All Articles Tagged "black hair"
I have an embarrassing confession: As much as I love my hair, I didn’t always. When I was 12 years old, I prayed for “Good Hair.”
Girl, I know.
I was influenced to take action because of certain a girl two years older than me, and by default way cooler, who had her edges of legit, wispy baby hair always brushed back to perfection, with swooped edges that only seemed to happen when one has a less curly hair texture. I was so envious that in my despair, I asked Sweet Baby Jesus for the same finely-textured, perfectly wavy hair that flowed from the heads of girls like her.
As a kid in the awkward-looks phase, I thought she was pretty and cool and I wanted to be pretty and cool too, but unsure of how to accomplish it in my own way. Looking back on it, it’s sad that I even had the thought in my head to ask–in prayer no less–for such a thing. I remember after saying my nightly graces, adding in one last line: “Please give me pretty hair like __. I want to have good hair like hers.”
A significant amount of time has passed, and it’s pretty obvious Sweet Baby Jesus stubbornly has not delivered on that request. For good reasons, too. In addition to an old-fashioned dramatic soap opera slap, I needed to learn to be content with what I was given biologically.
There wasn’t a pivotal moment where the heavens opened up and a rumbling voice told me my frizzy ‘fro was a crown and thus, the mark of royalty. It was simple: As an older teen, I got tired of fighting with my hair. Plus, as a waitress at a greasy burger joint back in the day, washing my hair after each shift was a must. I refused to spend two hours straightening my puffy hair three times a week.
So I stopped.
I stopped fighting with my hair, I stopped trying to attain epic, Aaliyah-esque smoothness, and I stopped worrying about how the sphere of people in my life perceived my hair. There was no turning back after that, and I’ve been a fan of the wash-n-go ever since. I appreciate my hair for what it is: thick, frizzy and strong. And for the last few decades, I’ve been delighted with the hair and the looks that I have. Realizing and accepting that you’re going to be you every day, and embracing your physical characteristics is one of the best parts about growing up.
Now, my hair philosophy is this: Let your hair do what it wants–including warranting you being called Scary Spice, Sideshow Bob, Frizzy-Haired Black Girl, Diana Ross-gone-wrong, and many other creative names. Let your hair do what it wants, even if it means you have to start over with a Big Chop or a shaved head. At least you know you’re empowered and free being yourself.
Nene Marks, the co-founder/owner of ethnic haircare line, Nene’s Secret (also here and here) has filled her line with secret recipes including natural ingredients from her homeland, Liberia, such as Baobab oil, Kalahari Melon oil, and Ghanian chocolate.
Marks first came to the United States at age 17 knowing very little English but filled with the hope of one day becoming successful enough to help her family. Modeling made that dream a reality, and for many years she represented major companies such as Captain Morgan, Monistat, Esprit, Molson, and more. She even starred in 90s music videos such as Jay Z’s “Who You Wit” and Naughty by Nature’s “Feel Me Flow”.
She transitioned into the hair business when she became co-owner of Dr. Miracle’s, founded by her husband Brian Marks. They grew the brand into an international name with Nene responsible for product testing and even serving as the original face of the Dr. Miracle’s Relaxer kit packaging. Wanting to start her own haircare line, the couple worked on creating Nene’s Secret for close to two years before it launched in April 2013.
We had the chance to ask Nene Marks a few questions. Check out our interview below.
MadameNoire: What kind of business lessons did you learn as a model in the business?
Nene Marks: As a model I learned how to respect people, how to be kind, how to be humble and how to not take advantage of others. It helped me because what I gave, I got back. Being nice goes a long way in the business.
MN: What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
NM: My husband helps me a lot. He is the day-to-day businessman… the one here in the office. I am here twice a week. My job is to create and test the products. I test all the products before they go to market myself. I do the same thing with Dr. Miracle’s.
MN: What are some challenges you face running a hair product business and how do you manage?
NM: The challenge is that there is so much competition in the market. The thing that helps us out is our secret recipe and having Brian running the business for all the experience he has out there. He has been around for two decades.
MN: What kind of trends in haircare do you forecast for the future?
NM: People are going to really start embracing their hair, however they choose to wear it. My hair is natural . You can wear your hair curly, or wavy or relaxed. People just want their hair to be healthy. That will be the most important thing.
MN: Is the “all natural ingredients” trend is here to stay?
NM: I’ll tell you one thing. Nothing is really 100 percent natural. That’s what I see. I just think some companies like to trick people out there. My products are not 100 percent all natural. We have natural ingredients, but the products have to be made a certain way, which our chemists work on. Also, 100 percent natural products have a shorter shelf life.
MN: What is your favorite product from Nene’s Secret?
NM: My favorite (and the one I carry around in my bag) is the BB Butter. I have baby who is a year old and I use the BB Butter on her skin. My children are mixed so there hair can be hard to manage. I have to use a lot of conditioner. I love that I can use that same beauty butter in their hair to also moisturize it. I also use our leave-in conditioner when needed.
MN: Tell us more about your work with the Birthing Project? (Marks says the couple has donated over $1 million to the cause.)
NM: We have been working with the Birthing Project, an international organization for improving birth outcomes for women of color, for two decades. The project is about helping the sisters be healthy and making sure that they have healthy babies because there is a high infant mortality rate for babies born in Africa. It’s very sad but it’s amazing to give back.
For a free sample or $2.00 coupon to use towards a Nene’s Secret purchase at Sally’s or Walgreens, email your request to email@example.com. P.S.: Nene’s M.M My Mom’s Hair Masque is my pick for a must-try deep conditioner!
It’s with us from the day we’re born. For many of us it’s a source of pride, our crowning glory. My grandmother used to call it our “beauty” as she warned me never to cut it. It’s our hair, black hair. And as you know our hair is a very weighty topic. While some regard our hair as fleeting fashion choices, others have made it a lifestyle choice. And whether we want it to be or not, the way we wear our hair even makes political statements. And Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps explore all of these topics, along with the history of black hair, going back to the 1400′s in West Africa, in their Hair Story: Untangling The Roots Of Black Hair In America. Released 13 years ago and re-released with a foreword by Melissa Harris Perry, Hair Story will have you nodding in agreement, shaking your head in annoyance or outrage and raising your eyebrows at the new information you learn. We had a chance to speak with the authors of the book about the re-release. Byrd and Tharps talked about everything from hair superstitions to Gabby Douglas to the way we use our hair maintenance to express love and friendship. See what they had to say.
MN: What do you say to people who say, “It’s just hair”?
Ayana: It’s not just hair. If it were just hair, Gabby Douglas would have been able to win the Olympic Gold without people on Twitter exploding. And then the Twitter attacks, to Hollywood, to news papers to all over the place talking about what her hair looked like while she was making Olympic history. Or other children who are talked about online about their hair. Or people who are not hired for jobs or people who are told they have to change their hair if they already have a job if their hair’s natural. Or women who feel they’re not dateable if their hair’s a certain way because men won’t like the texture or length. Or men who won’t date someone whose hair is a certain length or texture.
There’s still all these other, very real–sometimes impacting not just your self esteem but sometimes your financial life– obstacles that come up with hair. And I think until those are removed, we’re going to keep talking about hair. On the flip side, on the positive side, I think there are a lot of really good conversations that come out about hair. When you read Hair Story, it’s not a book of doom and gloom. We also really highlight the positive cultural conversations that happen, cultural productions whether it’s art or photo exhibits, just different things that people create about black hair and the community that’s forged around black hair and I actually don’t see any reason for those conversations to ever stop because it brings a lot of joy to people having them and also it brings a lot of common ground.
Lori: Until American culture can catch up with hair equality, then we are going to still talk about it. Because there is still discrimination felt by black women and black men, in the workplace, in social circles based on their hair. We’re still seeing women being fired from their jobs because of their hair. That’s an economic issue that has to be discussed. Now all of this Twitter chatter etc that happens ‘what does her hair look like?’ That might be a little excessive. But that’s what social media has brought us to. Every topic gets over discussed.
MN: Why do you think the black community is so concerned about the upkeep of other people’s hair? Is it an issue with the politics of respectability?
Lori: As a community we are still judged. One black person does something and the whole community is condemned. We joke about it when a horrible crime happens, ‘oh, please don’t let it have been a black person.’ And that’s, of course, unfortunate and ridiculous but it’s a fact and it is the truth. If we perceive, and I say that as a collective we, one of our own, who is in the spotlight, is doing something we see as negative then we fall all over ourselves trying to make sure that that negative thing is fixed right away so that the white man doesn’t figure out that we have flaws. Because we’re still playing some sort of catch up. Make sure that there’s nothing that we can be criticized about. I mean look at Rachel Jeantel.
We have these public figures and we have to make sure that when they’re on the national stage that they show off the best of us. So when it comes to hair, because there’s still this group mentality that appropriate, proper and acceptable hair looks a certain way. And that hair is smooth edges, nothing too aggressive, nothing too natural, nothing too Afro-like. And unfortunately that is the kind of the collective, acceptable hairstyle. Now on the other hand we are seeing the natural hair movement broadening people’s ideas of acceptability but that’s still a fringe movement when you look at the numbers of black women who are still straightening and or relaxing their hair or wearing weaves that are straight. So this idea that the natural hair movement has completely revolutionized what people think is acceptable hair is not true. We’re definitely expanding. So this attacking of young children or Pam Oliver’s wig, yes, I feel like black people still feel like we can attack one another with this idea that if we don’t call each other on it, then whitey will. And that’s really regressive thinking. I’m sure a lot of people aren’t making those thoughts consciously but I do believe that we still have that mentality left over from the past of policing each other’s behavior and physical appearance.
Ayana: Even though we see a lot of attacks on hair online, social media has also become this place where people really will build these supportive communities for people who are attacked. I think the one of the most obvious examples is the Locs of Love project that Yaba Blay did after the little girl was told that she had to cut off her locs or get expelled from school. But through social media, within 24 hours, Yaba was able to gather over a 100 women who sent in really encouraging letters and photos of themselves. I think in the past, pre social media, someone would have heard about the story, turned to their friend and said, ‘That’s a damn shame.” And that would have been the extent of it. But within two days, this little girl could see this outpouring of love and support for her. So I also think that’s a really positive side effect of what happens with black hair and social media, that we’ve never seen before. And I hope that continues to be the trend for what happens on Twitter when it comes to hair as opposed to cutting people down.
So you’re lusting for the ever-popular honey blond highlights for your hair or an all over shade of sandy brown, or maybe you want a shocking shade of bright red. At some point, many women have been bored with their existing hair color, whether enhanced or natural, and we might feel the need to keep our appearance fresh. Before you skip down to the local beauty supply or try your best to seduce your stylist into a platinum blond crop, ask yourself these questions to find out if you’re ready for hair color.
Is my hair healthy?
If your hair is brittle, thinning or in some other S.O.S. state of emergency, abort the hair color mission immediately. (Unless you’re one of those people who don’t care and want to go from royal purple to lemon yellow despite all the lightening involved, then go ahead.) If you go through with lightening your hair, you’ll spend every wash day under the dryer with animal placentas, horse tails or some other sulfate smelling protein booster atop your head. If your hair is healthy and well-conditioned, proceed with caution and plan for all outcomes.
What color is my hair and what color do I want it to be?
Account for the discrepancy in the hair color. For example, if you want your inky black hair to be a vibrant shade of red, you’ve got to think about how many levels you’ll need to lift your hair. This is the time to also consider how much maintenance you want to put into any after-care that could be involved. That very same shade of bright red could cause you to need to refresh your hair color every two weeks.
Which product should I choose?
Semi-permanent, glossers, permanent, powered hair color, henna, oh my! An easy stroll down the hair color aisle or the hair color talk with your stylist becomes difficult when one party is indecisive. You don’t want to be indecisive. Do some research so you’re able to easily choose a shade and formula to help you achieve the color you want. If you’re seeing a stylist, you’ll be able to ask informed questions. Also, take photos and swatches that illustrate what you want.
Also, don’t be afraid to consider bleach products if you’re visiting a stylist. Using a packet of bleach can help you get the color you want. If you’re set on reaching the platinum, silver-blonde look, you’ll need to get past that golden stage and bleaching hair first usually helps.
What tools are needed for the work space?
Plan an attack. Seriously, don’t just slap dye on your hair thinking perfect highlights will appear upon rinsing your hair. Just, no. Prep your hair. Detangle. Part it, stretch it, braid it or clip it up. Use whatever method you need to to be able to manipulate hair coloring tools and chunks of your hair. This is especially important if you’re highlighting or experimenting with some creative hair color concepts. At the least, you’ll need a plastic bowl, tint brush, gloves and hair clips.
Most importantly, keep an open mind. Your hair could turn out perfectly, or it could be an adventure where you learn the intricacies of toner. Either way, the more research and preparation done before you dye, the better the results will be for you and your future hair color.
It is often hard for multicultural women to find beauty products that suit them. So Jodie Patterson came up with a solution. She has co-founded a new online beauty shopping destination called DooBop.com, which offers products for multicultural women.
“Less than two months into its launch the site is filled with an expertly curated collection of products from widely popular prestige companies, like Iman and Fashion Fashion, alongside a few little-known gems exclusive to the site, like Paris-based Nuhanciam and Ethnicia,” reports The Huffington Post.
Patterson has a fashion PR background and her co-founder Benjamin Bernet was a marketing executive at L’Oreal. They handpick every product on the site.
According to Patterson, the site is offering free shipping and free samples with every order as well as foreign products DooBop will offer exclusively. “Our site has prestige and niche product from all over the world that allows the customer to explore beyond the confines of the proverbial ‘ethnic isle’,” she says, adding that the site also has a charitable side. “$1 from every sale goes to underserved and at risk teens through a New York-based organization we support called, Community of Unity. We work with the young women in the organization on many levels but I’m most excited to start talking to them about the business of beauty. There could be a collaborative project down the line!,” she says.
Patterson has big plans for the site. “We want Doobop to be a standout site, so we worked with exceptional creative talent to produce exclusive How-To beauty tutorials. Our team of six beauty experts, (Keith Campbell & Liz Owusu in hair, Cynde Watson & Angie Parker in make up, Sherwin Parikh in dermatology, and Jeanette Bronee in wellness) can be seen in three-minute videos that address modern beauty dilemmas and in the form of questions and answers -– all on site!,” Patterson tells HuffPo.
Considering black women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products and will spend 80 percent more on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care products than their white counterparts, DooBop may be onto something big.
We own it when it comes to hair. There is no famine of style for black women’s hair. There are those stuck-in-a-rut times when your ‘do needs a jumpstart, and these famous ladies give us some inspiration. Long, short, straightened and natural, here are the the celebs whose hair is worthy of the lusty looks and YouTube tutorials.
So you’re thinking of transforming your wonderfully curly and coily mane into shiny permanently straightened tresses. Good. For. You. Going back to the creamy crack is a personal decision that you’ve turned to because, well, you were struggling to work with your natural mane and now you want that swang-n’-bang life. Of course, with a permanent appearance change like going back to obtaining relaxers, there are a few important pros and cons to consider. Here are a few things you’ll come up against when trying to figure out whether or not to go back to being relaxed.
People will tell you their opinion.
You should already know some of your natural homegirls will try to change your mind or maybe even give disparaging advice. Expect them to react when you announce the news. Don’t listen to their guilt trips because you were probably the one who convinced them to go relaxer-free a mere 18 months ago. Realize they’ll shake their heads topped with puffy ‘crowns of hair’ in disapproval and shade you for embracing mainstream beauty at every opportunity. There will also probably be people who you didn’t know cared about your hair that will have something to add to the conversation. People like your nosy co-workers, who comment about the plethora of amazing hairstyle changes they “wish they could do,” will boldy ask if you installed a weave, or will whisper, “You didn’t get a relaxer did you?” when they notice you whip your hair back and forth for three minutes while standing in front of the microwave.
There are more product options and knowledge to obtain.
New technology means you get more choices in the chair at the salon and in the beauty supply store (and even the drug store chains) with relaxers and other straightening techniques. What I’m saying is, there are relaxing products other than ‘Super’ and ‘Super Plus’ to consider, and a better experience during the relaxing process. There is a larger variety of styling tools and products that preserve your hair while reducing the effects of heat damage from curling irons and flat irons. The bonus is, you get to enjoy the majority of your Saturday Wash Day because your roller wrap took a half hour to dry under the hair dryer and even less time than that to style. Another possible bonus is now that you know how your hair behaves with and without a relaxer, you know exactly how to care for it to keep it looking fresh. At least, I hope you do.
Well, you’ll get to fly under the radar.
Just think how free you will feel when no one stops you in the feminine care aisle of the Wal-Mart to demand the full list of product names, packaging colors and prices used on your Bantu knot out to make it look full and uniformly curled. Add to that how awesome it will be to never get awkward requests to touch your hair, or to have to Matrix your way out of attacks from overly ambitious folks consistently over-stepping the boundaries of personal space to get handsy with your hair.
Realize that a relaxer is a permanent change.
Hence the term ‘perm,’ short for ‘permanent.’ And you’ll have to understand—or be joyous, perhaps—that your summer time wash n’ go will never be as bouncy and full as the one you have now. And, you will likely need to adjust your hair regimen, since healthy hair will be even more of a priority because of the changes a relaxer makes in the bonds of the hair. On top of that, don’t forget about the money. If you enjoy the beauty shop experience, it’s going to hit your wallet. Going to a stylist every six to eight weeks adds up, and you’ll need to add that expense as a line item in your budget. And be aware that if you get a perm and then decide to go back to land of naturalistas, you probably will have to start over with a big chop (unless you let your hair grow out and cut the ends).
As with every decision, there are pros and cons to changing your look in a permanent way. However, it is your hair growing out of your head. Don’t let people sway your decision. You should look how you want, whether that’s a wash n’ go, roller set or a bone straight look—it’s your choice. Because you’re choosing to go back to being relaxed doesn’t mean your ‘fro wasn’t fantastic. Just do you with your ‘do.
If you let Mother Nature take control of your hair, you will be in for a real treat. All the extensions, weaves, and clips-ons will just be a phase of the past and your hair will thank you for the hands-off approach because frankly, the chemicals and the weave won’t be tearing your luxurious locks apart.
Your hair is best at its natural state. So naturally, you gotta take care of it. Not to mention, the normal wear and tear hair goes through each day (the tight headbands, pony tail holders and the constant brushing is a definite cause of thinning in the front of your head).
Natural hair care keeps your hair truly healthy, but what are the real-life costs of going natural?
My mother, my sisters and I all have dreadlocks. The cost of being natural to us is very cheap, compared to the large amount of money we would be spending on a relaxer or perm products with five women in the family. So what do we use? Dr. Bonner’s Pure Castile Liquid Almond Soap ($10 give or take), some lock and twist gel (about $5), Arganand coconut oil (around $15 to $20 for both), and we call it a day. (We also occasionally braid and curl our hair with pipe cleaners, in which case we have to sit under a hair dryer for a few hours).
All in all, our natural hair routine is around $40 dollars every two months. Not only are we using natural hair care products that keep our hair healthy, but also the routine is pretty cheap compared to the hundreds and thousands of dollars many women spend on their hair in just one month (no really, check this out).
Generally what moves women to go natural is the hair breakage and thinning from chemical treatments, and the costs of keeping up the chemically-treated hair. According to Ebony.com, more than 65 percent of black female consumers have relaxed hair. It’s around $50 to $250 for a relaxer to last six weeks, which means the cost of chemically processed hair is far surpassing my family’s mere $40 dollars for our natural hair upkeep.
Is the natural route the way to go? Read on for more details at StyleBlazer.com
By LaKrishia Armour
Whether you’re newly natural or have been rocking your puffy halo for a while, wash day should be easy. And it shouldn’t be a chore. We should feel relieved that we can flip our ‘fros and twirl our twist outs. Natural hair should be fun, fluffy and fancy free. So what’s the point if you’re taking just as much time as going to the beauty shop to do your hair when you’re natural?
If you don’t know, the phrase “wash day” is the day, not to be confused with a day of rest, that is reserved for grooming. For some women who are natural, wash day is a dance of complicated steps involving multiple products and oils and conditioning caps in an effort to achieve the perfect balance or curl to the hair. To that I say, wash DAY? A whole day? Really? I don’t have time for that. Actually, I won’t even entertain pretending like I’m making time for that.
Within the last five years, so many companies launched hair care lines devoted to natural hair. Tons of products definitely increases our choice, but also increases our desire to stock our linen closets with six different conditioners—all still half-full—that sit there, unused like a coin collection. It makes sense that newly natural women try more products because figuring out what works is a valid challenge. But for the rest of us a few years (or decades) into the natural game, get a trusted product lineup and stick with it. Keep it simple. Using less product saves time and effort, and makes wash day fly by. Streamlining those products helps to keep wash day antics to a minimum. Your living space isn’t doubling as a meth lab, so there’s no reason to put the entire pantry and the contents under the kitchen sink on your hair and call it a hydrating masque. Ma’am. Stop it. No, seriously, stop it before you smell fumes.
Having a routine also helps to cut down on grooming time. Washing your hair should be like taking a shower. Not many people truly dread bathing, they just do it. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s that simple. But not us. We want to co-wash, deep condition, suffer through awful smelling protein treatments, sit under the dryer for 47 minutes until hair glues itself to the top of the hooded dryer, rinse the hair for 12 more minutes, slather on extra virgin olive oil hot oil treatment on, sit under the dryer again for 21 minutes because 15 just doesn’t ‘feel’ long enough, rinse again, then finally begin to style. Who does that? Well, a lot of us actually.
The most important thing to note here is that there’s nothing wrong with natural hair that needs fixing. Unless you’re sleeping without a bonnet or satin pillowcase every night or rushing through combing your hair, you most likely don’t have glaring issues with your hair. And, this is especially true if your hair isn’t color-treated. That means there’s no need to always do all of the extra treatments and put in the the “just in case” products. Part of going natural is learning to be okay with what you’ve got. Letting go of trying to achieve perfectly formed zig zags, curls and coils with an array of products doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be unkempt. Besides, if it’s a humid day, fluffy hair will probably frizz even if a $22 curl activating serum is bonded to each coil. Hair will find a way to behave the way it wants. Let it do that.
Seriously, if you want to wash your hair on Saturday morning, do it. Just don’t take all day. That’s the best part about repping team natural: We aren’t afraid of a little water.
There’s very little hate we can for the American Music Awards’ first “Icon Award” winner, who isn’t even American. But Rihanna’s new hairstyle is probably the worst one she’s had this year.After a very busy international tour, the singer settled in NYC this week, where she’s officially moving.
In addition to her Chinatown home, the singer also got a new hairstyle done by hairdresser, Ursula Stephen. The stylist has a salon in Brooklyn’s Ft. Greene neighborhood.
Read more at StyleBlazer.com