A No-Lye Nightmare (True Story) #TeamNatural

It was all supposed to be so simple- One wide tooth comb, one box of no lye relaxer, and 45 minutes to Herbal Essence commercial worthy hair.  I bought a box perm from Sally’s Beauty Supply and rushed home.  I implored the help of my friend, Chris, and I got to work spreading my tools uniform and neat on the dining room table.  The house was dead silent. I sat Indian style on the floor while Chris began to part my hair into sections and slater hair grease on my edges. (The experience transformed me back to happier times when Mom used to do my hair.)  Easy Peasy. I carefully poured liquid A into cream B and began rigorously mixing while peering periodically at the instructions. I sat the timer and Chris begin the application process carefully dividing the hair and applying the cream directly to the new growth.  With the exception of the occasional tangle all was going swell.  I just grinded my teeth whenever my dreaded tender headed spots would ping.  The burning began on the right crown of my head and initially it was mild.  I grabbed the oil sheen and extinguished the tingling. At last it was only temporary relief.  Chris wasn’t even halfway done applying; so I clenched my fist, digging my fingernails into my palm, to distract myself, while watching the arrow rotate on the mini timer.  Right when the burn was spreading I told my friend to hurry and work it into the uncovered portions.  He joked about beauty being painful and while I’ve experienced the burn many times in the past, I was in no joking mood at the moment.  The exact second the timer went off, I leap from the floor and raced to the bathroom.  I did not wait for Chris but turned on the water and plunged my head into the sink praying for dear God to get it out.  My friend was assisting to rub the cream out but it seemed as if he was moving in slow motion and I could not think past my pain.  I pushed him to the side and ran to the tub, pausing only to remove my shoes, before I turned on the shower and got in. Chris was not far behind handing me the neutralizing shampoo.  Only then did the burning subside.  I continued to lather and rinse until the water turned from pink to white to clear.  When the application of conditioner stung, I knew I was in trouble.  I rinsed, cursed, rinsed, and cursed some more.  As I began to gently finger untangle, my hands came away with clumps of my hair.  I grabbed a towel, dried, and dragged my feet on the cold tile floor as I moped over to the medicine cabinet.  As I stood looking at the reflection of the nest on top of my head, I wanted to cry.  My hair was under processed and over processed at the same time.  It was beyond a tangled mess…it was a painful tangled mess.  The creamy crack was supposed to save the day, but instead made me dread the day I thought applying my own relaxer was a good idea.   This disaster made me wonder what my hair would look like if I never had another perm again.


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