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Photo History of My Hair
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Here are a bunch of photos of my hair while I was trying to figure out what on earth to do with it:
Photo of me and my brother (for a picture of what he looks like now―he looks totally different― you can check out: my brother now). In the beginning, my hair was straightened by my (African American) grandmother on my mom’s side. It was carefully set each night in dozens of little balls all over my head. It took at least an hour a night. Teri and Jeff Childhood Photo
Teri with Afro in the Garden The one time my mom took me to a hairdresser, the hairdresser cut off all my hair and gave me a Jheri curl on top of my relaxer. After that, everyone sort of threw their hands up in the air, and I began trying to take care of it myself. I’d just brush it and pat it into a roundish shape.

During a visit to my (Caucasian) grandmother on my dad’s side, my grandmother offered to style my hair. She bravely worked on it with a curling iron. It looks as though my hair was as flexible as warm plastic.

Soon afterwards, I began wearing scarves over my hair.

Teri with Styled Afro
Saucerfro This is what my hair looked like by the end of the summer. This was the end result of a summer dry brushing my hair (that had a Jheri curl over a straightener) every day.
When I returned home, my hair was quickly relaxed. It never lost that cake frosting look. Teri with relaxer
Teri with Straight Hair

After I discovered chemicals, I got them to take out my poor hair's curl, but then could do nothing else with it. So I wore my hair as strapped down as possible.
A slight variation of my basic do. I sometimes mixed it up with two ponytails. On the right, my broken hair puffed up anywhere it wasn't strapped down. It broke apart nonstop (from the relaxers) to coat my shoulders in little broken hair pieces.
Teri with Straight Hair - Two Ponytails Chemical Hair

I really wanted to wear my hair curly. I didn't think it was possible to manage it without chemicals, so through most of my highschool years, I wore it texturized in some way or other. It never grew longer than this.
Texturized from side Texturized

Another picture with my texturized hair with a few braids thrown in on the left. On the right, I'd gotten tired of orange hair, and so I then dyed my hair an ash brown. My hair was so porous from the chemical damage that it soaked up way too much of the dye, and ended up sort of a dark purple color instead.
Texturized with book


Frustrated with my hair, I cut it off with kitchen scissors, and then dyed it bright red.
Hair Nest Red hair

This is when I was trying to grow my locs. My hair was orange, and I had some long braids that I'd stopped combing, so they were half dreds. I put beads on the ends, and sewed them into my hair.
Dreds and scarf Dreds back view

Yep. I was going though quite a phase back then. Drama dreds

This was what my dreadlocks ended up looking like. At the time I couldn’t find any information on them, so I just stopped combing my hair. It turned into a big mat, and I had to tear apart each lock and roll them between my fingers to get sort of the right shape. They stuck out everywhere, so I sewed lots and lots of glass beads into them to keep them weighted.

On the left, me and my dad and me at my highschool graduation dinner. On the right, me at Crater Lake. I’d given up on my locks by then because they wouldn’t grow. So I was back to the ‘fro again. If I'd known how to take care of it, I would have been able to grow out my hair much sooner. But I didn't know what to do with it.
HS Graduation Dinner Crater Lake

Bad weave. When I went to straighten my hair after I cut off the locks, I messed up and dissolved all my hair. What little was left was orange and crunchy. That was when I got into weaves. I didn't know how to put them in properly, so strangers would come up to me and ask if I was wearing a weave.
After weaves, I tried out extensions. I didn’t know what I was doing with the extensions, and ended up with all my hair matting together. I spent two days ripping the extensions out, and 8 hours to comb out the mat. I was left with the same short hair I’d been trying to get away from my whole life. Teri with Extensions

Here I was trying a bit of everything. I had my hair texturized, and also I had a few extensions left in it for good measure. Sometimes the texturizing gave me really straight areas mixed in with curlier spots (see right photo).
All Kinds of Styles In One! Teri with Elmer

Before the chop. This was taken right before I cut off the chemicals. I was setting my hair in two strand twists, but still wearing a few extensions in the front (I really liked having hair hanging in my face). You can see where my hair is thick and healthy near the scalp with the new growth, and straight and breaking off at the tips with the chemical hair.

One of the only pictures I know of of when I first cut off my relaxer (I'd been growing it out for about a year or so before I cut it). Chemicals Gone.

Taken at about two years of growth.
Hair starting to grow Black Dress

My hair at about three years of new growth. For the most part I wore it back in a ponytail because it got big and puffy so easily. (I have no idea why I was scowling when feeding the ducks.)
Ducks Ponytail

Around four years of new growth. Already it was much longer than I'd ever been able to get it in my life.
wind in hair. Teri with below shoulder hair

This is me when I lived in Santa Cruz. My hair is much longer, but I still hadn’t figured out how to keep it from puffing up in the wind, rain, humidity, and if someone looked at it the wrong way. This was after about six years of growth.
Long and Puffy in Santa Cruz

At about seven to eight years of growth, and when I'd finally figured out all the pieces of how to care for it that made it weather proof. (Oh, the peas are a painting I did for my step mom).
Jamaica Peas

Hair and Chair This is how my hair is now (this was taken after about eleven years of growth).  I finally figured out how to keep it from puffing up like a balloon. The only difference in my hair from the above photo of me in Santa Cruz, apart from more length, are the techniques in the Curly Primer. My hair is now down to my hips when wet, and I shrug at rain, wind and humidity. (For more photos of my hair as it looks now, check out Hair Shots.)
My Hair Now

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