1. The Importance Of Keeping Your Edges TOGETHER
Girl, look. Your hair could be banging or your weave could be fire, but the one thing all black people know — men and women alike — is that you need to keep those edges on point. Either you brush them down to smooth them out, or you cut them, put gel on them — just something to keep them in check. It don’t make no sense to have a banging silky smooth Brazilian weave and your edges are a hot mess. Don’t get talked about.
2. Black Gel
All black people know that “black gel” is the shit. It has some kind of other name but nobody knows what it is, because we will forever refer to this magic hair holding potion as “black gel.” Y’all know what I’m talking about — that GIANT container of black gel with the white top. My cousin Courtnee “Woo” always had a ginormous jar of black gel in the bathroom, but she didn’t use it in her hair proper. It wasn’t to style her hair…I guess it got too hard? From what I know, she used it to tame her edges. Like I said, keeping your edges together is key.
3. The Hot Comb
When I was growing up, all the women in my house went through the hot comb process. For those of you who don’t know, the hot comb is when you place an iron comb on a gas stove and someone combs your hair with this burning hot torch as you sit there writing in pain. It looks like it sucks, but I guess with beauty comes pain! For many black women this is a better way of straightening your hair than having it chemically relaxed. I’ve never had a hot comb done to me, but I don’t think anyone reading this can forget what oil and burning hair smells like.
If you were a black boy in 1992 and you didn’t have waves you were practically no one. The only way to have waves was if your hair was low all over, or just on the sides if you had a high top. To get waves you had to get a ‘do rag and then you had to wash your hair, cake some Murray’s Superior Pomade (yaaasss!!) on it and tie it down. Like magic you’d wake up in the morning and you’d have fabulous waves to eternity, darling.
5. Tying Your Hair Down At Night
Black women tie their hair down at night, period. They wash their make up off, they take a shower, they slip into their pajamas, and they tie their hair down. This serves many purposes — to keep the edges together and to make sure the hair doesn’t get too messy. This is especially important if you have a weave, a perm, braids, or locks. I always tie my hair down, which made it very strange when I had my first boyfriend in college, a white, and he just couldn’t understand why I was steady tying my hair down at night. And then I had to explain it to him, and I will always have to explain it.
6. Pink Lotion
Pink Lotion — that’s the name and color of the lotion. Black hair dries out quickly, and we need some good ass moisturizer that will keep our hair looking fresh. Pink — which has been around forever was the oil moisturizer of my childhood. Everybody in our house used it, men and women alike.
The other day I was at a bodega in organic, hipster Brooklyn and this place had all kinds of frufru, expensive food stuff. And guess what else? Activator. Right next to the granola was a giant tub of activator. I mean, LOL. Hair technology has increased enough that I don’t think anybody has used activator since 1989, but somehow you can still find it sitting on the grocery shelves. Activator is a non-hardening spritz or gel that’s basically the exact opposite of black gel hardens. Activator is…like…juicy. Men use it to “activate” the curls in their hair. The only problem is…this activator is slippery and wet as shit. Like it’s basically lube/KY jelly.
8. Cocoa Butter
When I was little, cocoa butter was the universal ointment stick for basically anything that was going on with your skin. “Grandma, I have this rash.” “Just throw some cocoa butter on it.” Though you can get it as a cream, most people remember it as a hardened substance that you have to rub on via a glue-stick like object. Ah, the smell of cocoa cocoa butter: smells like growing up in the 90s.