All Articles Tagged "natural hair"
Choosing to start on a natural hair journey isn’t easy. Once you’re in the thick of things–awkward lengths, matted ends and everything else that could confuse and irritate you–the natural hair journey seems time-consuming, frustrating and literally, sometimes, a tangled mess. When it becomes difficult, the urge to quit and run to a relaxer is strong. You can stay motivated by using a few tricks that will prevent you from giving up.
Remember why you started.
What was your motivator when you chose to start your natural hair journey? Was it a goal? A feeling? A need for a visible change? Many women choose to start their natural journey with a Big Chop or a transitional period. Whatever the reason, keep it in mind when you’re feeling the urge to quit–either because of that little voice of discouragement or from other people who don’t like the changes you’ve made to your hair. The urge to quit is usually a passing thought, not a ‘solution.’ Keeping your primary motivator for starting in mind will help you resist the urge to give up on your hair.
Visualize your goal.
Create a vivid image in your mind of your future achievements. It could be of your waist-length hair floating behind you as you dance. Or, it could be an image of full, perfectly twisted locks. If you don’t have a goal, create one. A vision of achievement in reaching your hair goals works wonders in increasing your positivity. And remember, your hair crushes didn’t get their luscious manes overnight…
Get an enthusiastic hair accountability buddy.
Even though her enthusiasm for accountability might annoy you greatly, a partner will keep you from quitting when you feel like you’ve reached a plateau in your natural hair journey. She’ll keep you motivated when you want to take scissors to your locs. She’ll give you product recommendations. She’ll be there to cheer for you when you need a jolt of enthusiasm. And most importantly, she’ll keep you on the path when you want to throw in the hair towel.
Uncover limiting beliefs you have about your hair.
Ask yourself this: Is the reason you want to quit that the natural hair journey because it really isn’t for you? Or is the problem that you’ve got a negative belief you’re feeding into that prevents you from allowing yourself to fully enjoy the journey? The limiting thoughts you have about your hair could be something major like, “I have ‘bad’ hair” and “I don’t feel beautiful without long hair.” The beliefs could also be hidden in a thought like, “My hair never does what I want. It’s such a time-suck in the morning.” Once you’re able to realize what these limiting beliefs are, you can turn them around into positive, self-confident statements like, “I’m learning that my hair is unique” and “My hair is s*xy because I’m the one rocking it.”
When you feel like giving up, don’t. Remember why you started and keep your outlook positive through visualization and a cheerful hair mentor. Continue on your natural hair journey with confidence and the motivation to go toward your goals. When your hair grows long and healthy, you’ll be glad you didn’t give up.
Much of how we perceive ourselves physically, and for many of us, the confidence that we have in our looks, begins with how we feel about our hair. Negative thoughts—even passing ones—can wilt our flowers of self-esteem as we journey into developing a carefree attitude toward our hair. Whether you’re first going natural, years in, or struggling with relaxed strands, many of us often feel discontent with our locks when they don’t do what we want them to. But here are five things to remember in order to get happy about your hair and make those strands happy.
Progress doesn’t always equal perfection.
Take pride in your progress and don’t worry so much about having perfect hair. A quick inventory will prove that you’ve taken steps toward your hair goals. Okay, so you had a few too many wonky braid outs than you would have liked over the last two months, but through those struggles you learned what works for your hair and eventually started seeing the perfect crinkles you wanted to. Think of the times before when you had no idea what you were doing! Yes, you’ve come a long way. Small wins lead to bigger ones. Now celebrate your success!
hair is happy hair.
Create a simple daily or weekly routine that works for you and your lifestyle. As long as it creates a healthy result that improves your hair, or simply slashes time on wash day, it’s worth repeating. A superb conditioner and consistent nighttime routine works wonders against dryness and breakage. Moisture is your hair’s best friend–give your strands what they need.
Try new styles as often as you want.
Put a flower in your hair. Part it on the opposite side. Try a style you saw on Pinterest. To boost your confidence in locks, have fun with new hair adventures. Allow yourself the space to flow in and out of your comfort zone with your look. Let your inner beautician play instead of forcing her to remain on stand-by while you fashion your hair into a dry top knot for the sixth day in a row. A few flexi-rods, hair clips and a vision of tousled, no-heat mermaid waves will get your creative mojo going (As will a packet of bleach, leftover weave and a bottle of dye).
Become your hair’s hype woman.
When you feel yourself getting discouraged, choose to hype up the good things about your hair. Think instead about what you’re learning about your strands as opposed to allowing yourself to get super stressed about things your hair isn’t doing to cooperate. There are more good qualities your hair exhibits than terrible ones. There’s nothing silly about a little hair affirmation. If all you do is roll your eyes in the mirror and giggle after repeating the phrase, “Today is the best hair day of my life” three times, the affirmation worked!
Let your hair be.
Accept the head of hair you have. More importantly, appreciate and love that head of hair. Wear it proudly. Swing your relaxed mane, fluff up your ‘fro or let your spirals bounce in the wind. Play up what you’ve got. Your hair, relaxed or natural, will become “good” enough when you break the habit of comparing your hair to others, and you’ll be happier with how it behaves. You’ll realize you’ve got the best head of hair—a happy one.
Although only 36 percent of Black consumers (compared to 48 percent of White consumers) use anti-aging facial moisturizers and four in 10 (or 41 percent) don’t use any type of anti-aging facial skincare product at all (versus 35 percent for White consumers), when it comes to hair, African-American consumers are concerned with aging. According to research from Mintel, 42 percent of Black consumers have tried or would be interested in trying anti-aging haircare products.
“Historically, Black consumers are not necessarily looking for the fountain of youth. They tend to embrace aging more so than other consumers. Those who use anti-aging products are motivated by different factors. In most cases, Blacks aren’t typically proactive when it comes to anti-aging, rather they are very reactionary,” Tonya Roberts, multicultural analyst at Mintel, says. “But in the haircare category, it’s different. The movement toward natural hair—whether natural hair weave or all-natural styles—is making Blacks a lot more conscious about the ingredients they put in their hair. They are looking for ingredients that are natural, restore damaged hair, and make their hair healthy – and they’re looking for results. Anti-aging products that include natural ingredients and promise to deliver on restoration are sure to appeal to Black shoppers.”
In fact, 30 percent of Black consumers have used or are interested in haircare products that treat baldness and thinning, while 46 percent have used or would be willing to try color or tint products, according to a press release.
Of course, in general Black consumers buy a lot of hair care products. According to Mintel, Black haircare market (hair care products formulated for and specifically marketed to Black consumers) had increased 2.5 percent from last year and is expected to reach $774 million by the close of 2014. And this figure doesn’t not include sales of hair weave, wigs, sales from independent beauty supply stores. And even with the trend toward natural hair, product sales are still booming–even though it is more difficult for Black consumers to find quality products.
“Despite the steady growth the Black haircare market has enjoyed in recent years, and the proliferation of brands for natural and chemically treated Black hair, many Black consumers still struggle with finding products that work well. Part of the challenge is that many companies aren’t marketing their products to Blacks using the right casting and culturally relevant messaging. There’s an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to spur growth by addressing some of the untapped markets – men, children, anti-aging products, multiracial, healthier straightening options, etc.,” Roberts says.
Toni Murray is CEO and co-Founder of Haute Kinky Hair, a naturally-textured premium virgin kinky hair extension line founded in 2012 with the purpose of helping professional woman find a protective style that suits their lifestyle and resembles their natural hair texture. With a growing social media following (over 10,000 Instagram followers), Haute Kinky Hair is a brand to watch in the kinky hair extension space.
Murray has over 10 years of experience in banking and real estate and holds a bachelor’s in business administration and an MBA in finance and real estate development. Murray currently runs Haute Kinky Hair while managing several business and pursuing a doctorate in natural medicine. We stole a few minutes to find out how she manages it all.
MadameNoire (MN):What inspired you to start Haute Kinky Hair (HKH)?
Toni Murray (TM): I used to wear protective styles that did not recognize who I was as a person working in the corporate world. Instead of doing the straight or wavy wigs, which clearly wasn’t me, I wanted my hair to be naturally textured. When I came to work with my naturally textured hair, it became a question as to, “What did I do to my hair?” I wanted to maintain my hair without having to manipulate it too much. I wanted a texture that actually looked like naturally textured hair and acted like it.
MN: What did you have to do to get Haute Kinky Hair off the ground?
TM: Because I had businesses before and they did not do so well, I learned from my mistakes which was a good thing. People feel that if they start one business and it doesn’t work out that the next one won’t work out but actually it’s a stepping stone for what to do right the next time.
When I started Haute Kinky Hair, I did a lot of research on the hair industry. Before I launched, I would wear each line, manipulate it, and figure out what worked and what didn’t work so that we could also figure out what kind of instructions to give people when they got the hair. I also traveled to Thailand, China, and Brazil to talk to suppliers.
MN: What is it important to travel and talk to hair suppliers in person when starting a hair business?
TM: If you are really invested in your business, seeing your suppliers and making sure that they are doing the correct thing for the extensions that you are going to sell and learning the process they use is essential. You want to be able to provide your customer service team information about how to address hair issues. If you don’t know what is going on with the hair, you can end up with a lot of inventory with a lot of issues.
MN: How long did the research stage take before you took the product to market?
TM: One year. I actually wanted to make it last two years but I had to bring it up by six months. I gave the extensions to YouTube bloggers Iknowlee, KyssMyHair, and Ambrosia Malbrough to test and to see how they liked it. Since they started posting pictures and doing YouTube videos on it, people started requesting it earlier than I planned for. I had to launch three months ahead of schedule.
MN: How did launching ahead of time impact the business?
TM: It was a good decision. If I waited any longer, the customer would have wanted to know what kind of business this is. People don’t like waiting for something if others are approving it. The fact that they are willing to do preorders and get their extensions three weeks later, I knew I was on to something. They trusted the brand. I had people who knew how to wear extensions and were a voice for them in terms of natural hair and protective styling that they trusted.
By: Pamela E. Williams
“I can’t be black, fat, and bald-headed.”
This comment was part of a discussion that involved having natural hair and being plus-size. As the words came out of my coworker’s mouth, I had no judgment, but wondered just how many Black plus-size women who are natural feel this way. Even people I admire in the blogosphere who celebrate their own curves — and those of of others — struggle with having short natural hair on a full-figured body. CeCe Olisa of the Plus Size Princess blog once wrote “While, I’m super happy with how they (SistaLocks) turned out, I was surprised that having “short hair” made me feel more vulnerable about my weight. In the past I’ve always added the hair I wanted for my ideal length with braids, weaves, etc. but I never thought about hair as part of my body image until I started rocking my natural hair at its current length.”
And yet CeCe and my friend aren’t the only ones. Being plus-size with short natural hair was something I thought I had resolved, but if I’m truthful with myself it is still a struggle. The quest for bigger, longer hair is a constant for many. Short natural hair on a big girl is not often seen as the ideal of beauty. Look at any fashion/lifestyle magazine and I bet you’ll find at least one that contains an article detailing the aesthetic desires a man has in a woman and I’ll wager again that on said list there will be some reference to long flowing, straight (read: European) hair. I probably don’t need to remind you of the husband who hated his wife’s natural hair who appeared on the Steve Harvey Show. It is no secret that the African American culture has embraced the Westernized standard of beauty, including many of our men.
As a Breast Cancer survivor, I ditched the relaxer in favor of my health and embracing my natural hair as it grew back after chemotherapy. My only problem is that it is taking its own sweet time to grow. In the meantime, I watch as thinner black women rock the short natural styles with ease. Lupita Nyong’o can do no wrong with her hair. Things are not all hopeless, as I have examples of full-figured divas such as Chrisette Michele doing the big chop and Jill Scott as she rocked her TWA on the cover of Essence, but I am sometimes a little self-conscious when I wear my own kinky 4c TWA.
The thought that short natural hair can make a woman appear less than attractive and, dare I say it, less than feminine has presented itself on more than one occasion. I had a little over an inch of hair when I was hit on by a lady at the gas station when I went out with my sister to run some errands and didn’t put on any make-up or my signature statement earrings. After politely letting the lady know that I wasn’t available or interested, she finished pumping her gas said goodbye. My sister laughed until she cried and then questioned flatly if I would now “perm” my short kinky curls. It hurt my feelings at the time, but I realized that this is what many go through.
We are told, or have somehow gotten the impression, that TWAs and other short natural styles will not look good on our plus-size bodies; that they will make us look bigger, or, to some, like a lesbian. If the self-esteem plummets, one may consider grabbing a box of Dark and Lovely, a wig, or some weave, often times to cover those insecurities about our weight. So where did the myth that big girls can’t rock short natural hair styles come from? Felicia Leatherwood, Celebrity Natural Hair Stylist, Educator & Expert believes that this mindset is cultural. In my conversation with Felicia, she said a person can only know what they have been introduced to.
“In America, many in the African American culture are focused on outer beauty. When I travel to Africa all the young girls have short hair like mine. They cut it off there because in some parts of the continent, they don’t want the girls to be focused on beauty, but on education. Here in America we are constantly fed certain images and told that is healthy. I mean you can clearly see their bones and ribs coming through their skin. In Africa the focus is on the inside. When you know what is beautiful about your insides, it creates a confidence that is unmatched. If all the black women who were curvy and considered to be overweight by doctors standards were all confident and just doing themselves that would infiltrate everything else…including their hair and the world would see that. If it was taught at a young age and preached and confirmed, it would become a lifestyle for Black women and our girls of color would grow up differently. Their body imaging would be so different.”
Felicia noted she starts any consultation with her clients by addressing the conversations in their head, where they originate, and why they feel the need to still hold on to those negative conversations. When considering going natural at any size Felicia gives the following advice:
- Locate three photos online that you find attractive; that raise your vibration and take them to a stylist who sees your beauty, gets it, and can break it down. Meaning the hairstylist will say “yeah, this will work. This can definitely happen. I can hook this up, add a little color…” You want somebody that’s going to support your vision of yourself and someone who is going to be honest. So get your photos and get consultations with some of the best hair stylists you can find that you feel can basically execute that look.
- The next step is really up to you. You have to feel magnificent when you look in the mirror. Recite positive affirmations daily. Just like Mary Jane in “Being Mary Jane” — there were Post-it notes all over to keep her pumped –we have to do that.
There is too much chatter from the outside world about how a person looks and you have to go within. If you truly want to be natural, you have one life. You choose what you want, you be that, and be confident in it. I’ve decided to do just that.
I am sick of talking about Black hair because there is nothing you can say that I haven’t heard before. All the main topics for discussion have been analyzed, scrutinized and summarized in endless ways; and quite frankly, I am appalled at the idea that we need to be mercilessly reminded that “natural hair” is a problem that not only needs solving, but won’t ever go away. Or that relaxed hair is so damn fragile that any unnecessary procedure is a risk you don’t want to take. And of course now that we have embraced the era of keratin treatments, all bets are off.
Going to the gym for the week? Be sure to check in with your trusty hair blogger(s), so that you ensure that your relaxed mane won’t suffer the consequences that will surely stem from your arduous workout. How many times have you stumbled upon articles that repeatedly emulate ways to manage your unruly tresses or offer pages filled with products that they swear will end your dry spell? Aren’t you tired of being invited to Hair Blogger events, meetups and seminars? Every time you think you have mastered a regimen that converts your Z pattern hair to a C pattern (if that’s even possible), someone else demonstrates on YouTube, that they have a much better and faster alternative. We are going around in circles and wearing ourselves out in the process.
No matter how many times the debate surrounding natural vs. relaxed, texturizing vs. retexurizing, etc, are tackled, the level of interest never ceases to amaze me. Those pieces typically skyrocket in the comment section of every blog. The conversations are identical to the ones from the previous week and the week before that. But somehow, there is that possibility that someone may have found a cure to our never-ending nightmare. So we continue to indulge and give the growing number of hair bloggers something to do. We are desperately hoping that through extensive research and sheer determination, they will stumble upon the product that will in fact transform our stubborn accessory into the shiny, soft, easy to pamper version that unfortunately most of us were not genetically blessed with.
Believe me, I feel your pain. I am not sure what pattern I am currently sporting, but I can confidently say that it isn’t the most sought after category. I have never been told that I have “bad hair” but the sympathetic glances I received back in the day when I used to faithfully visit hair salons was all the proof I needed. And the stylists would jokingly vocalize how my hair needed special attention because of its coarse nature. I bought into that nonsense until I realized how much money I was spending on mandated conditioning treatments and steaming sessions. We are coerced into believing that our hair can’t survive or we can’t look like decent human beings unless we empty our bank account and get a loan. Or better yet, do a little extra work in the bedroom so that your boo can pay for the new look we have planned for the fall.
But just because I understand the complexity that comes with having Black hair doesn’t mean I need to be bombarded with the same tired solutions every freakin day. It also doesn’t mean that we need to hear the same testimonies that breed the exact same results and inspire identical reactions. ‘The Big Chop” was somewhat inspiring when the “natural hair movement” became this instant phenomenon, but aren’t we over it yet? How many times are we supposed to cheer for women who finally decide to be brave enough to sport their unaltered texture? The story about women who after disastrous hair appointments are forced to “go natural,” and then pleasantly discover how much they love embracing their roots is so played out it’s pathetic. Tell it someone who actually cares! Oh, but wait, that’s the problem. So many of you do care, and I don’t understand why.
I am aware that Black women are not the only ones who try find ways to battle the elements in order to ensure that our crowning glory is intact. But we are the only ones who have turned our battle into a global enterprise. All we talk about is hair. All we think about hair. We can’t get enough of it because we are obsessed. Click on any site that caters to Black women and the main page is almost always littered with hair topics – some of them new postings, some recycled or restructured. It’s a dizzying ride to nowhere. Nobody is going to do a better job caring for your hair than you. You have all the answers and only you can convince yourself that, despite all its shortcomings, your hair isn’t as intimidating as you have been made to believe. So give yourself a break and just deal with it, and give us all a break while you’re at it.
BET done messed up now. Watching their award show every year, it’s a bit clear that the big named stars are starting to show up increasingly less as they cross over and make it with the mainstream. It’s quite sad, actually. And while we might not have understood their absence before, these days Beyoncé has every reason not to show up…like ever again. Here’s why.
So… I promised myself that I was over the endless hair articles that clog up the Internet daily. But after witnessing the public thrashing of Blue Ivy’s locks after her unbearably cute appearance at last Sunday’s VMAs. I couldn’t resist chiming in on a topic that has been exhaustingly rehashed for no good reason.
First of all, Blue Ivy is an adorable girl who has super star parents. She is a celebrity by default and so she will always be judged based on her looks. It is pathetically sad that she has to endure the wrath of ignorance before she is even able to construct a complete sentence. But thanks to the luxury of social media, we are susceptible to the fiery nature of naysayers and inconceivably rude people who take pleasure in mocking or degrading innocent victims.
Blue Ivy can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to her appearance. The jokes about her looking more like Jay-Z than Beyonce erupted the same day her official photos were released. Who cares what she looks like? The girl is wealthier than a nation right now and she will not have to rely on her beauty in order to live a pretty fulfilling life. Be that as it may, I happen to think she is the cutest thing ever! And yes, I am aware that since North West entered the world, the comparisons have been relentless. Particularly since one of them has that “good hair” that we all salivate over, and the other has, well, something that looks like our worst nightmare.
It might be your nightmare but it’s my reality. Yes, my hair looks like Blue Ivy’s. It’s thick, natural, and gorgeously wild. No, I don’t like to pile on a plethora of products in order to achieve that “shine” because it does nothing but clog up pores and cause my scalp to itch, which unleashes itching sessions that I can quite frankly, do without. I also don’t believe in combing or brushing my hair needlessly, especially when all I have to do is pick apart my curls and fluff accordingly.
Everyone is griping about how “dry” and “unkempt” natural hair tends to be when it is left it’s own devices. I think I know what the real issue is and you are not going to like it. It is clear that we will never be completely accepting of the tresses that we blessed with. Our hair is unique and comes in various textures, which means that there is no regimen that will work for everyone. None of us has the right to project our insecurities on someone who doesn’t seem to live up to our standard of the “perfect mane”. Just because you wash your hair every other day doesn’t mean I need to do the same. And if you love the way Miss Jessie’s products bring out your curls, that’s awesome for you, but I don’t get those same results.
There is nothing wrong with Blue Ivy’s natural hair, but there is something wrong with the way black women react to it. You seem to be so convinced that you would do a better job. I am sure this is because she represents something that you are uncomfortable with. Almost like an embarrassing representation of our true selves. That’s why so many of you are determined to hide behind your weaves that cost more than your rent. You can’t bear to expose your that part of you that not only leaves you vulnerable but potentially makes life just a little more complicated.
For those of us, who don’t mind being natural, we embrace the complexities and revel in the freedom that it brings. I am not saying that natural is the only way to go, in fact, I am contemplating getting a weave in a couple of weeks. Hair is an accessory and I treat it as such. I also never tell anyone how to manage their mane, nor do I make mothers feel inadequate about the way they care for their daughter’s tresses.
Blue Ivy’s hair looks like mine, in fact it may even look and feel better than mine. I am offended for her and for myself, when I read and hear the nasty comments floating around. In case you are clueless, let me help you out – natural hair is hair that is devoid of chemical treatments. Aside from moisturizers and gels, your hair is basically riding the wave of it’s own God-given texture. Blue Ivy’s hair looks fits that description and so does mine. So get off her back, and pick a more appropriate topic to discuss. Like maybe how we can endeavor to send the right message to our little girls about self-esteem and self-acceptance.
“To Me, My Natural Hair Is Professional”: Navy Discharges Black Sailor Over Her Dreadlocks Despite Recent Changes In Hair Regulations
After 12 years of service in the Navy, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jessica Sims was dismissed late last week because of her hair.
According to USA Today, Sims told the Navy Times that she had been wearing her locs in a tightly wound bun since 2005 and didn’t receive any pushback until recently. Officials decided that Sims’ locs were against regulation, as they believed the style would be too bulky to be worn with a gas mask.
The spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel, Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, stated that Sims was being honorably discharged for disobeying a lawful order, and that she was ordered earlier in the year to fix her hair and get it within regulation soon after she reported to training command in Illinois in April.
The 32-year-old said that at previous camps that she worked at, including seven years of instruction at the Naval Medicine Training Support Center in Texas (and in Virginia and North Carolina), her hair wasn’t a problem. With that in mind, she decided to keep her hair as is. She said that because her hair was in a bun (and not the “widely spaced hanging locks” that are prohibited), and she didn’t have trouble wearing gas masks or helmets with her locs, she told the Navy Times that she didn’t think the regulations were reasonable.
“I don’t think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don’t think I should have to cover it up with a wig.”
She claims the options she was given included shaving off her locs or covering them up with a wig.
“To me, my natural hair is professional. It’s all how you keep yourself up. I could just have a regular bun and not take care of that and it could look unprofessional.
I am happy that I took the stand that I did. I still stand by it. I would do it again if I had to.”
Sims isn’t letting her discharge get her down. In fact, she is set to start pre-med classes at Loyola University in Chicago this week, studying biology.
All this comes after the Department of Defense announced that locs, braids, cornrows and other natural hairstyles would be more accepted after a review or regulations.
However, the changes in the rules and regulations put in place by the Department of Defense in terms of the Navy didn’t really eliminate size and spacing requirements like the major overhaul done for the Army, aside from saying, “two-strand twist and multiple braids may hang freely if above the collar and must encompass the whole head.”
With all the regulations still put on natural hair in the armed forces, Sims said she isn’t the first, and won’t be the last to stand firmly against them:
“I won’t be the last one standing up fighting for this issue. I have faith in our junior sailors because they are the future of our Navy, and the majority of them were supporting the right thing. “