All Articles Tagged "curls"
The “Natural Hair Renaissance” is in full swing. More black women than ever are rocking their God-given curls with pride, and now finding the perfect product for every kinky texture is as easy as making a trip to the neighborhood drug store.
We’ve come a long way, baby, but for those of us who cut the “creamy crack” cord more than a few years ago, the dark days are still fresh in our minds.
Mahisha Dellinger, founder and CEO of CURLS hair products, was one of the early converts, deciding in 2002 to scrap her relaxer in favor of a natural style. Maintenance was a problem, though, and she found herself pacing the hair care aisles, unhappy with the heavy greases and texturizers that were developed for ethnic hair.
“I was looking at my options and thinking that this could be a potential business opportunity,” she said. “I was sure that there were other people who had hair care needs that weren’t being fulfilled.”
It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention, and that was definitely true in Dellinger’s case. With $25,000 of her personal savings, she hired a cosmetic chemist to begin working on the formulas that would eventually comprise the CURLS line of products. And while she admits that she was no science geek, she knew exactly what she didn’t want in the final product: parabens, sulfates, silicones, or any other additives that would prove harmful to chemical-free hair.
From there, the road to success was slow but steady. In a pre-social media world – and well before natural hair and natural hair care products were a trending topic – Dellinger had to get creative about building her customer base. She partnered with sites like NaturallyCurly.com to reach potential buyers directly, and she set up her own e-commerce site, shipping direct from her garage.
It was a realm Dellinger was comfortable in, having served previously as a marketing manager for Intel Corporation. But providing hands-on marketing training wasn’t the only way that Dellinger’s stint in corporate America readied her for entrepreneurship.
Towards the end of her Intel tenure, Dellinger worked under a manager who she claims was trying to get her fired, despite her record and performance. Ultimately, he took a job with another company, but Dellinger was forever traumatized by the experience.
“Once he went away, I was relieved,” said Dellinger, “but then I realized that the glass ceiling was still there, and the color barrier was there. I needed to be able to own my own destiny.”
Before launching CURLS, Dellinger considered other business opportunities, including a corporate child care service that would have directly eased one of her own pain points as a working mother. But it was her personal beauty epiphany that would lead to self-employment bliss and a company, according to Dellinger, that’s now valued at a cool $15 million.
Taking the entrepreneurial leap is never without trial, but Dellinger credits her mentor with making the road considerably smoother. She met her advisor, a former Fortune 100 executive, through SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). The organization provides a variety of free resources for new business owners, including mentorship pairing and assistance in drafting business and marketing plans. Dellinger’s experience with SCORE was so beneficial, in fact, that she steers every budding entrepreneur she meets directly to their local office.
“If you don’t have the experience, if you don’t have a mentor, if you don’t have the business background, I definitely recommend SCORE,” she said. “It’s free, it’s everywhere, and it’s an amazing organization.”
In addition to wise counsel, much of Dellinger’s current fortune can be traced to her products increased accessibility through retailers like Target and Sally Beauty Supply. And certainly, if the (not so) secret to success really is “Location, Location,Location,” Dellinger’s profits will continue to rise. CURLS products are scheduled to land on Wal-Mart’s shelves this February.
Unfortunately, though, the natural hair revolution and the willingness of big box retailers to jump on the sales bandwagon have created new challenges for Dellinger and company. She notes that some manufacturers are more concerned about revenue than providing quality products for black consumers.
“It’s really an interesting environment for us now because we wanted the exposure, but it’s brought a plethora of new competition from brands that are just looking to make money,” Dellinger said. “They may not have a path into the market that is authentic to the consumer, but they have the power and the resources to drop $50 million in advertising.”
Multi-national conglomerates aside, Dellinger is still pressing forward into a decidedly frizz-free future. She’s in talks to star in her own reality show – documenting her life as the “Curl Queen” – and she’s also writing a book. Dellinger’s days are much busier now, but she’s in control. And following her experience at Intel, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“After I got through that, I said I would never, ever let someone else hold my destiny in the palms of their hands,” she explained. “If I was going to put in all those hours, I wanted to do it for myself, for my kids, for my legacy, and for my well-being.”
Andrea Williams is a journalist and writer based in Nashville, TN. For more, follow her @AndreaWillWrite.
In Hollywood, changing hair is like changing clothes. Celebs want to be able to perfect and tweak their hair on the daily and with the use of weave, it’s plenty possible. Though you only seem to hear about black female celebs and their amazing weaves, here are 14 white female stars who have some notable weave game.
It’s no surprise that Kim’s luscious locks aren’t completely her own, but she does rock some good weave.
About this Episode
Natural and curlylicious TV personalities Rene Syler and Karyn Parsons chat exclusively about every woman’s favorite topic of discussion: hair! Check out their hilarious exchange on how they maintain their manes! Make sure you also watch their full Mommy In Chief episode: Are You A Good Enough Mother?
About Rene Syler
Rene Syler knew she wanted a career in television. Unfortunately she did not come to that realization until after she had spent thousands of dollars on a degree in psychology. She forged ahead and after reporter/anchor jobs in Reno, Birmingham and Dallas, landed a plum assignment as one of the anchors of The Early Show on CBS. In March 2007, Rene’s first book Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting was published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. From that her website, www.goodenoughmother.com was born. Rene lives in Westchester, New York with her husband, Buff Parham, children Casey and Cole and their yellow Lab Olivia.
About Karyn Parsons
Karyn Parsons is best known as the character “Hilary Banks” on the long-running television show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Today she is a wife and mother of two. Parsons is also the Founder and President of the Sweet Blackberry foundation after being inspired by the true tale of a determined slave and the remarkable lengths he travelled to find his freedom. While growing up, Parsons’ mother, a librarian in the Black Resource Center of a library in South Central Los Angeles, would share stories of African-American accomplishment with her daughter. A mother and activist, Karyn created Sweet Blackberry to use the power of stories to inspire youth. Follow her on Twitter @Karyn_Parsons.
Want More Mommy In Chief? Watch these episodes:
- Episode 1: Are You A Good Enough Mother?
- Episode 2: New Motherhood and Balancing A Bust Work Life
- Episode 3: How To Decorate An Eco Friendly Baby Nursery
- Episode 4: Foodie, Nicole Friday on Kids and Career
- Episode 5: Melissa Beck, From Hollywood to Stay At Home Mom
- Episode 6: Single Mom in The City
- Episode 7: Mommy Mogul and Marketing Wiz Monique Jackson at Home With Her Boys
- Episode 8: Beauty Maven Jodie Patterson Talks Four-Day Work Week for Moms
- Episode 9: Tonya Lewis Lee on Motherhood and the Importance of Women’s Health
- Episode 1: Back 2 School
- Episode 2: Happy Halloween
- Episode 3: Socially Responsible Kids
- Episode 4: Money Talks
- Episode 5: Keeping Families Healthy
- Episode 6: Thanksgiving Madness
- Episode 7: Highlights and Best Moments
- Episode 8: Stylish Moms
- Episode 9: Best Apps for Moms
- Episode 10: Socialite Kids
- Episode 11: Hair Talk with AfroBella
- Episode 12: Happy New Year!
From bouncy ringlets to kinky curls, it seems that everyone has fallen in love with natural hair and is on a journey to achieve that look. Not only does it personify beauty in the most God-given form, simply put, it can be fab, fierce and fun. But before taking that step, there are 10 things that you should know:
There will be a string of days that your hair wants to do everything except cooperate and you wind up leaving the house looking like who shot John. Before you take a hacksaw to your locks out of sheer frustration or go back to chemicals, remember that everyone goes through this. Try tying it up with a cute turban, twisting into a quick bun or weaving it up to get your mind off of it for a bit.
Your hair will unfairly dictate how you’re perceived by others. Plenty of naturals I’ve spoken to have been on the receiving end of comments such as, “You’re so afrocentric,” “I bet you love thrifting,” even “I dig neo-soul too!” Although most of these judgment calls are positive, a lot of them can be far from who you actually are. The good news is that just by staying true to yourself, your presumed personality won’t even matter because the real you will always win out.
Some men will believe you’re keen on bedroom experimentation because clearly wild hair equals a wild woman. Ladies, if he mentions hair pulling, running his fingers through your mane or says you look like a Queen of the jungle, please kick him to the curb. Immediately.
People will eye your hair like they want to snatch it right off your scalp. The guy sitting across from you on the train. The couple at the next table. And did that woman just sneak a pic?! If it seems like everyone around you is stealing glances, no need to seek a shrink, you’re probably right. This can be for numerous reasons, but a lot of it boils down to plain ole curiosity and fascination. Our hair is unlike any other and though the natural hair movement has certainly taken off, your tresses are still a sight to see. Just carry on with your fabulous self and after awhile, it won’t even faze you.
You’ll make some great friends just because you have a head full of crazy gorgeous curls, waves and kinks. Random people will approach you in the supermarket, on the street, at work – anywhere that your hair is on display, to ask you a million and one questions. Every. Day. Revel in it and enjoy.
I like to call it the grab ‘n’ go. That moment when someone feels it necessary to grab your hair, comment and continue on as though nothing happened. When this occurs, resist the urge to slap, bite or karate chop their hand. Politely make it known that this is inappropriate, fluff your curls and walk away.
You’ll probably lose weight. Exercise may become a steady part of your routine since you’re not worried about sweating out your hair. A lot of naturals also tend to start chowing down on healthier foods and taking vitamins because eating right can help hair grow to its full potential. You might not completely cut the fat, but you will want to start paying closer attention to what goes in your body.
You’ll become a chemist. In the quest for that holy grail product that will leave you with luscious, enviable locks, you’ll start to understand every ingredient, know the pronunciations and even make your own concoctions. Flax seed gel anyone?
Speaking of which, you may find that your hair actually likes “bad” ingredients. A lot of women are quick to jump on the organic only bandwagon, but many naturals claim that they can’t live without sulfates and cones. Some of the products that use these ingredients might just leave you with the best ringlets of your life. Don’t be afraid to try what others have shunned.
You’ve heard the stories. Once you chop your hair, you’ll feel like a brand new woman. You’ll be empowered, bold and ready to take on the world. In all honesty, this may not happen. Some women may feel their hair, take a look at themselves and say, “what the %$*@# did I just do?!” This is entirely normal after years of the same style, but trust me, you’ll start to love your kinks and coils as they grow out.
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Before I go any further, I want to say that hair has been a very hard topic for me to grasp. Ever since I was a kid, I just wanted to take my hair and put it in a ponytail ALL of the time. Easier said than done.
But as we get older, we learn more about ourselves and how hair is in general. It’s funny sometimes. I often see moms with their biracial children, hair frizzy and in bows, beads that are clearly weighing down their possibly thinning hair, and gelled down curls. If they catch me looking at their child’s locks, they give the look, one seeking confirmation that says, “Hey, this doesn’t look bad does it?” No matter what I really think, the truth is, I can’t tell others what to do with their hair or what looks right, because guess what? I don’t even know what to do with my own hair. But if you read the comments on stories about biracial hair or listen to people every day on the streets, folks would think I had it so easy. Many people believe that because a person is “mixed,” they don’t have issues with their hair or that there aren’t different types within that spectrum. WRONG.
I’m a happy biracial butterfly: African American and Puerto Rican. Although I have four older sisters, my younger brother and I are the only mixed kids in my family. Growing up, I was constantly frustrated with my hair. It would take my sisters about an hour or so to finish their hair, but it literally took forever for me, and whatever style I chose would only last for a minimal amount of time. However, they used to tell me that I had nothing to complain about, and they had these delusions of versatility about how it was easy for me because my hair could be worn wet or blown out. (Fortunately my grandmother never really let that happen-if they had cornrows or box braids so did I–a funny but weird sight.) Easy wouldn’t have been my word of choice.
It wasn’t until I was in high school and college that I noticed the many types of hair textures that make up biracial strands. I met girls who were in the same ballpark as me. Either they couldn’t control their hair, or damaged it from experimenting too much. I knew that it wasn’t just me who had a problem with the politics of hair either. There’s the hair that never curls, curls that can’t be controlled, and hair that is either too dry or too oily. The combinations are endless and I can go on forever about it…but I won’t. In that time I learned from my friends and other women what I was doing wrong and how I could keep my hair nourished and healthy.
A lot of that nourishment and good heath starts with the products we use for our hair. Sometimes “mixed” products are too weak for the hair and you could just be harming it rather than helping it. Some of the best products are the ones you may be ignoring, like Aussie’s Deeeep Conditioner or Miss Jessie’s products (that is one investment I wouldn’t mind making because it really works!). It took a while after dabbling with different products, but with time comes growth.
I’m not ashamed, or feel bad about my hair anymore. I used a little gift that works for ALL types of hair in the end–patience! You’re going to run into a couple of dead ends, but those mistakes just show you how to improve. Yet and still, while I do appreciate my hair more these days, I don’t have this over-the-top sense of pride that my sisters thought I would have. You know, the mindset that because my hair is wavy it’s better than anyone else’s hair. In fact, I hate the term “good hair” with a passion, especially since no one’s hair is “bad.” In this day and age, if you still believe in good and bad hair, form your own opinions and don’t take definitions like “good hair” for face value because if it’s healthy and beautiful to you, then baby, it’s indeed good.
All in all, I share my story of struggling with my strands to say the following to those like me:
1.) Hair isn’t your identity: Many people who aren’t mixed are often targeted for saying things like my sisters did, but sometimes you are to blame too. Just because you’re mixed or you believe that your hair is “good” doesn’t mean it is. Step down from the high hair pedestal that society has given you and look around. You’ll see that everyone has awesome hair.
2.) Embrace your curls: If you’re a mom out there reading this, just know that you don’t have to kill the curls (flatten or press them to death) so your children don’t look different from other people. Different can be good, but just remember to mix it up!
3.) Don’t give up on your hair: At one point I did, and I realized I caused more damage (physically and emotionally) to myself and my locks by ignoring them. There are tons of tutorials online, and you can also request samples for products before you make a serious investment. While it’s a struggle, with patience and effort, your hair will surely be your crowning glory.
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My journey to the promised land of natural hair has been a path paved with many trials and errors, shampoos, conditioners, creams and oils. As I am learning to embrace and celebrate my natural hair in all its coil-y glory, I still like to wear my hair in a sleek, straight bob every now and then.
Enter my two BFFs: Hot Comb and Flat Iron.
I wasn’t always on good terms with the hot comb, having suffered scalp burns and trauma caused by many a styling ordeal during my childhood. Over the years, as hair styling techniques advanced and electric hot combs with heat settings became available, I let the hot comb back into my life, albeit slowly. Not knowing the tricks of the trade, I’ve singed myself and my hair more times than I care to remember.
Since I began my hair transition three years ago, I found myself relying more and more on my flat iron. Not knowing what to look for or the best way to use it to get my roots super-straight made styling my hair difficult. Still, I gave it a good ol’ college try and ended up watching my hair break, strand by strand. I assumed the breakage was caused by the heat on my hair.
What I didn’t know was that the kind of flat iron I was using was making matters worse. Over the years, I’ve amassed quite the collection of ceramic, “high-low” two-setting flat irons. I have black ones, blue ones, broken ones…you name it, I probably have it. According to Johnny Wright, SoftSheen-Carson artistic style director and celebrity stylist, the best flat irons are titanium-plated with variable heat settings. Wright recommends the Corioliss Baby SXE. It’s a smaller flat iron, because “it’s small enough to allow you to get as close to the hairline as possible without burning the scalp.”
Ceramic irons were once thought to be good. But if you look at the surface of a ceramic iron under a microscope, the surface was ridged like an orange peel. And that surface would cause friction on the air. The titanium-plated flat irons have a much smoother surface, and can straighten the hair in one pass, rather than the two or three passes it would take with a ceramic flat iron.
Don’t throw away that hot comb just yet. It still has its purpose. The hot comb is good for straightening hair around the perimeter of the head “to give the hair a straighter finish,” says Wright.
All this time I had it wrong. I would use the hot comb to straighten my roots, and then comb it through the hair for good measure (and torture). Then I would go over my hair with the flat iron over and over again until my hair was relatively straightened, or I got tired, whichever came first.
Wright recommends when you wash and blow-dry your hair, go ahead and set the iron on the highest setting your hair can handle. For those, like me, who flat iron their hair every day, turn down that flat iron!
Follow Kimberly Shorter on Twitter at @KimberlyWriter.
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StyleBlazer Beauty: Miss Jessie’s Salon Debuts Curl Bar with Discounted Services and Walk-In Appointments!
If you’re a naturalista, you know the amount of work it takes to achieve flawless curls—let alone breeze through a morning without battling with your tresses. You’ve probably watched a few YouTube tutorials on twist-outs, Bantu knots and curly crèmes, right? Well, whether you’ve gotten into the groove and found a hair rhythm, or you’re in transition, the experts at Miss Jessie’s newCurl Bar will give you a fresh perspective on your hair (and maybe even a new do’)!
For more information on Miss Jessie’s new Curl Bar, visit StyleBlazer.com.
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By Lauren McBride
I was out wig shopping with a good friend over the holidays when I saw it. Like a heroine meeting her doppelganger nemesis in a Hitchcock thriller, I had finally come face to face with my hair. An exact replica of my very own tresses was right before my eyes being modeled on a lifeless mannequin bust. It was a surreal experience to say the least.
My friend and I were perhaps the most unlikely pair of wig shoppers ever. My friend has a beautiful head of hair. She describes her hair as an “afro puff” texture and it is well past her shoulders. My own hair is also long, notoriously thick and curly. I was not actually looking for a wig (likely story!), but my friend was. She was looking for a change, but did not want to damage her natural hair. In this case though, the wig is less about getting better hair, and more about the convenience; the ability to throw on a new head of hair and assume a whole new identity. For me it was a research mission, and what I learned is why I have been asked on more than one occasion if I am wearing a wig.
I work with young people in Philadelphia and my students are the ones who most often presume my hair to be fake. While I consider it flattering, I never fully understood how this was even a question. I was confused because it could be on a day where my hair was looking completely average, messy even. My thought is, if I’m going to wear some fake hair, it’s going to be FABULOUS. After visiting a wig shop, I’ve realized there are so many choices out there, from fabulously coiffed wigs like I had anticipated, to everyday bad hair day wigs. I imagine the spectrum helps keep the wig game convincing. Now that I know how to spot a wig, I’ve noticed that wearing a mediocre wig is actually quite a normal occurrence in my environment. Not to mention that wig shops are everywhere in this city! I would say in some neighborhoods, it would be easier to find a wig than say, a decent cup of coffee.
The wig shopping experience brought up all kinds of memories about my own hair. I am mixed, black and white, and I have always been really self-conscious about my hair and how it’s perceived. I something like corkscrew curls. As a kid this caused huge problems. “It hurts to be beautiful” is what my mother would chant as she struggled through my hair, armed with a fine-tooth comb and a bottle of No More Tangles. Things got worse as I got older and my hair grew even curlier. I cut my hair short when I was 10 and I became “that girl who stuck her finger in the electric socket.” Although there were always those who told me my hair was great, somehow the negative comments were the ones that always stuck.
Black kids would say:
“Oh my gosh look at that white girl with a Jherri Curl!”
White kids would say:
“Hey, that girl looks just like Slash!”
Let’s face it, Slash has always had great hair, but that does not feel like a compliment to an insecure biracial 12 year-old girl. These comments were innocent, but each one made me feel even more out of place than I already felt. I started to believe that maybe my hair in fact was not fit for public consumption.
Luckily, I grew up and eventually snapped out of it. I got some great hair products and I learned to love what is growing out of my head. I am now complimented on my hair much more than I was ever taunted before. Some even consider me an expert at caring for curly hair. It has actually been suggested to me that I turn my knowledge and ability of dealing with curly hair into a professional endeavor! I think folks like Ms Jessie’s and the Mixed Chics have that covered. To me it is just a skill, a very necessary skill. Times have changed and natural hair of all textures is far more accepted today than when I was growing up. I now remember how many times–countless times–I was told “You’re beautiful Lauren, people would kill for your hair.” Well, people are not killing for it, but now they certainly are paying for it.
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Not to go unnoticed with all the gorgeous designs coming down the runway, hair—particularly celebrity hair—also took center stage at New York Fashion Week. From color to curls to sleek strands, let’s take a look at five of the most notable celebrity hair moments from NY Fashion Week F/W 2012.
Take a look at the pictures at StyleBlazer.com and let us know who had the best hair.
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