The putrid, chemical odor. The vaseline around your ears and edges. The incessant urge to itch your scalp.
The line ingrained into my brain: “The burning means it’s working.”
These are the collective memories that stick with us, the little Black girls who got relaxers in the pursuit of straight hair. We remember leaning over the sink or tub while our mothers washed it out. We remember making sure we didn’t sweat it out before school picture day.
But we also remember seeing little girls like us on the boxes and thinking, “I want that,” coveting their shiny bobs and immaculate ringlets.
Those little girls, our original It girls, have now grown up and revealed themselves in a viral Twitter thread:
On Sunday, Twitter user @prettiestluxury wrote: “I remember wanting to be the face of a hair relaxer so bad.”
Another Twitter user, @AshTheDonLeon, quoted their tweet that same day, asking, “Where are these girls today? Show yourselves,” and amassed 37.5K retweets.
And our favorite cover girls checked in — and delivered. Alexis Davis, 22, was the face of Africa’s Best Kids Organics Hair Softening System as a child. When she revealed her face, she replied, “Heyyyy (the one on the right)” while noting that her sister modeled on the back of the box.
Another child model, Shiyenn Scott, quoted the tweet with, “Hey that’s me lol!” sharing that she was approached with the opportunity to model by an Atlanta photographer. Scott tweeted, “I remember telling my mom often I wanted to be on the cover of the boxes like the other little girls. She made it happen. He saw my passion for modeling and put us thru w Kids Organics.”
Scott tweeted that that was her first shoot and her foray into modeling. Kids Organics was not the only household name, though. Starlets who graced the boxes of brands such as Dark and Lovely, Sofn’free n’ Pretty, Soft & Beautiful, African Pride Dream Kids Olive Miracle, and more, came out of the woodwork.
As we reminisced, we also lamented over the fact that no matter how hard we tried, our hair never turned out like theirs. Twitter users pointed out how we could never discern whether the models’ hair was actually relaxed — but nonetheless, many were happy to see that most of the models have gone natural since then.
While some of us may have abandoned the creamy crack, these little girls will always stay with us.