All Articles Tagged "natural African American hair"
Those of us who choose to go sans hair-straightening chemicals (no shade to the relaxed homies) get some very interesting questions and reactions about our hair. The most comical questions usually come from those who are completely unfamiliar with the nuances of black hair outside of Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” and that one black girl in their dorm in college.
Here are just a few of the situations every natural haired black girl will encounter at one time or another.
By choice, my hair hasn’t fallen past the top of my neck since 8th grade. Short just does it for me. Almost any woman can appear to be beautiful with a head full of hair. But not every woman can rock a short cut, caesar or fade and be stunning. After a bad break up in 2006 I cut my hair Halle Berry short. Shaved in the back, tapered on the sides and spiked in the front was my look for nearly three years. Fast forward to the summer of 2010 I decided to go natural.
As I transitioned from relaxed to natural, my hair was the longest it had been since 1999. I was absolutely terrified of doing the big chop (BC), which in the natural hair community is cutting all your relaxed ends usually leaving you with a teeny weeny afro (TWA) depending on how much new growth you have. My fear of having little to no hair wasn’t at all logical, as I had worn my hair super short before. But short and relaxed is the exact opposite of short, curly and natural. There was a mountain of excuses of why I couldn’t wear a TWA- a ‘fro is unprofessional, I’ll look like a boy (read: unfeminine) I won’t be pretty and I’ll hate my hair.
Despite my biggest fear of not looking feminine, after six months I was beyond frustrated with the two textures. On New Years Eve I walked into the barbershop and had my hair cut off. When the barber swung me around to face the mirror, my relaxed ends were gone and I knew I had made the right decision. My ‘fro was beautiful. Cutting my hair, once again, dispelled the notion that after women cut their hair short they are instantly ugly.
I cannot count the times I’ve heard men say they prefer women with long hair or that a woman with short hair looks like a dude. Unfortunately, some women have psychologically been brainwashed to also believe our hair is our “glory” referring to 1 Corinthians 11:15. We subconsciously attach our beauty to our hair because of the importance society has placed on it.
I’m all for women rocking whatever they want. The fact that Black women can wear their hair short, curly, long, relaxed, natural, straight, weaved, wig, ‘fro or braided is what makes us unique. But I do want to encourage women with short hair or who want to cut their hair, not to worry about losing their femininity. You are still feminine with short hair.
Research was a major part of my transitioning period. I read threads on hair forums, watched hours of YouTube hair tutorials and visited numerous natural hair websites. One commonality among most of the women transitioning was the fear of going through with the BC. And the reason most didn’t want to do the big chop was because they thought they needed long hair to look feminine. Despite how beautiful (and feminine) Chrisette Michele, Solange and Amber Rose look with low cuts, women hold on to that notion of short hair meaning more masculine.
If you are feeling unfeminine with your new cropped ‘fro, accessorize. Have fun with experimenting with makeup. Try a new eye shadow or lipstick that pops. Add a dash of blush to your cheeks. Another trick is to wear jazzy earrings. Whether they hang long, are big hoops or studs, your earrings will add flair to your hair.
But honestly confidence is key. Knowing you are beautiful already without makeup, sans earrings and minus the gaudy accessories. You are a fabulous woman whether your hair is 1” or 12”. Rock your short ‘fro with pride!
Can you recall the Easter Sunday’s of your childhood?
I surely can. Outside of creating eclectically painted eggs and putting on the freshest, most colorful inflated new dresses picked out by moms, a huge staple in our Easter morning ritual was an early date with the hot comb. Sitting on the stove cooking, you know the smell of a HOT hot comb from miles away. It smells like a cooked version of all the greases and hair aromas of those who use it. My mother put the hot comb on our bangs mostly, so that they would be bumped to perfection and incredibly silky smooth thanks to all that heat and a side of Blue Magic hair grease. She’d also clean up our napes, and we were always told, “hold your ear!” However much we cringed at the steam rising, or the hiss and pop the hot comb made when it touched our strands, we always left the house looking fresher than a crisp $2 bill.
Times have changed, and if you ask most women these days if they own a hot comb (not their mothers), they’ll likely say no. Flat irons sort of came through and took over. But for women who want to occasionally have straight styles but aren’t partial to irons and have natural hair, some are kicking it old school with hot combs. Sure, the stove top ones come with all the cautionary tales and warnings: If the comb gets too hot, you could burn up your hair, and even worse, burn up your skin. And who doesn’t hate nursing an ugly neck, face or ear burn with petroleum jelly and ice? But many of us know and have seen the benefits of the hot comb. If used every once in a while (not constantly), the end result can be shiny, full, lustrous head of hair. Or, broken off hair dry as sandpaper. If you’re looking to try your hand with a hot comb, here are five things you should know about the practice and the tool itself.
If your big day is coming up (or even if you’re just dreaming of a ring), rest assured that there are plenty of beautiful wedding styles for African American hair. The last thing a blushing bride should stress over is her do’, so be sure to consult a stylist at least a month prior to the event; be sure to take the style of your dress into consideration.
Adorned Cornrows: Cornrows are a popular wedding day ‘do for brides with natural African American hair. Adorn your braided style with cowrie shells, pearl pins or flowers to match your bouquet.
Long and Luxurious: As this is your time to be a princess, you may prefer to do a long, flowing look. If your own hair isn’t coming down your back, use hair extensions to achieve this style. Loose waves or curls are more wedding day glam than bone straight tresses. This is also a lovely option for long, natural African American hair.
Romantic Updo: Black women with natural hair, permed tresses and wearers of hair extensions alike can look gorgeous going down the aisle with a chignon, French twist or curled updo. Use a light hold spritz designed for Black hair to keep hair in place (choose one that isn’t sticky or too oily) and pull out a few face framing tendrils. Use decorative pins or baby’s
breath for a glamorous touch.
The Bridal Bushy Fro’: If you are rocking a natural, don’t feel pressured to straighten your hair out for the wedding. Many African American brides are opting to keep their look for their special day (and with good reason: brides sweat and cry a lot, and you may not be so happy to see your hair turning back in your wedding pictures). Consult with a natural hair stylist to find the best moisturizing product for your Black hair texture and use a fly headpiece instead of a traditional veil, so as not to smash your ‘fro.
When I first decided I’d try a texturizer, I was in the usual stage of confused, forced transition. I was coming off of three months of kinky twist braids to avoid the summer humidity’s affect on my hair. Once back in Chicago, braids out, my sturdy Nigerian hair (NAIJA!) had grown immensely and I didn’t know whether I wanted to keep up a straightening relaxer or go au natural. But I had also been thinking about texturizers too. I had seen the artificial lustrous curls of black women on the outside of Pink Shortlooks boxes and as a person who prefers cropped hair, loved the look. So I went to the shop and sacrificed my locks (cause I’m trying to put less importance on my strands) and by the time I left, texturizer leaving my hair in waves, I hated it.
The beautician had literally put a razor to my head (which I doubt was necessary to make the curls hold best) and I had less hair than my dad. But as its grown over the months, I’ve grown to love it. Coming form someone who’s actually done it and not just talking about it, it’s easy to do, taking about 10 minutes each morning, as all you really need are moisturizers and some water. And people might say it leaves your hair dry–not true. If you condition it well and keep your locks well oiled (not greasy) you’ll be surprised how soft it can be. While I know texturizers aren’t for everyone and you should always do what works best for your own head, texturizers, dope for both sexes, are ways to play with the texture of short and long hair, perfect during cold and hot weather. But here’s what you should know first.
Many of the products marketed towards Black women are not actually suitable for Black hair. Our hair is particularly susceptible to dryness and breakage, which can be the result of using some of these “ethnic” products that are heavy on harsh chemicals, fragrances and Afrocentric packaging, yet devoid of the ingredients we require for healthy hair.
Black Product Lines vs. Black Owned Product Lines
Just because a product is called ‘African Magic’ or ‘Black and Beautiful’ does NOT guarantee that it was made by a Black company; in fact, the vast majority of the products in the Black hair care aisle were made by the same manufacturers that produce the products in the other hair care section. Some 3,500 hair care products feature the American Health and Beauty Aids Institute (AHABI) “Proud Lady” symbol on the packaging, which lets you know they were made by Black companies. However, not all Black owned hair businesses belong to AHABI. And, as you know, Black owned does not guarantee quality, nor does is it a requirement for being a great product for Black hair.
Know The Black Hair Killers
Regardless of who the manufacturer is, beware products that contain harsh sulfates, which are particularly damaging for Black hair; ammonium laurel sulfate, TEA laureth sulfate, TEA laurel sulfate and sodium laurel sulfate are some of the worst offenders. Shampoos containing these ingredients should be used no more than once a month to remove heavy product build-up, if ever. Sulfates that are less damaging include polyoxethylene fatty alcohols, PEG 80, sorbitan laurate, cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium laureth sulfate. Also, relaxers containing lye are a death wish for Black hair.
We present to you today’s ‘Tip of the Day’ for growing long African-American hair… Read the rest of this entry »
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Today’s natural hair ‘Tip of the Day’ for long African-American hair…after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »
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Many African-American women are trending towards natural hair growth, so we bring you daily tips and tricks that can help grow long, natural African-American hair. Check out today’s natural African-American hair tip: Read the rest of this entry »
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Many African American women choose the ease of keeping their hair short. However, while short hairstyles may not require as much time to maintain as longer ones, one must still work to make sure that her tresses are in good shape.
Keep Hair Moisturized
Regular deep conditioning treatments can protect Black hair from breakage and help to repair the damage that can be caused by heat styling. Choose a conditioner with natural ingredients that is free from excessive alcohol based additives (search the ingredients list for words ending in ‘-0l’, i.e. glycol) and sodium laurel sulfates that can dry the hair out even further. Select a styling product designed for Black hair that is easily absorbed without weighing your hair down or flaking up; again, choose one that is low on alcohol and fragrances that may smell nice, but will dry Black hair out.
Black hair should be trimmed on a regular basis, in order to promote healthy hair growth and eliminate split ends. Natural hair should be trimmed every six to eight weeks, while chemically processed Black hair should be trimmed every four to six weeks.
To keep your short hair soft and prevent breakage, sleep with a silk or satin scarf or bonnet or on a satin or silk pillowcase. Cotton scarves and pillowcases can promote split ends and absorb much needed moisture from Black hair.