All Articles Tagged "braids"
For Veronica Fletcher, natural hair isn’t a trend. It’s a choice to take ownership of who you are. It’s a mission she’s spent decades blazing a path for. Her fingertips are the ones that cultivated Lauryn Hill’s legendary locs in the early 90s. They went on to style the crowns of the likes of Toni Morrison, Angela Bassett, and DL Hughley, making Veronica a go-to specialist for celebrities embracing their natural beauty.
The Grenada, West Indies native is now the owner and founder of Sirca Designs, located near New York’s fashion district. Under her brand, she promotes positive self-image and a natural approach to hair care. Allergic to the chemicals used in hair school, Veronica decided early on to devote her styling career to taking the emphasis off chemicals and promoting healthy hair.
Veronica is authentic in every since of the word. She loves styles that accentuate natural features and regimens that allow women to accept who they are. “I tell the truth,” she says. “Sometimes I’m too honest. But I’m not going to take your money if it’s not going to work. If you come in and ask me to do something to your hair that is damaging or just doesn’t work with your texture, I’m not going to do it.”
It’s a steadfastness that comes with experience. Veronica denies setting out to make a statement with Lauryn’s signature dreadlocks. It was a personal journey that happened to be documented on magazine covers around the world.
“Going natural or coming back into it has to be an individual decision. It’s a lot of work that goes into being natural,” she says. “You have to be ready for it. You have to be ready to embrace yourself at any length. Because even if someone tells you it looks beautiful, if you don’t believe it, it doesn’t matter.”
Veronica has made it her job to show women how they can make their natural hair work for them. She is currently working on her first book, The Sirca Of Life: Celebrating My Natural Self, chronicling the natural hair revolution from the 90s to now including resistance from corporate America and within black families. She is also working on a natural product line.
Hair follows the same trend cycle as fashion. It always repeats itself. Veronica knows that natural hair is nothing new, but she still believes society has a way to go before natural hair truly becomes mainstream. We won’t see celebrities rocking twists and locs on the red carpet in mass until we demand its representation and celebrities become more accepting of their natural hair.
“It’s not going to happen if a celebrity isn’t in tune with herself. But we have to force it through,” she says. “Natural hair has always been there, but it’s been hidden. It was appreciated but not the way it needed to be appreciated. We hid ourselves with wigs, we hid ourselves with relaxers, and we hid ourselves with Jherri curls because it wasn’t accepted. To this day there are people who still can’t accept it.”
Whether through her salon, books, or product line, Veronica’s message is always the same, embrace who you are. “This is your mother and father, and grandmother,” she says. “You have to own this. This is you.”
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Did They Do Poetic Justice Braids Justice? 14 Celebs Who Rocked Box Braids And Looked Cute (Or Not So Much)
If this year has taught us anything, it’s this my friends: Box braids/Poetic Justice braids/ Patra braids are back! Woohoo! For those of us out in these streets looking to whip some hair that’s not itchy and will help us protect our strands from harsh weather (if you don’t get them too tight, they should protect your hair in general), the return of box braids has been welcomed with open arms. Especially by the African women who sit on 125th street in Harlem looking to put some braids on a fro they assume you want to hide. And while we love box braids here at MN, so do the celebs. From the ones who made the look hot years and years ago to the ones trying to keep it hot in the present, they’re everywhere. But who is rocking them right and who isn’t? Let’s take a look!
The road to natural hair is paved with good intentions. The joy of not being a slave to routine chemical processing and heat styling certainly is alluring for many. Many natural hair divas will tell you they find there’s more freedom and versatility in styling hair in its natural state. There are many more positive reasons for going natural; it all depends on who you ask.
I went natural for all those reasons three years ago, ready to embrace my natural coils and free up my schedule and budget in the process. Unlike many other naturalistas, I didn’t do the “big chop” (or BC as it is called in the natural hair community). I just let the relaxer grow out, relying on weaves and blowouts during the transition phase. When the relaxed hair finally grew out, I tried out a few low-maintenance natural hair styles, but was disappointed that I didn’t have the length or the talent to recreate all the fabulously luscious styles I saw the natural hair divas on YouTube rocking.
One attempt at a two-strand twist turned into a messy four-hour ordeal that left me with disastrous results. I followed the directions on the curling product jar to a T, or so I thought. The end result was a frizzy, tangled mess that looked like the ‘before’ picture in a hair product ad. Talk about an epic fail. I felt as if I had let my natural hair sisters down. I was losing hope.
Impatient and indecisive about the direction I wanted to take with my hair, I weaved it up for a couple of months while I decided what my next style move would be. After the weave I thought I would get a blowout for a couple of weeks, mainly to check my hair growth. There was only one place I would go for my blowout; the place where dreams were born and legends were made. Several of my natural hair girlfriends went to the same Dominican salon and their hair looked healthy, flawless and fabulous. I didn’t need much convincing or an appointment for that matter. So to the Dominican salon I went.
I had heard horror stories about the excruciating heat you’re subjected to at the Dominican salon. Someone told me about her one and only experience at a Dominican salon, complete with amusing re-enactments of weeping and gnashing of teeth. She made it sound like it was hell fire and damnation. But I had so many other friends who went to these salons and had great experiences and hair to prove it. I decided I would go through the experience just one time to check my growth and wear my hair in a different style for a couple of weeks.
The stylists at the Dominican salon were wonderful. They welcomed me into the Sisterhood of the Fabulously Flowing Blowouts with open arms. Literally. When I walked into the salon, I was greeted with a hug and immediately ushered back to the spa-like shampoo room. I walked past rows of women under dryers with what looked like ear muffs on their ears. Ladies in the stylist chairs getting their hair blown out didn’t seem to be in tears or crying out in pain. All I knew was that I wanted to get the same flowing end-results they were getting.
When it was my turn to meet the hair dryer, it was hotter than I would have preferred, but it didn’t kill me. All I knew was that 45 minutes after I walked into the Dominican salon with my tightly coiled afro, I was leaving with a sleek, bouncy chin-length bob. I was now a member of the Sisterhood of the Fabulously Flowing Blowouts.
Fast-forward three months later. My visits every two to three weeks were starting to take a toll on my hair. I started noticing hair breaking off around my temples and along my hairline. The strain of the heat was beginning to show. No amount of sisterhood hugs could erase the fact that I was losing the natural hair I had spent more than two years to grow. As much as I hated to admit it, I had to leave the sisterhood.
When it comes to Dominican salons, I can say I’ve been there and done that. I’m not knocking the experience though. I have countless family members and friends who have been going to Dominican salons for years, and their hair is so sleek and healthy you’d think they had perms. I just know that it’s not for me. It’s been almost three months since my last visit to the Dominican salon, and I’m starting to see a little evidence of growth around my edges. Maybe after all I put it through, my hair has forgiven me.
In the past few months Poetic Justice braids or Box Braids have been popping up in the heads of some of our favorite celebrities. Solange’s fashion forwardness made the 1990s style popular again and everyone from her sister Beyoncé to VH1′s Basketball Wives reality TV producer and star Shaunie O’Neil have been rocking braids. But are braids for everyone? Do you prefer these celebs with or without braids?
Read more at StyleBlazer
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Protective styling is a term every natural hair woman, or pretty much every woman, hears on the daily. It’s said that protective styling is the way to go when focusing on healthy hair growth. But what exactly qualifies a hairstyle as protective? Does a weave qualify as a protective hairstyle? And do all protective hairstyles have to look so…boring?
A true protective hairstyle is at its base simply a style that protects the ends of your hair, helping to decrease tangling, shedding and breakage. A protective hairstyle hides your ends from exposure but should leave them in a detangled state. For example, once you have properly detangled your hair and pull it into a ponytail, you can then twist down your ponytail and pin it into a bun. This helps to promote hair growth as the idea is to actually retain your length rather than the very ineffective idea of speeding up hair growth.
A bun or braids easily falls into the protective hairstyle category. And yes, at its core, so does a weave. But without careful installation and maintenance those can go horribly awry. Some will debate that pulling hair tightly back into a bun and slathering on a pound of gel does NOT qualify as a protective hairstyle, although your ends are tucked in and “protected.” The amount of tension you are placing on your hairline and the product buildup is counter-intuitive to what you are actually trying to achieve. The same can be said for braids or extensions that are installed too tightly and wear on the hairline. Remember that the root word is protect, and so while the hairstyle should take good care of your ends, it needs to protect all aspects of the hair ensuring that you have strong follicles to promote retention of length.
A lot of people, myself included, have often been dismayed at the idea that in order to promote healthy hair growth, we have to be relegated to boring protective hairstyles. The school teacher bun ‘do or the pinned up twists can be a bit dull for the bevvy of women who like to showcase their hair in a bigger manner. Protective styling eliminates the idea of blow-drying or adding direct heat to your hair, but you can still get creative with protective styles by adding a bouffant (à la Janelle Monae) to your pinned up ‘do. Or switch up the braided style with fishtail braids. There’s plenty of tutorials on YouTube for both looks. If you are going the braids/weave route, make sure that your braids aren’t too tight and you hair is properly moisturized. Box braids are a great alternative to micros, as they don’t put as much tension on your hair (and they take half the time to do). Do NOT keep your weave/braids in over more than two months at a time, because your hair does need time and space to breath.
Here’s a definite quick tip for protective hairstyles: bobby pins are a girl’s best friend, especially for those who don’t know how to braid. Just remember that you’re goal is to decrease tangling and eliminate breakage by enclosing your ends in a detangled state. If you keep that in mind, you and your protective style should be all good to go!
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The boho box braids seem to be among the trendiest of hairstyles this summer. Women every where have been going 90′s retro with the chunky waist length braids. Celebrities such as Joy Bryant, Solange Knowles, and Chrisette Michele, and now Beyonce Knowles among many others have been making blog headlines everywhere for embracing this hip and evocative trend. I myself have been having my own summer love affair with the waist length Senegalese twists, which are very similar, only they are twists as opposed to braids. While many ladies have already hopped onto the boho bandwagon, there are others who are still contemplating whether or not they wish to join in on the fun. If you are one of those ladies who are still on the fence about trying out this chic hairdo, hopefully these tips will assist you in making your decision.
Box braids can make for a really great low-maitenance protective style. In this style you can give your hair a break and some time away to really grow and flourish, if hair growth is one of your goals. However, one thing that should be considered before getting with this trend is the current condition of your own hair. Any form of extensions can be like suicide to your hair if it is not in a healthy state. Any additional hair added to already weak and brittle hair can be a recipe for disaster. So imagine what it is like to add the weight of super long and chunky braids to already suffering hair. Not a good look. Before making your decision to get get box braids, assess the state of your hair. Are you experiencing severe shedding or breakage? Is your hair feeling brittle? If so, this probably isn’t best time for you to get those box braids you’ve been eying because they would most likely make a bad situation worse. Take a little time, nurse your hair back to health with plenty of TLC and you will be ready for extensions in no time.
If you’ve assessed your hair and determined that it is healthy enough to get you braids done, the next thing that you should consider is how you should prepare your hair to get this style done. I definitely suggest giving yourself a really good deep conditioner prior and possibly even a protein treatment prior to getting your extensions done. Be sure that you hair has an even protein and moisture balance if you do choose to go the protein route (protein treatments can be a horror when used improperly). This is all to ensure that you hair is strong enough to sustain the extensions. The next thing to consider is that your hair is properly moisturized. Extremely dry hair causes breakage so it is a great idea to apply an oil or butter to your scalp and hair prior to getting it braided.
Once you’ve prepped your hair, one of the most important things that you should is choose the right stylist. If you already have a trusted stylist whom you’ve had in mind to braid your hair great. If not, read carefully. If you want to avoid drama and headaches, you should only select a stylist who can show you that they’ve done this style before or a stylist who has been recommended to you by someone that you trust.
Although box braiding seems like a fairly simple concept, not everyone is good at it. I strongly suggest going to a professional hair braiding salon. I had a horrible experience with getting box braids done by a stylist who claimed to know what she was doing. My hair was such a mess that I took it out three days later. No one has time or money to waste, so be careful when selecting a stylist.
After you’ve decided which stylist you are going to use, the next thing to consider is the type of hair that you are going to use for your extensions. Being that box braids are a hot trend right now, people will try to bop you all in the name of the almighty dollar. Don’t allow anyone to sucker you into thinking you need some special kind of hair to get this style done. Simple braiding hair will get the job done. Most people use the Kanekalon jumbo braid hair. It shouldn’t cost any more than $2.99 per pack and that is on the pricey end of the spectrum. This hair is really inexpensive, so don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Don’t be afraid to let your stylist know if she is braiding your hair too tightly. If she has any sense she will listen and quit braiding as if she is trying to detach your scalp from the rest of your head. It is your hair at the end of the day and really tight braids can lead to breakage. What good is a cute hairstyle if your own hair is suffering underneath. You should also give your hair a few days to loosen up after getting it done before you start trying to pull it back and experimenting with the many different styles. Premature styling while your hair is still fairly tight can put major stress on your edges.
Once you’ve actually gotten your hair braided, the maintenance of your hair underneath is equally important. You should wash your hair every few weeks. Many ladies find the Crown and Glory Technique to be the most beneficial when it comes to washing. You should also be sure to keep you scalp and hair moisturized. I’ve found that the Doo Gro Anti Itch Growth Oil to be the best product when it comes to oiling my scalp.
The nozzle top makes for quick, neat, and simple application. I find that moisturizing braid sprays are pretty effective at moisturizing the rest of the hair. Don’t go crazy and apply to many products, though. Too many different products will make your braids look old and frizzy quickly.
And finally, enjoy your braids! Check out YouTube and hair blogs to figure out the many different styles that are available to you.
Jazmine Denise is a New York City based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
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If the temperatures stay the way they have been across the nation, July 4th is bound to be abuzz with cookouts, sun and fun on the sand. Whether you’ll be playing Frisbee with your man, knocking back a few cold ones with the girls or taking in a nap underneath the umbrella, every madame likes to stay cute. Here are a few styles that will keep your hair tame instead of insane at the beach this holiday:
Braids are always in. Not only do they protect your ends from the wind and sand, but they’re instant fun. Try this fast style made famous by Ms. Gabrielle Union. Simply part near the crown, tease, secure. Gather the rest into a high pony. Secure again near the nape. Braid the rest of the way down. Lovely.
Talk about conservative. Do you see this cute and unique hairstyle that this four-year-old is rocking? Well, it was deemed too controversial by her British primary school, which rejected the look and banned Marcella Marino from the schools’ annual photo.
Her father, who is a professional hair stylist and salon owner, was responsible for the chic bow-like updo. “Marcella asked me if I could do her hair like a princess for the school photo and I came up with a simple but elegant style, using her hair to make a bow,” he told The Daily Mail. “I am so disappointed – I could understand if Marcella arrived with her hair dyed or something, but this is an elegant look which I think the school should be proud of.”
Apparently, the style violated the dress policy, which outlaws braided hair. The braid, in this case, is the knot which was made to create the bow. SMH. Can we smell the discrimination here? So a Black student wouldn’t be allowed to exercise her cultural right to wear braids to this school? The strict dress code is sounding a lot like justified discrimination. Maybe all the publicity being directed at Marino’s plight, as a victimized, innocent girl, will shed light on the real problem here.
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Healthy hair is always the way to go. However, sometimes women occasionally sacrifice the health of their hair for style. But there’s ways to achieve stylish hair dos without doing hair don’ts and comprising your healthy hair. Here’s some do’s and don’ts of achieving the following great styles and looks while maintaining healthy hair.
Color me Blonde
Coloring your hair can be a great way to switch up your look and add some spice. But it can also be one of the most damaging style choices, especially if you’re trying to go much lighter than your natural hair color. Whether relaxed or natural, using permanent color to dye your hair can be a treacherous deed, so why not try an alternative natural dye? Henna is a great option, as you can condition your hair while coloring. LUSH Cosmetics offers a great line of premixed natural henna blocks that are easy to mix down and are infused with cocoa butter and other natural moisturizing oils. If you want to go black, brown, blue-black or red, henna is an easy option. For lighter colors, you might have to do several henna treatments to gradually lighten your hair.
Braids and weaves are instant style changers and can also help to protect your hair and even help it grow, but you have to be very careful with how you install your styles. Protect your edges! Try to keep minimal tension on your edges. If you are getting a weave, be careful with the braid pattern and how tight the braids are. Remember that hair is being sewn on top of the braids, which is going to further tighten and pull your hair. Too much tension can result in severe hair loss and partial baldness. Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA) is a real disease that leads to baldness and scarring and can be caused by poorly installed weaves/braids (cc: Naomi Campbell). If you are going to a hair salon where they blow dry your hair before braiding, either ask to have your hair blow dried on low heat or do it yourself before arriving at the salon. This is especially true for naturals with a kinkier and more fragile hair type. Before heading to the braid shop, stretch your hair and then gently blow-dry your hair damp with a heat protectant to minimize breakage.
Want to turn your curly coils or wavy hair to straight? Rather than going straight for the blow dryer and flat iron, try a method that doesn’t require direct heat such as roller setting your hair. There’s all these fancy flat irons that promise to protect your hair with new technology, but ceramic, nano tourmaline, whatever, is still direct heat, and if done too frequently or at too high of a temperature, it can damage your hair. If you’re relaxed, roller setting is great because it’s easy to achieve and leaves you with full body hair. Siting under a hair dryer set at mid-temperature is a healthy option for your hair as opposed to reaching for a flat iron. If you have a kinkier natural hair texture, shrinkage is real and many combat that by regularly blow-drying their hair out (blow out). Unfortunately, that causes excessive breakage and halts hair growth. Trying no heat methods of stretching your hair, such as braiding or simply washing your hair in braids can work wonders and be good alternatives to constantly blow-drying your hair.
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Braids were a dynamic trend in the 90s; from cornrows to box braids, french braids to fishtails, they have been an essential part of African American Culture. At any age and in practically every setting, braids have been managed to create thousands of styles and make millions of statements. Our gallery of belles with braids have managed to master the timeless trend.