All Articles Tagged "natural hair"
I’ve been Black all my life, born with and have had vast experience with Black hair; and yet, it never ceases to amaze me.
The capabilities of Black hair are infinite.
Stylist Kris McDred, lives and works in Dubai, has just discovered another one. As a loc-ed lady, I know that the months it takes for your hair to lock can be extremely annoying. While you might expect your hair to be fully formed into perfectly coiffed locs, that is just not the reality of the situation, or it wasn’t for me. And many others. For six months, I walked around with fuzzy, two-strand twists I couldn’t wash on my own. My hair was such a mess that a full year after I’d begun the process, my younger cousin just realized what I was trying to do.
But McDred claims to have discovered a technique that claims to bypass that awkward, “I-don’t-like-my-locs” phase altogether.
He uses a rattail comb, a crochet hook and a bit of molding gel. Then he interlocks the remaining strands afterward.
Yes, it probably is as difficult as it sounds. McDred said that it takes some time to master the technique but the results are quite impressive and they just might help somebody not give up before they even get started on their loc journey.
You can watch McDred in action in the video below;
Does the ability to skip this awkward phase change your thinking about possibly getting locs? Do you believe there’s value in the process of allowing your hair to grow and lock naturally, on its own?
If you meet someone one way and hit it off, and then the next time you see them they look considerably different, would you second-guess giving them the time of day?
You guessed it. We’re having the tired hair conversation. But alas, hair, and how long or short it is, is still very important to very many people. Including men.
A friend of mine was in a relationship for years with a guy who didn’t make her feel good about herself. Yes, we should all be able to uplift and love ourselves, but what the hell is the point of a relationship if your partner-in-crime goes out of their way to make you self-conscious? This lack of support was most evident near the end of their time together. She made the decision to cut her hair off. It was something she used to do now and then when she felt like she needed to start over with her hair once it started breaking and having a mind of its own. It wasn’t something she’d done while with her boyfriend, but they had been together for a couple of years and she didn’t think it would be a problem.
But it was.
When she showed off her very short haircut, he didn’t have a lot to say. He didn’t diss or dismiss it; he just didn’t throw out an “It looks good, babe!” Instead, he nodded and smiled saying, “If you like it…”
But as some time passed and her hair looked less and less like what the salon put together for that initial cut, he became more and more rude. “You’re going to go out like that?” That’s what he asked her as she prepared to run errands one morning, curls doing their own thing after a twist-out failed to pop. Such insults would continue to the point where my friend started wearing her weekend wigs more and more. Once the relationship ended, it seemed less likely that she was wearing those wigs for convenience and more so that she was rocking them because he had knocked her self-esteem down a few notches. She even assumed that another guy she met while out with her wig on started losing interest in her when she met up with him for a first date with her short hair exposed. All of a sudden he wasn’t available to meet up for a second outing and just wanted to be “cool” despite obvious sparks flying when they initially came across one another and conversed.
She’s not the only person who has dealt with a man having a less than delighted response to a major hair change. A woman in the comment section of an article I came across on hair and patriarchy said she had been planning to lock her hair for months before finally setting up an appointment. She just so happened to meet a guy before her appointment and at the time, her hair was in a simple topknot. A topknot she had been wearing damn near every day. They hit it off and were supposed to go on a date, but he got sick, so they rescheduled–for the weekend after she was scheduled for her hair appointment. She admitted that she was a little nervous about how he would react to her hair change, but when it was all said and done, “I didn’t really care.”
When they met up on that date, she said, “to say he was shocked is an understatement.” There she stood with her tiny twists. Hair that probably could have reached the top of her shoulder was now barely at her ear. And while the sight of her with seemingly half of the hair she had before was jarring, he eventually stopped staring at her head long enough to get to know her. She says that months later, they’re still dating. She still has her locs, but he has a different attitude toward them.
And that’s probably because he had to ask himself whether or not hair was really that deep. Was it worth going MIA over after truly hitting it off with this young woman? Was he that superficial? Well, I’m sure he didn’t want her to figure that out too soon.
I get it. If I met a guy with a beard that literally drew me (and drew drool out of my mouth) and then he went and cut it off soon after, I would probably be a little sad too. Hell, I’m sad every time my fiancé shaves his beard for work. But at the end of the day, all that surface stuff means a whole lot of nothin’ in the long run. When you’re just looking for someone to roll around in the sheets with then I guess it’s understandable that someone would “get out of dodge” over a major hair change. But when you’re looking for something deeper, who cares? And for women worried about these things in the early stages of dating, you don’t know a person well enough to give a damn about what they think, especially when it comes to the decisions you want to make for yourself. Don’t be scared to do the things you’ve wanted just to please someone you don’t know from Adam. Because if he can’t get with it, he’s free to get lost…
But as always, that’s just my opinion. What do you think? If someone drastically changes their outward appearance after you meet them, is it petty to feel some type of way about it?
It’s one thing if you want to try and touch my hair like I’m some zoo animal (that’s a good way for me to wind up in prison and you in the hospital), but I don’t mind questions about black hair care — especially from white folks who adopt children of color.
While I’m not a professional stylist or know-it-all, I’m proud to say I’ve been team natural for almost six years now and have a good sense about what works and doesn’t work, at least for my hair.
Don’t Lisa Price (y’all know, the founder of Carol’s Daughter) and I look like family?
A few people I know have found themselves in a Brad Pitt situation: They have a black child and no concept of what “greasing a scalp” means (side note: Lisa said Brad reached out to her when he and Angie adopted their African daughter Zahara). After all, it’s not their fault they’re clueless as it’s nothing they would do on a regular basis. Plus, kids don’t exactly come with a manual, no matter how many people make you feel like a bad parent.
Rather than feel offended, I embrace the opportunity to share stories and provide whatever useful advice I can give. Yes, hair textures will vary, even in the African-American community, but at least they have some idea of what to do — instead of letting their child’s hair look like it got stuck in a light socket.
One of my closest gal pals has a family member who adopted a black child. Needless to say, they were excited to have a child but completely in the dark about what to expect when it came to hair products. Thankfully they realized all the TRESemmé in the world would not work on their daughter’s hair the way it did theirs. At least that’s a step in the right direction.
As you would expect with anyone trying to be “about that life,” there was much trial and error. Luckily they found a series of hair products that works for their child and continue to learn about different styles thanks to the online library known as YouTube. Heck, they even turned me on the website Chocolate Hair/Vanilla Care that gives white mommies tips on black hair.
So the next time you want to immediately side-eye a person from the Caucasian persuasion who asks you natural hair questions, consider letting down your guard a bit as they might really need your help.
In best-selling author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Americanah the main character perms her hair in order to look as professional as possible for a job interview. Months after getting the job, the slim African immigrant is back to natural and out of a job in a week.
This extreme scenario may not be the case for all, but many African American women struggle with deciding the best way to wear our hair in corporate America. But could the tide be shifting? It is for Angolan model Maria Borges. Borges entered the the modeling industry sporting a long, straight weave often seen on many black models until a conversation with designer Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy changed that.
“He asked me to change my hairstyle,” Borges told Style.com. Tisci had made the same request last season, but Borges was not up for it just yet.
“I had booked an H&M campaign that same week and at the time I wasn’t feeling as comfortable with change. This season I finally felt ready, and I’m glad that I did,” said the stunning model.
Borges removed her weave and did the “big chop” before her next Givenchy show for Fall 2015 and to her surprise many fellow models found her unrecognizable. Many Black girls who have done the same know what it’s like switching hairstyles among their non-Black coworkers.
“They didn’t recognize me at all,” recalled Borges. “There were people asking backstage, ‘Who is that new girl?’ which I thought was hilarious.”
But her new cut made her feel more confident on and off the runway. While the big chop can often be an emotional experience, many Black women find themselves growing in confidence as they accept their natural tendrils.
“I feel like I’ve proved that I can be beautiful with or without the hair. Since I’ve gone natural, I feel younger and fresher. With my short hair I don’t feel like I need makeup—maybe I’ll use a little foundation, but I’ll skip blush or lipstick,” Borges said of her new beauty regimen.
And the new look isn’t just helping her confidence, but her career as well. Since Borges went natural, she feels she has attracted a broader pull of clients and looks even more high fashion. Borges realizes the versatility of her new coif allows clients to pop in extensions when longer hair is desired or let her fresh cut flow.
“The industry—thank God—has become more accepting of individuality… I think that for those of us who grew up watching Naomi Campbell and all the top models who had beautiful long extensions, it’s freeing because now you don’t have to adhere just to that standard. You can change, you can go natural, you can have different colors, and you can be yourself,” said Borges.
Borges was discovered in 2010 when she placed second at the Angolan edition of the contest, Elite Model Look. She is a Givenchy favorite and has also walked the runway for Victoria Secret’s Angel collection, Marc Jacobs, Armani, Christian Dior and many more.
Oh sweet, sweet Allure. How did you manage to royally screw this one up? Have you not been paying attention? Did you think you would be spared from criticism by all the women who are no longer willing to let cultural appropriation slide?
Within the pages of Allure’s August 2015 issue, White women are instructed on how to rock the perfect afro. In a short piece titled, “You (Yes, You) Can Have An Afro,” a beautiful White woman is pictured wearing what their editors have deemed as an afro. But honestly, it looks closer to a twist-out. The look was one of five that celebrity hairstylist Chris McMillan gave five Hollywood actresses. The magazine wanted to give the women makeovers with ‘dos that were popular in the ’70s. The article states that this look is achievable, “even if you have straight hair.”
What’s interesting is that when this style gained a great deal of popularity, it was due to African-American women deeply entrenched in the Black Power Movement wearing it. Then and now, the afro was nowhere near the beloved pillar of beauty standards. Still, many women, then and now, abandoned their flat irons, hot combs and chemicals to rock their beautiful hair in its natural state.
Allure, not only did you miss an opportunity to open a doorway to a discussion of perhaps showing the difference between “appreciation” and “appropriation,” you have continued to operate within a sense of privilege that allows you to believe that this style represents nothing more than creativity. It’s just hair, right? You wish.
For decades, we have been bombarded with standards of beauty that are not our own. Encouraged to try styles and looks that are difficult for us to achieve. Made to straighten our hair in the workplace so as not to appear unpolished. Ordered to change our hair even when we are serving our country in the military. When we do wear our hair in its natural state, we aren’t labeled as creative. Instead, we are labeled unkempt and unfit for any corporate office or formal function. Our hair is even compared to the mane of a dog. But when a White woman pulls out an afro, yet again, it’s a “limitless” individual expression of style. That’s what Allure had to say when responding to backlash about the how-to article:
“The Afro has a rich cultural and aesthetic history. In this story we show women using different hairstyle as an individual expressions of style. Using beauty and hair as a form of self-expression is a mirror of what’s happening in our country today. The creativity is limitless – and pretty wonderful.”
Hair is definitely a tool we employ to display our “individual expressions of style.” But if a White woman with an afro and a Black woman with an afro enter the same place for a job interview, the two are instantly received differently. There may be initial intrigue and curiosity when it comes to both looks; but while the White woman will be labeled as “quirky,” the Black woman will undoubtedly be labeled as “militant.”
Owning our hair as a tool for expression isn’t easy for women of color. When you’re taught to believe that straight hair is all you should desire as if there is a Bible verse proclaiming so, reclaiming our hair in its naturally coily and kinky state is hard. It is shedding a layer of oppression that many people will never understand. And yet, beauty publications continue to snatch the looks we have struggled for many years to embrace while leaving us out of discussions or odes to them.
Well, we aren’t going to sit around and be ignored when we have in too many instances contributed to or created the new beauty standards. Whether it be the love for curves, a rounder butt, plump lips and yes, an afro (as in AFRO-American), a Black model isn’t very hard to find and should be included in the discussion and appreciation of such looks.
Come on Allure, get your head out of the clouds and pay attention. And that goes for other mainstream beauty and fashion publications. Black women are tired of being told that the styles and looks we help bring to the forefront are unacceptable on us, but acceptable and “pretty wonderful” on everyone else.
Not all salons are created equal. And if you rock natural hair, you know it takes a special set of hands to work with your curls. For women with natural hair, it’s not easy finding a salon that gets you in and out of the chair, or educates you on your hair type and products used.
Founded by Folake Oguntebi, GoodHair is similar to Drybar, but caters to women with textured hair. Oguntebi knows first-hand what it’s like to want to find a salon that meets your hair and lifestyle needs.
In 2014, she began moving on her idea, confirming she wasn’t alone. After tapping her friends and network, she received over 100 responses from women of color looking to enhance their salon experience. “I found out people were really dissatisfied because they didn’t have an option that they felt worked for them,” said the chief executive of GoodHair.
Oguntebi, a Harvard-trained marketing professional, had the idea, but needed the capital and team to execute on it. GoodHair launched a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to run a proof of concept in New York City. It exceeded its initial goal of $15,000, raising $17,530 on women-focused platform Plum Alley. A great deal of the backing came from family and friends.
A business school friend suggested Oguntebi try a pop-up shop as the proof of concept. “I always wanted to do a pop-up hair salon,” says the mompreneur. “I was intrigued by the concept, but didn’t know exactly how you’d make that happen. The more I thought about it I was like that could be a really good way [to test the market]. Put a manifestation of what you’re thinking in the market and see how people respond, and if you can do it, before you pump tons of money into a brick-and-mortar location.”
Fast forward to July 25 and Oguntebi and her senior creative and educational advisor Angela C. Stevens, widely known as Angela Styles, opened the doors to the pop-up salon. The WeTV LA Hair cast member, who has worked with countless celebrities from Beyonce to Rihanna, and team will offer a selection of wash and naturally-curly styles, as well as straight, blow-out styles—all for $65. Clients can also select up ‘dos, deep conditioning treatments and trims.
Open Monday through Saturday, from 7am to 9pm, at Sola Hair Studio in New York City, naturalistas can book an appointment at the GoodHair site. Shortly after booking, clients will receive a questionnaire that will help your stylist create your customized hair experience. This accompanies your consultation. Your customized experience doesn’t stop there: Once styled, you’re sent your GoodHair prescription. (Writer’s note: I found out I had 4a hair, which is naturally dry. It was suggested that my at-home maintenance regimen should include more steaming, as well as Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair Blossom Moisture Mist, among other KBB products.)
The educational component (not to mention the relaxed ambience and array of salon snacks) is what sets GoodHair apart from many on-the-go, salon experiences. The team is invested in breaking down what works best and making sure clients have healthy hair.
“It’s important to create a conversation that everybody can understand,” says Stevens.
GoodHair is open until August 8. The salon will open in 2016.
Moms, do you feel pretty blah when you look in the mirror these days? Have you been rocking the same bland hair do for ions? As busy moms, change can be difficult, especially when it comes to our hair. I’m sure at your salon, you have noticed interesting hair styles that may have peeked your interest – but then anxiety settles in. Questions fly everywhere – should you go long or short? Should you go natural or should you change your texture? Truly, each woman is different and so is their hair. However, if you are looking to step out of your comfort zone with a new hue to signify a new you, but are a little afraid – I want to let you know that coloring your mane is safe, despite what you may have heard.
Truth be told, women have been coloring their hair for generations with no problem. The key is in knowing your hair and using the best methods provided by your coloring agent. Other tips I suggest, when it comes to switching up your hair color safely include:
1) Conduct an allergy skin test – you want to make sure that you don’t get an allergic reaction to your new coloring product
2) Select a shade that is 1 to 2 shades lighter than your current hair color for best results. I’ve found that Bigen has a great range of permanent and semi-permanent hues to choose from.
3) Don’t wash your hair for at least 24 hours before applying your new color
4) Process your color for 15 to 30 minutes – and not any longer. You also want to apply your new color at room temperature
5) Skip the dryer. Again, process your hair color at room temperature.
If you follow these light and basic steps, in conjunction with the instruction manual provided in your coloring box, you should be good to go. It’s summer. It’s a great time to step outside of the box and venture into a new space. The way you feel about yourself is often reflected through your hair, so switch it up, but do it safely for longlasting results.
Ready For A Change: How To Color Your Hair Safely
Like many of you, we love seeing our little ones rocking their natural curls. Hair care products such as Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercream, Curly Q’s Coconut Cream Moisturizing Conditioner , and SheaMoisture Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head make it easier to care and style our baby’s manes. In fact, SheaMoisture has a few collections dedicated to kids. Their Mango & Carrot Kids Extra Nourishing Conditioner, “softens and smoothes children’s hair, making it easy to detangle and work out knots. Helps nourish and strengthen hair while protecting against breakage.”
We suggest checking all products for any ingredients that your little one may be allergic to. The last thing we want is for our babies to have a reaction. With these aforementioned products it will be super easy to follow the four major steps to caring for your child’s hair: wash, detangle, moisture and then style. This is such a beautiful and encouraging way to affirm your baby starting at a young age. Black is beautiful! Click continue to view 15 adorable baby afros! Inspiring styles ahead!
Hair Crush: 15 Super Adorable Baby Afros
In November of 2010, I received my last relaxer. I decided that I wanted to transition to natural, but I wanted to let my hair grow a bit before I did the big chop. After several months of transitioning, I started to see what I thought was my curl pattern at the roots. I wondered what my hair would look like fully natural, and from the looks of my curl pattern, I was thinking of something along the lines of Tracee Ellis Ross or Corinne Bailey Rae. In all my delusion, I saw myself riding a bike through a grassy plain, rocking my small curly afro listening to “Put Your Records On” in complete bliss (I know I can’t be the only one). I became a Carol’s Daughter addict. I fell in love with their Black Vanilla Line, and it helped me manage the natural roots and the relaxed ends without drying out my hair. I thought I had it all together.
Eager to see what I would look like with an afro, I went and did the big chop in the spring of 2011. I was disappointed to see hair that looked like a Brillo pad on top of my head. My go-to site for help on such hair matters was Curly Nikki and, at the time, Moptop Maven. However, they had a different type of natural hair, and so did I. I soon realized that what worked for them didn’t work for me. We had completely different hair textures.
Feeling a tad disheartened, I started to get lazy with my natural hair. I did wash days, wash-and-go treatments, and stuck with pineapple puffs. It wasn’t until last year, after struggling for quite some time on my own, that I decided I was going to embrace the movement as a community. I didn’t really see the need for natural hair meet ups and mixers before, but I realized that when it comes to self-love and acceptance, that’s something a lot of women of color struggle with. I assumed these groups were a kind of support group where women shared hair stories, product reviews and celebrated their natural beauty, so I wanted to be a part of that. However, the more I attended these events, the more ostracized I felt.
One of the beauties of being women of color is that we come in all different shades and shapes. We have all different types of hair textures, styles, and features that set us apart. We are a melting pot of all things beauty. So why did I feel left out?
I started to notice that a lot of the faces in many of the small groups I attended fit the mold of light-skinned women with loose curls. That left us 4C, Brillo-pad hair women out. There was a noticeable difference between the women with the flowing, loose curls and the women with tough, shrunken, tight curls–like myself. I found it interesting how even with a movement that promoted self-love through natural acceptance for all women, there was still a divisive standard that marginalized a good portion of us. Scrolling through social media and YouTube channels in search of women whose hair looked like mine, I found women like Francheska of HeyFranHey, MahoganyCurls, and Taren Guy among others. But where were the sisters with strands like mine who could identify with the struggles of hair maintenance? Who hasn’t spent hours standing in front of the bathroom mirror trying to comb out and twist rough hair that leaves your comb with broken teeth? Where were the sisters whose hair always seemed to resemble a TWA until it was blown, stretched or straightened? Where were the women whose hair seemed to absorb water and moisture like the sponge that it resembled?
Aside from my closest friends, I found myself the odd person out at these natural hair events. There’s the loose curl girls, the loc’d sistahs who can’t use any of the products during the product giveaways, and the 4C girls (usually one or two) in the room talking among each other about how they wished they had more defined and loose curls because maybe being natural would be easier to manage.
But truly being natural is embracing our hair the way it is supposed to grow. Just because your hair doesn’t look like a certain someone’s, that doesn’t mean it is unkempt and untamed. It’s delightfully unique and complicated, just like you. And while I would have loved to have felt right at home during those meet ups, I’m learning to appreciate my complex hair as is. Our hair patterns and textures are vast and should be embraced. And for that to happen, we must examine self-love and acceptance without conditions and standards.
In honor of North West’s second birthday, Vogue published a piece suggesting that the famous tot is “inspiring a generation of natural hair girls.” Immediately, I knew that the Black community would take issue with the essay. With the exception of caregivers who are crazy enough to relax or weave a toddler’s hair, it is safe to say that just about every Black baby girl in America is sporting her natural tresses.
A culture writer named Marjon Carlos penned the piece, which addresses her 2-year-old niece Isabel’s mixed heritage and how caring for her hair is sometimes difficult for the girl’s Russian mother. Carlos, who is Black, goes on to explain that she was inspired to try some of North West’s hairstyles on Isabel since both girls are of mixed heritage and share similar hair textures.
When Riccardo Tisci sent models with intricately gelled coils on their hairlines down his fall 2015 Givenchy runway, the awe these baby hairs inspired in the fashion world was rivaled by another very famous set of curls: the scraped-back and artfully sculpted tendrils of mini It girl North West, who turns two today.
I’ve been charmed by the sleek styles that Kim and Kanye’s offspring has sported as she sits front row at Fashion Week on her mother’s lap, arriving to ballet class in custom Balmain blazers, or globetrotting to far-flung locales on family trips. Whether a top bun or a comb-over, North’s pint-sized hairstyles complement her fashion-forward play clothes, while remaining refreshingly easy and age-appropriate. They’ve established little Nori as a kind of hair icon for a nascent and diverse generation of tots rocking their natural curls with unprecedented flair—among them, my two-year-old niece, Isabel.
Many felt that if any celebrity child should be referred to as an “inspiration” for natural hair girls, it should have been Blue Ivy, whose tresses have been mercilessly criticized.
WAIT A SECOND ! How he hell is north west inspiring natural hair girls over Blue ivy ?!
— Living (@_jenessaa) June 18, 2015
And an article on how North West is inspiring a generation of natural hair girls. BYE FELICIA.
— It's pronounced i-yo (@Ayoisms) June 18, 2015
According to @voguemagazine North West is inspiring a generation of natural hair girls. Are you honestly serious right now?
— T▲NNIS MICOLE (@_itsMICOLE) June 18, 2015
The moment when a biracial baby makes natural hair cool and trendy. Thanks, Vogue, maybe I'll try it now. http://t.co/rsb49IxtC1
— Mya (@movelikemya) June 18, 2015
So Kim K. created bigbutts & NW does same w/natural hair. North West’s Curly Style Inspire Generation of Natural Hair http://t.co/vbtPKJYvdP
— Jam Donaldson (@jamdonaldson) June 17, 2015
I could see how Nori’s buns and pom poms may have assisted Carlos in coming up with a few styles to try on her adorable niece’s hair. At the same time, the outrage sparked by this piece is entirely understandable. North West is many things, but a natural hair trendsetter she is not.