Frontal Sew-In

I made a terrible mistake last week. Just idiotic and naive. I paid close to $350 for a hairstyle that is no longer on my head.

I decided I wanted a sew-in to give my natural hair a break. There’s a tropical depression/storm that’s currently throwing a solid tantrum over the Marianas. It’s just dreadful hair weather for any hair type. It’s sticky. It’s wet. It’s hot. The air just feels heavy. That must’ve been why I thought it was a good idea to get a protective style.

I had an appointment for Friday, and I dutifully brought along hair I purchased on Amazon. I went with super long hair, because the last time I got 16 inches, and my hair turned out like Garth’s from Wayne’s World. Excellent.

My stylist undid my clunky attempt at Dutch braids, and I explained my hair journey as quickly as I could. She asked to see the hair, and to her (and my) surprise, I whipped out a frontal.

She told me that it would cost a lot more to install a frontal than a closure. My nonplussed expression was accompanied by the question, “What’s the difference?”

That must have been the moment that she realized I was a hair idiot. She was so patient explaining every little detail. The hair is supposed to have bleached knots, so that the little black dots and lace are not noticeable. It should’ve been dropped off a day before to be customized. I also didn’t need a frontal, because my edges were present and accounted for. I seriously had no clue, but I shrugged and said “Wellp, it’s what I have, let’s do it.”

Next thing I know, my hair is braided, and she’s plucking the frontal’s hairline and the parts on a wig holder for some reason. She was customizing it for my head. I’m thinking, “Okay, cool, she’s not gonna let my ignorance let me look crazy. Sweet.”

Then she gets out hair glue and Gorilla Snot hair gel after wiping my forehead with alcohol. I pump the brakes saying, “Wait, gel? What’s that for?”

She took ten minutes or so to explain that the front of frontal had to be bonded to my fivehead to stay. I’m so glad she was patient, because I obviously didn’t know what I was purchasing. I’m thinking, “Okay, that sounds fake, but let’s go ahead. Try new things, Rachelle, new things.”

At this time, I pointedly ignored the little voices in my head that not so softly reminded me, “Rachelle, you need to quit while you’re ahead. Gel, are you for real? You know what that does to your skin and scalp.” There was a whole conference call/group chat going on in my head between Skin, Scalp, Logic, Past Experience, Ignorance, Reason, Fear and Hope. Unfortunately Skin and Scalp left the chat early. The messages were left unread. Further calls were sent straight to voicemail.

The glueing is followed by the gelling and now I’m gritting my teeth, because a good amount of my five head skin’s protests are muffled by 20 inches of bone straight Brazilian hair, glue, gel and baby hairs.

I sighed, thinking the tough part was over. Then my stylist says, “Don’t sweat a lot.”

Ugh, my heart sank. I work out six times a week now. Six out of six times, I look like I’ve gone swimming. Also, I live in Guam, the land of forehead sweat and armpit stains no matter what I wear. Telling someone not to sweat much here, is like casually advising someone not to breathe.

But for some reason, I still wanted to keep this style. I had gotten that far, and she was sewing in the rest of the hair. She advised me to keep the frontal tied down if I wasn’t doing anything or if I was working out. I paid her, and she told me to to text her if I had questions or needed help. Let’s note here, that I forgot my umbrella in the salon.

I followed her instructions when I got home, going so far as using two headbands to keep my new hair pressed to my head. I’m satisfied with my overachiever status. When I got up the Saturday morning and removed my bonnet and scarves, it was a sight to behold. All the baby hairs were stuck to my head. It took about thirty minutes to differentiate between the hairs that were and were not supposed to be glued to my head. While I was dealing with that, I noticed the big red bumps that had appeared around my new hairline. Cool, new acne, that’s exactly what I wanted.

My gym class was in the morning so I tied it down again. I tried my damndest to not sweat, but still have a good workout. It did not go well. At the end, I went straight to the bathroom to see the damage. The whole hairline was trashed. Donald Trump’s squirrel nest comb-over toupee blowing in the wind came to mind. I was crushed.

I tried tying it back down, and blow drying with the cool setting to get the frontal somewhat normal. Cue the stuck down baby hairs again. I also went to pick my fiancé up from the airport that afternoon in the rain, without an umbrella, and in Guam humidity of course. By Sunday… how do I explain the state of my hair?

There’s an old Kevin Hart quote where he tries to figure out what his uncle meant by:

“Peel his muffin cap back blue.”

I managed to define it this past weekend. It’s a frontal falling off, only held to the scalp because it’s sewn there and connected to the rest of the weave. It couldn’t be saved. I was torn between annoyance the amount of money I spent and fury that I hadn’t just asked for something else that I could manage. Eventually I had Jack just cut it all out. He was in a fit of giggles, one: because he’s never cut a weave out, and two: because I was so mad at myself. Scalp and Skin rejoined the group chat, but only read the notifications from the rest of the squad without responding. I put on a head wrap, and headed to the beauty supply store for some crochet Senegalese twists and a hefty slice of humble pie the next morning.

The things we do to look good, I swear.


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