All Articles Tagged "natural hair"

Don’t Want To Cut Off Your Locs? Comb Them Out: 6 Things To Know Before You Do It

June 30th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you have locs, you’ve probably heard the all-too-familiar question: “So how long do you think you’re going to let them get before cutting them off?” After reaching down near your butt to signal when you will likely part ways with your locs, you probably start to wonder what life without them will be like. What styles are you going to wear again? More importantly, what will you look like with short hair if you’ve never really had a substantial haircut or big chop?

But the truth is, which I realized quite a few people didn’t know (via Instagram), is that cutting off your locs isn’t the only option available to you. It’s the easiest, of course, but if you’ve grown attached to that hair, there is a way to keep at least a large amount of it. Loc removal has grown in popularity over the years, but the truth is, it’s a tedious process. I realized this after watching my college roommate spend upwards of three weeks with her locs in a tub of deep conditioner, hacking away at them while covering what was loose and what was still matted with the biggest hat she could find to go to class. Still, the fro that was left behind after removing her locs was a pretty good size. Was it healthy? Not likely.

So after seeing people ask a wealth of questions on social media about loc removal, I reached out to gain some insight from Dr. Kari Williams, celebrity hairstylist, the creator of those goddess faux locs everyone from Meagan Good to Eva Marcille have been wearing lately, and the owner of Mahogany Hair Revolution, a natural hair salon in L.A. Here are a few things you need to be clear about before deciding to go the loc removal route.

Be prepared to do it on your own.

“It’s not really a service that is offered, Williams said. “There may be some salons, maybe specialty salons, that offer the service. But ultimately, locs are matted strands of hair that have been matting together, more times than not, for years.” With that being said, Williams noted that it’s an incredibly time-consuming process depending on how long your hair has been locking and how long your locs are.

“The reasons why salons I know of, because I know our salon doesn’t offer the service, just don’t offer it is because it can take up to a week to detangle the locs,” she said. “Again, this is matted hair we’re talking about.”

Don’t assume that your loose hair will be as long as your locked hair.

“Often times, people consider the option of combing out their locs because they’re under the impression that if they comb out the locs, their hair is going to be as long as the locs are,” Williams said. “And you know, unfortunately, in the Black community, we’re obsessed with length. So the reality is, people have to understand that locs are an accumulation–the reason they are able to get so long, is because it’s an accumulation of hair that has shed from the scalp.”

So, to be clear, she pointed out that when you comb out your locs, you will encounter a lot of hair that stayed in the loc shedding and breaking off because it’s no longer attached to the scalp. If you were hoping to drape with loose hair in the same way you had length with locs, think again.

“Combing out the locs, the length of your hair may be longer than you recalled. But, ultimately, to comb out the locs, the hair is not going to be as long as the locs.”

Be prepared for quite a few struggle strands.

Williams has had clients who’ve done loc removal on their own come in to get their hair done, and the results weren’t so pretty. Dry strands, frayed and frizzy, require a lot more work after loc removal.

“When you’re combing out the locs, the amount of friction, just from combing through that matted section, it pretty much wears and tears at the cuticle layer of the hair strand,” Williams said. “So the hair itself, after detangling this matted section, is not going to be in the greatest condition. It’s more than likely going to be extremely damaged. It’s going to require a lot of conditioning and more than likely, another cut. So again, you’re talking about cutting away length.”

She continued, “Yes, doing several conditioning treatments, a number of trims and maybe cuts, you’re able to get hair back together, but it’s really a process. It’s not like a magical, ‘Oh I combed out my locs. My hair is back in this awesome fro.’ It’s definitely a process that requires diligence and patience and like I said, a couple of conditioning treatments. You can’t completely repair that cuticle, but at least you can feel it and help it in a way where styling is easy.”

If retaining length really is that important to you, instead of loc removal, consider growing out your locs before cutting them.

As previously stated, a big reason people opt to comb out their locs is because they want to keep some of the length it took years to accrue. But there are ways to retain a good amount of it while still walking away with healthier strands.

“As you’re preparing to transition out of your locs, just allow the locs to grow out for a couple of months without retightening them,” Williams said. “Keep the hair clean, brush it back until you have a good amount of new growth–whatever you feel comfortable with. And then, just cut the loc at the point where the loc meets the loose hair. Then you’ll have length where you can transition into twists or braids or some other style that will allow you to continue to grow out your hair to a length that you feel comfortable. All that new growth is new hair, healthy hair in great condition, and you’re cutting away the matted locked hair.”

Be prepared to get some criticism for combing out your locs, but always do what works best for you.

Every now and then in forums about loc removal you will find someone criticizing people for going to such great lengths to retain their hair length. And while Williams isn’t crazy about people combing out their locs due to the lack of knowledge about the process and what comes after it, she isn’t here for the judgment.

“Everybody has a different face and head shape as well as dips, humps and bumps in their scalp. Short hair does not fit everyone,” she said. “It’s a matter of preference. I think we all have a right to how we prefer to wear our hair. Our hair is how we present ourselves in the world. If they don’t want to present themselves to the world with short hair, I don’t have a problem with that. But let’s talk about a plan on how you can retain some length and transition into a style you do feel comfortable with. At the end of the day, they have to feel comfortable and confident when they step out of the door. So for those passing judgment, they should hold the judgment. It’s our decision how we want to wear our hair. And it’s no one else’s business how I choose to wear my hair, or how someone else chooses to wear their hair. It’s just a matter of a process. What’s the healthiest way to transition out of locs back into loose hair if that’s what someone wants to do?”

At the end of the day, be realistic if you’re thinking about loc removal — and have good products on hand.

If you have already made up your mind that loc removal is the way you want to go instead of cutting your hair, Williams said it’s important to be prepared for the work, have the right products (for instance, the Ann Carol cleansing conditioner by Williams which “softens and helps to break down dirt and debris”) to help you do it and restore your hair, and to be realistic about what the outcome will be.

“I just want them to have the facts about the condition of the hair,” Williams said. “There are other ways they can transition out of the locs without the time-consuming, tedious process of spending up to a full week combing out their locs. And ultimately, I want them to see that they’re only able to retain half of the length of their locs and they then have to go through a month or two months of deep conditioning treatments to make sure the hair is healthy enough and just looks good.”

If you are ready for such a commitment, get to work…


Protective Patterns You Should Try For A Better Twist/Braid Out

June 27th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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There comes a moment in every natural girl’s life when her twist out fails her, seemingly for no reason. You co-washed, detangled, moisturized, oiled, perfectly sectioned your hair, and applied just the right amount of a gel-based product to keep your ends tight. And yet, you woke up looking like you stuck your finger in a socket once you took down your twists or braids.

Sometimes it’s not the process or product that’s the problem, it’s the pattern you’re using to achieve a particular end result. For myself, straight back cornrows are the life-less, bald-headed devil. My hair’s not at a point yet where I can just unbraid/untwist and fluff, I have to go with the way my hair naturally “lays” which is a little high, loose, and voluminous on the top right and  more tightly curled and compact in the back. That means if I want a cohesive twist out, I have to part my hair a certain way and mix up the size of my twists for the texture of the given section of my hair.

Whether it’s texture that’s stressing you out or you’re looking to style your twist/braid out a different way, check out these natural wonders who twist and turn their hair in all sorts of directions at night to get the perfect twist/braid out in the morning.

A braid across your hairline can give you extra volume in the front and ensure your part stays solid once you take your braids/twists down.

Yara Shahidi Wants A Curly Hair Emoji Just Like The Rest Of Us

June 26th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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* insert nonexistent curly hair emoji

A photo posted by Yara (يارا‎) Shahidi (@yarashahidi) on

It was only last summer that Apple finally introduced racially diverse emojis, allowing iPhone users to pick from various shades of skin tones ranging from white to dark brown. But racial inclusion is just the first of many requests from individuals when it comes to emojis.

Recently, Yara Shahidi, known for her co-star role on hit ABC show Black-ish and her beautiful head of curls, reminded us of this. Shadidi snapped a quick picture for the ‘Gram, showing off her envy-inducing girls with the caption, “* insert nonexistent curly hair emoji”.

With ladies embracing their curls and repping for #teamnatural at epic proportions these days, you would think a curly hair emoji would exist, right? Some may shrug it off as a simple blind statement, but representation is a major key in one feeling confident and secure in their skin — especially hair texture for young black women. With society pushing the notion of straight, non-kinky hair being the norm, showing the beauty and diversity of people should always be a factor.

Of course it’s just an emoji, but ith Dove’s Curly-Haired Emoji’s initiative, it’s about time that Apple gets on board and add a curly hair emoji, don’t you think?

She Tried It! The Lottabody Coconut And Shea Oil Styling Line

June 24th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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Earlier this month, Lottabody invited me to #CoWashandChill with their newest offering, a Cleanse Me Co-wash. The co-wash is part of the brand’s latest line of coconut and shea oil infused styling products, which I didn’t even know existed; hence I was pretty excited to give it a whirl.


I remember Lottabody for its setting lotion which was a staple back in my at-home wrap days, but since that time the brand has grown and expanded to include products that work for natural and relaxed girls from wash to walk out the door. The collection includes the old faithful STYLE ME Texturizing Setting Lotion, along with a WRAP ME Foaming Mousse, CONTROL ME Edge Gel, SHAPE ME Custard Gelée, MOISTURIZE ME Curl & Style Milk, a LOVE ME 5-n-1 Miracle Styling Crème and the NEW CLEANSE ME Co-Wash.


My failed curlformers attempt

Now I wanted to do something different with these products since I’m always showing you all my wash n’ go but unfortunately my curlformers project didn’t go as planned — though that’s no slight to Lottabody. In fact, my biggest hesitancy to try curlformers was that I thought my hair would be stiff and frizzy with little curl, but the outcome was actually quite the opposite. After co-washing and applying the 5-n-1 Miracle Styling Crème and Setting Lotion my hair was surprisingly soft and smooth. Unfortunately, I picked the most humid day of the year to attempt this look and after not quite knowing how to pick out my little curls without destroying their shape and sweating to death in the bathroom, the style was a bust. But I shall live to try again and do a separate She Tried It! on the results.

lotta body 2

Nevertheless, I still needed to know how Lottabody would work for my everyday look since I’ve always looked at the brand as a line more for relaxed women than naturals. So, this morning I did a co-wash again, and after applying the Foaming Mousse, Curl & Style Milk, and a dab of the Custard Gelée to combat frizz as much as possible, I was quite pleased with the turnout. True story: While I was blow-drying my hair with a diffuser my hair was so huge and kept thinking about how much body it had and then I thought, duh, Lott-a-body. But, we all know a product or two that promises x,y, and z and barely even delivers x, so excuse the blonde moment I had. But seriously, I found myself trying to pat down my hair this morning because it felt so big — in a good way. Like an I was just in the office complaining that my hair isn’t growing but clearly it really is good way. And my hair is extremely soft, which is nice because many of the gel-based products I use to tame frizz tend to also limit my hair’s pliability. And because you know I live for edge control gel, I couldn’t leave the house without applying a generous amount to my hair line and also using a dollop to smooth out my curls even more. (Note: I’ve also used the edge gel to shape ponytails along with the Foaming Mousse throughout the week and the end result has always been smooth and shiny.)

All in all, it’s nice to know a brand that I spent so much time with back in my teenage, relaxed days can still meet my needs as a natural adult.  Have you tried Lottabody’s new line?

Finally! A Video That Debunks All The Ridiculous Myths About Natural Hair

June 20th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo Credit: Successful Black Parenting Magazine

Photo Credit: Successful Black Parenting Magazine

Right about now, we all should be giving a round of applause to Janice Celeste, the founder/Editor-in-Chief of Successful Black Parenting Magazine. Just a few days ago, Celeste shared a video on  Huffington Post to “educate those on the other side — the non-black side” about the beautifully textured tresses that naturally grow from our scalp.

The animated video titled “13 Crazy Things White People Think About Black Hair”, harps on the many myths that non-blacks have about #teamnatural. In the past year, we’ve seen a heinous amount of natural hair shaming ranging from young girls being expelled from school and banned at work to being belittled at salons. “It’s insanity at its best,” Celeste explained.

One of the preconceived notions that made the list was “Black natural hair, like Afros and Afro-puffs are a distraction.” The video goes on to explain, “Well that’s a huge insult and is borderline bullying. That’s how my natural hair goes when put in ponytail holders or when combed. Saying it is a distraction is like saying my face is a distraction because it’s what I was born with. Asking me to process or relax my hair to make you feel comfortable is like asking me to get plastic surgery so you can look at me.” PREACH! 

Press play to watch the “13 Crazy Things White People Think About Black Hair,” and feel free to share it with a non-black person that doesn’t understand black natural hair.

What Would You Do If A Hairstylist Called Your Natural Hair “An Animal That Can’t Be Tamed?”

June 20th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Photo Credit: Bianca Dawkins/City Pages

Photo Credit: Bianca Dawkins/City Pages

Another day, another ridiculous story regarding a black woman’s natural hair. Sigh.


What would you do if a hairstylist called your tresses “an animal that can’t be tamed?” Seems brutally harsh and uncalled for, right? Well, 24-year-old Bianca Dawkins was unfortunately faced with answering this question after a visit to Minneapolis-based Denny Kemp Salon and Spa.

Dawkins explained the incident to Minneapolis CityPages, a local source of information for news, music, movies, events, etc., mapping out the events that led to the rude comment and what ensured after. Apparently she made an appointment over the phone, telling the receptionist that she had “textured hair” and the style she wanted was a simple wash, blow-dry, and flat iron, so she could rock her “really curly, tight curls” straight. It didn’t seem like a problem. That was until she showed up to her appointment. According to CityPages, the stylist “grabbed some of her hair and informed her he couldn’t handle it, referring to it as ‘an animal that can’t be tamed’.”

Photo Credit: Bianca Dawkins/City Pages

Photo Credit: Bianca Dawkins/City Pages

After making the comment, the stylist brought other staff members to take a look Dawkin’s hair, but no one wanted to help. Rightfully angry, she asked, “So, what? Black girls can’t come in here and get their hair done?” According to Dawkins, the stylist replied, “Well, it isn’t the 1950s or ’60s, where we can just put up a sign in the window.”

“In that moment, I was having my identity attacked,” Dawkins said. “I couldn’t believe what was happening. I just put my head down and walked out.”

Dawkins later shared unsatisfactory experience at the salon via Facebook, to which was met with a flood of comments from friends and family who then took their issues directly to the salon with phone calls and emails. As a result, the salon issued a statement, saying that the stylist  had made “inappropriate” and “improper and offensive” comments.

“Though we believe that our stylist meant no harm and simply spoke inarticulately,” reads the statement, “his words were perceived as hurtful and completely contrary to what our salon stands for.”

Interestingly enough, the stylist was not fired as far we know from reports. But Dawkins and every woman, black or not, deserves better when to professional styling of natural hair. “It surprises me that race was even a factor here,” said Dawkins. “I’ve had probably 20 people reach out to me to offer their services, and 80 percent of them are white.” Of course, when dealing with natural hair, you’ll need to know different techniques that work better for its thicker texture, but it’s never okay to condemn someone for what grows naturally from their scalp.

Ladies, have you ever been face with a situation as such? If so, how did you handle it?

Find Out Jillian Hervey’s Secret To Full, Voluminous Curls

June 18th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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A photo posted by LION BABE (@lionbabe) on

Jillian Hervey has been making headlines and turning heads with her booming, powerhouse voice and her golden, voluminous mane, since she stepped on the scene as the lead singer of musical duo Lion Babe.

The 26-year-old who has recently been named the new ambassador for Pantene and the mane crush of many who adore her versatile, natural tresses that range from curly and coily ringlets to a lusciously thick blow out.

So, what’s her key to her flawless ‘do? Surprisingly, Hervey, who is also one of actress Vanessa Williams’ daughters, is low maintenance. Less than 30 minutes, she explained to Allure. And when it comes to maintaining her hair’s voluminous factor during the summertime, the heat and sweat actually helps.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little sweat. I’m always moving, so it’s normal for me, and it actually makes my curly hair better because it gives it a bit more texture and volume.”

Apparently sweat doesn’t mean frizz like most would think, especially if you’re hair is strong, healthy, and happy. “I think the key to beautiful, frizz-free curls in the summer is to keep hair healthy,” she continued. “It’s really the strength of your hair that causes frizz, not humidity, so it’s really important to me that I keep my curls strong and moisturized to protect my hair from breakage and frizz. It definitely gives my whole summer look a new life!”


Did Y’all See? Hair And Fat Shaming, Plus A Special Goodbye To Editor Jazmine Rogers

June 17th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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On this episode of Did Y’all See? we’re discussing the rampant trend of fat shaming which came to ahead when one plus-sized woman’s engagement photo went viral; Dr. Steve Perry encouraging Black boys to cut their locs and ‘fros; and the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Plus we’re sending a heartfelt goodbye to our News Writer Jazmine Rogers on her last day with MadameNoire.

Get into all this tea on Did Y’all See?

“It’s Just Fun” Teyonah Parris On Rocking Natural Hair And Why She Doesn’t Feel Pressure To Choose Any One Look

June 16th, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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Ever since Teyonah Parris walked the red carpet at the Screen Actors Guild Awards with the most beautiful updo we’d ever seen in life in 2013, we’ve been obsessed with her hair. If we were a celebrity, we’d feel a lot of pressure being virtually every Black woman’s hair goals but not Teyonah.

We recently chatted with the actress on the heels of her title role in the TV one biopic, The Miki Howard story, and we found out she doesn’t just give us#HairGoals but she’s the definition of a carefree Black girl. Not only did Teyonah have no worries about playing the lead part in the made-for-TV movie, she also feels no pressure to rock her hair a certain way being the natural hair icon that she is. In fact, when it comes to her tresses the stunning beauty says, “It’s just fun.”

Watch our full interview with Teyonah Parris above and be inspired.



Dr. Steve Perry’s “Aesthetics To Success” And Why Men Need A Natural Hair Movement

June 14th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Dr. Steve Perry


As I have stated many times, but more specifically, here, the natural hair movement should not just be seen as a fight to free Black women.

Sure, that’s how both mainstream and Black media – with their emphasis on highlighting our big chops, wig shedding and hair journeys – make it out to be. But the idea that Black women are the only ones who have issues with our hair is preposterous. And sexist. Men too have issues with their kinks. (Or did we think that Julius Caesar, the famed Roman emperor and the individual – or name – behind the popular hairstyle worn by Black men, was a brother from Ghana?)

For example, check out this tweet:

For those who don’t know why you should care, Dr. Steve Perry is the founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut, which is mostly known for consecutively graduating 100 percent of its all-Black male academy into college. He is also Sean “Puffy” Combs’ recently announced partner in a charter prep school that the unlikely duo is opening up in Harlem, New York.

Dr. Perry’s tweet was in reference to Steve Harvey’s National Mentoring Camp for Young Men, which was held in Roberta, Georgia late last week. And according to Dr. Perry’s timeline, the three-day camp, which partnered with the U.S. Army, served as a “powerful” testimony to how “the armed forces take young men & women who many gave up on & transform them into upright citizens.” This includes one young man with a speech impediment, who, according to Perry, ceased stuttering thanks to what he learned through the camp.

In addition to heaping tons of praise upon our U.S. armed forces, Perry also took a moment to express his interest in partnering with them “to create single gender boarding schools bc we CAN save our sons by changing their context.”

Needless to say, not everyone was happy with Dr. Perry’s tweet. And surprisingly, it didn’t have anything to do with his apparent approval of a school-to-military pipeline. Instead, it was the hair thing. And after a ton of folks read him the riot act in his mentions, Dr. Perry had this to say in response:

I will not deny that Dr. Perry is a fantastic educator. He is the man who basically wrote the blueprint for academic success. And if there is one person who knows what it takes to reshape and mold young men from scrubs to successful grown men, it is definitely him.

Still, there is something very bothersome about his stance. Of course, I’m talking about the adherence to respectability in all of this. The idea that because of stereotypes and White supremacy, Black folks must present ourselves in a certain way to not only not offend the White gaze, but to also be considered as worthy of respect and to be seen as dignified, serious people.

Yeah, I hate that kind of thinking, too.

But more than the respectability politicking, I also think there is something extremely self-defeating and loathing about Dr. Perry’s tweet. In particular, that maybe the gaze has a point. That our hair, in its natural state, is contrary to what should be seen as dignified, respectable, and even successful in this world.

And unfortunately, so many of our folks also feel this very way. They like to call it facing reality and offering up sage advice that will help others succeed in a country that is racially stacked against us. But, in reality, it is all just their way of telling you that they intend to uphold up – and even encourage – some very nasty oppression that hurts us all.

Yeah, I said it.

Granted, Dr. Perry’s record of getting young men to college is exceptional – and we all know that college is supposed to be the cornerstone to success and empowerment in the Black community. But a man is not shaped solely by how he performs academically, particularly in an institutional setting, nor is it only a matter of discipline and appearance. Therefore, the question of how we define success is an important one.

In particular, what does success mean when we are raising young men to have no sense of self? What kind of self-loving and well-rounded Black men are we rearing if we are teaching them as young men that their natural selves should be seen and treated as opposite to all that they aspire to in life (i.e., worthy of a good job, a nice home, love and marriage, etc…)?

What does success really mean if we are drilling into their impressionable minds that natural hair is contrary to all things respectable and professional? And what will it mean when it is time to pick a wife and have children? In other words, will they be willing to consider the woman with the unprofessional and status-limiting natural hairstyle or opt for something more “disciplined”?

And yes, that matters, too. And speaking of things that matter, how does any of this free us?

After all, isn’t this whole point of these Talented Tenth escapades – to mold young Black men who care about the well-being of the community and want to contribute to its growth – not to continue to raise young Black men who hate us? I have to say that if this is how we view success, then we would probably be better off letting them kill themselves out on the street.

And not to sound too morbid, but it’s all self-destruction anyway…

And as I wrote back in 2012 in the piece entitled, “Not in Corporate America, Brotha: When Will Black Men Join the Natural Hair Movement Too?”:

On any given Saturday there is a long wait time at any barber shop in the hood. Most men grow up knowing that at least twice a month there is a barber waiting to trim their hair into a tight fade. If anybody were to ask them why they continue to hand over money on Saturday mornings to “maintain” their short haircuts, most would tell you that having longer hair is too burdensome. Their natural hair is impossible to comb. And no one has the extra time in the mornings to dedicate to properly moisturizing and taming their thick and bushy ‘fro into a perfect circle. Ironically, these are some of the same reasons women have given as to why they might perm or wear a weave. Yet, within this double standard, no one ever accuses men of conforming to European beauty standards in order to give off a non-threatening aesthetic.

You know, the same non-threatening aesthetic that makes Black Fortune 500 CEOs with a “baby face” appearance more likely to lead companies with higher revenues and prestige than Black CEOs who look more ethnic? Oh yeah, those are actual results from a study conducted by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Even if they are at the top of their game, Black men must still succumb to the pressure to present an image that won’t suggest too much Negro-tude.

And unfortunately, many of them will be succumbing because none of their brothers will have their back when it is time to stand up to the abuse and fight back.

I know folks don’t want to hear it, but we do kind of do it to ourselves…