All Articles Tagged "black hair"
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
By LaKrishia Armour
Non-traditional hair colors are becoming more popular. (Forget those face-framing caramel highlights and rich chocolate browns.) I’ll admit it: I’m a fan. When it comes to the workplace, hair colors like hot pink, indigo blue and fire engine K. Michelle red can be workplace appropriate. It’s a matter of office culture, perception and styling, and color choice.
Vivian Diller notes in an article for Psychology Today that women “associate confidence with feeling in control, and hair is one way most of us can be in charge.” When we change our hair through styling methods, we feel better about ourselves because we control our image. If you consider yourself a cute hipster-adjacent professional, you’ll feel better when your hair, clothes and makeup match how you perceive yourself.
Office politics are a quiet, unspoken war we fight daily with our co-workers and boss. And we will all get judged in the workplace based on our appearance, which is a form of non-verbal communication. Companies like tech startups, creative media agencies and non-client facing offices extend more generosity to dress code and self-expression because of the relaxed culture. In offices like these, pretty much anything goes. I worked for a company whose biggest brand ambassador had this Mohawk situation that was awesome. It won’t be the same in organizations that specialize in serious industries like banking, politics, business and more. Yet, traditional workplaces are beginning to relax a bit after seeing the success of companies like Google that give employees plenty of control and freedom.
In the ongoing conversation about black women’s hair and overall image, we’re conservative. Scrutiny of our image and fashion choices usually comes more from other black women more than the people who decide who gets what job. Most often, when black women have unnatural hair colors like blue, the first reaction is that it looks ‘hood.’ When others, mostly white girls, color their hair in the latest Pantone color of the year, it’s assumed they’re artsy, hipster or edgy. The difference is the approach to color. If the hair in question is clearly a cheap weave, then it’s going to look like a cheap weave. When a woman dyes her real hair, she’s committed to the color. Hairstyle is a factor too. A fluffy ‘fro with bright highlights is a lot different than a 3-in-1 fantasy out of a Bronner Bros hair show. Now, I’m not telling you how to style your newly dyed (or installed) sky blue hair, I’m saying the styling will indicate how the color is perceived, and later judged.
There are “traditional” unnatural colors that are acceptable, like shades of blonde, auburn and red, which are fine for work. We rock these consistently with no problem. (Don’t act like your favorite “cool” auntie hasn’t been working a bold, blonde NeNe-esque shade since ’92.) Then there are jewel-toned colors like bright burgundies, rich plums, forest greens and deep blues that work best if your hair color is naturally dark. These colors are fun and edgy, but don’t have to be distracting during a presentation. Neon colors, however, are best left to the self-employed, the super creative and the college-aged kids. They’re in judged less since they’re either working out of coffee shops or going to class. (I will admit though, I had pink and purple bangs on a blonde fro at 28 and I loved it.)
So, are crazy colors appropriate for career-oriented women? I think so. It’s all based on how it’s styled, office culture and what type of person co-workers perceive you to be. If you’re unsure about incorporating a few rad chunks of emerald highlights, mention it to some of your team members or boss to gauge their reaction to the idea. And, if your office absolutely doesn’t allow it, go for it anyway. You can always put on a perfectly curled wig during work hours, and then go bold and beautiful after hours.
As a black woman, the process of finding the right hair salon is a lengthy one of researching hair blogs and forums, word of mouth and sometimes a bit of trial and error. It’s easier if you’re looking for a salon in the neighborhood where you grew up or in a city where you know a lot of people, but what if you don’t know anyone? If you’re on vacation or out of town on business the process can be almost impossible, forcing you to overpay, or spend hours in the search.
A new app called “Black City” has just hit the market to address that issue. The app allows you to search black salons in your area. The search function breaks out into four categories: barbers, salons, natural and braids. After you select, the type of salon you’re looking for, just enter your zip code and a list of salons will come up.
The salon details include the names and address, the phone number, contact information and a button to show reviews or add reviews. The app just hit the market, so many of the salons have yet to be reviewed. But as it grows, that should change.
And in certain zip codes may show no results, in part because, let’s be honest, not every zip code will have a black salon in it’s vicinity. If, as with Google, you’re creative with your search, you should be able to find something you can get to. The app also takes advantage of crowdsourcing data and gives users the option to add a shop. When I searched various zip codes, four or five salon options would come up.
The interface is pretty simple and a bit reminiscent of the old school hair books that sit around in salons, but the functionality is easy and fast. The only major thing it seems to be missing is the option to display photos.
If the app catches on, it has the potential to become a rich database of black salons across the country.
Would you download this app? Let us know what you think.
By LaKrishia Armour
So you just big chopped—hurrah!—and after prancing around for weeks letting the wind kiss your scalp and buying tons of new dangly earrings, you may feel the newness of your crop wearing off. You know what? That’s okay. You can buy wigs from your favorite beauty supply store.
Apparently, though, if you choose to wear a Kim K inspired wig and you’re natural, it’s a problem. If you don’t know what this type of wig looks like, it’s a long, layered hairstyle with loose, face-framing curls. Some people argue that if a woman, especially one with an afro, wears a long, straight wig, she’s not being ‘real,’ because if she were ‘real,’ she’d wear her Teeny Weeny Afro as it is, unashamed.
I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t see anything wrong with a little bump and shine, especially when it comes to changing hairstyles when you feel like it. Wigs are pretty awesome, and a way to give your natural hair a quick break when you’re feeling bored, or want to allow time for your hair to grow. Here are four reasons why going from close crop to wavy Rapunzel-like hair shouldn’t be a problem at all.
You’re trying out a great protective style.
Wearing your wig for a week is smart because it helps maintain the health of your hair. You can play with styling a heat resistant wig without fear of burning your own hair off with a too-hot clampless curling iron in an effort to attain the perfect beach wave. You won’t suffer from stiff, dull hair as a result of using styling products like hairsprays, gels and mousses. Plus, you can keep your TWA moisturized underneath and keep your ears warm all at the same time. Winniiiiiiing.
You like long hair and you get the chance to see what you look like with it.
And that’s fine. Really, it is. You might not want to wait for your hair to grow back to a length you’re comfortable with. Feeling a loss of traditional femininity is what some women experience soon after 12” of their relaxed ends are being swept up by the shampoo girl and they’re rocking a super close crop. Not everyone immediately feels fierce like a ’90s Jada Pinket . Wearing a wig—straight or curly—in a desired length isn’t “cheating” on a hair journey. And, beyond that, maybe some women don’t want to get into the typical hair tips and techniques convo in the hair care aisle at CVS.
A good wig is the lazy or busy woman’s way to get to instant glam.
If you’re a new natural, it can be tough figuring out how to style your quickly (and sometimes awkwardly) growing TWA perfectly each day. There are going to be some hits and misses. And on the days that there are bad hair days or you’re dealing with product experiments gone wrong, you can always rely on ‘Avery’ in a 1B with wispy, face-framing highlights in a 33 to get you out the door on time to work, school, or dinner with the girls. There is nothing wrong with putting on a wig when hoop earrings and flowers above the ear look boring instead of edgy. Girl, put that wig on!
Switching up your style is O.K.
The best thing about wigs is trying new lengths, colors and styles in the same day. Today you’re Beyoncé. Tomorrow, Rihanna. Dorothy Dandridge on Saturday night. You get the idea. It’s fun to feel like a new version of yourself, even if it’s just for a few hours. Maybe today—or tomorrow—is the day you want to whip your hair back and forth. For many black women, our hair is an accessory we can change to suit our moods, the occasions, and our outfits. We get creative license with our hair, and putting on a wig isn’t any different than wearing a bold lipstick, or putting extra hair in that French roll you’re going to have for holiday parties because you saw Olivia Pope work the mess out of it on Scandal. It’s the same thing. It’s fake hair, no matter the purpose or level of visibility. You’re still you underneath all that ‘long hair don’t care.’ And, that’s what’s most important.
Put that new style on your head and get to pattin’ those wigs, ladies.
I don’t know when it started for me, but I recently found myself being way too nosy when it comes to other people’s hair. I wouldn’t say that I judged people for the decisions they make when it comes to their hair, but I will admit that I was becoming a bit too concerned about the decisions people I know made about their locks. I was recently at a work event, jamming to music with my colleagues only to stop dead in my tracks and gawk at the out-of-the-blue new hairstyle one of my co-workers walked in the room wearing. As long as she had been working for the company, she always wore her hair natural with her curls neatly propped up on top of her head. But that day, she waltzed in, hair slicked down and shiny. I turned to my friend and co-worker and whispered, “Uh…did she get a perm?” My friend immediately started laughing at the way I asked the question, but went on to tell me that no, she just had it pressed and put some pieces in it. I was relieved as if it was my hair or my own business, and went on with my drink and my two-step.
I had to laugh at myself later. ‘Stop worrying about other people’s hair, girl!’ That’s really what I told myself. But I realized and witnessed that this was a problem for quite a few people. What we all had in common was the fact that we all wore our hair natural.
That same co-worker I told you about took some pictures this past weekend on Instagram while on a trip for work, and I wasn’t surprised to find that someone she knew asked a question similar to the one I posed days before: “Ummm, is that just a good flat iron?” When my co-worker informed her that it was, she went on to celebrate the look: “LOL!! Looking good!!” I guess if she said she actually had a relaxer, the response would have been “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”
It doesn’t stop there. Just a few months ago I went to the opening of a popular celebrity hairstylist’s salon, and to get there, I rode in a party bus from Manhattan to Brooklyn with my co-worker and a bevvy of natural hair bloggers and popular beauty writers. It was nice getting to mix and mingle (and drink for free!) with everybody, but the conversation turned serious when we went around in a circle and talked about how long we had been natural (this was actually the event organizer’s idea, as they were sharing new products). My co-worker informed folks that she was thinking about getting a texturizer and eyes popped. She had worn her hair natural for years, but issues with discouraging shrinkage and the stress of trying to do her hair every night just made my colleague more than ready to try something different. While the reception she received from the ladies wasn’t nasty, the group spent the next 15 to 20 minutes trying to talk her out of her decision, asking her if she’d tried different products with her twist-outs, thought about a range of protective styles, including braids, tried this, tried that, and more. By the end of it, my exhausted colleague was persuaded (or backed into a corner) to wait on the texturizer. Months later, she eventually went on this past weekend to put the texturizer in her own hair, forgoing her years worth of natural hair for a look that she wasn’t even happy with. I felt sad for her, and even shook my head. But then I had to check myself: ‘Why am I sorry for someone else’s hair!? That’s something she wanted to do and that’s her hair. Let me mind my business.’
I’ve had this conversation quite a few times with my friends and co-workers. Sometimes some of us can be too concerned with what other people are doing with their hair. For me, I know that after going natural I slowly but surely started worrying about folks throwing perms in their own hair. “Did you get a perm!?” “Nice hair! What did you do to it?” And I know we’ve all seen enough folks online ranting about other black women not loving themselves if they get relaxers and wear weaves to make anybody sick. We say hair isn’t that big of a deal, and then we turn around and have an issue with what a complete stranger does with their own. It’s not something I was proud of.
I think my concern came out of my own past of sacrificing my hair for styles that didn’t mean anything to me after a few months (if not weeks), and that would eventually end up damaging my hair. I didn’t want people to do something they would regret like I did. But in order to appreciate my hair as it is now, I had to make those mistakes with my hair, so I’ve decided to support others in the phases they want to go through to get to happy. And who knows? Maybe what I would consider a possible “mistake” one makes with their hair is what brings someone the love and appreciation of their locks that they’ve been looking for.
Well, it’s that time of year again ladies. Summer has officially bid us adieu. The beautiful green leaves have turned a rusty auburn color. The long summer days that we’ve grown accustomed to have become shorter and colder. Fall is here and winter is just around the corner. Though this seems to be a time of year where black hair really takes a beating, it doesn’t have to. Check out our five easy tips for maintaining healthy hair and retaining length during the colder months.
1. Necessary trims
While some women opt to trim their ends on a specific schedule, for example, trimming off an inch and a half every six to eight weeks, others have noticed that clipping their ends in these short intervals isn’t always needed and is sometimes even counterproductive to hair growth, since hair actually grows on average 1/2 inch per month. Instead of sticking to such a rigid schedule, try paying attention to the specific needs of your hair and trim those ends accordingly.
2. Shampoo and deep condition regularly
This tip probably sounds like the same old broken record playing over and over, but deep conditioning is extremely important to any hair care regimen and even more important during the Fall and Winter months. Having clean hair is extremely important, but while shampooing helps to rid your hair of any impurities, it can also strip your hair of its natural oils leaving hair dry and brittle. only seems to worsen these conditions. Moisturizing deep conditioners assist in combatting this issue. Adding a deep conditioner to your haircare regimen may add a few more minutes to your routine, but it is certainly worth it in the long run.
- See more at: http://madamenoire.com/220212/ready-for-fall-hair-care-tips-for-the-change-in-season/#sthash.N8k1CdSO.dpuf
These two seem like no-brainers, but deep conditioning is extremely important to any hair care regimen and even more important during the cold fall and winter months. Using a sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your hair of dirt and impurities is crucial, but it can also strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving hair dry and brittle. Cold weather only seems to make these conditions worse. Thankfully, moisturizing deep conditioners are the perfect secret weapon to assist in combating this issue.
Celebrity hair stylist Tippi Shorter suggests maximizing your deep conditioning experience by placing a towel in the microwave for 45 seconds and applying it to the hair once the deep conditioner has been applied.
3. Make sure hair is completely dry after washing
The days of those lovely summer wash and gos are pretty much over–if you live in a place with cold falls and winters.
“In winter, dry your hair before you leave the house! It really pays to get up half an hour earlier to blow dry your hair, or a couple hours to let your hair air dry. Of course, the time will depend on the length and thickness of your hair,” says Erin J. Bailey of BlogHer.
4. If you’re into hair extensions and weaves, maintain your hair underneath between installations
When wearing beautiful hair extensions and sew-ins, sometimes it’s easy to forget about your own lovely tresses. Celebrity hair stylist and WE tv star Kim Kimble suggests allowing for good breaks between putting in new extensions.
“I do a hot oil treatment and deep conditioners while my hair is out. And when you wear extensions, you do need to give your hair a break. I’m going through my break period right now, as I’m not wearing extensions today. And you also should use sulfate free shampoo and detangling conditioner so that it doesn’t dry out. So while your hair is out, that is your opportunity to treat it, since its hard to get to when you have the weave in it,” says Kim.
5. Protect your tresses from wool scarves and jackets
Though we adore our lovely wool scarves and jackets that not only look good, but help shield us during those brutally cold fall and winter days, they aren’t necessarily the best items when it comes to our hair. Wool causes breakage due to friction. It also has a tendency to deplete your hair of necessary moisture. To protect your locs against this, we suggest updos, full sew-ins, or other protective styles that keep your hair up and away from your shoulders.
How many black women have been asked the question, “Can I touch your hair?” Especially those wearing their hair in its natural state? I’ve always wondered what the big deal was and why so many people feel the need to touch something we all possess. Apparently, Un-ruly.com‘s founder Antonia Opiah had the same question. When Opiah started the discussion about people touching black women’s hair, she set out to discover why people of other races were so curious about black hair. Little did she know, she had sparked a totally different conversation without getting her answer.
Last June, Un-ruly.com held a two-day exhibit where three black women with different hair textures and styles stood in Union Square holding signs that read, “You can touch my hair.” You can just imagine the questions it raised as people walked passed wondering what those signs meant exactly. Why can I touch your hair? Why wouldn’t it be OK if you didn’t give your permission? And so forth.
By day two, there were women of a different group holding signs that read, “You cannot touch my hair.” And therein lies the controversy about whether people should or should not be allowed to touch black women’s hair. There’s Un-ruly who feels black women should be comfortable with letting people of other races touch their hair because it gives them the chance to educate those on black hair. Then, there are other women who feel no one should be able to touch their hair because their curiosity is based solely on the fact that they’re black. Why are black women the only women judged, characterized, stared at, and profiled whenever their hair is worn in its natural state? Asian women, Indian women, white women or any other women with straight hair don’t incite the same curiosity.
Read more at StyleBlazer.com
From Black Enterprise
Black hair has long been a lucrative business in the United States for black entrepreneurs, from Madam C. J. Walker, the first female American self-made millionaire, to former BE 100s companies such as Johnson Products, SoftSheen, and Pro-line. These companies created a market, opening the door for a score of black entrepreneurs who dominated the ranks of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses in the 1970s and ’80s.
Major corporations such as L’Oréal and Alberto-Culver also realized the value of this lucrative niche, and made inroads into the market in the 1990s by using their financial and distribution muscle. The black firms fought back through such organizations as the American Health & Beauty Aids Institute and placed a “Proud Lady” logo on brands produced by black-owned firms as a means of increasing support among African American consumers. However, the black firms did not have the resources to compete with the monoliths and were eventually acquired by these firms and turned into divisions of the majority corporations.
Today, most hair products for black consumers are no longer produced by black-owned companies—except for those in a new and growing area. Increasingly the sweet spot is natural hair products; notably, sales of relaxers have tumbled 30% between 2010 and 2012. The “pie” is the black haircare market which, according to the market research firm Mintel, is worth $684 million.
For more about the black haircare industry, click through to BlackEnterprise.com
I was contacted for a job interview at a college a few weeks ago and was prepared to freshen up the perimeter of my Marley twists, style them in a low bun, and head into the interview confident and proud. However, when cornered by a few female family members and asked how I would be styling my hair, I was met with a look of disgust by the more “corporate” of the bunch, and told to straighten my hair for the interview to make a good impression.
I hated the way one particular family member turned her nose up and suggested that the way my hair was wouldn’t make a good impression. My hair was neither dirty nor unkempt, so what was the problem? I reached out to a former grade school teacher to ask her opinion, and while she is quite liberal, she basically told me that though in recent years more diverse hairstyles have become acceptable, it seems the pendulum has swung back the other way so that more conservative looks for a job interview are the best bet. She told me to “break out the hot comb” for the interview, and once my contract is signed, do whatever I want. I could dig that.
She mentioned how “they” are scared of our hair. Her delivery was less condescending, but still, the rationale threw me a little bit. The most opposition I received from going natural and experimenting with natural protective styling was from people of color. My own people. And even more specifically, my own family. Dirty, contemptuous looks and orders to “do something with that mess” came often. “They” (READ: white people) have only ever marveled at my various hairstyling choices, asking a million questions, begging me to “wear it like that more often!” So, who is the “they,” really?
I wanted the job badly, so with clenched teeth and a 360-degree flat iron, I blazed trails through my hair until it was straight. Humidity got to it though, and I ended up pulling it back once it puffed up into a mess. Great. I wonder what might have happened if I had stuck to my guns? Had I betrayed myself to please “they”? What if my natural hair choice had been an intriguing conversation piece as it had been so many times before? I was just doing what I HAD to do in order to be able to do what I WANT to do, right? So why did I feel so guilty?
The amount of courage it took to start wearing my hair natural as an adult could fill a tractor trailer. The hit my self-esteem took by my conceding to a mythical idea that white people are intimidated by my hair was even greater.
We see it so often in the media now, don’t we? Black hair is a hot button “issue.” Little girls getting sent home from school because their hair is “faddish.” Parents relaxing/straightening their toddlers’ hair. The common thread throughout many of these stories is not white people’s fear, but a deeply-rooted fear of what white people will think. A deeply ingrained notion that who and how we are naturally is unacceptable and must be straightened, lightened, or code-switched into humble submission.
I struggle with that paradigm. I struggle with it because I know that there are certain standards to be upheld. I would never dare walk into an interview wearing sweats and a T-shirt. I wouldn’t attend church with my breasts all out. I wouldn’t give a formal speech speaking casually as I do with my girlfriends. Those are clear choices that are inappropriate for those environments. But my hair, on my head? How is what grows out of my scalp inappropriate? If it’s clean and tidy, why would it be offensive?
I didn’t get the job. And I wonder what might have happened had I proudly worn my Marley twists instead of shrinking to conform to what others believed, going in feeling self-conscious about the humidity-beaten puff at the back of my head. I had betrayed every shred of self-esteem it took me years to build. Every bit of disappointment and sadness resurfaced as I remembered a childhood filled with blow dryers and hot combs, begging my hair to submit to the straighter standard. It would not because it was something else altogether. Something curly, kinky, textured, and just as beautiful as anything relaxed or hot-combed. I didn’t step into that acknowledgment until I was about 25-years-old.
I didn’t dissect the issue until after it was all over. Perhaps it was the anxiety of preparing for the interview. But now, with it all thought out, I can say this: I’ll never base another decision about my appearance off of someone else’s flawed logic again, no matter how good their intentions may be. I have fought through too many deeply-rooted insecurities about my hair to willingly begin stripping myself of what makes me, me. I can’t burden myself with fearing someone else’s disapproval of my unstraightened hair. Especially when the group we’re all seeking approval from sometimes seems to be the most celebratory of my kinks!
I’m waiting for the day when black people will look in the mirror and ask themselves, “Why am I uncomfortable with me?” Because, at this point, any other explanation of our behavior surrounding our hair is a cop-out.
La Truly’s writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women through her writing. Check her out on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.