All Articles Tagged "black hair"

Are You Washing Your Hair Wrong?

August 17th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

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.

Stylist Deepica Mutyala Makes Amends For Horrible Today Show Segment

August 10th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

We, and the entire internet, heavily criticized stylist Deepica Mutyala for the way she styled Malyia McNaughton’s natural hair on the “Today” show. And after that, Mutyala said that she was going to make this better.

And the room collectively asked, “How Sway?!”

Well today, she used humor to do so. Mutyala, with the help of four,  Black women learned a thing or two about natural hair.

And then, since the world is a just place, the four women styled Mutyala’s hair in under a minute.

Check it out in the video below.

My Boyfriend Wants Me To Obtain His Permission Before I Change My Hair

August 8th, 2016 - By Theresa Ukpo
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I’ve always been pretty easygoing about my hair. I abhor anything that I perceive to be relatively high maintenance or restricting. I love the versatility of my hair, hence the reason I’ve been natural since 2007. I moved to New York City many moons ago to be closer to my then-boyfriend, and at the time, I had worn my hair natural. He’d seen me in braids, twists and a bevy of other protective styles with my natural hair. Never once did he complain, and in fact, he complimented me often and would occasionally play in my braids.

Fast forward to a few years later. We planned a weekend rendezvous in another city where he was stationed. It had been weeks since we saw each other and the excitement of seeing him was at an all-time high. I decided that it would be a good idea to get gussied up for our dinner date and headed to a salon and completely changed my hair: I got a pixie cut. Everyone thought I looked cute–except for my boyfriend. When he came to pick me up, the look on his face was certainly not what I expected. It was a strange mix of excitement, dread and sadness.

Throughout dinner, he kept mentioning my hair and the fact that I’d cut it. He kept asking why I did it, when I did the cut, and why so short as though I had willfully mutilated myself in some way. It got so bad that he couldn’t bring himself to be intimate with me later that evening. Any other sensible person would’ve probably given him a piece of their mind after such a reaction, but morning came and I wanted to get a better sense of why he felt the way he did.

He said to me that changing my hair was a drastic adjustment. He’d been so used to seeing me with my natural hair, and that was the image he was looking forward to when he picked me up. He then went on to say that I should have asked him before going so short (as I came to find out, he has a thing for long hair that he was trying to work through with me) before worriedly asking, “How long is it going to take to grow back?”

Throughout the course of our relationship, I became very aware of his preferences and subconsciously tailored my hairstyling decisions towards them. I wore longer weaves and braids more often than not, even becoming slightly obsessed with the length retention of my own natural hair. It just seemed like an easier way to avoid a fight. One time I challenged his preferences and said that if he wanted me to wear my hair a certain way, he should sponsor my hair endeavors financially. The argument then turned into one around the idea of women needing to tailor their grooming and beauty habits to appease men’s preferences. You know, on account of that whole “men are visual creatures” and “unless you want to date yourself” way of thinking he (and other men) had going on.

I am way older, and much wiser since I parted ways with that man. I’ve learned to do what feels right and comfortable for me while bucking convention and undue pressure about my hair. Women are visual creatures, too. We like what we like. I have my preferences – I love men with beards. But you will be hard pressed to find me turned off if my significant other decided to switch it up and shave his beard off for a bit. Hair comes and goes, people shouldn’t – not over such insignificant things.

Have any of you been in this situation? Does your boyfriend or girlfriend really get a say in how you wear your hair? Do they factor into your grooming habits?

A Fro No No: Viola Davis Opens Up About Stylists Who “Don’t Know What To Do With My Hair”

August 5th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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While visiting the Late Show With Stephen Colbert earlier this week, Viola Davis talked about a series in the works that she’s producing called American Coco. It’s allegedly about an agency that solves “sticky racial situations.” What exactly is a sticky racial situation? Well, Davis broke down the difference between serious racial discrimination and just awkward moments that take place due to a lack of understanding between people. Her example was of a movie she did recently where she wore her afro out during filming. The stylist assigned to take care of her didn’t know what to do with it.

Like, not at all.

“I was doing a movie and I was doing it with my ‘fro, and this Caucasian woman had her fingers in my hair. She said, ‘I’m going to make it really pretty!’ So she put some White goo in it and I wanted to say something.”

When asked to clarify what she meant when speaking on the “white goo,” Davis clarified, “Goo only White people would use.”

She continued: “She put that and then she took a big spray bottle filled with water and just started spraying my fro with it. With the goo in the hair. I wanted to say, ‘This is not going to work.’ But I knew if I said it that I would be insulting her. So then I went to the set and slowly the sun caught my hair and my whole fro turned white.”

When Colbert affirmed that her incident was literally a sticky racial situation, Davis agreed. The star said that had she told the stylist the truth, they would have needed to have an uncomfortable conversation about Black hair and what doesn’t work for it.

“Because then you gotta talk about hair and then you gotta say, ‘You don’t know what to do with my hair!’ But you can’t say that because then you’d be insulting.” While she didn’t politely school the stylist, she did offer Colbert this lesson in how ‘fros work.

“By the way, if you put water on a ‘fro, if it’s this big, it’s will become this big. It shrinks!” To which he replied, “The fro shrinks? Is the water cold? Does that make it shrink even more?”

Ha! Well, he tried. We need more lighthearted conversations about these matters — no matter how awkward or silly they turn out. #themoreyouknow

Check out their conversation below, taking place around the 6:49 mark.


Tried It: Kentucky School Attempts To Ban Locs, “Cornrolls,” Twists And Braids; State Legislature Shuts Them Down

August 2nd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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How would you react if your child brought home school registration info that stated that natural hairstyles were “not permitted”? I’d personally be pissed. But instead of just getting angry, Attica Scott, the first African American woman to serve in Kentucky’s State Legislature in 20 years, took to Twitter to share the shenanigans being encouraged by her daughter’s school, Butler Traditional High, part of Jefferson County Public Schools. That’s where this story began:

Among the so-called distracting styles included “dreadlocks, cornrolls, twists,” as well as afros, particularly for boys, above two inches. Braids were also prohibited for young men.

On a side note though, if I were a student, I would just go to school and say, “These? Well these are cornrows not rolls, so they aren’t part of the prohibited list, ma’am/sir.”

Anywho, Scott, who wears locs herself, said she would call the school to share her displeasure with Black students being targeted over their natural hair. And just like that, the word was out. The new hair rules caused quite the uproar on social media, with many people speaking out about the blatant racism and memes like the following being created:

“I don’t understand why we’re going to focus on something like natural hair styles when we should be focused on education,” Scott told Kentucky’s Courier-Journal. “They specifically outlined hairstyles that are worn most by black kids. To me, this stinks of institutional racism.”

From there, everyone from the Jefferson County Public Schools chief equity officer to the American Civil Liberties Union in the state spoke out against the policy, saying that they would be reviewing it. After the outcry, JCPS superintendent Donna Hargens said that schools in the district would be instructed to review their dress policies to ensure “their policies are not obtrusive, do not conflict with board policy and most importantly do not infringe on the many cultures embraced across our school district.” This is important as there have been complaints in the past of schools in the district having differing dress code policies.

As The Courier-Journal pointed out, the alleged consequences for going against Butler’s policy for hair would have been pretty tough.

“Students who fail to follow the school’s dress code are placed on in-school suspension until a parent brings more appropriate attire, according to the handbook,” the Journal shared. The publication noted that insubordination in terms of the dress code could “result in a recommendation for release from the traditional program and a transfer to a more appropriate placement.”

But after growing criticism and a special meeting late last week, Butler chose to reportedly temporarily suspend the policy. At the meeting, students even spoke up to media to share that they shouldn’t have to conform and press out their hair in order to not be deemed a “distraction”:

Scott, who started the conversation, thanked those who stood up against the policy and reminded people that how students are treated in the classroom shapes their all-around experience:

Hopefully this policy will stay suspended indefinitely. I think we all get the importance of dress codes and the reality that yes, some looks can be a distraction in the classroom. However, there is no greater distraction than a young Black child being singled out for their hair in that same classroom when the focus should be on their education. If such hair rules don’t apply to everyone, they’re meant to bring down a select few, and in the words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that. Kudos to Scott for speaking up and creating change for her daughter and many other young people.

Did Y’all See? Keshia Knight Pulliam & Nia Green, Broken Marriages & Broken Homes

July 29th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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This week we stumbled across some pretty shocking and even terribly disturbing news. One, we learned that after just 7 months of marriage, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Ed Hartwell are over and done with. And then, in a more disturbing piece of news, we watched a Facebook video of Nia Green’s mother beat her 16-year-old daughter for apparently taking a picture in her mother’s house after having sex with her boyfriend. While the video was trending on Facebook, with many supporting the mother’s actions, the MadameNoire editors saw things a bit differently. See what we had to say on this and other topics in this week’s episode of “Did Y’all See?”


What Would You Do If A Stylist Refused To Do Your Hair Because She “Got A Bad Vibe” From You?

July 25th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Stylist Refused To Do Your Hair

Image Source: Shutterstock

Black people have a lot of thoughts, rituals and superstitions associated with our hair. Baby boys don’t get a hair cut until their first birthday. If you count the number of dread locks on your head it’s bad luck. When you comb your hair, remove it from the comb or brush so no one can take it and use it for voodoo. And chief among them is don’t let anyone with bad energy touch your hair. I have to admit, the one about bad energy is real talk, real spit. The transference of energy is real and your hair is too close to your brain and your mind to mess around. So once you observe a behavior that is less than savory, you might want to choose another beautician.

Rarely do we think about this principle the other way around. What if stylists don’t like the energy or attitude of a client? Is it appropriate for them to refuse service?

That’s what happened to a woman named Kacey when she attempted to get her hair braided by a woman who works in the DMV/Atlanta area, Nisa.

Stylist Refused To Do Your Hair

As you can see, Kacey said that she was on time for her appointment and was also polite and quiet. Obviously, we weren’t there and can’t say what actually happened between the two women. But the fact that no explanation beyond “got a bad vibe” was given is a bit unprofessional, right? In fact, Nisa wasn’t even going to speak to Kacey directly. She had her assistant send a text. Furthermore, I cannot understand why, if the stylist refused to provide a service, was Kacey charged a late fee.

According to Black Girl Long Hair, the stylist posted a video on her Instagram page saying that “she has the right to refuse service to anyone that she does not feel comfortable around. As an artist, she feeds off energy, especially when it does not have anything to do with her.”

She eventually deleted the video and replaced it with an image of text.

&& I will! | ALL money is not GOOD money!

A photo posted by Al’ (Nisa) (@nisaraye) on

In the comment section, you can see Nisa going back and forth with a few people who disagreed with her. When someone questioned her about charging Kacey a late fee, she asked the person if she had access to her bank account, alluding to the fact that she didn’t charge the woman at all.

I don’t know what to make of this story, mostly because we don’t the details beyond the fact that she ultimately didn’t do the woman’s hair. But I do know putting two braids in my hair and then telling me you’re not going to finish because of bad vibes is not a good enough reason. You’re going to have to give me something else. Did I not speak kindly to you? What was it about me that gave you bad vibes exactly?

I sincerely hope Kacey didn’t pay that late fee. Fee for what?!

What do you make of this story. What would you have done in this situation?

ORS Is Changing The Conversation About Black Hair With #NoStereotypes Campaign

July 17th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo Credit: ORS

Photo Credit: ORS

The conversation of African-American hair has been ongoing since the days of Madam C.J. Walker and beyond. But more than ever, with the enthusiastic #BlackGirlMagic movement inspiring young girls and women to embrace their power and beauty, many are building upon that notion.

Most recently, ORS Olive Oil launched a new campaign called #NoStereotypes, and it’s all things #BlackHairMagic. With the hopes of changing the conversation about black hair to one of positivity that doesn’t judge one due to texture, type, style, length, and color, the haircare brand used the tagline: “Beautiful hair comes in all types. Not stereotypes.”

This campaign “gives voice and emotion to many of the judgments we make about one another, and ultimately challenges us to rethink these hurtful actions,” said Shawn Tollerson, Chief Operating Officer for Namaste Laboratories, the makers of ORS. “It’s a call to embrace and respect our unique beauty, and the beauty of others.”

Watch the campaign below.


Sanaa Lathan Says “No Makeup. No Weaves” For Summer ’16

July 5th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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What are you doing without this summer? Well, if you catch me out and about in NYC on the weekends, you’ll see that I’ve decided to forgo makeup and full shirts (#teamcroptop). As for stars like Sanaa Lathan, she’s ditching not just makeup, but weaves, and we’re loving it.

The actress, who is currently working on the upcoming Fox show Shots Fired, took to her Instagram page to let her followers know that this summer is all about going au naturel for her.


A video posted by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on

All that hair! Lathan continued to show it off on social media, stepping out with a friend with her curls (and cheekbones) popping:

Me and my road dawg @tamietran. Happy 4th! 💜

A video posted by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on

In an interview with Hype Hair last year, Lathan said that while she loves “weaves and wigs and all of that,” she had been embracing her own hair more and more.

“I’ve been wearing my hair natural a lot lately. For me, it’s all about changing it up. In terms of my real life, I’ll put it in cornrows and put some conditioner in it and then take it out and it’s really big and wild. I’ve been loving that lately.”

In case you missed it the first time, Lathan revealed a very full head of hair in 2013 after taking out a weave:

Sanaa Lathan facebook pf

Source: Facebook

We’re glad to see the actress, as well as influential stars like Alicia Keys, stunning either way, embracing their strands and encouraging other women to show off their natural beauty as well. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wearing weaves and all the MAC your makeup bag can handle, but there is an issue when it seems that you rarely feel comfortable enough to step out without such accouterments.

Don’t Want To Cut Off Your Locs? Comb Them Out: 6 Things To Know Before You Do It

June 30th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you have locs, you’ve probably heard the all-too-familiar question: “So how long do you think you’re going to let them get before cutting them off?” After reaching down near your butt to signal when you will likely part ways with your locs, you probably start to wonder what life without them will be like. What styles are you going to wear again? More importantly, what will you look like with short hair if you’ve never really had a substantial haircut or big chop?

But the truth is, which I realized quite a few people didn’t know (via Instagram), is that cutting off your locs isn’t the only option available to you. It’s the easiest, of course, but if you’ve grown attached to that hair, there is a way to keep at least a large amount of it. Loc removal has grown in popularity over the years, but the truth is, it’s a tedious process. I realized this after watching my college roommate spend upwards of three weeks with her locs in a tub of deep conditioner, hacking away at them while covering what was loose and what was still matted with the biggest hat she could find to go to class. Still, the fro that was left behind after removing her locs was a pretty good size. Was it healthy? Not likely.

So after seeing people ask a wealth of questions on social media about loc removal, I reached out to gain some insight from Dr. Kari Williams, celebrity hairstylist, the creator of those goddess faux locs everyone from Meagan Good to Eva Marcille have been wearing lately, and the owner of Mahogany Hair Revolution, a natural hair salon in L.A. Here are a few things you need to be clear about before deciding to go the loc removal route.

Be prepared to do it on your own.

“It’s not really a service that is offered, Williams said. “There may be some salons, maybe specialty salons, that offer the service. But ultimately, locs are matted strands of hair that have been matting together, more times than not, for years.” With that being said, Williams noted that it’s an incredibly time-consuming process depending on how long your hair has been locking and how long your locs are.

“The reasons why salons I know of, because I know our salon doesn’t offer the service, just don’t offer it is because it can take up to a week to detangle the locs,” she said. “Again, this is matted hair we’re talking about.”

Don’t assume that your loose hair will be as long as your locked hair.

“Often times, people consider the option of combing out their locs because they’re under the impression that if they comb out the locs, their hair is going to be as long as the locs are,” Williams said. “And you know, unfortunately, in the Black community, we’re obsessed with length. So the reality is, people have to understand that locs are an accumulation–the reason they are able to get so long, is because it’s an accumulation of hair that has shed from the scalp.”

So, to be clear, she pointed out that when you comb out your locs, you will encounter a lot of hair that stayed in the loc shedding and breaking off because it’s no longer attached to the scalp. If you were hoping to drape with loose hair in the same way you had length with locs, think again.

“Combing out the locs, the length of your hair may be longer than you recalled. But, ultimately, to comb out the locs, the hair is not going to be as long as the locs.”

Be prepared for quite a few struggle strands.

Williams has had clients who’ve done loc removal on their own come in to get their hair done, and the results weren’t so pretty. Dry strands, frayed and frizzy, require a lot more work after loc removal.

“When you’re combing out the locs, the amount of friction, just from combing through that matted section, it pretty much wears and tears at the cuticle layer of the hair strand,” Williams said. “So the hair itself, after detangling this matted section, is not going to be in the greatest condition. It’s more than likely going to be extremely damaged. It’s going to require a lot of conditioning and more than likely, another cut. So again, you’re talking about cutting away length.”

She continued, “Yes, doing several conditioning treatments, a number of trims and maybe cuts, you’re able to get hair back together, but it’s really a process. It’s not like a magical, ‘Oh I combed out my locs. My hair is back in this awesome fro.’ It’s definitely a process that requires diligence and patience and like I said, a couple of conditioning treatments. You can’t completely repair that cuticle, but at least you can feel it and help it in a way where styling is easy.”

If retaining length really is that important to you, instead of loc removal, consider growing out your locs before cutting them.

As previously stated, a big reason people opt to comb out their locs is because they want to keep some of the length it took years to accrue. But there are ways to retain a good amount of it while still walking away with healthier strands.

“As you’re preparing to transition out of your locs, just allow the locs to grow out for a couple of months without retightening them,” Williams said. “Keep the hair clean, brush it back until you have a good amount of new growth–whatever you feel comfortable with. And then, just cut the loc at the point where the loc meets the loose hair. Then you’ll have length where you can transition into twists or braids or some other style that will allow you to continue to grow out your hair to a length that you feel comfortable. All that new growth is new hair, healthy hair in great condition, and you’re cutting away the matted locked hair.”

Be prepared to get some criticism for combing out your locs, but always do what works best for you.

Every now and then in forums about loc removal you will find someone criticizing people for going to such great lengths to retain their hair length. And while Williams isn’t crazy about people combing out their locs due to the lack of knowledge about the process and what comes after it, she isn’t here for the judgment.

“Everybody has a different face and head shape as well as dips, humps and bumps in their scalp. Short hair does not fit everyone,” she said. “It’s a matter of preference. I think we all have a right to how we prefer to wear our hair. Our hair is how we present ourselves in the world. If they don’t want to present themselves to the world with short hair, I don’t have a problem with that. But let’s talk about a plan on how you can retain some length and transition into a style you do feel comfortable with. At the end of the day, they have to feel comfortable and confident when they step out of the door. So for those passing judgment, they should hold the judgment. It’s our decision how we want to wear our hair. And it’s no one else’s business how I choose to wear my hair, or how someone else chooses to wear their hair. It’s just a matter of a process. What’s the healthiest way to transition out of locs back into loose hair if that’s what someone wants to do?”

At the end of the day, be realistic if you’re thinking about loc removal — and have good products on hand.

If you have already made up your mind that loc removal is the way you want to go instead of cutting your hair, Williams said it’s important to be prepared for the work, have the right products (for instance, the Ann Carol cleansing conditioner by Williams which “softens and helps to break down dirt and debris”) to help you do it and restore your hair, and to be realistic about what the outcome will be.

“I just want them to have the facts about the condition of the hair,” Williams said. “There are other ways they can transition out of the locs without the time-consuming, tedious process of spending up to a full week combing out their locs. And ultimately, I want them to see that they’re only able to retain half of the length of their locs and they then have to go through a month or two months of deep conditioning treatments to make sure the hair is healthy enough and just looks good.”

If you are ready for such a commitment, get to work…