Circle of Life: My Grandma Used To Do My Hair, Now I Do Hers

Kiana Keys
3 min readJan 15, 2020

Previously published on Sassy Plum


The year was ’88. I sat on that seat by the gas stove in my grandma’s kitchen so she could whip my kitchens. When she pulled out “the comb” from that small drawer next to the silverware and placed it in the fire, I knew my 8-year old life was about to get UPGRADED!

My grandma would take the comb out the fire, wipe it on her old towel, and delicately grab tiny pieces of hair edges only a pro could master. She worked that hot comb so swiftly that I never got burned. Two hours later I would emerge from her kitchen like I stepped out of an Ebony ad. Every single time I sat in that kitchen chair.

For the rest of the day, I would bounce, flip, and whip my neck from side to side to show off my fresh do. Silky tresses, laid edges… my mane glistened with freshly-whipped buttered perfection. My grandma was SICK with the hot comb and twirled those hot curlers so fast, I was convinced she had magical fingers. I would proudly state “my grandma did my hair!” to the world.

In her house, the kitchen wore many hats. It’s the place where cobblers got baked, stories got told, and hair got “DID!”

I miss her kitchen.

Fast forward to today, I recently went to visit my grandmother and noticed her hair needed attention. Now see back in the day, my grandma was a beautician and her hair STAYED “fried, dyed, and laid to the side.” It saddened me a little see that she is no longer able to do to her own hair. So I grabbed her comb, a jar of Vaseline sitting idley on the nightstand, and went to work.

Now anyone that knows my grandma knows she used to talk your ear off, arguing, debating and being the loudest person in the room! Ooooh Lordt. If you tried to challenge her, you didn’t stand a chance. She knew her stuff and could argue a case for days! You would give up long before she got tired!

But in her old age, she doesn’t say much anymore. She exudes a quiet and peaceful grace. And as I opened up my kitchen this day, she never said a mumbling word. Just closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep while I braided and braided. Now I didn’t inherent her magical-finger gene, but I did what I could. A simple set of cornrows to get her through the week.

I even added a few loc beads to make her pop and snazzy. She has no idea how cute she was! But that’s okay, because I’m showing all of you the beauty of someone that means the world to me.

She never verbally said “thank you.” But I know she was thankful, I felt her gratitude via a special line of communication only a grandmother and granddaughter can access. Her heart was heavy and so was mine. I could tell she was thankful and felt pretty because she smiled and blushed as she carefully held my nephew.

The Circle of Life

When I was little, my grandma did for me when I couldn’t do for myself. Now I am returning the favor.



Kiana Keys

I am an introverted social butterfly that loves to read, write, and express my creativity through words.