All Articles Tagged "perms"
The road to natural hair is paved with good intentions. The joy of not being a slave to routine chemical processing and heat styling certainly is alluring for many. Many natural hair divas will tell you they find there’s more freedom and versatility in styling hair in its natural state. There are many more positive reasons for going natural; it all depends on who you ask.
I went natural for all those reasons three years ago, ready to embrace my natural coils and free up my schedule and budget in the process. Unlike many other naturalistas, I didn’t do the “big chop” (or BC as it is called in the natural hair community). I just let the relaxer grow out, relying on weaves and blowouts during the transition phase. When the relaxed hair finally grew out, I tried out a few low-maintenance natural hair styles, but was disappointed that I didn’t have the length or the talent to recreate all the fabulously luscious styles I saw the natural hair divas on YouTube rocking.
One attempt at a two-strand twist turned into a messy four-hour ordeal that left me with disastrous results. I followed the directions on the curling product jar to a T, or so I thought. The end result was a frizzy, tangled mess that looked like the ‘before’ picture in a hair product ad. Talk about an epic fail. I felt as if I had let my natural hair sisters down. I was losing hope.
Impatient and indecisive about the direction I wanted to take with my hair, I weaved it up for a couple of months while I decided what my next style move would be. After the weave I thought I would get a blowout for a couple of weeks, mainly to check my hair growth. There was only one place I would go for my blowout; the place where dreams were born and legends were made. Several of my natural hair girlfriends went to the same Dominican salon and their hair looked healthy, flawless and fabulous. I didn’t need much convincing or an appointment for that matter. So to the Dominican salon I went.
I had heard horror stories about the excruciating heat you’re subjected to at the Dominican salon. Someone told me about her one and only experience at a Dominican salon, complete with amusing re-enactments of weeping and gnashing of teeth. She made it sound like it was hell fire and damnation. But I had so many other friends who went to these salons and had great experiences and hair to prove it. I decided I would go through the experience just one time to check my growth and wear my hair in a different style for a couple of weeks.
The stylists at the Dominican salon were wonderful. They welcomed me into the Sisterhood of the Fabulously Flowing Blowouts with open arms. Literally. When I walked into the salon, I was greeted with a hug and immediately ushered back to the spa-like shampoo room. I walked past rows of women under dryers with what looked like ear muffs on their ears. Ladies in the stylist chairs getting their hair blown out didn’t seem to be in tears or crying out in pain. All I knew was that I wanted to get the same flowing end-results they were getting.
When it was my turn to meet the hair dryer, it was hotter than I would have preferred, but it didn’t kill me. All I knew was that 45 minutes after I walked into the Dominican salon with my tightly coiled afro, I was leaving with a sleek, bouncy chin-length bob. I was now a member of the Sisterhood of the Fabulously Flowing Blowouts.
Fast-forward three months later. My visits every two to three weeks were starting to take a toll on my hair. I started noticing hair breaking off around my temples and along my hairline. The strain of the heat was beginning to show. No amount of sisterhood hugs could erase the fact that I was losing the natural hair I had spent more than two years to grow. As much as I hated to admit it, I had to leave the sisterhood.
When it comes to Dominican salons, I can say I’ve been there and done that. I’m not knocking the experience though. I have countless family members and friends who have been going to Dominican salons for years, and their hair is so sleek and healthy you’d think they had perms. I just know that it’s not for me. It’s been almost three months since my last visit to the Dominican salon, and I’m starting to see a little evidence of growth around my edges. Maybe after all I put it through, my hair has forgiven me.
Though the black community would have you believe every woman who relaxes her hair hates herself, I think I speak for a lot of us permed ladies out here when I say the choice to slap on the “creamy crack” every so often is more about convenience than contempt of self. That being said, for as many things there are about perming one’s hair that make it easier to maintain, there are still a few inconveniences (read: problems) that come along with opting for this styling choice. Let’s talk about them, shall we?
By Jessica Dufresne
It’s the never-ending black hair debate: which is a safer option, natural or relaxed? Too often, relaxing gets the shaft, mainly because of the age-old assumption that it’s too damaging. (The moral arguments are a whole other topic.) In reality, the only times when relaxing is bad is when it’s not applied correctly, done too often, or you’re simply not taking care of your hair. Contrary to popular belief, you can have perfectly healthy, strong hair with a perm—as long as you know what and what not to do.
Why not relax?
So is it actually possible to have healthy locks despite perming? “Absolutely,” says celebrity hair stylist Tippi Shorter. “It is a chemical that alters the natural structure of your hair, but there is most certainly such a thing as healthy relaxed hair if you’re using it properly.” Shorter, who works on the healthy manes of Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Jada Pinkett-Smith, among others, says any damage experienced is due to “over-relaxing, using products that are too harsh on the hair, and trying to get an unrealistic finish.”
Just like Shorter, hair stylist Winston Scully, a 22-year hair industry veteran and owner of Hair Vibes salon in New York, contends that when it comes to relaxers, it’s all about the process. In fact, he says what causes damage is when a relaxer is left too long on the hair. Its active ingredient, lye (which comes in the form of different types of hydroxides: sodium, calcium, etc) has—as we all know—the power to break down any substance (remember the scene in Chris Rock’s documentary, Good Hair, where the soda can melts?)—but that’s only if it’s allowed to sit for an extended period of time. So as long as your perm is washed out when it’s supposed to be, you won’t have to worry about your hair melting off your scalp.
When you do decide to perm, it doesn’t pay to shop around or to assume you know which one to use. Shorter says just like all hair types are not equal, neither are all relaxers. “There are brands that I favor because they contain way more essential oils, they’re gentler, they don’t smell, they don’t irritate the scalp, they have a no-lye version, a sensitive-scalp version, or are compatible with hair color.”
According to Scully, while all relaxers contain a type of lye (the chemical that breaks down the curls), the conditioning agent is what separates the Hawaiian Silkys of the world from the Mizanis. “[when deciding which perm to use] I’m looking for one that contains the conditioning agent that is going to be beneficial to the individual’s hair.”
And how do stylists know which is best for you? Both Shorter and Scully agree that’s determined by careful examination of the hair and by experience. That said, both also discourage women from doing home perms. “I’ve seen so many horror stories,” says Shorter. “I know times are tough financially, but it’s hard for me to recommend or suggest someone to do it.” However, she does concede that if self-perming is a woman’s only option, “ I will try and steer [her] the best way possible.”
Time heals all damage
Overprocessing occurs when a relaxer is applied onto already-straightened hair—so it’s imperative to wait before touching up, or risk damage (and in case you think going natural will solve that problem, Shorter and Scully beg to differ). When you visit a new hairdresser, make sure it’s been at least six weeks since your last touch-up. The exact time to wait will depend on your texture and cut, as some women can go as long as 12 weeks in between touch-ups, while others may need them as frequently as every two weeks. Keep in mind that a good hair stylist will not perm your hair if you don’t need it (no matter how much you think you do).
Keep it tight
Regardless of whether or not your hair is chemically treated, the same maintenance rules apply: regular deep conditioning; trims every six to eight weeks; moisturizing your scalp; and even the right kind of roller set. A good set will leave you with a bunch of rollers on your head, as opposed to a few, which occurs when there’s too much hair per curler (and that volume, says Scully, causes stress on the hair). And, of course, your nightly habits matter: wrapping or roller setting and wearing a silk scarf are highly recommended.
How you choose to wear your hair doesn’t speak to the type of person you are, but how you take care of it does. You can use a relaxer for most or all of your life and, if it’s done right, it won’t cause any damage to your health or hair. The bottom line is there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with chemically straightening your hair, and it’s not a question of being addicted to “creamy crack;” if something works for you and doesn’t jeopardize your well-being, stick with it. There’s an old saying that everything ain’t for everybody and the same applies to hair.
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Ladies our dreams have finally come true! The first ever daily deal website that sells discounted vouchers to hair salons specializing in African-American and ethnic hair will launch on Tuesday April 24th!
Yes, you’ve heard it right The Fly Cut the “mane-matchmaker”, will make it possible for you and me to experience 5-star salon services without paying full price. Naturally, The Fly Cut is the brainchild of three Fly sisters – Former beauty editor (Elle, Glamour, Lucky, Teen People, Essence) and best selling author (It Chicks, The Color of Beauty) Tia Williams, a corporate entertainment lawyer, Devon Willams and veteran online editor Lauren Williams.
TFC’s first deal will be from the widly popular Miss Jessie’s Salon in Soho, New York. Members can buy half-off vouchers to the salon’s new CurlBar the first go-to hotspot for fast, affordable curly and straight services.
So if you are looking for a personal guide to finding a salon to fit your specific hair needs sign up to become a member here www.theflycut.com and receive inside information about each salon, including its specialty (natural/curly, weaves, braids, blow-outs, etc..) along with available services, star stylists and top treatments. Plus you’ll get tips from acclaimed beauty experts, information on current hair trends and product reviews. Treat your tresses now!
This personal essay, from one of our readers, describes how a mother learns from her daughter’s self confidence and subsequently vows to educate herself on how to best care for her child’s hair.
We live in a time that has constantly been referred to as the Information Age. Why? Because never before has information been so readily accessible. With just one click of a mouse we can learn about almost anything and thanks to social media we can now learn of the latest trends at lightening speed.
One trend that has been growing at a remarkable rate is the Black Hair Movement, I say black hair movement because whether we’re natural or relaxed, we, as African American women know more about our hair then ever before, and dare I say that a few of us know more than a lot of the hairdressers out there!
So with the birth of these new movements Natural and so forth, I often ask myself am I still teaching my daughters the right thing, and what kind of messages are they taking in from me and others?
I will never forget the day my eldest daughter walked into the kitchen and told me that a child in her class tried to put her down because her hair wasn’t “straight.”
“How did that make you feel, Muffin?” I asked her.
“I don’t believe anything she says Mommy, so I told her just that!” She said with confidence “I love my hair, it’s mine, and it’s an important part of me”.
I paused for a short moment, because not only does my child never cease to amaze me, but I remember my own experiences with hair and mean “non-black” children, and I knew for a fact had that been me, I would have folded. I would have burst into tears. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, a little outlandish, and you’re correct. As a child I had long beautiful hair until I was 6 years of age and my mother decided that my hair should look just like those girls on the boxes of a certain kiddie perm. Needless to stay I instantly went bold that day, and since then my hair has never been the same.
“Mom,” she started, “but what I don’t understand is why is it that all the girls in my school who look like me (they are currently only 3) and have hair like me but don’t have long hair! Are we born this way until we get a weave?” After sitting her down and going through the importance of her standing up for herself and loving and accepting ourselves no matter what anyone says or thinks, I began to explore her comments more deeply.
What is it about our community that makes naturally long hair such a scarce yet valuable commodity? What message are we really teaching our children? How does it compare to what we’ve been taught? I sat down for nights on end, researching black hair, both my children and myself have different hair types, and being able to access the wealth of information available has been a very humbling experience that I now share with my daughter. I have made them a promise to do everything I can to help and to teach her how to maintain, retain and love her mane!
” To answer your question,” I said to her, “the thing that’s special about your hair is that it is in fact your hair and while it is very different, it’s special and just like everything else about your life and your destiny you have the ability to make it or break it, literally. I can’t speak for anyone’s child, but I promise for the next 12 months, we are going to learn how to grow your hair, so when you’re a grown up, you can have the option of a weave if you’d like but it will not be your last resort if you want longer hair”.
Have you ever had similar experience with your own child(ren)? What values did you pick up about your own hair as a child? Are you part of the “I got a perm before my period” club?
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The journey to healthier relaxed hair can seem daunting, especially when it means giving up habits you’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Fortunately, for every bad habit you give up there’s a good one waiting to replace it. Let’s take a look at some of the most common relaxed hair faux pas and what you should be doing instead to keep your head of hair healthy…
If you’re natural, you’re sure to have a number of these annoying single strands knots (aka fairy knots) lurking around your hair. To be honest, they are totally normal due to the structure of afro-textured hair and there is nothing you can do to get rid of all of them—unless, of course, you choose to cut your hair. However, there are ways to keep them at an absolute minimum. Keep reading to find out how!
Tags:aesthetics, African American hair, afro textured hair, avoid, black hair, black hair care, black hair growth, black hairstyles, buns, business, culture, hair, hair care, hair stretch, hair weave, hairdressing, human interest, knots, knots black, long hair, loosing hair, natural hair, perms, relaxed hair, shampoo, shedding hair, single strand, strand, tangles, texture hair, weaves, wigs
So I caught the latest addition to the Isht that So & So Says meme called Isht that Natural Hair Girls Says and I got a good chuckle out of it because it just reminded me of how sometimes the whole fascination over natural hair gets to be ridiculous.
It reminded me of the time a couple of years back when I was at this conference, waiting for elevator with a bunch of other Black women. Anyway, as I was standing there, leaning against the wall wishing for this slow-behind elevator to hurry up, one of the women, a lady with a TWA (Teeny Weenie Afro for those not familiar with the hair lingo) decided to strike up this conversation about my hair. She asked the customary questions that I usually get from curious gawkers: how long had I’d been growing my dreadlocks, do I do them myself, what kind of products do I use, you know the normal stuff. I don’t have a problem with folks asking me questions; in fact I am flattered by the attention.
However the conversation took a drastic change from pleasantries to outright offensiveness when she started talking about her own recent “big chop.” In between gushing over how wonderful she feels to be free of chemicals and how long she agonized over the decisions, she started doing what a lot of newly converted natural divas do: defame and attack women, who choose not to wear their own hair. She actually felt like she was sharing some sort of camaraderie with a fellow natural sister-in-arms; however, what she was actually doing was drawing the unnecessary scrutiny and alienation from the other Black women, who stood around us in annoyance at her hair prophesying. And you know what? I was annoyed too.
Like most ladies, I love my hair. However unlike most natural converts, I am not, nor have I ever been, sentimental with my hairstyle choice. I don’t know its birth date, I didn’t document the stages of hair “growth” and I never thought my transition was a “journey.” In fact, the only thing I remember about my hair “journey” was getting on the subway’s Broad Street line and making my way down to South Street to get my hair done. Hell, if I am really going to be honest, I don’t even twist my own hair. I pay someone else to do it because I do not have the time or the patience (also known as lazy) to diddle around with my hair.
And yes, I love my dreadlocks. But mainly because it’s versatile enough that I can dress it up, dress it down and never had to worry about rain or humidity. However natural hair isn’t more or less maintenance than any other hairstyle I had. I still have to get it done, when I wash my hair at home, it takes forever to dry and I still have to find ways to style it, just like I would with any other hairstyle. And while I have grown to appreciate my hair in its natural state, I can’t quite say that I have reached some heighten sense of hair consciousness to feel that I am somehow superior to all of those “other girls” who still relaxed their hair.
There is nothing wrong with celebrating or basking in your newly defined and accepted natural beauty. However, some women, not all but some, treat natural hair like it’s some sort of secret society sorority club where membership is exclusive and password protected. In fact, they are on the same scale as the Born-again Christians, who post uninvited Bible scriptures on your Facebook wall and recently converted Vegetarians/Vegans, who go on and on during your lunch break about how much energy they have and healthier they feel now that they stopped eating hamburgers and pork chops two days ago.
In some of these natural hair circles, some women do more than just trade hair care tips. They actually use these grounds as some sort of nappy-jihadist recruitment/training camp, where they attempt to enlist a legion of hair cops to hand out tickets to those women, who defy the virtues of the Afro-Gospel. I see these women on various blogs, Twitter accounts, among friends, family and as strangers in supermarkets, lay down their vicious authority on women, who do straighten or weave their hair. Oh and don’t think that just because you are natural you are excluded from the inquisition. Just ask any woman, who was “caught” using the wrong product, wearing a wig while in “transition” or not having the right grade of naps to be considered a true natural.
Packing for your vacay can be a daunting task especially when you’re overwhelmed with what exactly it is you need to pack. You want to make sure you don’t forget anything and may end up packing things you probably won’t need. If you happen to find yourself in this situation, here is a list of some essentials to get you started on what to pack for your hair.