All Articles Tagged "curly hair"
During a recent trip to the hair salon, my new stylist, who happened to be white, asked about my ethnicity. When I told her I’m black and Italian, she said, “Your hair’s beautiful. You must get this from your Italian side.” Picture my face falling to the ground.
Last month, a white woman who shall remain nameless because I have to see her regularly commented that she liked my hair. That seemed innocent enough, until she said it was nice because it wasn’t “too kinky.” Excuse me?
A few weeks prior, a black man I met at a club said he knew I had “something besides black in me” because I’ve “got that good hair.” Black relatives and friends have proudly used the “good hair” phrase to describe their own hair as well as mine, apparently unaware they have bought into white supremacy in the process.
On the flip side, some people have suggested that I get a relaxer or a Keratin treatment, as if coiled hair is a disease that only harsh chemicals can cure. I stopped relaxing my hair when I was 16 and have no plans to relax it again. I like my hair in its natural state; I enjoy wearing it curly, blow-dried straight or twisted in rope-like strands depending on my mood and the occasion.
But just last week I spoke with a woman who, despite clear indications that I was happy sans chemicals, and despite the fact that I did not ask for her advice, insisted that relaxers have improved since I last used them and I could probably find a mild one that would work well on my hair. Work well to accomplish what? Help me conform to her warped standard of beauty?
Generally, I don’t think these people are trying to be malicious. I just think they’ve been mentally programmed to believe that whiteness – in all its manifestations — is superior, and these ideas are so deeply engrained in their psyche that they are no longer questioned or even acknowledged.
Many people don’t realize that when they use the term “good hair,” they’re essentially saying that black hair is bad. They don’t grasp that if beautiful hair “must come from my Italian side,” the implication is that my black ancestry could only produce ugliness. They don’t reflect on why they prefer hair that isn’t “too kinky” and why they can’t see coiled hair without suggesting some sort of chemical treatment to straighten it. They’ve simply become brainwashed by a society busy sending messages in both subtle and glaring terms that white is right.
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I’m all for women wearing their hair in the way that makes them feel their most beautiful and confident (well, at least in theory, tacky lace fronts and shellacked hair excluded). And as the internecine
battle conversation about natural v. chemically processed hair continues, I think India Arie’s song “I Am Not My Hair,” is more relevant than ever.
However, in my own hair journey, and as I read about other women’s hair stories, I am convinced that every Black woman should go natural at least once in her adult life. Here’s why:
Caring for Natural Hair Makes You Focus on Yourself More.
In our hectic lives, between juggling professional, familial and other obligations, often the first thing that falls off of our to-do list is making time for ourselves. Taking care of natural hair often requires setting aside time to properly maintain our tresses, and an added benefit is that it really is time that we spend looking inward and being nurturing and loving to ourselves.
Learning About Natural Haircare Teaches Us So Much About Other Aspects of Our Health.
I’m sure that many women would agree that in learning about caring for natural hair, they’ve gained knowledge about healthy living – eating clean organic foods, avoiding certain chemical ingredients, getting proper rest and exercise, drinking LOTS more water. I never realized just how important eating sulfur rich foods help, not just my hair, but my overall physical well-being. The same goes for minerals such as silica.
Caring for Natural Hair Expands Our Notions of What is Beautiful.
Whether you spent a year or more transitioning, or did the “big chop,” moving into uncharted waters with your hair can be uncomfortable and even scary. The good news is that growth and evolution occurs outside of our comfort zone. Growing hair out from a “TWA” can present challenges, especially if we tended to “hide” behind our hair in the past, it can feel naked and vulnerable. Coaxing out our true texture, experimenting with different makeup choices and accessorizing with earrings and other embellishments that we normally wouldn’t wear as we embrace our new and changing looks and style possibilities can be life-affirming.
Most Women Need to Learn What Their Natural Hair is Even Capable Of Achieving.
Since we were young girls, too many of us have been indoctrinated to believe that our hair is something to be conquered. Even the slightest little kink of new growth would have many of us running out to slap some relaxer in our hair. Well that mentality had us killing our hair, leaving it ravaged and over-processed. Going natural forces us to confront our own texture, and remarkably, many women find that their hair is not nearly as unmanageable as they believed it was, and the majority find that their hair can grow longer than they even realized it could. The psychic benefits of this is tremendous because it’s almost impossible to grown healthy hair if you have such negative self-talk about your hair in the first place.
It seems that everywhere you look, someone is going natural, getting in touch with her roots (literally) and discovering the joys of having beautiful, thick bouncy curls that spring to life in a simple twist out.
Oh…wait, that wasn’t your natural hair story? Are you still trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong that’s keeping you from looking like the girl pictured above? Unfortunately there are a lot of women going through that experience, buying up every other product that promises shiny, buoyant curls and wondering what’s wrong with the state of their natural hair. Nothing is wrong with it; you just have to learn to accept the state of your natural hair texture.
The one thing to remember when it comes to hair is that every hair strand is not created equal. Even the hair on your head differs from one patch to the next. Your hair may be shorter in the center, curlier in the back and kinkier on the right side of your head. Even further, every person has a different DNA, chemical composition and therefore hair makeup, leading to a multitude of hair textures. Some may be coarser than others, while others may have tighter curls or looser waves. There are ways to care, maintain and grow any hair texture. It all comes to understanding and accepting your texture first and using that to set realistic expectations of your hair.
While perusing Instagram, Tumblr and the almighty YouTube for hair tutorials and inspiration, it is important to not over idolize other peoples hair, causing you to lose pride in your own texture. You should use the inspiration to learn how to keep your hair healthy and stylish. Texture is just one small piece of your hair’s composition and while your hair may not be as outwardly curly or thick as other images you have seen, regardless of texture, your hair can be manipulated into its own unique styles.
It’s imperative that you learn to appreciate your own hair texture just as much as your admire your hair crush. Even if you believe your hair is beyond any hair type chart, there is something unique about every head of hair. All it takes is taking a step back, taking a deep breath, exhaling and learning how to cater to your hairs’ actual needs. While you may want super curly hair, your natural hair texture may never grow of your scalp as such. But you can set your hair into beautiful curls and even create a look that you love more than the original inspiration.
You have to start somewhere. Start by accepting your texture. Be proud. Have more questions? You can ask the experts at Carol’s Daughter at www.TransitioningMovment.com
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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Wouldn’t it be nice to see FLOTUS with curly hair? That’s what someone thought when they Photoshopped curls on the First Lady.
However, while all the natural hair bloggers exploded with glee over this photo, it was debunked by natural hair guru Curly Nikki with this post
The tweet that made me lose it–
Now, let it marinate.
Photoshopped?.. Yes, sadly, but I can stare at it all day long. Hell, I might even print it and pin it up somewhere.
Also, whoever is responsible for this… *raises hand* me next!
Aww Man, wouldn’t it be such a powerful statement in Michelle started rocking curly hair or a fro? America isn’t ready for that though.
How do you feel about this look on FLOTUS?
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Dear Lloyd’s Hair,
India Arie sang that she was not her hair. That was a lesson we all needed to learn; but as the saying goes, there’s an exception to every rule. And you, Lloyd’s hair sir, are that exception. Normally, shoulder-length hair on a grown man is a bit of a turn off but your presence atop Lloyd’s head made him. With you, Lloyd was the R&B dude with the silky, long hair all the girlies simultaneously envied and wanted to play in.
Now that inches of you have been shaved off and thrown into some filthy garbage can, your host scalp Lloyd has resorted to singing desperate songs about p*ssy, nothing like the power you provided when you and Lloyd created “Get it Shawty” together. I’d argue that there’s a correlation. Remember Sampson from the Bible? Hair can be vitally important to a man. You were Lloyd’s appeal, his je nesais quoi, his strength.
Without you, Lloyd found himself in trouble he never faced when you were there for him. Remember you, Lloyd’s hair, were the one that caused that unnecessary beef with Miguel and his hair? If I’m going to be honest, I have to admit that you and Miguel’s hair really did resemble one another. Shame on you for biting Miguel’s style, Lloyd’s hair! You know these R&B dudes are sensitive! Why are you trying to start stuff? Rebelling is not the way you get the attention you seek. You should be focusing your energies on growing and attaining the glory you once knew.
I see now that Lloyd has given you permission to grow out a bit. While this is ultimately the solution; in the short term, your temporary growth has only made a bad situation worse. We know the only way for you to return to your former lusciousness is to grow out but this transition stage is not your finest moment. When we saw you and Lloyd on a talent competition show in Denmark, we couldn’t help but see the resemblance between the two of you and a muppet version of Sammy Davis Jr. It was just all bad. Your boy is walking around looking like a hot mess and you’re the one to blame. This horrible situation could have been avoided if only you had just stayed in your position.
Up until now, I’ve been pretty hard on you, Lloyd’s hair. But it’s only because “you are more than what you’ve become.” I know you’re capable of returning to your silky, shiny splendor and making us remember why we watched Lloyd’s videos in the first place. Your acquiescence to Lloyd’s orders have proved disastrous for the both of you but now it’s time to rebuild and re-grow.
Let’s get it [shawty],
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In our Hair Q&A series with hair experts, we connect Madame Noire readers with various experts and stylists to answer their most pressing questions about hair care. In this edition, Cindy Tawiah, founder of DIVA BY CINDY , responds to reader-submitted questions about jumpstarting curls and flat ironing hair. If you have a hair care issue you’d like to have addressed, Facebook us or email us at editors_at_madamenoire.com.
Question 1: I was hoping to get some good recommendations for fine curly hair, to keep it hydrated? Also a way to jumpstart the curls after the hair has been straightened a couple weeks in a row, please?
Fine curly hair needs body and volume. Any mousse or wrapping lotion with a foam dispenser should provide you with great results. If you have straightened your hair for weeks, jump start the process with a great deep conditioner. Search for products which don’t rob the hair of moisture and products which contain panthenol ( vitamin B derivative which helps hair retain moisture).
Question 2: I have short natural hair (almost 3 inches long) and I’ve tried a flat iron and a root iron on my hair to straighten it and nothing works. What am I doing wrong or what shall I try? I get better results when I band stretch my hair.
Hair can be straightened with a Marcel iron or by using a hot blow dryer to blow dry hair first. It is about technique and products. Use products which will detangle your hair in order to make the process easier. If all else fails and you need it straightened or a hot pressed for an event, have a professional straighten it for you and watch the process closely. Good luck.
Cindy Tawiah is the founder of DIVA BY CINDY product line for all women who desire natural based products that will give them longer and healthier hair. A motivational speaker and advocate for women’s rights. Cindy has been featured on WBAL TV, Shecky’s media, Beauty Store business and Hype Hair.
Solange recently signed a modeling contract with Next Models Management and is already gracing the catwalk! The stunner strutted her stuff at the Alberta Ferretti fashion show in Milan without missing a beat. I couldn’t help but notice that her hair looked a bit different… still big, but different. This isn’t my favorite big hair look on the diva because the curls just seem too perfect, or maybe it’s the length? Something just seems off. What do you guys think? I still love her regardless though!
Cool Product Alert! curlBox makes it easy for the natural sistas who are on the prowl for hair products and can’t seem to find the right ones. Each month, you will receive a box of 5-7 product samples that you can test out on your hair, some of which haven’t even hit store shelves yet. It only costs $20 to subscribe and you can cancel anytime—pretty good deal for 5-7 different products if you ask me. The first box of goodies ships out on February 7th and they’ve already sold out! If you want to be notified when the march shipment is available, visit their website at www.curlbox.com for exclusive VIP access.