All Articles Tagged "natural"
There are a lot of issues tangled up in a woman’s hair. When making a change, especially one as drastic as going natural, there is a lot to consider. One of the most daunting questions to consider on the brink of a transition, though some will never admit it, is how men (or one in particular) will respond to it.
It’s no surprise then that Curly Girl Collective‘s most recent event, entitled “Mane Attraction: His Voice, Her Hair” and billed as “a ground- breaking, thought provoking, panel discussion on how men feel about women with natural hair,” was packed to capacity. As part of its mission to foster acceptance and celebration of kinkier hair textures, the collective decided it was time to include the male gender in the natural hair conversation.
“Our first event was in May 2011. We’re serving to bring unique questions and topics that are top of mind,” said Charisse Higgins, Director of Public Relations for Curly Girl Collective. “The fact that so many people are coming out to hear what the fellas have to say about natural hair; it’s beautiful. And it’s good to see the guys are here to support, or to voice how they feel about it.”
Surprisingly, the sea of afro-textured crowns that filled the venue did not intimidate the men in attendance. The raucous discussion’s main point of contention came when a moderator declared that any woman in a committed relationship should consult with her man before making drastic changes to her hair.
Bloggers Franchesca Ramsey (S*** White Girls Say…to Black Girls) and Cipriana Quann (Urban Bush Babes), represented for women on the panel and minimized the importance of hair. Despite being the reason we had all gathered in Brooklyn, there was so much more to us than our hair. By their logic, a man should be as invested in a woman changing her hairstyle as he is in her changing her nail color.
The men on the panel, namely bloggers Jozen Cummings (Until I Get Married) and Slim Jackson (Single Black Male), agreed with some apprehension. “What I don’t like isn’t nearly as important as what I do like,” said Cummings.
The idea that a woman not be valued by her hair may be naively feminist. A guy asking for a head’s up when you plan on coming home looking like a stranger isn’t asking for much. Communicating changes to your partner can be viewed as a sign of unity. However, any man that believes an experimental haircut or new texture warrants walking papers probably doesn’t value his woman much to begin with.
The event’s interactive mural asked attendees, “What is attractive about women with natural hair?” Confidence, carefree-ness, and natural beauty were some of the top responses. Maximizing our appeal to potential partners is an important part of the job description we give our hair. But, the women attending the event made it clear; hair is a personal affair.
When asked to give advice to women considering going natural, the panelists encouraged the audience to trade fear for confidence. Everyone will have their opinions, especially during those awkward stages, but ultimately, the only opinion that counts is your own. Many women fail to realize the impact the opinion they have of themselves has on how others view them. As one male panelist said, “Be comfortable. Your lack of comfort is what really affects the relationship.”
by Tuere Randall
All the lovely ladies who happen to live in Atlanta can thank their lucky stars. The makers of the Huetiful Hair Steamer just opened their flagship Huetiful Hair Salon to pamper those who want to exchange their hair stresses for radiant tresses. Huetiful hair steamers have made quite a splash in the black haircare community, especially among women who have particularly parched strands that require extra TLC and need a revved up way to infuse their manes with moisture. Well they have kicked it up a notch by entering the hair services game with treatments that focus on getting hair to its optimal health. I caught up with Ken Burkeen, Founder and CEO of Huetiful, and he was gracious enough to take time away from the Huetiful Salon opening to speak to me about his newest endeavor and to get the nanoSMOOTHING lowdown.
TR: So you started out in Fortune 500 companies professionally. What made you switch into the haircare business?
KB: Well, I’ve always had a passion for being an entrepreneur, so starting my own business was a given. But it was while at Procter & Gamble that I realized that Pantene [their line marketed to women of color] wasn’t addressing all the needs that black women had for their hair. And I had heard women discuss the challenges they had with their hair — dry brittle hair, manageability, time consuming — that I saw that there was an opportunity for me to make a difference. I was able to use the skills that I learned as a brand manager at Procter & Gamble and as a marketing executive for UPS and apply them to my own company. Here were these women of color, or hues, who were really looking for a way to take better care of their hair. That is how the idea for “Hue”tiful came along.
Tell us about the nanoSMOOTHING treatment?
The nanoSMOOTHING is similar to the Brazilian Keratin treatment without using all the dangerous chemicals. The Brazilian Keratin treatment works by bonding Keratin (a protein) into the hair shaft to make it smoother, but Keratin is a large molecule and has to be infused into the hair with agents like formaldehyde at very high heat. At Huetiful, we worked with a scientist to find a smaller molecule, cystine, which is an amino acid in Keratin. Its strengthening properties are infused in the hair at a lower temperature than the Brazilian Keratin Treatment. The result is hair that is less porous, smoother, stronger with more manageability using much less heat.
How much less? 450 degrees is the recommended temperature for the Brazilian Keratin treatment.
Well it depends on the individual’s hair type, but I would say on average around 405 degrees.
Ok, well that’s still a bit high, but it’s some improvement.
Well, another benefit is that with the nanoSMOOTHING treatment you only need one, maybe two heat passes with the flatiron, with the Brazilian treatment it’s about five.
Got it. Is this the Huetiful Salon’s signature treatment?
What’s the difference between the nanoSMOOTHING treatment and a texturizer?
A texturizer is basically a less aggressive relaxer. The chemicals in a texturizer breakdown the disulfide bonds in hair permanently altering the curl pattern, whereas the nanoSMOOTHING treatment restructures hair by fortifying it with cysteine, an amino acid that the hair is already made of without disturbing the curl pattern. Another way to look at this is that when you put a texturizer in your hair, it has to be washed out. You can’t leave it in. The nanoSMOOTHING doesn’t need to be washed out. That’s because it’s made with more natural ingredients and doesn’t have all those dangerous chemicals in it.
About this Episode
Natural and curlylicious TV personalities Rene Syler and Karyn Parsons chat exclusively about every woman’s favorite topic of discussion: hair! Check out their hilarious exchange on how they maintain their manes! Make sure you also watch their full Mommy In Chief episode: Are You A Good Enough Mother?
About Rene Syler
Rene Syler knew she wanted a career in television. Unfortunately she did not come to that realization until after she had spent thousands of dollars on a degree in psychology. She forged ahead and after reporter/anchor jobs in Reno, Birmingham and Dallas, landed a plum assignment as one of the anchors of The Early Show on CBS. In March 2007, Rene’s first book Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting was published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. From that her website, www.goodenoughmother.com was born. Rene lives in Westchester, New York with her husband, Buff Parham, children Casey and Cole and their yellow Lab Olivia.
About Karyn Parsons
Karyn Parsons is best known as the character “Hilary Banks” on the long-running television show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Today she is a wife and mother of two. Parsons is also the Founder and President of the Sweet Blackberry foundation after being inspired by the true tale of a determined slave and the remarkable lengths he travelled to find his freedom. While growing up, Parsons’ mother, a librarian in the Black Resource Center of a library in South Central Los Angeles, would share stories of African-American accomplishment with her daughter. A mother and activist, Karyn created Sweet Blackberry to use the power of stories to inspire youth. Follow her on Twitter @Karyn_Parsons.
Want More Mommy In Chief? Watch these episodes:
- Episode 1: Are You A Good Enough Mother?
- Episode 2: New Motherhood and Balancing A Bust Work Life
- Episode 3: How To Decorate An Eco Friendly Baby Nursery
- Episode 4: Foodie, Nicole Friday on Kids and Career
- Episode 5: Melissa Beck, From Hollywood to Stay At Home Mom
- Episode 6: Single Mom in The City
- Episode 7: Mommy Mogul and Marketing Wiz Monique Jackson at Home With Her Boys
- Episode 8: Beauty Maven Jodie Patterson Talks Four-Day Work Week for Moms
- Episode 9: Tonya Lewis Lee on Motherhood and the Importance of Women’s Health
- Episode 1: Back 2 School
- Episode 2: Happy Halloween
- Episode 3: Socially Responsible Kids
- Episode 4: Money Talks
- Episode 5: Keeping Families Healthy
- Episode 6: Thanksgiving Madness
- Episode 7: Highlights and Best Moments
- Episode 8: Stylish Moms
- Episode 9: Best Apps for Moms
- Episode 10: Socialite Kids
- Episode 11: Hair Talk with AfroBella
- Episode 12: Happy New Year!
Barely-there color is right on trend for this fall and winter when it comes to manis and pedis. Hues that compliment your natural skin tone but still make your manicure look sophisticated and put-together belong in your cosmetic bag this season. This is especially the case if you want to rock the rich tones of autumn like hunter green or ruby red, or want to get on board with the fall neon trend when it comes to clothing. While they may not all be our kinds of “nude” necessarily, whether your complexion is the color of caramel, latte, or cocoa, there are a number of polish shades that will definitely make your nails stand out–in a demure, chic kind of way.
After reading Wendy Williams’ comments on why black women will never go for any kind of surgery and her subsequent explanation of wearing wigs, part of me didn’t know whether I wanted to smack Wendy or slap her a high-five. In her mini-rant, she makes a couple of decent points about some women’s aversion to fake hair, plastic surgery, and the like, but the underlying hypocrisy and her obvious issue with women who are actually comfortable walking around in the skin and hair they were born with, left me leaning more on the smack side
As part of XO Jane’s Makeunder series, Wendy Williams was toned down from fitted dresses and stilettos to a white crew neck and jeans to talk about what beauty is to her and be candid about the plastic surgeries she’s undergone and her own mane regimen but then she threw black women under the bus a little when she was asked why people are so judgmental about plastic surgery. She told the site:
“They are jealous. Because if I said to that person, ‘I got the doctor and I’m going to pay for it. Choose three things you want to do,’ believe me, they would get it done. They are very jealous and scared. Scared of what their other friends would say, or to break out of the box and be different. And being black? Ugh, please. My people will not go for any kind of surgery. We are supposed to be natural. Ugh, whatever.”
Then hen the interviewer asked Wendy whether she feels the same is true when it comes to hair, she said this:
“Its like a 50/50 thing with women. Some woman prefer natural and then the other 50 percent prefer something fake going on. And for me, fake includes a color. Blonde is not natural in most of our background’s rainbow.
“Full blown wigs are looked at as the worst, in terms of hair type fakery. Getting pieces is the first line of acceptability. Then getting a full weave is a second line of acceptability. Then a wig is something that is acceptable for your old aunt, but not for a modern girl. If you do wear a wig, everybody wants you to take off the wig and show your hair. That’s what Tyra did on her show years ago. She did it because she was running out of ideas trying to shock her audience. They always ask me that, too.
“The reason I wear the wigs is because my hair is naturally thin. And I have thyroid disease which I was diagnosed with 12 years ago. And thyroid disease thins your natural hair and your eyebrows. It thins all of the hair on your body, along with giving you the eye pop and the scary stare. That’s why I wear wigs. Because the hair I would want is just not what is growing out of my head. If I was a librarian with a smaller personality, then I would keep the hair that I have.”
Did she just backtrack there? Wendy wears wigs because of thyroid disease? Sounds like she’s saying she’d rock her natural hair otherwise (maybe not in texture but at least free of extensions). It’s interesting she feels the need to explain that when she’s such a proponent of so-called fake beauty. I also think it’s funny she’s disgusted that black women prefer “natural beauty”—although I can’t say I ever knew that. I mean she can’t be talking about the largest consumers of hair weave, probably around the entire globe, can she? I personally never saw black women as a whole being against plastic surgery, what I did observe was women of color being more comfortable with their features and not feeling the need to go under the knife and “correct” things the way white women do (as much). Plus, we have to shout out those black women don’t crack genetics that don’t make botox such a necessity, as least quite as early. Truthfully I didn’t see the need to even make a distinction between black women and the rest of the world anyway. We’re hardly without physical image issues, I’ve just always looked at hair and skin tone as the main struggles we battle and there’s nothing going under the knife can do about either one of those. That’s why the weave is bought and sewn in and bleaching creams are still lucrative products.
Maybe Wendy was speaking more to the policing of other women’s beauty choices when she made her comments but they came off as pretty defensive to me, as if people should applaud her for going under the knife whenever she chooses and wearing overpowering and terribly groomed weaves every day. I also couldn’t help but remember the comment she made about Viola Davis and her natural hair that didn’t belong on the red carpet and feel some sort of way about her plastic surgeries and her wigs being a little bit deeper than thyroid disease and having cash to blow.
At the end of the day, I don’t think worrying about who has or hasn’t had plastic surgery is at the top of black women’s concerns but when it comes to why they don’t do it, I think the reasons that are a bit deeper than what Wendy would let on. As most studies show, we have healthier body images all around; but there’s also the issue of cost and a lot of black women simply not having discretionary cash to blow on a cosmetic procedure; there’s also distrust of medical professionals. If we won’t see a doctor about our reproductive or mental health, I don’t think we’ll be lined up to have someone cut us open for an optional surgery. Plus there are issues of scarring and contouring and keloids that just aren’t worth the risk for many of us. If getting chopped and screwed is Wendy’s forte I don’t think anyone is really mad at her. But she also shouldn’t be mad at black women who don’t want to do the same.
What do you think about Wendy’s comments? Is she right about black women and their feelings about plastic surgery?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Wrap It Up: 7 Things In Entertainment We’re Tired As Hell of Seeing
- When The Real World Gets TOO Real: How Corporate America Almost Damaged My Self-Esteem
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- Real and Relaxed? My Journey In Relapsing Back to the Creamy Crack
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of “The Color Purple”
- Girl, Stop Trippin’: 6 Things He Just Doesn’t Care About
Team Natural or Team Relaxed? What started out as women cheerfully showing pride in their locks has turned into another divisive tool amongst women of color. Last week I wrote two articles for Madame Noire; the first article was about having realistic expectations for natural hair, which sparked a nice conversation amongst women with different textures and how they were learning to work with their hair. The next day my article was posted on how to wear a good weave on a budget, and boy oh boy, did I cause a firestorm on the Facebook page. Almost immediately someone asked why we weren’t encouraging women to wear their real hair. And thus it began a mini comment battle between women who enjoy wearing extensions and relaxers and women who enjoy toting natural hair. No one realized that the author (me, of course) giving advice on weaves was someone who had been natural for many years, just a day after providing tips for those with natural hair.
A few days later at the 2012 Met Gala, Solange Knowles hit the red carpet in a dazzling canary yellow Rachel Roy gown and a fluffy curly afro. Every other natural woman online was ohhing and ahhing while reposting her picture to their respective social media accounts. She looked beyond fabulous…with her wig on, but because it looked like a real afro, no one cared. And that should be an example of how contrite this schism between “team natural” and “team non-natural” is. While it’s great to have a support system when going natural, to bully others into feeling like they are less than or don’t love themselves because of how they choose to manage their own hair is foul. It’s also hypocritical when we are praising the natural hair “image” of celebrities who are really rocking weaves, but dogging out the real world women who wear them as well. Weaves can work as a great protective style that allow women to switch up their look and explore different looks without damaging their real hair (if done right of course). The key is to have healthy hair, not just natural hair.
And women who aren’t natural have played into the drama as well. There’s no need to be combative by spreading negative stereotypes of women who choose to wear their hair natural. There is nothing butch, boyish or dirty about natural hair, as it can be just as feminine and hot as any other hairstyle. Natural women can achieve the same lengths of “long hair don’t care” as those who are relaxed. And when it all comes down to it, in order to maintain and grow long healthy hair, whether relaxed or natural, we are following the same hair care standards. One of the most preeminent books that has shaped many of the natural hair gurus’ ideology was written by a woman with relaxed hair, Ultra Black Hair Growth by Cathy Howe. It details a hair care regimen for growing relaxed hair that is parallel to the regimen for natural hair. It’s really all just hair.
One of the most beautiful factors of being a woman of color is the versatility that exists among us. Black women are the most diverse group of women and our hair can do just about anything. Our hair is one way to show our versatility. Just as one should not dictate that a person should only wear her hair straight or tell someone they look manly and hard with natural hair, one shouldn’t dictate that everyone needs to be natural and that you are trying to be something you’re not if you choose not to. For some, that is just not a realistic expectation as this point. You should always respect the comfort levels of others, and that consideration carries over to hair.
Hair is an extension of ones self. Hair does not make the person. In fact, character and confidence can completely change the shape of a hairstyle. So let’s stop telling someone else how one should wear their hair, and stop trying to insult each other to make ourselves feel better. Let’s stop defining ourselves by the nature of our hair. Live freely and direct your energy into helping others build up their good character and confidence.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a general assignment reporter for a television station, and if you’ve watched any of the hard news shows, there is a trend that you probably see. Whether the women are African-American, Caucasian, Asian, or Hispanic, their hair is generally straight, and up until three years ago, so was mine.
The decision to go natural was one I came to on my own after expressing an interest once my mother had undergone chemotherapy for breast cancer. When her hair grew out, due to the treatment, my mother’s curl pattern changed, which lead me to believe that my curls would look similar to hers. I quickly learned, however, that our hair was nothing alike. While hers was soft and smooth, my curls were more apt to the consistency of cotton balls fluffed on top of my head. However, I fell in love with them. But while I adored them, people in the journalism industry doubted that I would be able to get an on-air position with my hair in an afro.
If you look around at some of the more “contemporary” television shows, you will see an array of hairstyles and looks: crazy curls, some interesting colors, and even piercings depending upon the network, but if you stick strictly to the big networks, you only see the more personal style and fun side of reporters on shows that air during the early morning hours or around noon. However, my goal was and had always been to be on the evening news.
When I got to my final year in college, I began sending out applications and DVDs that had a compilation of my work, and soon after that, I landed an interview that would prove right one of the assumptions everyone made about my career: that natural hair and news don’t mix.
During the interview my hair was straightened, but since I knew that the area was humid, I knew my best bet at keeping it in this style was to sacrifice my curls to a relaxer. The woman interviewing me was very clear on her perspective: “I love your curls…but if you’re going to work here, you will have to have your hair straight…you know, for the conservative area that we work in.” And that was it. She set the standard that I would run into for nine months as I searched for a job working in television.
While the doors of opportunity weren’t shut solely because of my curly coif, I couldn’t help but wonder if my job search would be easier had I made a new video with my hair straightened consistently. While things could have been easier, I decided to stick with my curls. Of course, there’s a happy ending to this story, and clearly sticking to my guns paid off because I have a job reporting at the top station in my area now.
Working in an industry that has a large focus on outward appearance can be difficult when your hairstyle can be seen as unprofessional or even intimidating to others. While I know that it has limited me in some regards, I can’t say that I regret my decision. It has opened my eyes to the ways in which people are ignorant to the world around them, but I have yet to receive a negative comment from a viewer in the conservative area that I work in, nor have I had any comments from coworkers or my boss that hint towards preferring my hair straightened. So I wear my afro proudly to work and on television for all in my area to see.
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As natural hair becomes more of a trend across the board for African American women, it was only a matter of time before the question of its acceptance in the workplace would arise. Whether you’re a sales executive or a television host, appearance matters. And in a society where image is everything, is the natural look holding people back or is it off the table as an issue? We spoke to six women about their personal hair experiences in the workplace.
I’m beginning to think the whole “natural hair” movement is a well-disguised ploy to separate a black woman from her money.
It started with my hairstylist.
She’d been doing my hair for years and I even followed her to three salons. She would relax my hair, color it, trim it, and generally help me maintain the bone-straight look I enjoyed.
Almost two years ago, she moved to a new salon where the stylists did not put relaxers in clients’ hair and they were trained to discourage you from getting relaxers elsewhere. Predictably, she started talking to me about quitting my relaxers. I’d been wearing relaxed hair for 12 years at that point – ever since Aaliyah graced the cover of the “One In A Million” cassette tape – so I didn’t even take her suggestion seriously.
After much discussion, she finally convinced me to quit getting relaxers. She promised my hair would grow; I didn’t need the Big Chop; and I could still wear my hair bone-straight.
Intrigued, I began growing out my natural hair.
StyleBlazer Beauty: Miss Jessie’s Salon Debuts Curl Bar with Discounted Services and Walk-In Appointments!
If you’re a naturalista, you know the amount of work it takes to achieve flawless curls—let alone breeze through a morning without battling with your tresses. You’ve probably watched a few YouTube tutorials on twist-outs, Bantu knots and curly crèmes, right? Well, whether you’ve gotten into the groove and found a hair rhythm, or you’re in transition, the experts at Miss Jessie’s newCurl Bar will give you a fresh perspective on your hair (and maybe even a new do’)!
For more information on Miss Jessie’s new Curl Bar, visit StyleBlazer.com.
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