You're looking at my untouched-by-any-hands-other-than-my-own real hair. No wig, weave, perm, braids, twists, extensions, curling iron, straightening comb or blow-dryer. Au naturel!

For almost 30 years, I've had the luxury of a hairdresser—Andre Walker—who loves all kinds of hair textures and adores experimenting. Hence this month's cover; we call the wig I'm wearing Wild Thang!

During the Oprah show years, we used wigs intermittently to give my hair a break from the daily grind of styling. Had Andre not had the foresight to do this, I probably wouldn't have a single strand left today—an unthinkable state of affairs for a girl with my (no pun intended) roots.

I was raised by a grandmother who wouldn't even let me cut my bangs. The culture in the rural South taught that "your hair is your crowning glory," and it sure stuck. My grandmother seemed to feel that God himself had proclaimed it illegal to cut your hair.

I now believe in doing whatever works for you. You want to be a blonde or a redhead? Try it. Ponytail? Cropped and spiked? Go right ahead!

I used to be so particular about every curl being in place. Now, as is the case in many other areas of my life, I've relaxed. No more bad hair days—just days when I might need a headband. Because as much as I enjoyed hanging out with Wild Thang, I know for sure that your true crowning glory comes not from what's on your head but from what's in your heart.

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