Mulattea is a blog written by Skye Haynes. Her posts explore mixed identity, feminism, race, religion, and privilege.

I Set My Hair On Fire

I Set My Hair On Fire

For the first time ever, I have an actual click bate title that's not exaggerating.

I set my hair on fire. 

About two weeks ago I was going to a birthday party for one of Carter's friends. I was really feelin' myself— makeup was poppin', nails were poppin', hair was poppin'. I had a fresh wash and go that wasn't too frizzy thanks to my As I Am Leave-In Conditioner and my Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls cream (that I got literally the week before because Luhhsettyxo used them in her latest haircare video). 

Here's me that afternoon before my hair caught fire. So unassuming. So naive. 


Fast forward to the party. All of Carter's friends are there. Like the amazing wifey material girlfriend I am, I asked them if they wanted to take a squad picture. The only person missing was the actual birthday boy, but it was still a really good pic. Later, when the friend who's birthday it was showed up, they asked me to take another picture of them. 

So they squad up.

I hold up the phone.

I notice the angle is off.

I back up more to get a better picture.... and...

I back into a tiki torch. 

I didn't even know my hair was on fire until I smelled it. Maggie noticed first, then Carter and one of his friends put me out. I just hear people screaming, "STOP DROP AND ROLL! GET IT OUT!" I'm like what is going on? Who is on fire?

Of course it's me. 

Now, you might not know this, but my hair is kind of important to me. 

I have a section of articles that's just about hair. 

My hair is on my abstract self.

Because I'm biracial, because over my lifetime my hair has transformed from an enemy to a close friend, because I've burned it, cut it, dyed it, killed it, revived it, because it's taken me almost 20 years to get to this point, this moment where it finally has reached exactly where I wanted it to be for so many years, because of all of these things....

I cried for the rest of the night. 

I cried at the party. 

I cried walking home early from the party.

I cried in the shower while clumps of my burnt hair slid onto the shower floor.

I cried while silently chanting, "your hair doesn't define you, your hair doesn't define you," over and over again in the shower.

I cried when Carter asked, "Is your hair okay?"

Now I get for some of my non black friends reading this, you're like, "Skye you're being a little dramatic." Maybe I am. Or maybe you don't know what it's like to have internalized hate for your hair and transform that into a weekly, daily routine of self love. I have a lot invested in it! A lot of time, tears, sweat, and literally blood 'cause I've gotten hurt a few times while doing my hair. 


A cool thing that Carter said to me while I was ugly sobbing all over his shirt was, "This is just a part of your natural hair story." And after a two day mourning period, I decided that he was right. Everything I've dealt with— braids, perms, dyes, breakage, heat damage— has prepared me and taught me how to deal with this, the ultimate heat damage. 

So here's what I did to fix my burnt natural hair!

*Cue Eye of The Tiger* 

I went to Sally's and got myself some hair treatments.


From left to right I got the Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Natural Hair Masque Treatment, the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Treatment Masqu, and the Cantu Shea Butter Natural Hair Intensive Repair Deep Treatment Masque. Each pack was about $2–$3. 

The Eden Body Works and the Shea Moisture are both deep conditioners you rinse out after a half hour. The Cantu one is an overnight treatment. I've already talked about deep conditioning in my natural hair articles (link's up there), so I figured I'd focus on the overnight Cantu treatment.

Just walking you through the pictures and my steps.

1) This is a close up of the masque. It's sulfate, paraben, and silicone free which is what I specifically look for when purchasing products for my hair because those three ingredients tend to dry out natural hair. 

2) I thoroughly detangled my hair in the shower and then used my Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo which is sulfate free as well. I never shampoo my ends, I just massage it into the roots and let it work its way down when washing it out, that's because my ends can be pretty dry due to the remnants of the last time I got my hair dyed. 

3) This is just a length check. My hair is still long, it's just missing a chunk in the back now. But after these treatments, that chunk gon' be healthy af. 

4) This is the chunk on the back of my head. I made sure to SLATHER it in the cantu deep treatment. 

5) I parted my hair into four rows and systematically worked through each section, coating it completely with the treatment. I then did a twist out just to keep each section together.

6) Since I had a lot of product still left over, I worked it into my parts. I then gathered them in a low bun, put on a shower cap, put a scarf around that, and then put my bonnet on top of that. That's just hoping it doesn't come off in the night and get all over my pillows.

And this is how my hair came out the next day! The curls were VERY tight and had little to no frizz. I'm loving it!


Moral of the story? Tiki torches are racist. 

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