Monday, October 19, 2009

Pressing damage- A reminder from a dark day in 2006

I was once a victim of extreme pressing damage. I never shared these awful images because I was embarrassed and angry, but now it's time. I have friends and associates who, due to the changing season, are considering pressing as a new look and/or a nice length check. I did this as well about 2 years ago, and escaped with my hair unscathed. But in early 2006 that was not the case. After one press, after about 2 years of not pressing, the MAJORITY of my hair did not revert back. I must note, that I had my hair pressed in the distant past at a salon in Boston, and I had stopped going because a few sections suffered similar damage. I cut them out, and it was not a huge loss- but I took note. So this time I decided to do it myself. I used a maxiglide, following the directions, but used too much heat for my hair. I think the steam and heat combination made it particularly bad because I would not have predicted such extensive damage from the "medium" heat alone. It was a Christmas gift and I rushed home to try it out. I was actually amazed by the results. It made my hair silky straight in just one or two passes, without blow drying first. I wore it straight for about a week before I washed my hair (picture above left). And then- the horror. I conditioned it for days on end, with the most rich and expensive conditioners I could find. I tried styles to combat the multiple textures. I eventually started cutting. and cutting... and cutting. I obsessed for about 3 months before cutting my hair all off. One day I decided I had enough new growth to just start all over. It was a sad day.

SO the moral is- be very, very careful when pressing. The damage is not worth it. The hair doesn't have to even smell burned or look dry to be damaged irrevocably. Check out the images and don't say I didn't warn you!

In the final days before the cut. I'd already cut about half my length off in sporadic patterns and attempts to look normal.

The evening of the cut, back at home. I was happy again. But had short hair... again.

And this was my lioness mane before I killed it. Can you even believe I did this to myself? It's not worth it.


  1. omg i seriously think I would of cried! your hair was so gorgeous in the last pic. I used to get heat damage when i pressed my hair but only in the back & i would have to cut it off. I learned my lesson now i've just excepted the fact that i can't get my hair silky straight w/o damage.

  2. The same thing happened to me in summer 2007. I had healthy APL hair and stupid me decided to flat iron on the highest setting! my hair had NO texture. It was like a really awful perm. No body whatsoever. I had to transition and then do the big chop. My hair does not like heat. I would be almost waisghtlength now( i'm now between APL and BSL). I think some people see other naturals pressing all the time and figure they can do it too, but thats not always the casr.

  3. I DID cry! lol. It sucked, bad, because I was so happy with my hair right before then. I remember bragging to my mom over break about how healthy it was. Yes. Some of us just can't go smoothly straight without risking damage.

  4. I was sad to read this, but actually happy at the same time that I found a sis who could fully identify with my pain in experiencing the same thing. In 2002 I decided to get my hair pressed. It was long, on my shoulders, because I was pregnant at the time. I will never forget washing my hair and almost choking to find a couple of plugs of hair on the sides that were still straight. I called the girl who pressed and asked if she was sure she didn't accidentally get perm on sections of my hair. She swore she didn't. I didn't know what to believe back then. But now, I understand...and I'm leary of any heat. In fact, I rarely blow dry, and if I do, it's on the low setting. I've cut several inches since then, and now I rock a short-medium afro. But I will NEVER forget that time in my naturalhair life. YEP, I cried too...and had to begin cutting. Luckily I got pregnant AGAIN, 18 months after my middle baby was born, so more pre-natal vitamins meant more hair growth. That saved me, what I had to cut grew back in no time. But hey, if I think about it long enough, I can STILL get mad about it. BTW, your hair is gorgeous!

  5. Sigh, this happened to me because my so I guess I'l just grow my hair out for a year and then cut it to about medium length :-(

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