanations of the hair fiber, how it grows, and how it reacts to different elements (heat, water, different pH levels, etc.). Once you understand the science behind the hair strand, she takes it a step further and discusses the chemical reactions that occur because of different ingredients within products (e.g. what ingredients serve as barriers for water and thus should not be used as moisturizers). You understand what ingredients you should stay away from, but most importantly, you know why. There is even a “Build your own Regimen” section where you have a list of products categorized by their role in your regimen (e.g. Moisturizing Conditioners, Protein Conditioners, Clarifying Shampoos, etc.). I think the best part of this book is that it is an objective, factual point of view that focuses on healthy hair however you choose to wear it. In my opinion it makes her very credible. Her chapters range from the best way to relax your hair to how to transition to natural. I still reference it every now and then. If you’re not into super technical reads, I believe she has a new book out, Hair Care Rehab: The Ultimate Hair Repair & Reconditioning Manual. I haven’t read it, but I plan to!
The book I’m starting now is “Grow It: How To Grow Afro-Textured Hair To Maximum Lengths In The Shortest Time” by Chicoro. I am most interested in her personal hair story, but she also outlines a process I am curious about, so I will let you know how it is!
Thanks for listening 🙂
- Hair Care Rehab Book Review (oneuniquequeen.wordpress.com)
- Confessions of a lazy naturalista… (yvesbrownmcclain.wordpress.com)
- AFROThread: This Week’s HairStory (blacknectar.me)