All Articles Tagged "African American hair"
Growing your mane can be a challenge and if throwing on a weave or a wig is not an option, we found a few must have products that will help to stimulate growth while keeping the hair looking good during the transition from the summer into the fall months. No matter what you hair texture is, you want to look for ingredients that will not only promote hair growth but can work great as a styling product too.
Summer To Fall Hair Transition: 5 Products That Promote Growth
Tags:African American hair
By Danielle Leblanc
We all have had the experience of using the wrong products for our hair and were left with Are which equals unhealthy looking and feeling hair. Those harsh and even dangerous ingredients can do some real damage to your tresses. Below you’ll find five of the worst (and most commonly found) product ingredients you should avoid using on your hair.
Please note that the following is not a made up list. These are all facts, and you’ll see the sources when available. Nonetheless, do your own research as well.
Parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. On cancer.org it says: “Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives and as food additives. They can be found in many types of makeup (like lipstick, mascara, concealer and foundation) and skin care products (like lotion, shaving products, and sunscreen). Parabens can be absorbed through the skin. Intake of parabens is a possible concern because studies have shown that parabens have weak estrogen-like properties. Estrogen is a female hormone known to cause breast cells (both normal and cancerous) to grow and divide.
This is a solvent and poisonous substance that changes the natural qualities of other substances. Isopropyl alcohol is found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotions, after-shave lotions, fragrances and many other cosmetics. This petroleum-derived substance is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac. It will dry your hair out and cause it to break. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) skin and eye contact should be avoided as it may cause irritation in eyes, nose, throat; as well as headaches and dry, cracking skin.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This ingredient, which is standard for most shampoo and household cleaning products, is known for causing frizziness (especially in curly hair) and damaging colored hair. But there’s more. According to the American College of Toxicology, “…Both SLS and SLES can cause malformation in children’s eyes. Other research has indicated SLS may be damaging to the immune system, especially within the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties. It is possibly the most dangerous of all ingredients in personal care products. Research has shown that SLS when combined with other chemicals can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens, which causes the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate-contaminated food.”
Mineral Oil And Petroleum
The oil, which is being sold as baby oil, is 100 percent mineral oil (the best baby oil is made of almond oil). Mineral oil is derived from petroleum that is used industrially as a cutting fluid (designed specifically for metalworking processes) and mechanical lubricating. This frequently used petroleum ingredient coats the skin and hair just like plastic wrap. The skin’s natural barrier is hereby disrupted because this plastic coating hinders it to breathe and absorb the natural moisture. The skin’s capability to release toxins and wastes is impossible through this “plastic wrap.” Because it negatively impacts the skin’s function, it promotes acne and prematurely aging of the skin.
Propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid that absorbs water and is used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries as antifreeze. There is no difference between the PG used in industry and the PG used in personal care products. It is used to break down protein and cellular structure (what our skin is made of) and yet it is found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and in toothpaste; as well as in food processing. Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requires their workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this toxic ingredient. Sciencelab.com states that PG is hazardous in case of ingestion and slightly hazardous in case of skin contact, eye contact or inhalation. It also says that the substance may be toxic to the central nervous system (CNS). “Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.” Consumers aren’t protected nor are there warning labels on products such as stick deodorants, where the concentration is greater than that in most industrial applications.
This is just a short list of the most commonly used toxic ingredients. The list is long. Therefore, it is best to use products that are as natural as possible. One of my current favorites are the Shea Moisture products.
It happens to all of us from time to time: You sleep on a satin pillow, you moisturize your hair before you leave for work, but somehow your locks still manage to feel dry. Soon you’re running your fingers through strands that feel like straw and wondering, “What’s really going on?”
The answer might surprise you. We all know that cotton pillowcases and heat are not the way to go when it comes to keeping moisture in your locks. But did you know that the sun, your shower or even your go-to moisturizer could be drying out your hair?
If your hair is struggling to be soft and shiny, it might be because of one of these everyday habits that are surprisingly bad for your hair.
If you’re a new natural, you may find that your hair is not totally showing off its true length in its natural state. While it may seem off putting for your hair to be shorter than expected, it’s completely normal and actually a good thing, as your hair’s shrinkage tells a lot about the health of your hair.
What is Shrinkage?
Shrinkage is a term to describe the loss of inches of our natural hair. All naturals know this struggle and fight shrinkage on a daily basis because it hides our real hair length. Shrinkage occurs when our hair is at its best — super moisturized with healthy elasticity. Elasticity is a huge indicator of healthy hair and it’s what gives your hair the ability to withhold stress and manipulation. When your hair loses elasticity, it’s easily stretched, loses curl retention, and is easily prone to dryness and breakage. When we have curls and coils that are really moisturized and full of elasticity, it has the greatest ability to spring back to its natural, healthy shape.
Combatting Hair Shrinkage
While most of us just accept shrinkage, this is not the case for all. Shrinkage can be disheartening to those who are on a mission to grow longer natural hair. Here are a few ways you can combat the amount of shrinkage you have.
A weekly set style for most naturals, the braid out of twist out is by the far the easiest and most effective way to stretch your hair while producing elongated, defined curls. The tension of braiding and twisting helps your curls to retain length while the hair is stretched, so the coils won’t be able to shrink as easily.
These flexible mesh curlers are great to stretch even the tighter curls and coils. Similar to rollers, curlfomers stretch curls to create spiral curls. Just like with a roller, always give your hair enough time to dry before removing the Curlformers and you’ll be left with light, bouncy and stretched curls! If you need help using curlfomrers, watch how this natural hair vlogger styles hair in this tutorial.
Great for the lazy natural, Bunning is the simplest stretched style and one of the best styles for hair that is either wet or dry, and can be achieved within minutes. For Bunning, make sure your hair is twisted around the hair and the ends are secured with bobby pins or tucked under. This will further stretch the hair and reduce the amount of frizz on the ends of the hair.
It was 11:00 at night and instead of me being in the bed asleep I was up trying to braid my sleeping daughter’s hair for school the next day. My hands hurt, my back hurt and I just couldn’t seem to get that braid to lay down right. I was at the point where I was willing to just say “forget it” and let my daughter go to school with half of her hair braided. I slammed down the comb and mumbled, “It’s time for you to start going to the hair salon once a week!”
All of a sudden I had a little more pep in my step as I hastily finished the last of the braids and quickly went to research salons that specialized in little girls’ hair. When I reached a certain age as a child, my mother became diligent in taking me to the salon so that my hair would be right. Just like me, she got tired of doing hair into the wee hours of the night so by the time I was seven, I had a standing beauty appointment.
The hair salon was like a new world to me. There were all of these strange smells and women who seemed to sleep at these machines to make their hair dry. The best part of the salon (minus the gossip between the little old ladies) was the Candy Lady who came and sold candy to all of the salon patrons young and old.
The next morning I began to research possible options, first trying the more economical option: asking people to come to my house and braid my daughters’ hair. My daughter is only 4-years-old and she’s natural, so I figured that I could possibly find someone good and cheap to braid her hair. Instead, I quickly became frustrated when I realized many refused to travel and to make matters worse, they charged just as much as the hair salon. There were some people who had good prices who wanted me to come to their house but after Googling where they lived, I figured the safest option would be for me to take her to an actual salon. After stalking a couple of friends of mine who had little girls, one referred me to a kids’ salon in my neighborhood that not only serviced small children but who specialized in everything for little girls. I was especially impressed that instead of calling the salon, I could make the appointment online!
I scheduled for a week out and before the appointment I decided it was time for me to have a conversation with my daughter about what to expect at the salon. I went over all of the unwritten rules of the salon:
- No crying.
- Try not to ask for your stylist’s food. I promised her I would pack her a snack that was just for her.
- I showed her what a dryer looks like and how she may have to sit under one for a little bit.
- Don’t tell them about any of the embarrassing things that go on at our house such as: Mommy walks around in her bra and panties, your brother picks his nose or that sometimes Mommy doesn’t cook.
Needless to say, I think I made her more nervous than I was! After prepping her, a week later me and my daughter walked into the salon and almost immediately I knew I had made the right decision. The shop was clean and there were a ton of little girls my daughter’s age getting their hair done. The majority of the little girls had natural hair and I didn’t see any non age appropriate styles. Instead, I saw a lot of twist, braid and blow out styles. Knowing my daughter was nervous, I met her stylist and let my daughter explain how she wanted her hair. She settled on some flat twists in the front and individual twists in the back. Before I knew it, they had taken my daughter back to the game room and I was escorted to the reception area.
As I waited in the reception area, I noticed the look in other mom’s eyes when they found it was my daughter’s first time at the shop. They all nodded in sympathy when I told them about my frustrated mornings and evenings trying to make sure her hair was cute for the following day at school. They all confessed that they had all did the same thing –tried to fix their daughter’s hair at home but due to either work or time restrictions realized they needed help. As I talked with the other parents, I felt better. While I could still do my daughter’s hair at home, it felt good that there was a place that was well-equipped to do it for me.
Two hours later, my daughter emerged with not only a fresh hairdo, but a wide smile. She felt like a big girl and I felt good because I just regained an hour of my day. When we got home I could see my husband was happy because now he didn’t have to panic on mornings I had to be at work early and he had to fix a style that was messed up during the night.
It takes a village to raise a child, and me letting go and allowing my daughter to go to the salon once a week took a lot of pressure off of me. No more waking up early (or going to bed late) to make sure my child’s hair was presentable at school.
Do you send your daughters to the hair salon or do you do their hair at home?
Franchesca Warren is the owner of an educational blog, The Educator’s Room. She lives in Atlanta, GA where she is a mother to three and wife to one wonderful husband. Please check out her book dealing with teacher burnout, “Keep the Fire Burning: Avoiding Teacher Burnout.”
Summertime can be hard on hair. Spend your weekends at the beach and your morning with a curling iron and suddenly you look down at your shirt and notice that your hair is breaking off.
Even the best hair has the occasional bad day (or season). And when breakage happens, or you haven’t seen growth in quite a while, it’s time to take action to help your strands get back to healthy sooner than later. Try these emergency measures to get your hair back in shape and you can stop being paranoid about leaving coils all over the sink. With care, you can stop breakage in its tracks and even start seeing growth in just a little while.
School is back in session and that means tons of spelling tests, math quizzes, book reports and history dioramas! What it also means is that your child’s hair care routine needs to be quick and easy without compromising hair health. Follow these quick and easy natural hair tips for kids to keep their tresses healthy during the school year.
Choose one style that can be re-styled many different ways.
Start with a protective style or twisted ponytails. After a week or two you can take down the style and let your little one rock a cute curly fro for a few days. You can then brush the hair up into a few puff ponytails until wash day. Have fun with this and really test your creative juices to see what you come up with! Choose any hairstyle combinations that you like, the possibilities are endless! The key is to find one style that you can use to make other styles without having to do too much manipulation of her hair.
Spray hair and scalp nightly with a moisturizing spritz.
By moisturizing your child’s hair nightly, you are reducing frizz and damage. Make sure to spray around your child’s edges, ends and scalp.
Satin helps hair maintain its moisture and also prevents frizz which will prolong your child’s hairstyle and keep it looking fresh.
Use the weekend to spread out wash day.
Instead of trying to fit your entire wash day routine into a Saturday afternoon, try spreading it out over the entire weekend. Wash, condition, detangle and moisturize hair on Saturday. Style hair on Sunday.
You’d be surprised at what a difference a bow, barrette or a headband can make! If you are in a rush, spray your child’s hair with your moisturizing spritz, brush up the edges, and put a bow on it! Easy peasy!
All images courtesy of Natural Hair Kids, go there for more hairstyle inspiration, tips and more!
What are some of your back to school haircare tips?
A couple of days this week, I woke up to emails and Facebook messages from a Tracey Cox, Robert McCready, and full on harassment from Johnathan Bartles telling me I’m a “stupid racist.” About a year or so ago I sent my daughter to school with her curls out. Contrary to the self-hating sisters who commented below the article, curls mean curls in this instance. When I picked my daughter up from school her white teacher took it upon herself to “braid” my daughter’s hair.
Yes. this was a problem, and you can read all about it here.
No, I didn’t and still wouldn’t want a white teacher “doing” my daughters hair. Yes, it still would be an issue for me if the teacher was Black. My daughter’s hair was freshly washed and moisturized. She showed up to school with her hair done just as she did every other day.
The issue here that everyone is missing, partly due to my poor articulation, is that in 2016 Black girls are still being told their hair, and their appearance is substandard by Blacks, Whites, and others. It’s 2016 and Gabby Douglas is a highly-decorated Olympian yet all people can manage to say is she has bad edges and a bad attitude. It’s 2016 and Black girls and their families are still fighting school districts with POLICIES dictating and regulating how a Black child is allowed to wear their hair to school.
No one is telling Susan her is too long and must be worn in a bun, lest she face suspension. No one is telling Tommy he must cover his tattoos and get rid of his eccentric hairstyle lest he cannot walk at graduation. Andrew Jones however, the valedictorian was denied the privilege of walking his own graduation because he wore a beard. Maybe I am a stupid racist, maybe I’m reaching and this particular incident was innocent. There is, without a doubt, an undeniable compulsion from people who are not of color to control, regulate and police the physical appearance of people of color.
At the time, my daughter was about two-years-old, she was the only Black student in the entire daycare. There were no teachers of color at all. At two-years-old, daycare is where children learn and pick up many things from their interactions with their teachers and peers. I am always going to be “that mom” advocating for my daughter’s rights and self-esteem and confidence until she is knowledgeable and strong enough to do so on her own.
At almost 30-years-old, I’m working in a corporate, medical setting and I still hear white women say things like, “That’s your real hair? That’s not typical for you guys to have such long hair, right?”
Ignorance is truly bliss. To sit behind a screen in your home-office trying to berate and intimidate someone based off their personal experience must be nice. Unfortunately, I will not let you police me either. If you don’t like what the world has to offer stay in your gated-communities with limited perceptions of the social paradigms.
I am a Black woman who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey, and attended Clark Atlanta University in Georgia. I know very well what racism and microaggressions look like.
How would you react if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Lather, rinse, repeat? We all know that washing African-American hair isn’t always that simple. Whether your hair is natural or relaxed, washing your hair and doing it the right way can take up a big part of your day. But do it the wrong way with the wrong types of products and you could do some damage to your hair.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to know what the wrong way is. Proper hair care can be complicated. So we’ve simplified it a little by putting the most important steps here. Follow these instructions to the letter and you will protect your hair from damage, keep it clean, and promote growth.
But we know everyone has their own tips. If you have a hair care secret that you want to share that saves time and nourishes strands, let us know in the comment section so we can all add it to our routines.
Last year, a photo was circulating on the internet of a little girl, who had just gotten her hair done by her teacher. To no one’s surprise this garnered reactions on both ends of the spectrum from the cyber world. As a mother, I was torn in my opinion of the situation, with no reason to think it could ever happen to me. As I read through the responses of Facebook friends, and their friends I thought, If I was a teacher, and a student came into class with her hair matted and linted, yes I would probably take it upon myself to spruce her up. However, in regards to my daughter this was not the case.
Then it actually happened to me and my daughter. One day, after a fresh hair wash, we were running slightly behind to school and I decided–against my better judgment–to let my daughter go to school with a headband and her curls out. BIG MISTAKE.
Thursday afternoon, like every day I went to pick up my daughter from her school playground. As she ran toward me, all I could do was mouth to myself was, WTF!? Seeing my reaction her teacher scurred behind her, quickly offering an exonerating explanation as to why my daughter didn’t look the way she did only a few hours earlier. “I did her hair, I hope you don’t mind?! She said she was hot.”
I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find. I offered a limp smile, and could barely utter, “it’s fine.” I was fuming. My daughter’s hair had been brushed, with whose brush? I couldn’t tell you, parted, and braided in plaits, and embellished with rubber bands and barrettes, out of the teachers own supply.
After about 30 minutes to an hour, I called the school and spoke with the director and asked that Lyric’s hair not be touched by anyone, at all, for any reason. She assured me she would talk to the teachers, but I could tell she really didn’t care. For days I debated with my cousin, a former daycare teacher about the violation, boundary infringement, and the subliminal message being taught to my daughter. My cousin argued the teacher had no ill intentions toward my child, and that she thought she was doing a good thing. She assured me her actions meant that Lyric was a favorite in the school, and now that I have made this an issue they will probably treat her differently now.
While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world. I am a patron of the facility not for beauty treatments, but to first educate, and second care for my child. Unfortunately, I have stigmatized myself as “that mom”, and prayerfully my daughter doesn’t suffer of any ill treatment because of this.
Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs hair.
What would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?
Have you had a tricky situation that needed to be addressed at your child’s school? How did you handle it?