All Articles Tagged "natural hair"

I Have Alopecia And I’ve Stopped Caring

July 25th, 2016 - By madamenoire
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By Rhonda Eason

Transitioning to all natural just wasn’t working for me. I got sick of going to my office with hairstyles that I used to wear in the third grade. I obsessed over women on YouTube who demonstrated how to style transitioning hair into twists. I tried it. Major fail. In my frustration, I woke up one Saturday morning and decided no more! I was getting my relaxer back.

I got the relaxer. And that’s when I saw it. I was standing in the bathroom with a hand mirror, admiring every strand of my silky smooth hairstyle. To my horror was a quarter-sized bald spot at the top of my head. It was not just a clearly defined part because of my now super-straight hair. It was a spot, and it was bald.

I knew what to do. My sister began to lose her hair ten years ago for different reasons than my own and I recalled that she underwent a series of cortisone injections in her scalp. Now it was my turn. I didn’t waste a minute wondering how this could happen. I knew how it happened. I wore fantastically fun crochet braids the past nine months of my all-natural journey. It was a simple and cute style that I could achieve all on my own. Prior to that, my stylist installed weaves galore. When I wasn’t wearing weaves, I’d get my hair relaxed. Once a year, I’d rock my beloved kinky twists. Oh, I knew how it happened. So without hesitation, I hopped on my ZocDoc and made an appointment with a dermatologist for Monday morning.

Over the next few weeks, here’s what I endured:

1. Lab Tests – I had to go to the lab for blood to be drawn for at least twelve different tests to rule out any medical issues other than alopecia. I am not a fan of having blood drawn but I was anxious to rule out medical issues.

2. More Lab Tests – Surprise! The lab didn’t draw enough blood the first time around so they called me to say “Come on back!” Inconvenient for sure, but I was a ground troop moving in to wage war against my bald spot. I brushed aside my irritation and went back to the lab.

3. Vitamins – While I waited for lab appointments and test results, my dermatologist recommended Vitamin D and 5,000 mcg Biotin. I already take a multi and MSM, so what’s a couple more horse pills to the routine?

4. Qilib – Okay, here’s where things begin to break down for me. I have to use Men’s formula Qilib once a day. It’s a topical treatment similar to Rogaine. There are two different products that they offer – Regrowth and Revitalization. I use both, along with their Biotin vitamin. I’m not great at adding new things into my daily routine and this is one more thing I have to do. But, hey, it’s worth it… right?

5. Injections – After medical issues had been ruled out, my doctor informed me I have the type of alopecia that is permanent. However, we can give the injections a try if I want. I want! I begin my series of Kenalog injections. (If you think it’s distressing to have a needle slide into your fleshy arm, imagine what it’s like going into your scalp.) My doctor warned me, “I’m going to be your new best friend.” Once a month, every month until I’m satisfied with the hair regrowth I would have to see him for a shot.

6. Prescription shampoo – Ketoconazloe 2% shampoo to be used three times per week. Wait, what? She knows I’m black, right?

7. Prescription pills – My doctor recommends a prescription pill that can help with alopecia as well as my occasional acne.

“It’s high in potassium so no bananas…”

I ate a banana for breakfast that morning.

“…no kale…”

Seriously? I was having kale for lunch.

“…no sweet potatoes…”

“You can stop,” I said. “That pill won’t be for me. You got anything else?”

Why yes. Yes she did …

So here’s my day:

Morning – Think about hair. Take vitamins, apply Qilib Regrowth.

Lunch – Think about hair. Take prescription pill.

Night – Think about hair. Apply Qilib Revitalization.

Every other morning – Think about hair. Wash with prescription shampoo.

Every month – Think about hair. Make appointment for cortisone injections.

I’ve only been at this for a month and I am seeing signs of regrowth. But honestly, I’m starting not to care so much. I don’t want to think about my hair all day every day. I said that to my doctor the day I received my first series of injections. She smiled (almost as if she’d heard that before) and said that was a good thing. If I’m not stressed about my hair then we don’t have to worry about that hindering progress.

The hardest part in this scenario is spraying the Qilib on my scalp every day, twice per day. However, that might be a good thing. It’s been eight weeks since my last relaxer and my hair is thickening. It’s becoming increasingly difficult even finding the bald spot. Which means I probably will not stick with the Qilib and I’m definitely not sticking with using the prescription shampoo three times per week.

The solution for me seems fairly simple. Relaxers (which we know isn’t good for the hair) make the bald spot obvious. So I’m ditching relaxers for good. However, I won’t transition either. Once I get enough new growth, it’s big chop time for me!

There. Problem solved.

Rhonda Eason is the published author of the novels Jaded, Sweet Secrets, and the novella, Man for Hire. Her upcoming memoir, To Hair and Back, My Journey Toward Self-Love One Strand at a Time is represented by Jane Dystel at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.


Did Y’all See? After Show: Courtney Adeleye Of The Mane Choice Gives Us Advice On Growing Our Hair

July 22nd, 2016 - By Brande Victorian
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On this week’s episode of Did Y’all See? we were joined by hair care expert Courtney Adeleye. Adeleye is the creator of The Mane Choice hair solution, a collection of products to wash, condition, style, and, most importantly, grow your hair. On the Did Y’all See? After Show we chatted with the entrepreneur who arguably has one of the most beautiful heads of hair on the planet to learn how she got her start in the business and get advice on growing luscious locks like hers. Check out her tips in the video above.

Pop Mom: Natural Hair Blogger Curly Nikki Dishes On Her New Free E-Book

July 14th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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CurlyNikki at a recent book signing

CurlyNikki at a recent book signing

When speaking to natural hair blogger and author Nikki Walton, aka Curly Nikki, to get the scoop on her new book, ‘When Good Hair Goes Bad,’ I was prepared to talk moisturizers and protective hairstyles. After all, her first book, the bestselling, NAACP Image Award nominated, “Better Than Good Hair,” was full of tips on how to transition from relaxed to natural hair. What I didn’t expect was her to say the book is free! Free? Leave it to Curly Nikki to have a naturalista’s back. No wonder she’s arguably the top natural hair blogger in the game. Read on as this busy mom dishes on everything we’ll find in her latest book, and more.

So how did you come up with a free e-book?

CurlyNikki: My audience supported the first book so greatly and it made such a huge impact on the community that I wanted to show my gratitude by making the second one more accessible. When I came up with the idea to make it free and shared it with my friends at Dark & Lovely, they were excited at the opportunity to invest in it as a way to educate and empower women. They were also clear that it wasn’t going to be a book of paid advertising, the information would be objective.

It’s such a great idea, do you think it’ll become a new model for distributing books?

I hope so. I mean, in 2016 content is free or cheap and it moves quickly, so I feel it’s appropriate. I got the idea when I was at the store and saw that Martha Stewart was giving a free e-book when you buy a box of baking soda. However, this book is completely free. All you have to do is download it!

Curly Nikki

Curly Nikki

What’s in the book?

The book offers tips and tricks to restore your natural hair to its glory because in the name of versatility and playing with our hair, we sometimes do things to damage it. For example, we like protective styling, but sometimes that can go wrong, or color can fry our hair. This book offers short and long term solutions on how to fix it without having to cut it all off. The format is Q&A, and the questions come straight from my email account. Instead of answering each question individually, I thought it would be great to answer them for the whole community.

How did you become so community oriented?

It’s just the way I was raised. I grew up in a large family in St. Louis- Ferguson, where my grandmother, who I was very close to, was a huge community advocate for over 30 years. So we were all very involved in the church and the community at large. I started Curly Nikki as a service because I wanted to help Black women save time, money, and find their true self-esteem. As long as I put the purpose of service first, everything else will work out fine.

How do you manage family and career?

A lot better sometimes than others! (laughs) If I really want to make the most of my day, I get up at 5:00 a.m. and start with a 20-30 minute meditation. Then I immediately go into my inbox. is still a one-woman show, so I do everything from securing content, editing, scheduling what’s going on the site, answering comments, Twitter and Facebook. Then I take my daughter to school. Later in the day, I find that if my mood has gone down, it helps to sneak into the bathroom for some alone time. That way, I can power-up and be the happy mommy that I want to be. Whether you’re in a relationship or have kids or not, it’s important to take care of yourself first. I live a blessed life and a lot has to do with my inner being and the choices that I make in the moment.

Click here to download, “When Good Hair Goes Bad: Tips and Tricks for Restoring Your Gorgeous, Healthy, Natural Hair.”

To read more of Erickka’s work visit or follow her on Instagram and Twitter!

Mixed Chicks Has Added New Products To Their Men’s Line, HIS MIX

July 5th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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For over a decade, Mixed Chicks products has been redefining the natural hair movement for not only women but men, too. Creators Wendi Levy and Kim Etheridge have been supplying the masses with a trusted brand that takes all hair textures into account.

Two years ago, the popular brand created HIS MIX, the haircare answer for men with curly, coily or frizzy hair. Dominating the isles of various stores ranging from Target to Walgreen’s with a slew of products ranging from cleansing to conditioning to styling: HIS MIX Shampoo, HIS MIX Leave-in conditioner, and Replenishing oil. As of late, the brand has expanded their men line, adding products like a Firm Hold Gel ($8.99) that helps men create that “groomed, action movie look,” in addition to HIS MIX Daily Conditioner ($14.99) that tames frizz and unruly curls.

So, ladies, if you’re bae is one to showcase his coils and curls, you’ll want to hip him to HIS MIX if it wasn’t already on his radar. Oh yeah, their previously released products are on sale right now, too!

Hair Crush: Teyonah Parris

July 5th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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Image: Derrick Salters/

Image: Derrick Salters/

If anyone sits at the top of our hair crush list, it’s this lady. We’ve seen and loved her in films and television shows like The Miki Howard Story, Survivor’s Remorse, Dear White People, Chi-Raq and Mad Men, to name a few. Who are we talking about? Teyonah Parris, of course. Not only is she a bona fide star on the rise, but the talented actress is also a naturalista whose beautiful, healthy head of hair and eye-catching styles never cease to amaze. And her hair game is always on point thanks to her team of dedicated and uber-talented stylists: DaRico Jackson, Felicia Leatherwood and Kangue Dioume. We have no doubt that Parris will continue to grace magazine covers, rock red carpets, top best hair lists and influence countless women with her stunning looks and runway-worthy mane. Take a walk down memory lane with us and check out some of Parris’s best and most innovative hairstyles over the years.

Sanaa Lathan Says “No Makeup. No Weaves” For Summer ’16

July 5th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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What are you doing without this summer? Well, if you catch me out and about in NYC on the weekends, you’ll see that I’ve decided to forgo makeup and full shirts (#teamcroptop). As for stars like Sanaa Lathan, she’s ditching not just makeup, but weaves, and we’re loving it.

The actress, who is currently working on the upcoming Fox show Shots Fired, took to her Instagram page to let her followers know that this summer is all about going au naturel for her.


A video posted by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on

All that hair! Lathan continued to show it off on social media, stepping out with a friend with her curls (and cheekbones) popping:

Me and my road dawg @tamietran. Happy 4th! 💜

A video posted by Sanaa Lathan (@sanaalathan) on

In an interview with Hype Hair last year, Lathan said that while she loves “weaves and wigs and all of that,” she had been embracing her own hair more and more.

“I’ve been wearing my hair natural a lot lately. For me, it’s all about changing it up. In terms of my real life, I’ll put it in cornrows and put some conditioner in it and then take it out and it’s really big and wild. I’ve been loving that lately.”

In case you missed it the first time, Lathan revealed a very full head of hair in 2013 after taking out a weave:

Sanaa Lathan facebook pf

Source: Facebook

We’re glad to see the actress, as well as influential stars like Alicia Keys, stunning either way, embracing their strands and encouraging other women to show off their natural beauty as well. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wearing weaves and all the MAC your makeup bag can handle, but there is an issue when it seems that you rarely feel comfortable enough to step out without such accouterments.

How To Seamlessly Blend Your Wig With Your Natural Hair, According To Hair Guru Tokyo Stylez

July 3rd, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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Lace wig installation #touchedbytokyo #Tokyostylez

A photo posted by Tokyostylez- Touched By Tokyo (@tokyostylez) on

In recent times, we’ve seen many ladies opting for wigs over weaves. They’re convenient, they allow your scalp to breathe, and they’re somewhat a bit cheaper than  weave installations. And most importantly, they’ve had gotten a total upgrade, looking more and more natural than ever before.

Nevertheless, the blending of our natural hair and the wig is still a bit tricky. Yes, even with the plethora of YouTube hair tutorials that are out there. Thankfully, ESSENCE caught up with Tokyo Stylez, the man behind the wigs of Karrueche Tran, K. Michelle, and Kylie Jenner, just to name a few, to discuss how ladies can achieve a flawlessly styled wig from root to end.

“I never use foundation on my wigs,” Stylez dished. Many ladies have used foundation or concealer methods, matching their skin tone to create a natural-looking part, but the wig guru doesn’t recommend doing so, offering, “I always tint my lace with fabric dye.” Side note: RIT Fabric Dye is his dye of choice.

To begin the process, you should start by dying the knots of your wig with a powder bleach mix, which is lighten the lace making it easier to tint. And if you want an even more natural look, pull out your tweezers, giving the hairline a more natural density.

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?