All Articles Tagged "natural hair"
Getting super straight, sleek and shiny hair can easily turn into an hours-long task, as well as one that comes with burns, arguments paired with slight violence (“I said turn your head this way!”), and often ends with the disappointment of straight ends and puffy roots. Whether you’re relaxed or natural, when you spend time on something, especially your hair, you want it to last until you’re ready to change the style. Try these tips and reminders for how to straighten your hair and keep it that way.
Start with the wash.
When prepping the hair for straightening, the advice in the past has been to start with a straightening shampoo and conditioner. Personally, this isn’t a must, but if it gives you peace of mind, do it. Most smoothing shampoos and conditioners coat the hair with silicones—like most conditioners. A during-the-wash straightening tip that works for me—I have thick, usually frizzy and puffy hair, a triple whammy—is leaving conditioner residue in my hair, meaning, I don’t completely rinse out the conditioner after detangling my hair. When doing this, I notice that I use less styling product during the straightening process.
the blow dryer.
Repeat this: “Blow drying my hair is bad.” If you can help it, skip the blow drying portion of your hair-straightening routine. My favorite hairstyle to prep my hair for flat ironing is what I call the ‘Snoop Dogg braids’, because they are two braided ponytails that hang low. Simply part the hair into two sections, creating a low ponytail with each half, pulling your hair taught (not tight). Then, plait the hair into two braids and let it air dry. It should be dry enough for heat in an hour or two. The low ponytails at the nape of the neck elongate and separate your hair, stretching it and making it easier to part. If you’re short on time, or just can’t shake the heat, you can also do this style, then sit under a hooded dryer for a short time. Also, a roller set under the hooded dryer is perfect for a volume-infused style. All you’ve got to do is ensure that the roots are smooth.
Choose the right tools and products.
Knowing how your hair behaves is important. For instance, using a Gold n’ Hot hot comb or a product similar to it on level 30 for fine or fragile hair (for which you’d probably want to stop at the roller set portion of this advice column), probably isn’t the best idea if you’d like to avoid burning your hair off mid-strand in a devastating sizzle. Likewise, a quick pass with a blow dryer and a paddle brush won’t give someone with super thick hair sleek results. Whatever tool you choose, flat iron, hot comb, or curling iron, make sure you’re at the proper heat level. The tool should be hot enough to smooth your hair in two passes, but not so hot that your strands smell burned.
Choosing the right straightening products isn’t a quick task. It’s easy to get lost in the aisle of straightening products in your local drugstore or beauty supply store. This is where, again, knowing the characteristics of your hair helps. There is no reason to entertain using a leave-in smoothing serum that has water in it when you know you should be taking a non-judgmental second look at that old school, kitchen-stylist product that works best. The old school product I like best is called Liv: The Problem Solver. It’s a shameful name, but it works! Sleek & Shine Flat Iron Perfector Straightening Mist by Garnier Fructis is a product I recommend for fine hair.
The main event: straightening and keeping your hair straight.
We all know we should straighten in the tiniest sections we can stand, even if it takes four hours. I recommend using what is called the ‘chase method.’ This means you chase your boar bristle or plastic variation black-girl brush with the flat iron. This helps to make sure that you pull each section taught instead of passing heat over the hair with no gain. I mean, if you’re going to risk the heat damage, you want the rewards, right?
To keep my hair straight, I like spreading a modest amount of coconut oil on it before wrapping it at night. I’ll also smooth a ‘conditioning gel’ like Shine n’ Jam, my favorite, or an edge control gel over my wrap and give it a final swoop with a brush if the ends are getting out of control. Doing either of these for your nightly wrap helps keep your hair moisturized and smooth.
When you take the time to style your hair, you want it to stay a certain way, hence all of the years of overstyled ‘frozen’ ‘dos. Now you can have a free-flowing straight style that will always be on trend.
If you’re the type of girl who loves chick flicks/romantic comedies, then you and girls (or your man if you’re able to swing it) might find yourselves in the theaters this weekend. Cameron Diaz and Nicki Minaj will be on screen, starring in a movie called “The Other Woman.” The film centers around a woman who finds out the man she’s dating is married. And surprisingly develops a friendship with his wife as they plot and plan to take him down. We mentioned the movie a couple of weeks ago, where some of you got the chance to watch Nicki in action. She plays Cameron Diaz’s assistant who has interesting opinions about dating married men. Read: she doesn’t think it’s a problem.
In promotion for the film’s pending release, Nicki sat down with “Good Morning America” to talk about how she’s quite different from her character and the drastic, and some would say much improved, changes in her appearance.
Check out highlights from the interview and then take a look at the video below.
GMA: Lydia’s advice seemed to be, it doesn’t matter if he’s married. Do you subscribe to that?
Nicki: No no no, I think marriage is sacred.
GMA: If you were caught in a situation with a guy playing three women, how would you handle it?
Nicki: If he wasn’t married, I may play the game. I may enjoy that game. But if he’s married, then you gotta go.
GMA How much of Lydia is you, or were you actually acting?
Nicki: None of Lydia is me. The only thing that is Lydia about me is that, at the time, I was wearing wigs.
GMA: This is a very different look. What’s going on?
Nicki Minaj: Before my first album even came out, I said that on my third album, I would wear my natural hair. I did the wigs, I did the colors, I did the heavy makeup and all that stuff. And now I guess maybe I’m more confident in myself.
GMA: Maybe everything was kind of masking a frightened woman underneath? And now you feel happy to be the real you.
Nicki: I definitely…I wouldn’t dispute that. I think it’s a valid argument.
Check out the rest of the interview where Nicki talks her first day on set with Cameron Diaz, being the most influential female rapper…of all time and her future with acting.
I don’t know about y’all, but personally, I’m liking this new Nicki.
“#NoWeave”: Demetria Lucas Ditches Extensions To Show Off Her Natural Hair And Laura Govan Chops Off Her Locks
As I said before, spring is a big time time for folks, famous and not-famous, to try something new with their hair, and quite a few women are already switching it up and showing off their fresh new looks.
Laura Govan, formerly of Basketball Wives LA, showed off a chic short cut on Instagram recently after wearing the same long locks for quite some time. The back of the cut is short, but the sides are medium length, framing her face. She debuted the cut with the following photo, saying, “And then This happened …. @hairs_mr_rahmlee”
Don’t ask me why she had to be naked in order to show off this haircut, but yeah…She has since jazzed it up, flipping the long pieces all to one side, and she looks great!
Also showing off some healthy and luscious hair is Demetria Lucas. The Blood Sweat and Heels star and writer sometimes wear a weave, and she did for most of her time on the Bravo reality series.
But Lucas showed off her natural hair on Instagram recently, setting her hair free for spring. She captioned the following photo with:
“Me. #noweave #nomakeup #getfree #ordietrying”
As you can see, her hair is quite full and fabulous. She told a follower that she went natural for a second time in 2011 and has been growing her locks out ever since. I’m digging the results (and missing my ‘fro at the same time)!
What big changes have you made to your hair for spring? And what do you think of these lovely ladies and their locks?
This week, female members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking him to revise the recently released Army Regulation 670-1, which featured updated standards for female grooming. AR 670-1 went into effect on March 31, and included a ban on certain hairstyles, such as two-strand twists and dreadlocks. Other styles, like cornrows and braids are permitted if they’re under 1/4-inch in diameter.
In their letter, the 16 congresswomen say that the regulations are “discriminatory” and “[target] soldiers who are women of color with little regard to what is needed to maintain their natural hair.” The letter comes at the tail end of a wave of criticism by soldiers and civilians who’ve voiced concern about the new standards. A petition on the White House’s wethepeople.org has garnered more than 15,000 signatures from people who want the regulations retracted. Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, a Black woman who wears her hair in twists, created the petition on March 20 in order to protest the changes. She told the Army Times that she’s “kind of at a loss now with what to do with [her] hair.”
You can read the rest of the story at Essence.com.
After a long battle with Lupus, natural hair guru and YouTube vlogger, Domineque Banks, aka, “Long Hair Don’t Care2011” passed away on April 9, 2014. Banks suffered a heart attack and was placed on life support, not being able to breathe on her own. She passed away with her partner by her side.
There is no doubt that Domineque Banks has touched the lives of so many with her inspiring natural hair journey that she so thoroughly documented on YouTube, spanning more than ten years. Her words of wisdom about appreciating one’s own hair and style, as well as her tutorial videos, have garnered millions of hits on YouTube and inspired many women of color to consider going natural. She is considered by some to be one of the first natural hair vloggers to do their thing (and do it well) on YouTube.
The loss of such a beautiful cornerstone to the natural hair movement has greatly impacted the natural hair community – to the point that the GiveForward online fundraiser, started by Banks’s partner and friend to cover funeral costs, surpassed its original goal of $10,000 in a day.
Natural hair and health vloggers including HeyFranHey, Jouelzy, Afrobella, KimmayTube, and CoachPCare eulogized Banks on social networks like Twitter, recalling her beautiful spirit and how incredibly young and vibrant she was. This outpouring of love and remembrance has shown, yet again, how much bigger the natural hair community is than just a focus on hair. It is so much larger than aesthetics. Where there is hurt, the spirit of the community rushes to heal. Where there is need, the community rushes to aid. The silly, would-be rifts and rivalries between hair textures and curl patterns fall by the wayside when it comes down to what is most important. Domineque’s legacy lends itself to that spirit of care and sisterhood in a very big way.
That in itself is a huge lesson, today, when women of color are constantly being thrown curveballs, constantly pushed to seek division. We can learn a huge lesson from these women in their fervent support of Banks and her family. At the end of the day, all we have is each other. At the end of the day, sisterhood is a large part of what sustains us. And at the end of the day, honoring one another in word and in deed is what will continue to strengthen us for the road ahead and the life left to live.
May Domineque rest in peace and know that her mission to encourage women to embrace their own natural beauty will not fade, but has been taken up by those she impacted and will continue on, held high as our banner and the tie that binds us, in sisterhood.
La Truly is a writer, college professor and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and check out her site: www.hersoulinc.com.
So, I have been rocking my natural do off and on for about five years now. Before then, I was devoted to relaxers and even tried wave nouveau. (Huge mistake!) Despite being devoted to perms for most of my life, I always harbored the need to embrace my natural roots. I just didn’t know how to make it work. It’s sounds crazy to admit that you don’t know how to handle the hair texture you were born with, but it’s the absolute truth.
I remember how hard I struggled back in the day, before the Internet was inundated with hair blogs and before we had a multitude of products to choose from. I was literally flailing, and I didn’t have a support system to lean on. It was frustrating to be in a position where I couldn’t control the temperament of my tresses, and I eventually developed self-esteem issues.
How dare my Caucasian roommate jump out of the shower with wet hair and after a quick blow-drying session, look like she just stepped out of a Pantene ad! Especially since I had to clock in a handful of hours, twisting my locks, and praying to God that the next morning, I would miraculously achieve a pattern that would at least showcase all my efforts. It’s safe to say that I had some good days and a bunch of bad ones. And to make matters worse, I had to deal with my disapproving family members and friends.
I was constantly berated about my hair, and of course every time I stepped out of the subway at the 125th Street Station in Harlem, over-zealous African braiders would immediately accost me. I had to beg them to back off and I will never forget the startled look on their faces. They were most likely trying to figure out how and why I was walking around the city, looking like I had just escaped from a mental asylum.
But when I check out the pictures from that period, I honestly didn’t look as bad as I imagined. It was really the stress of managing my thick mane – trying to get it to yield on those feverish days when it preferred to riot against me. Of course practice makes perfect and eventually, I came up with a regimen that proved to be endearingly successful, but it took quite a bit of work and dedication on my part. I wanted to make this turbulent relationship work, despite the mornings that left me riddled with embarrassment at the thought of stepping out with a less than perfect coif. I was determined to prove that I didn’t need to spend $100 every two weeks to keep myself appropriately groomed.
Eventually, I did grow weary and with the natural hair movement making waves, I decided that it was time to take advantage of the changing times. I succumbed to the hype surrounding keratin treatments, and that proved to be a disaster. My hair reacted violently to the “treatments” and I ended up having to undergo the big chop.
Now, I am growing my hair out and I have reverted back to my natural style. Thankfully the market is saturated with products that actually do get the job done; so half the battle is won. But I can’t help but acknowledge why natural hair may not be a route for everyone to take. As much as we love to hype the idea of accepting our varied textures, depending on your hair type, going natural can be a tedious process. A lot of women overdose on products because they are searching for that magic potion that will transform their tight curls to a looser more manageable version. That might end up being your reality, but for a lot of us, it’s a complicated climb to the top. I truly believe that not all of us are able to make the transition effortlessly and if that’s your story – it’s okay! My motto is: Do what works for you!
I guess technically you can say I’ve been natural for over a year. I haven’t had my hair relaxed since last spring, but for the most part I’ve kept it protected under weaves. What I have done is witness all the challenges and triumphs of actually committing to wearing natural hair through my sister’s journey. She made the decision to go natural early last summer. Since then it’s been interesting to see how much women attribute their beauty to what’s going on above their eyebrows.
After her first trip to the natural hair salon she returned with a short curly do that made her resemble an early 90’s Lauryn Hill. I can honestly say it was cute. It was different than anything I had ever seen her in, but she pulled it off. Despite, the compliments from family and friends for about two months it was no secret that she was clearly uncomfortable. She struggled between covering up the style in beanies and wondering if it ever really looked “done”. She had me laughing for a whole night when she appeared in my room and simply said, “I feel like I look like D.L. Hughley.”
What was most interesting was the way men reacted to her. Most men would compliment her and tell her hair was beautiful, but not after telling her how “different” she looked. But it was as if other men assumed the decision to go natural was a complete lifestyle choice instead of just a beauty one. It was like having kinky twists meant she had committed to a life of kale smoothies, meditation and starting every morning with sun salutations. One day she decided to ask a co-worker how men really felt about natural hair, and here’s what he said:
“Many men are intimidated by natural hair. Women who rock natural hair are empowered and confident and you have to step at them a different kind of way. It’s almost as if they don’t need us and you have to be very clear about what you have to offer before approaching them. The typical, ‘Hey, sweetheart. Let me holla at you for a minute,’ is not going to get their attention, so you have to come correct. But men don’t always want a challenge. Sometimes we just want a woman who we can make smile without having to try so damn hard.”
So let me get this straight: Because a woman wears a weave or a relaxer, suddenly that makes her more approachable because obviously deep inside she dislikes herself? Yeah…ok. As silly as it sounded, I must say brother had a point on some level. Women aren’t the only ones intimidated by our own hair, it sometimes make men just as uncomfortable. There are so many stereotypes that accompany wearing natural hair. “Naturalistas” are seen as militant and unapproachable, almost as if you’re not talking about uplifting the black community and standing up to “the man” you have nothing to discuss with them. But like India Arie once said, “I am not my hair.” Wearing a weave doesn’t mean I giggle and smile at every man that approaches me, just like every sista wearing some two strand twists doesn’t want you to come at her with an essay on civil rights.
My sister has the same issues with men before she started styling her hair differently, and it has more to do with her attitude than any process she’s putting that dead protein through. She also drinks grape sodas (not smoothies), watches “Big Bang Theory” to relax and starts every morning by hitting the snooze button at least twice. It just goes to prove how much we assume based on appearance and how many great people we miss out on because of what we already made up in our minds before actually meeting them.
Do you notice people treat you differently since you went natural?
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.
“Don’t Say A Damn Thing” Curly Nikki & Steve Harvey Offer Advice To Husband Who Hates Wife’s Natural Hair
This is certainly a topic we’ve discussed before: women deciding to go natural, only to find that their husbands find the look less than appealing. It’s a sad topic and hot button issue but one Steve Harvey wasn’t scared to tackle on his talk show. He interviewed newlyweds, McClea and Love. Love said that once she decided to get rid of her long, silky weave her husband didn’t find her natural hair attractive. McClea agreed that his wife is a beautiful woman but that didn’t stop his extreme reaction.
Love on her husband’s initial reaction to her natural hair
“We’ve been together nine years. About two, three years ago I decided to go natural. Not on purpose but I had this weave in my hair and the weave went bad. After I cut it all off I had not choice but to wear this. The first time he saw it, he ran out the house and then he came back in and asked if it was a wig, and if so to take it off. He wasn’t very supportive of it actually.”
McClea defends himself.
“My wife’s a very beautiful woman as you can see, but when I first met her she had the Brazilian weave down her booty and that’s all she ever wore. When she first took it out it was just shocking to me. I was surprised she looked like a different person…
Well I’m over the shock. I understand that natural hair takes time. It takes time to grow out. And like I said, it’s not something that I’m used to, but I just wish there was more styles she could do with it so it could be more appealing. Something different because there’s not many styles she can with her hair like this so I just tell her that.”
Then Steve finally decided to step in.
“Let me move this stuff out the way. You’re about to get your skull opened up. McClea, what’s wrong with this whole thing is you can’t be any more wrong with your approach. You cannot at no point, in the relationship with a woman, say or make them feel unattractive. You’ve got to find another way to express yourself because the idea behind staying happy, the big thing behind it, a lot of times is support. You’ve got to find another way to say what you’re saying. You can’t run out the house. You can’t sit on the edge of the bed and look at her like she stay down the street somewhere. You can’t have that much gap between y’all on the couch. You’ve got to be a little bit more understanding that this is who you married and at the bottom line, they have a choice. It’s theirs. It ain’t your damn head. All you did is put a ring on that finger. This ain’t yours. You don’t get her head. And plus I want you to be able to get out of here safely. Because right now, the way they’re (the audience) looking at you, I’m assuming there are at least 4-5 attempts on your life.”
Check out the video to see what advice Curly Nikki had to offer and the style options she presented to Love and McClea.
What do you think about Steve and Nikki’s advice to McClea?
From Hello Beautiful
Hello Beautiful: When did you first fall in love with your hair?
Tamara of Natural Hair Rules: It was a Sunday afternoon…just joking! I don’t know the exact day and time. But I do remember feeling this sense of accomplishment because I had a natural hair breakthrough. I had just discovered the Denman Brush and Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner. With that duo I had achieved my first perfect wash and go. “This is what I went natural for…”, I thought to myself. I probably even screamed it out loud.
HB: What’s some hair advice you’d give to your 14-year-old self?
Tamara: My 14-year-old self had a professional stylist that she called mom. So I don’t really have any hair advice for 14-year old me but I do have self-esteem advice. “It’s ok to be…” At that time I believe my ‘be’ was to be unique. I tried so hard to fit in but I still stood out. Tried to be what I thought everyone else wanted me to be. I was the girl with long, pretty hair. I put a lot of pressure on myself and began to identify with my hair. It wasn’t until I decide to go natural, did I shred everyone’s perception of me. I also found myself delivered from other people’s opinions. (Or so I thought. You know, it’s a daily battle I believe all women fight.)
Read more about natural hair at HelloBeautiful.com