All Articles Tagged "black hair"

How I Made It: Hair Maven Ursula Stephen Talks Building Her Brand

October 14th, 2016 - By Kay Hudson
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Ursula Stephen

African-American women are walking into the world of entrepreneurship fearlessly. They are taking the necessary risks to build their empires from the ground up. Take a peek at your Instagram or Snapchat feed – and what will you find – a bevy of online boutique owners, professional hair stylists, make-up artists and highly regarded fashion bloggers on the rise.

At Madamenoire, we strongly believe there is nothing more inspirational than a business woman in the driver’s seat. We truly admire women who choose to grab the steering wheel in regards to their career aspirations. In an effort to celebrate this growing batch of beauties, we have teamed up with Nissan to salute a few great women who are fierce, focused and unapologetically fabulous.

Welcome to our latest editorial series, How I Made It, sponsored exclusively by Nissan.

Today, we spotlight one highly sought after celebrity hair stylist, whose humble, yet spirited nature continuously wows those who come across her creative path.

Meet Ursula Stephen – the fab Brooklynite with a gift to create magic when it comes to hair. Regarded as a leader in the hair world, this notable stylist was creating head turning styles for music artists such as ‘All the Way Up’ rapper Remy Ma, before touching the hair of Barbados-born, R&B Queen, Rihanna. Although Ursula is recognized as the visionary behind Rihanna’s dynamic and edgy look, ‘Ursie’, as she is often addressed by her chic clients and fans, has an extensive portfolio that includes, but is not limited to talent like Queen Latifah, Zendaya, and Iggy Azalea.


Ursula Stephen and Rihanna

Let’s take a look at Ursie’s history as a hair stylist. Did you know before you caught some of her best work on magazine covers such as the July 2016 edition of Glamour featuring tennis-goddess, Serena Williams, that Ursula was booking projects in high end studios in Soho, New York, not even aware of the celebrity clients on hand? She went from working in numerous Brooklyn salons with a name that stylists admired to being a freelancer chasing slow checks while trying to build her brand. Like many entrepreneurs on the rise, Ursula went through the phases of being broke until she could pave her way. However, time does move forward, because the confident stylist who was buzzing throughout Brooklyn while trying to make ends meet was making a way for herself by being available for work. Her go-getter attitude and professional approach to her craft got her passport stamps around the world – just to do hair.


Serena Williams – hair by Ursula Stephen

How motivational is that?

The Ursula Stephen, who many celebrities call on, is the definition of an entrepreneur. From the very beginning, she understood how to work with her natural born skills as a stylist and then built her brand. Although the around the way girl from Brooklyn didn’t have a concrete business strategy in place at the upstart of her career, her raw ability to hustle until she “came up” is simply how she made it.

Kudos, Ursie recently opened up her own salon respectively called: Ursula Stephen the Salon in Brooklyn, New York.

Truth be told, before her Instagram blew up to 73 K followers, Ursie was a hair maven. So when asked what valuable lesson she learned as a business woman, she noted rather frankly, “being able to share.” We commend and respect her sentiments. We advise our readers who are leaders in the beauty business to share their knowledge and share their wisdom with others on the same path. We think this is the power of womanhood matched with a boss mentality. We salute Ursula Stephen.


Zendaya Coleman – hair courtesy of Ursula Stephen

Struggles Only Women With Thick Hair Understand

October 13th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Having thick hair is not a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing. While full hair is beautiful, it can also be a hassle to take care of. Washing it becomes a task you have to set aside time in your calendar for. Trying to put it in a ponytail is like a fight, and there are always a few strands that don’t want to be rounded up. And humidity? What a jerk. These are just a few of the struggle bus moments that come with having thick hair. While it’s definitely a blessing, it can also be a curse when you’re just not in the mood.

Breaking ponytail holders

Whether the material is thinning or you literally just try to pull your hair tie and it snaps, trying to put all that hair in a ponytail holder is a nightmare. Even trying to make thin headbands work as ties can be a struggle once they start stretching to the max.

She Tried It : Oyin Handmade Hair Dew

October 13th, 2016 - By Quindara Lazenbury
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She Tried It Hair DewWhile in college, as a newly determined natural, I slowly became a hair product junkie. The addiction became so severe that I went on a detox and donated all of the products I never used or that didn’t work for my hair. I had an actual problem. And now that I’ve come to MadameNoire, it seems my addiction has resurfaced. Help me!

My latest fix came from sampling Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew, which I wholeheartedly admit is now my go-to leave-in conditioner. According to the Oyin site,

“This creamy, conditioning leave-in is light enough for every day. it’s great on ‘naked’ hair immediately after a cleanse, or as a way to reinvigorate tired hair all the way through your hair care cycle. for seriously protective hair experience, try using hair dew on moist hair (or over a quick spritz of one of our Juices herbal leave-ins) and then seal ends with one of the Sugar Pomades before gently manipulating hair into a protective style like braids, twists, or an updo. days of moisture, sheen, and hair happiness! pH level: 4.5”

The ingredients are also amazing, as they are majorly derived from natural products including;

“purified water, ricinus communis (castor) oil, olea europaea (olive) oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice (organic), olea europaea (olive) oil, behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetearyl alcohol (emulsifier derived from colza oil), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol (and) caprylyl glycol (preservative), squalane (from olive oil), fragrance, and love!”

Who couldn’t enjoy a product that includes love as an ingredient?

After a test trial of the dew, here’s what I’ve learned and decided are the winning aspects.

The Smell

I can’t quite determine what the conditioner actually smells like, but it’s reminiscent of a whipped yet burnt cocoa butter scent. Whatever the fragrance used, it smells absolutely delightful. It also reminds me of the wholesomeness of its ingredients.

The Lightness of the Dew

A complaint I have of many hair lotions, leave-ins, and conditioners is that they are either too heavy for my hair or lead to build up on my scalp. The weight of the dew is perfect because it’s light enough to penetrate my strands, but also strong enough to provide my hair with moisture, allowing it to feel soft and conditioned, even as the temperature drops.

The Effectiveness of the Dew 

Overall, although my hair still needs a few extra products to keep it stretched or moisturized, I feel that the dew is highly effective in promoting manageability, moisture and softness for a natural who has a head full of kinks and coils.

She Tried It Hair Dew 3


Here I am washing, deep conditioning, stretching my hair and after I applied the Oyin Handmade Hair Dew. The sideways smirk in the mirror with the elongated neck is the tell-tale sign of a woman who’s satisfied with her hair.


Color Me A Baddie: When Black Girls Have Fun With Hair Color

October 12th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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A photo posted by @dye2bnatural on

I once read a very thought-provoking article on Black Girl Long Hair about how Black women are judged for the choices they make when it comes to their hair — particularly, when it comes to the colors they put in their hair. While White women are seen as fun and just being quirky and experimental when they decide to try a funky shade on the tips of their hair or all over, as the author pointed out, when Black women try to play with colors, we can be seen as appearing “ghetto.” Talk about a double standard.

But who has time the time or energy to stay a plain Jane? If you want to play with color, whatever your hair, the texture of it or skin color, I say go for it! There are plenty of women who have already thought outside the box when it comes to colors for their strands. Check them out for inspiration!


3 Healthy Hair Hacks For The Fall

October 12th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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The weather during the Fall is always very tricky. One minute you can be enjoying an Indian summer day and the next minute you may be bracing yourself against brisk winds and cold temperatures. And while you can always change your clothes to match the unpredictable weather, you can never reverse hair damage caused by it. Here are three hacks you need to maintain healthy hair during the fall.

Add A Hair Masque Or Deep Conditioner To Your Regime

Because the temperature drops in the Fall, it’s important to add a deep conditioner or hair masque to your routine to maintain moisture to both the scalp and hair to prevent itching and breakage.

Use ElastaQP DPR 11 Remoisturizing Conditioner

Stick To What Mother Nature Provides

It’s imperative to use natural products in your hair to main its health and retain its length. Use a variety of oils for a weekly hot-oil treatment. Hot oil treatments help hydrate your hair follicles and alleviate scalp issues.
Use African Pride Argan Miracle Moisture & Shine Oil Treatment

Increase Your Hair’s Volume

Humidity expands our hair shaft, so when the temperature drops, some people should expect their hair to look dull and flat because of their hair texture. To amp up your hair volume, use hair mousse or styling lotion to give your hair that extra bounce it needs.

Use Beautiful Textures Curl Definer Mousse

Are You Making These Fall Beauty Mistakes?

October 11th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Fall is a season for change. The warm months are over (as are the short sleeves, shorts and open-toe shoes), cuffing season is coming, and even the leaves are letting go and moving on.

And while the weather inspires us all to swap out our wardrobes, it’s easy to forget to make similar changes when it comes to a beauty routine.

Dry skin and hair don’t have to be par for the course during fall and winter. Switch out your summer routine for these fall tips on how to better care for your skin and hair and you will make sure that everything is on point for the months of cuddling to come.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Taking Hot, Hot Showers

The hotter your showers in the morning, the ashier your legs are in the afternoon. Hot showers dry your skin (and your hair) out. Go warm instead of piping hot.

A Gallery Of Keke Palmer’s Boldest Hairstyles

October 6th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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And another one featuring a not so undercover nipple cover

A photo posted by Laurennnn Palmer (@kekepalmer) on

Remember when Lauren Keyana “Keke” Palmer was the little girl starring on the Nickelodeon show True Jackson, VP? Feels like such a long time ago. She had a very sweet, innocent, goody-goody look going during those days.
Well, times have changed and Palmer is quite the firecracker as a young adult. You never know what to expect from the 23-year-old beauty, especially when it comes to her style — specifically her hair. She’s come a long way from the long, dark locks down her back. Nowadays, Palmer shows up and shows out with a variety of wigs and hairstyles that only complement her personality. One minute she’s doing something edgy (silver strands), the next, she’s trying a classic look (the pixie never gets old!). Her catalog of hair choices is quite long and unique. With that being said, check out some of our favorite hair looks from the trendsetter and let us know which Keke Palmer hair move is your favorite.

She chooses to be happy. — @marciahamilton my hair is so epic and @makeupmatthew this glow honeyyy.

A photo posted by Laurennnn Palmer (@kekepalmer) on

Solange’s Hairstylist Weighs In On What “Don’t Touch My Hair” Means

October 5th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Ever since last Friday, Solange Knowles has been serving all kinds of delicious (and Black AF) content to us. Of course, we’re sitting at her table, lapping it all up. Our favorite “meal” from her album A Seat at the Table is “Don’t Touch My Hair.” For many of us, the song is an anthem because having someone touch our hair without permission is, sadly, a common experience for Black women. It also deeply resonates because we live in a time where honest conversations about cultural appropriation, particularly when it comes to hair, are not taken seriously by the perpetrators.

In an interview with The Cut, Solange’s hairstylist, Nikki Nelms, talked about creating the innovative looks for Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” video, what the song actually means, and how working with the singer has impacted her career and life.

Check out highlights from The Cut interview below.

How She Approaches Solange’s Hair

We always take into consideration the whole look, the event, the mood, the time. Sometimes we can do more, but sometimes it’s crunch time and we do less. We have a very similar eye when it comes to styling and what we don’t like, so it works well. I love hair that’s not too neat and what I like to call “Easter Sunday,” and she feels the same way, too.”

What “Don’t Touch My Hair” Means To Nelms

It means so many different things, but I’ll tell you one. Everyone has their own hair and their own style, and what they like. That’s something that you have to own as an individual. Sometimes people will try to imitate you, or sometimes they want you to imitate them, or put pressure on you if you don’t look a certain way. “Don’t Touch My Hair” is the preservation of you. Praising your style, your look, for you. It’s cool to be you. Solange’s whole movement promotes that. That’s just who she is, and she doesn’t let anyone change her. You miss out on so much by trying to imitate someone else’s style.”

What It’s Like Working “In Solange’s Orbit” 

It’s always an honor. Not only are we friends, but I’m also a fan. I love her mind. She’s such an amazing example of how to stay true to you. There are a bazillion hairstylists, and if you get caught up in what everyone else is doing, then you’ve already lost the race. Figure you out, and then stick to it — I’ve learned that by watching who she is. This whole album is an example of what happens when you do you.”

For more insight, to learn how Nelms created the hairstyles for “Don’t Touch My Hair,” and to find out how to master Solange’s video looks from her makeup artist, Miguel Ramos, read The Cut’s entire interview here.

#Nappiversary: Our Favorite Images Of Black Women Celebrating Their Natural Hair Anniversaries

October 4th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Do you remember when you did the big chop? Any significant hair change can be quite the adjustment to make. Still, there’s something about cutting relaxers out of your head and learning to embrace your own strands for the first time that can truly be a change. That doesn’t mean such changes aren’t positive ones, though.

It was such an adjustment in the beginning for our deputy editor, Brande Victorian, that she said in a post celebrating her one-year anniversary of being natural that she cried when she went through the big chop. It’s understandable. While some women live by the “It’s just hair!” mantra, many of us are very attached to our strands for a variety of reasons. But I think the great thing about choosing to go natural in this day and age is that there are so many tutorials and videos out there to help you navigate your hair. And through social media, there are ways for you to stay encouraged and inspired in your journey by watching the progress other women have made during their years of being natural. With that being said, check out a few of our favorite natural hair anniversary pictures (otherwise known as a “nappiversary” or “kinkiversary”). Remember that it’s not about wishing that your hair was like someone else’s, but rather, embracing your own while seeing that with patience and the right TLC, your God-given strands can flourish.

Note: Apologies in advance if the word “nappy” bothers you by the way…

She Tried It! The Mane Choice 3-In -1 Conditioner

October 3rd, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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The Mane Choice

The Mane Choice

Whenever the seasons are on the verge of changing, you can find me creating a new hair regime to combat whatever damage the weather wants to impose on my relaxed hair.
Thankfully, this year I didn’t have too look far for a new product. While attending MN’s Culture Editor Veronica WellsBettah Days book launch, myself and other women were not only exposed to the behind-the-scenes brilliance of how she crafted the best-selling book but we were also given hair and skin products that are on every Black woman’s to-try list.

Case in point, The Mane Choice’s 3-In-1 Conditioner. Upon receiving what should be considered the Holy Grail of Conditioners, I immediately unscrewed the top, like a five-year-old to see if (by the smell alone) the conditioner was worthy of placing on top of my tresses. Once it passed my smell test, I made plans to use it as a detangling conditioner after coming from the gym.  Since  I swear I’m a background dancer for Big Freedia, I often return from the gym with sweat-soaked hair that is one step away from breakage. Shape Magazine reports, sweat-soaked hair is susceptible to breakage because sweat is a mixture of the body’s water, salt and protein. “Sweat is a combination of water and salts, plus some protein. When hair gets wet, it’s easily stretched and damaged. And the salts in it can cause hair to lose color faster,” Eric Spengler told Shape in an interview. Cosmetologist Christie Cash also shared with Shape that, “Sweat can dry out your scalp and prevent new hair growth.”

After washing my hair with shampoo, I used a nickel size amount of The Mane Choice’s 3-In-1 Conditioner in my chin length hair. While washing my hair I noticed there was a quarter-size amount of hair shedding that resulted from combing out my hair while washing it. So, I decided to detangle my hair with the conditioner and cover it with a conditioning cap for five minutes. Afterward, I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair with lukewarm water. While combing my hair out, I noticed that the conditioner made my hair shedding non-existent and it smelled like vanilla with a hint of peppermint oil. Not only did it reduce my hair shedding, greatly, but it made my new-growth feel softer than a newborn’s hair. To style it, I decided to blow-dry my hair and much to my surprise there were no hair fly-aways decorating my bathroom sink.

The Mane Choice website reports that:

“The nutrient contents of this conditioner makes the hair less dry and less prone to breakage by allowing the hair to hold in more moisture for longer periods of time. When used a Co-Wash this unique formula gently rinses away impurities and product build up. Infused with Biotin and Tea Tree to promote growth and retention. No Mineral Oil, No Petrolatum, No Parabens, No Sulfates, No Formaldehydes

●Gentle enough for daily use

●Promotes growth and retention.

● Softly rinses hair from impurities and product buildup.

●Leaves hair feeling revitalized and refreshed.

●Instantly hydrates and moisturizes.

●Helps to remove knots & tangles

●Minimize damage and breakage.”

This product is the perfect conditioner to use  all-year round and for all hair types. Most importantly, it is a must have for the Fall and Winter seasons where the air becomes drier and temperature, colder.

Trust me, you won’t regret purchasing it, ever!

Here are examples of my seven-week-old relaxed hair after using The Mane Choice 3-In-1 Conditioner.