I make no bones about the fact that Samantha-Jane Samaai is my girl, my style icon, my shoulder to cry on, my voice of reason. She is my Samantha Jones, my mentor and definitely one of “my people”.
Ours started off as an unlikely friendship (yes ok…, a guy was involved but ain’t nobody got time to talk about that particular story), but it is a friendship that has lasted the test of time.
Sam was one of the first people I asked to speak about her natural journey, but I was always met with “Urrgh, it’s gonna take forever!!! Next time, honey! We can do it next time”
Sam and I featured in The Daily Voice a few months back and I wasted no time in hi-jacking her article for my blog. In her own words, Sam tells us about her journey.
I have always had a lot of hair on my head! And ever since I can remember, Sunday was “hairrr wash day”. Well that was if we were not going out the Saturday else it was up at 7 am on a Saturday morning to start this whole hair washing drama. I remember my mom using Colgate shampoo and the Medi Scalp conditioner, which if I think about it now was so moisturizing and thick with that distinct conditioning smell! Then it would be rolled in (roller set) with yellow and orange rollers. If you know what I’m talking about can I get a whoop whoop. My mom would tell me “Now go play outside” and I would play in the sun until my hair was dry which was 2 hrs later!
In winter time I would sit under the hairdryer which also lasted for 2hrs!! That is how thick the strands of my hair were. However, when my hair came out of those rollers, I could not stop shaking my hair, I actually think I hurt my neck on a couple of occasions, and as the sun set, my curly hair would go into 4 plaits because Monday is school and that curly thing could not happen! I was always so sad!
I think the part my mom loved at that time was putting the conditioner on my hair and combing it through my thick curly hair, because she had a smile on her face whenever my hair was combed out proper, like she achieved something and I would be in tears and she would always tell me, “don’t worry my angel when your hair is done, you will thank me” good choice of words she used. She would never tell me “you must suffer for beauty”, which I personally think is a terrible thing to say to anyone.
Then I think it got too much for her, and at the age of 12, she took me to Rajies in Town Centre (Mitchells Plain), and Aunty Zenith, who owned the salon, always did my hair. So my first “Sheen straightener” happened at that age.
I went to the salon and I sat in the chair, they divided my hair and I thought “OMG, what is this? What are they going to do? And it smelt hideous!!! So chemically!!! “
But my mom assured me it would be fine. She left me at the salon, and went to do her shopping in Town Centre. I sat there as they put the product on my hair, then sat for 15min and they came back to comb it through. And just like that! my coily curls disappeared and I had straight hair and it seemed so little, well I was 13, it seemed like I had such little hair on my head , but in essence it was so tamed and so thin…..and no longer “unruly”.
I then sat for another 45min with this product on my hair, now you can imagine how thick my hair was. And I actually found out they used the “super” strength Sheen straightener on my hair.
They then rinsed it out and put the “neutralizer” on which is the yellow product in the Sheen straightener box, a very runny product, which also smells good and neutralizes that chemical smell. They then rolled in my hair and I sat under the hairdryer for like 45min!!!! Can you believe it!!! 45min, I Kid You Not!!!
Now as far as I was concerned that was impressive!!! And I was waiting for the rollers to come out, I thought “OMG; I wonder what the outcome is going to be…..they then took out the rollers, and as they were taking out the rollers, my hair was so thin!!”
Some of the rollers actually just fell out of my hair, I’m not even exaggerating!!! I could not stop touching my hair, the texture, and the length of my hair was amazing!!! And it was so thin!!! They then blew out my hair and I looked amazing!! I loved it. I went back religiously every 3motnhs. I remember the moment my regrowth would start; my mom would make an appointment at Rajies.
I then got older and my life became busier, I didn’t feel like going to the hairdresser and sit there for the whole day, I then decided to do the BC (Big Chop) at the age of 24. I remember my boyfriend at the time got such a shock because I had NO HAIR on my head!!!
It was so liberating, and I actually looked fabulous. People loved it and I owned it! Then I started to grow it out and it became such a mission because I wanted my natural curls back and it just took forever, but I was patient.
At that time, it was all about having long hair and I was so not into that at that stage, I was so over it actually because I then had my own personality and got lots of attention with my short hair. When it started growing, I loved it even more.
It then grew longer and it started to grow into an afro and then I thought to myself, “Girl,you can rock this!!!” – and I have been doing it for a while now.
There were times that I would go for a curly perm, just to tame my curls, but I actually haven’t done that in like 4 years. I came to realize that all you have to do is take good care of your hair, use good products, and yes, it does take time and lots of management, but that’s the decision I made.
I absolutely love my natural hair and I’ve been stopped so many times by girls asking me where I bought my weave. They would actually put their hands into my hair if I say it’s mine and not a weave. They would actually feel and check for rows.
Anyway, I have grown to love it and myself. However when I straightened my hair, I loved myself as well, but this is different, this is a “its mine” “I’m comfortable with my hair and don’t feel the need to be pressured” feeling. An ownership type of thing!! And I actually haven’t come across anyone who doesn’t like my hair. Everybody love’s it!
I can so relate to Samantha-Jane’s hair story. I remember Sheen Strate and Mediscalp very well. In fact, I can still smell it! Did you use those products on your hair? Did you play outside after washing and setting your hair during Summer?
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Catch Samantha-Jane on Twitter: @mizthang0509