Dirty hair is a very very touchy topic. As a matter of fact, talking about dirty or unclean, anything can be difficult. However, when you work in a business that requires you to clean and be clean, guess what? You can do it! So, here goes the clean on dirt.
Now, this blog is not limited to or is focused on women of color and women with textured hair only. But-ter-umm, the practice of not washing hair for weeks to months at a time is a practice that is predominantly used by women of color and women with textured hair. Why? Well, my research leads me to the answer that slavery is the culprit. Damn it! I know.
|Kemsit, Nubian Queen of Kemet Pharaoh Mentuhotep II|
(2061-2019 B.C). Queen Kemsit having
her hair beautified by her servants.
Now, getting to the point of dirty hair. It is to my understanding as a cosmetologist, there is a school of thought that has been passed down in some cultures of African American families and families of people with textured hair (some people with textured hair do not consider themselves Africans or descendants from Africa. But that is another blog) that textured hair should not be cleaned as often as people who do not have texture. The other school of thought is...the less texture (curly, kinky, wavy or Afro) one has in their hair, the more "they" can wash their hair. As an African kid raised in America, I was raised to shampoo and condition my hair weekly or more, especially during the summer when we went swimming. And my hair looked like Chaka Khan on steroids when I was a kid! So that captures a just a few scenarios around cleaning textured hair.
Well, the practice of not washing textured hair frequently is not a good one. It is no secret that when one of the most inhumane conquistador of all times, Christopher Columbus explored the sea to find the shortest route from Europe to Asia, he obviously had no sense of direction or what he was doing because he ended up in America. History tells us that according to his own journal in his own writing that he enslaved 6 natives on the first day upon them welcoming him and his cronies on their island. He wrote, "they make good servants." And within 60 years, that crook and his cronies physically enslaved thousands of Africans and killed some 250,000 indigenous people (Tainos) with guess what? Rape, torture, lynching, disease and you guessed it, FILTH. And from there, the White lie that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 to discover America began. To think some 526 years later, the American world leader proudly summons masses of people to do what? "Make America great again." Meaning?
Understand that when the slave trade began, they did not do so with slaves. No, Boo Boo Kitty, they did so with Africans who were stolen and captured. When they stole the Africans, they did what any typical thief does when they steal, they take what they need. And typical of any thief, they do not bring other things along that are of no use to them in the selling of their stolen items. Just ask any thief. When a person steals clothes, they don't steal the soap powder and the iron to care for the stolen goods. When a thief steals a car, he does not steal the gas to fuel it or the garage door opener to park it. No, he takes whatever he deems of value to sell on the black market. That was slavery. Slavery was not only about stealing Africans, it was very much about selling Africans as slaves. The slaves were not things; they were African people who were moms, dads, teachers, priests, chiefs, daughters, sons, grandmas, mathematicians, architects, scientists, doctors and more. So, when the Europeans stole these Africans from their homes to enslave them for sale for labor, trust me when I tell you, African hair care was not on the roster and neither was their soap.
|Alata Samina or Ose Dudu a.k.a black soap|
It is imperative for all people, regardless of age, sex, race, nationality, and texture of hair to know that cleanliness began in Africa. No such practice of not cleaning self and hair is in the history or practice of Africans and people with textured hair. Not cleaning hair as needed is a practice forced on enslaved Africans by Europeans slave masters and colonizers alike. Unfortunately, enslaved Africans were forced to drop and disown their lineage and lifestyle as Africans. They were demoted to labels and titles such as Negroes, Blacks, people of color and minorities. As a result of that kind of mind control, rape and physical abuse that the enslaved Africans endured caused a "loss" of mind and their ability to identify with their homeland and lifestyle as Africans for hundreds of years afterwards to the present moment of me typing this blog.
Thus began the tragic practice and belief that descendants from enslaved Africans now called Blacks, people of color and minorities can not wash and comb our hair like Whites or people with less texture in their hair. In addition to creating soap, varying excavations of ancient ruins reveal that Africans even carved and made combs out of animal bones and wood. Today many believe that "Goody," "Diane," and "Dupont" invented combs. They did not.
|The iconic ‘fist’ comb from the|
1970s and a 5500 year old
comb from Abydos Egypt.
Taken at the origins of
the afro comb exhibition.
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 2013
Now we know that Europeans did not civilize the world as we know it. Nor are they the creators and soap. We can now reveal just how the ancient Africans along the Nile created soap. Simple, they did so with the use of essential oils, plants, flowers, and vegetables! Soap in different parts of Africa is also known as Ose (black) Dudu (soap), Du Du Osun, Alata Samina, and Anago Samina. These different names for soap were the original cleansing products of choice for ages to follow. These soaps were not only for cleansing the body, they were also used for cleaning hair. Just as they were good for both during ancient times, they are also good for both now. Nothing against Dove, Caress, Lever and the likes; but Africans invented soap.
Again, the practice of washing hair and scalp every two weeks or months on out, is one that got its origins from slavery. Our ancestors from Africa knew the power of little and tiny; hence microbes. They knew bacteria was harmful and could kill, so cleaning was vital and essential. Cleaning the body along with the hair and scalp is something that is done daily, to three, or to once a week. The choice, of course, is yours. It is your body and your hair. You are free to do as you please.
Understand, that if you are touting yourself as a person who enjoys the freedom of "natural hair" and textured hair, as well as a person who enjoys the freedom of letting it (hair) be; do so in the knowing that "natural hair" is not limited to people of color or people with textured hair; it is everyone and everybody who has a scalp or and hair. This blog points to the interior of Africa along the Nile is where mankind started and where the African diaspora began. Understand that the scalp and every texture of hair need to be cleaned within 7 days. Failure to do so results in advanced hair loss, hair damage, hair breakage, balding and thinning. It also increases the financial gain of every hair care company you can imagine.
Co-washing, washing hair every two weeks, washing hair every month, dirt makes hair grow, and growing dandruff are simply more myths and lies planted in the heads of the descendants of European slave owners and colonizers. Unknowingly, the enslaved Africans passed the lies and practice to their children out of igorance and necessity. Washing hair with soap and water is the most popular way to clean hair. However, it is not the only way. You can also clean your hair and scalp with essential oils or an antiseptic using a cotton ball or white face cloth daily to control the growth of bacteria on the scalp and hair.
That is "the clean" on "the dirt" about hair. The lies of Blacks and people with textured not having to wash their hair weekly or waiting every two weeks to clean their hair and scalp is not the way of us as a people according to history before slavery. It is nothing to brag and tout about as a practice of status, class, decorum, and hygiene for anybody regardless the race. What it is, is a preference. If that is your preference, it is your preference. The clean on dirt is not to make America great again by not washing your hair.
Love, peace and hair grease!