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Finally, I can let my hair down

Two small antelopes can beat a big one.

_ Proverb from the Ashanti

As you get older and your body changes so does your hair and scalp. I have noticed many of my contemporaries whose hair is so thin on top they are almost bald.

I personally noticed a major change in the thickness of my own hair in 1989 and decided to cease from using chemicals to beautify my curls.

Most African-American women don't have problems with thinning, breakage or damage, but there are those of us who have permed and bleached and hot-curled our lovely heads one time too many.

Once I made the decision to stop the chemical processing, I was at a loss for hairstyling. I wore a short, natural style for a long time and then went to braid extensions. I must say that that is probably my absolute favorite style.

In two years' time my hair grew to a very respectable length. Then ignorance set in. I saw a hairstyle on another woman, whose hair was thicker and fuller than mine, but my eyes told me I had to have it.

Well, one year of cutting and combing and blow-drying has me in a worse state than when I started. This past summer, I went back to having my hair braided.

For those of you who have never had your hair braided, it is a tedious process that can take as little as three hours or as long as two days. And depending on who is doing the work, the price can range from $20 to $150.

I had it done locally for a long time, but my hair was so short the braids would fall out if I just looked at them.

This summer while visiting Orlando, I found two sisters who work in the same salon and can braid even the tiny hairs at the nape of your neck and they don't fall off.

Nannette Bussey and Deidre Graybill, both licensed beauticians, just opened their own shop after working for years in someone else's. Although they do all types of services, they have built their reputation for excellence in hair weaving and braiding.

I also was impressed by how dedicated they were to their clients' comfort. They even have a private room for women who may suffer from serious hair problems and don't want to sit in an open salon to receive service.

Orlando may be a bit far to travel for a hairdo, but for me and my daughter Fasha (she jumped on the bandwagon, too) it has worked out famously.

If you would like to talk to Nannette or Deidre, you can call them in Orlando at (407)298-0089. Harambee!

The Cradle of Wisdom comes from Mary Kay Ash: If you think you can, you can. But if you think you can't, you're right.