All Articles Tagged "hair"
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.
Need proof that being fit and having your hair on fleek are not mutually exclusive? Check out these famous fit females who make time for their health and their hair and keep both consistently on point.
A red carpet appearance doesn’t stop the fitness show for Rev Run’s baby girl Angela Simmons. The 27-year-old is a well-known fitness enthusiast, regularly posting IG pics and videos of her doing yoga, kick-boxing, and more. And then we see her kill it at appearances like in the pic above and we think, when does she have time? Extensions make it possible for the young beauty to easily go from gym to glam. And if you’re curious how she keeps her body on point, just check out this circuit below.
It’s GO time !!! @thebestdamntrainer thanks for joining @vanessajsimmons and I today !!! #ImReady 👊🏼 A video posted by angelasimmons (@angelasimmons) on
It may sound superficial, but if we’re being honest hair is a big consideration when it comes to Black women’s physical health. Even if we don’t let our strands stop us from busting a sweat, there’s no denying it takes some planning, pre- and post-workout, to put our best hair forward after a cross-fit class, Zumba, running the treadmill, or any other physical activity.
A few of MadameNoire’s editors have been going hard with their fitness routines lately so we decided to break down what we do to maintain hair that not only looks great but is healthy from the inside out. Read on to see how we care for our locs, permed, natural, and transitioning hair while working out.
So you’re going about your weekly co-wash when a bright red stream flows down into the shower drain. While it’s not quite the violent shower scene from the movie Psycho, the hot water and harsh cleansing agents in your favorite smell-good shampoo just murdered your once-fly, once-vibrant hair color.
Disappearing hair color happens to most of us who choose to wear bright hair hues. Whether the shade is a red, a chocolate, a blonde or even a blue, our bold hues dull over time and one day, we notice the hair color that garnered so many compliments just a week before is gone.
Common beauty knowledge tells us that we’ve got a solid month to flaunt new hair color before it begins to lose its luster. Recent clinical results have shown that hair color can fade up to five times faster in the initial week after walking out of the salon (or the kitchen) with new color. Knowing a few tricks of the trade can help you keep your color fresh and your hair healthy after coloring.
Understand, first, that hair color is a permanent change in the make up of your hair.
Hair color changes our hair because it opens up the cuticle of the hair to penetrate and deposit color. Hair color, relaxers, and other damaging agents ruffle the hair cuticle and, if you’re not careful, can make your previously healthy strands appear dull and dry.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but the first action you can take to keep your hair and new color in tact is rinsing your hair until the water runs completely clear. You may worry that you’re rinsing away the color you just applied, but believe it or not, failing to fully rinse out color causes the domino effect of fading.
Use a shampoo and conditioner combo made for color-treated hair.
Created specifically to protect color-treated hair, Bigen Protect & Repair Shampoo and Conditioner uses rice water essence (Inositol) and sunflower oil to repair damaged hair, while it gently cleanses and conditions. This shampoo and conditioner combo also helps prevent future damage.
Keep a consistent hair routine to care for your hair.
Understanding how hair color works and what products will keep you hair healthy are key to protect your hair shade. The most important part of keeping your hair healthy is your plan following your hair appointment. You have to choose a simple (or complex!) hair care routine that you’re motivated to implement and stick with. Slacking in this area means a brassy head of hair and that’s not cute on anyone.
Maintaining the right mix of good hair habits and understanding the dynamics of hair color, plus using the proper shampoo and conditioner will keep any daring hair color you choose as bright and head-turning as the day you left the salon.
Update #2- 6/8/2015:
Today, Texas Governor Abbott will sign the HB 2717 bill that deregulates natural hair braiders from having to complete an arduous process in order to obtain and keep their hair braiding licenses. Attorney Arif Panju who works with the Institute for Justice’s Texas office said of the victory:
“This marks a final victory for natural hair braiders across Texas. It also serves as recognition that occupational licensing has gone too far when 1 in 3 Texans are forced to obtain a government license to simply go to work each morning.”
The HB 2717 bill was authored by Texas Representative Craig Goldman and sponsored by Senator Royce West in the Texas Senate.
Update #1- 4/24/2015: Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass the HB 2717 bill that will deregulate the legislation imposed on the natural hair braiding business.
Previously, hair braiding trainers and beauticians had to complete barber, cosmetology and a 35-hour government-approved hair braiding course in order to teach or practice hair braiding in salons. Hair braiding stylists also had to earn a state license. If they failed to do so, their salon or hair braiding teaching session would be raided by law enforcement, resulting in arrest. The effort to deregulate natural hair braiding has been a decade-long fight.
Isis Brantley who has been arrested several times for braiding hair without the Texas state government license says of the new bill:
“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living. This vote by the Texas House means aspiring hair braiders from across the state are one step closer to being able to practice an ancestral art that dates back centuries, and do so without a government permission slip.”
A federal judge in Texas ruled the laws on how hair-braiding stylists teach students how to braid were unconstitutional. The ruling was set in motion by salon owner Isis Brantley who filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas with the help of Institute For Justice in 2013. In the suit, The Associated Press reports, Brantley argued she was forced to take classes and exams that were unnecessary in order to receive a state-mandated license to teach hair-braiding.
Not only was the curriculum Brantley needed to study geared towards barbers when she wasn’t seeking certification for that profession, Texas also required her to convert her small hair-braiding business into a barber college and have 10 student workstations that recline, plus install a sink behind every two workstations. This meant Brantley would have to install plumbing in her salon although clientele is expected to have their hair pre-washed before braiding. The Root also notes Brantley had to spend “2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition.”
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks from Austin ruled the state regulations the excluded Brantley from receiving a certification in hair-braiding were unconstitutional and “absent ‘a rational connection with fitness or capacity to engage in’ hair braiding instruction.”
In a statement, Brantley said:
“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living. This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”
A spokeswoman from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said she respects the judge’s decision.
Every time I prepare to go running, my routine is the same: Throw on some workout gear, grab my headphones, find a random place to stick my keys, and pull my hair back in a struggle ponytail to stuff it under a cap. Nothing about this 10-minute prep is inconvenient, but each time I cringe at the thought of how much maintenance it’s going to take to return my hair to a presentable form after a decent sweat session.
I’ve been natural for two years now. Long enough that my hair schedule and styles are pretty set, and even if wash day does skip around, my hair doesn’t fret. It gets me. Well, it gets me most of the time.
But because my fitness routine hasn’t been this consistent since those high school track and field days, my new natch pattern has no loyalty to this change of pace. Not to mention, every switch in seasons requires me to rework my hair product concoctions in order to keep my hair moisturized, frizz-free, and my blowouts protected from impending summer humidity. That means double the not-so-fun task of trial and error with hair products and styles all over again. Yay.
When I first started working out regularly, I was letting my post-cardio hair air dry. But the tangled ‘fro that followed, especially under my resident Bad Hair Day hat, was a frightening hot mess. In the hopes of improving the look and feel of my strands, I started co-washing every other workout day to ensure my hair was clean, which helps promote hair growth and retention, right? Well, that was overdrying my hair a bit, making it a tad too brittle. Despite my best efforts, my hair isn’t really cooperating with me and my new lifestyle.
So I’m starting to wonder, is this my punishment for wanting to be my healthiest self? Are my hair goals at a standstill because my body goals are flourishing? Hardly. Though I do believe it’s a dilemma every natural girl faces at some point during her fitness journey. So how do I keep my hair cute and clean, my edges laid, maintain my style from the gym to a possible post-gym outing, and not go crazy wrestling with my hair every day?
If you thought I had the answer, I don’t (I would not have written this if I did). I have yet to find that sweet spot of looking somewhat decent after exercising. And while I struggle to salvage my hair post-workout, I don’t think it’s impossible to do so.
As the saying goes (and remains true), everyone’s hair is different. So while throwing in quick Celie braids before hitting the gym works for some, I’m stuck with a head full of crusty tendrils after the sweat dries. (Sorry, I can’t get jiggy with chasing my summer body goals through St. Nicholas Park in a head scarf either.) It’s a process to nurture your hair to the point that everything you do with it just, well, works. And that’s just the nature of being natural. Add in the fact that you’re pounding the pavement and introducing a whole new set of elements to your ‘do every day, and it’s safe to say that managing natural hair can be extremely frustrating. This is especially true when you’re trying to get your body right. It’s a whole new hair obstacle that’s not for the faint of heart.
For now, the answer for me is a protective style (thankfully a hair appointment is set for the end of the month). I can’t focus on the extra TLC my hair needs right now. And although you can’t totally abandon your tresses, even with a weave or wig, my hair and my hands needs a break because mama is tired. I do love my hair and I’m dedicated to figuring out what it needs. But until I can figure out how to successfully marry my hair goals with my new workout schedule, it will be a painful process and a long summer…for the both of us.
Did you know that African-Americans use smartphones more than any other group? And now that we finally have black Emojis, we’ll probably never put our cellular devices down. If you know you stay with your phone in hand, here are a few apps that you need to have.
Does your day sound anything like this?
You rush out of the house without eating breakfast. You work two extra hours because your team is ‘lean.’ You stretch your day so you can make time to socialize after work, eating fried appetizers and throwing back drinks. Or, you might scarf down a cheeseburger in record time before shuffling your kids to their evening activities. Then, you fall into bed without following your nightly hair routine. You wake the next day, rinse and repeat, and the feeling of being overwhelmed builds. Momentary stress creeps up on you and becomes daily stress.
Those seemingly small daily stresses can lead to a feeling of being burned out. Whether self-imposed, situational or even environmental, stress can leave your hair looking crazy (and make you feel even worse).
Two experts share how re-incorporating a little TLC into your busy life can help you recover from the damage that stress causes to your hair.
Haitian-American business owner Yve-Car Momperousse started her international business, Kreyol Essence, after a visit to the hair salon that didn’t turn out quite as planned. As a woman with natural hair, Yve-Car understands the importance of hair care and ensuring that your tresses are strong and healthy. As a woman of Haitian descent, she understands the importance of hard work and making a social impact. Thus, Kreyol Essence was established. This line of eco-luxury beauty and personal care products is made exclusively in Haiti using organic and natural ingredients and provides many women and men in Haiti with employment and financial security.
Yve- Car spoke with MadameNoire about the impact that owning an international business has had on her and Haiti.
MadameNoire: What inspired you to create Kreyol Essence?
Yve-Car Momperousse: One is I had what I call a “hair catastrophe.” I was going to an event and wanted to look my best and I went to go get my hair straightened. You know, using the old hot comb, and the hairdresser did a great job. My hair looked wonderful, but two days later when I went to wash out the press, my hair came out with it. And you can imagine that that was quite an experience to see your hair falling out in clumps.
So after crying, I pulled myself together and like any good millennial I went online to try to understand what caused my hair to fall out. It was then that I learned about heat damage and when I was thinking about what I could use to regrow my hair, it dawned on me that there was an oil that my mom used to use which essentially solved every issue in the house. It was put in our hair, it was put on our skin if it was dry; it was like our Robitussin. And I couldn’t think of what it was called and I called her up and she said, “Oh it’s Lwil Maskriti” which translates to Haitian Black Castor Oil.
I went to the store thinking, “Ok, I live in Philadelphia… There are plenty of Africans and Caribbean folks there. I should be able to find the product.” What I found was castor oil from China, India, and other places. They were all refined. They had hexane, bleach, and other additives. So, I jokingly said to my mom, “This is crazy. Can I get some of your stash from Haiti? How wonderful would it be if women could have access it?” And she said “That’s a good idea.” When we started thinking about what the social benefits to the country would be as a result of making a business out of this, that’s what really inspired me to start Kreyol Essence.
MN: What was the process like of starting your own international business?
YM: There is never a dull moment. When we first started off, it didn’t even dawn on me that what I was actually building was an international business. And coming to Haiti and making sure that I understood the process of actually creating the oil. Which means that I had to be willing to go up and down mountains. I had to be willing to sit there with the local women and understand how to make the oil, how long to grill it, all the details/cultural nuances. When doing business in the country, there was definitely a learning curve around it.
And then, also understanding how to translate that into marketing and operation in the States. So I have two lawyers, two accountants, and pretty much two of everything. I have learned a lot along the way, but it certainly was a challenge that I am happy to say that we’ve been victorious in learning.
MN: Can you speak on some of the obstacles and rewards you’ve had while working with Haiti?
YM: One obstacle, the first one I remember, I was going into a meeting with a possible supplier, and the American way of thinking is the more you buy, the lower the price. Right? Pretty much how people think in business. So, I’m sitting here going into a negotiation with that mindset. The supplier is telling me the more I buy, the price goes up. I couldn’t even comprehend that that was what he was saying to me. I’m responding in one way, he’s responding in another, and my cousin, who is a local, says to me “Stop talking.” And he proceeds to sort of mediate and I watch how he’s negotiating with the supplier, but essentially, this is a cultural norm where this is a belief in the U.S. and certain international parts. Even though I am Haitian-American and I’m speaking the language and all that, but not understanding the cultural norms was big.
On the rewarding end, I have to say that the most rewarding part is working and hiring women in the business. There are a lot of hair, skin, and body companies, but in addition to having a great product, the social side of our company, we’re very intentional with what we do. I specifically focused on hiring women in Haiti because even though 40 percent of women are the head of household in Haiti, most women are abused emotionally and physically. I remember one woman telling us when we first hired her how, for one, she was able to make sure that she could go and buy water, something that simple, for her and her family. And how she didn’t have to worry about fighting men or others for the public water, but she actually could afford to just get water. And how much pride she felt that she could do things for her kids herself that at times her lazy behind husband may not be able to do. The fact that she had an income commanded a certain respect in the house.
MN: Are there certain procedures/regulations you must follow while working with Haiti?
YM: There are a number of procedures that we must follow because we are an agribusiness. Again, I always say the back-end of the company, it’s not just beauty products, [and] we are vertically integrated. We grow everything from A to Z. When you’re bringing an agricultural product into the United States or into Europe, you have to get your product tested. You have to make sure that what you’re planting is not going to have an adverse effect on the environment. Registering a business in Haiti is not for the faint of heart. It’s a process that takes four to six months whereas in the States, it takes two weeks. And the cost is double here. I would say that things are a little bit easier now than when I started a few years ago, but we had to go through the hurdles when we first started.
MN: Can you discuss the social impact that Kreyol Essence has had in its communities?
YM: In Haiti, one of the impacts is environmental. Haiti only has one percent of its tree covered lash. What that means is that you’ll hear a lot of people dying of mudslides. You will hear that farmers are not able to cultivate crop which they need in order to eat and live and to help provide material in the country. By us planting castor beans in Haiti, we’re helping with some of those environmental issues like soil erosion, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions and all of the things that we talk about in the States when it comes to global warming.
Another impact is the economic development. We are slated to create 400 jobs in the next two years right here in Haiti. Most of those who work for us, not only will they have employment, but when we think about the farmers that we will employ, they will make three to five times more than what they’ve made in the past because of our structure.
…And then lastly, economic development from the standpoint of exporting. Part of how a country runs and is able to have money in their system is based on their GDP (gross domestic product). Part of that comes from exporting. Haiti does not have a large export business, so by us exporting our product that’s huge. It also adds to country branding because unfortunately, when people think of Haiti, they think about the earthquakes, they think about poverty, they think about all of the negative. I think when you see our marketing and you see our products, people are surprised and they say, “I didn’t know that this type of richness and beauty exist in Haiti.” We have to start changing the images that are portrayed for the country so that people can come visit and enjoy and see what we have to offer.
MN: What makes your products unique from other brands?
YM: In addition to the ingredients, it’s our formulation. The fact that we really stay true to being as natural and organic as possible, and the formulation, comes from ingredients that are unique.
I think we are one of the few that actually infuse so much castor oil into our whole line. Oftentimes with these different beauty products, if they put a half a milliliter of something, they throw it on to the label and create a whole marketing piece out of it. We are actually using the maximum amount of shea butter, castor oil, aloe vera, and all of the other ingredients. When it comes to our products, which is associated with a particular type of woman. It’s a woman who not only wants to look and feel great, but a woman who also does care about the world that she lives in. The fact that we really work hard to have a social impact and connect that to beauty, I think tends to resonate and appeal to our customers.
Learn more and shop Kreyol Essence at www.kreyolessence.com.
In cultural appropriation news, Ricky’s is now teaching non-ethnic women how to bedazzle their baby hair — not because Black folks have been doing this since the time of “Billy Jean” Michael Jackson or because TLC’s Chilli still has the baby hair game on lock — but because “It’s all over runways, and now in your own home (and later, on the dancefloor – get it, gurl!)” as Ricky’s targeted email newsletter relayed along with step-by-step tips to do what our mama’s did to us since the time we were 2 years old and barely had edges.
Step 1? Use a fine-tooth comb to find baby hairs in your hairline and around your face.
Step 2? Use a bit of pomade to smooth your baby hairs down around your face.
Step 3? Use a comb or soft brush on baby hairs with pomade to sculpt and shape. “Get creative!”
Step 4? Finish with another light coat of pomade to smooth flyaways and lock that style down.
To make matters worse, Ricky’s included a faux educational section in their newsletter explaining “what’s the big deal with baby hair?” that links to an article on i-D that essentially outlines why their promo email is a hot mess. The piece starts out drooling over the “slicked-down curls that stormed the runway at Givenchy” earlier this month and how Katy Perry “worked gelled down waves and licks of her own at the same show,” then reveals the criticisms over this look that has suddenly become trendy.
“The complaint that fashion is taking something that doesn’t belong to it, and to which it has no right, is nothing new. But the crux of this particular debate has been what some see as the throwaway attempt of certain brands and celebrities to bring something ‘urban fabulous’ (as one Twitter user termed it) to their aesthetic, without any understanding of context,” author Alice Newell Hanson wrote. Uh yeah.
But because people will always find a way to justify their behavior when they’re in the wrong, Hanson managed to get hair stylist Tina Outen to point out that “Often, in the past, using gel was how you tamed hair that had been broken or damaged by chemical relaxers,” convincing the author to come to the conclusion that “fashion’s current use of styled baby hair has, in some instances, become something entirely different from the subcultural style it once referenced.” Oh, and “Isn’t that what fashion is about?” So basically, if we flip baby hair into something empowering (which, personally, I never knew it to be rooted in anything negative unless you had too much gel caked on the side of your face or were 30-plus rocking it) we can call it something new and claim we invented it, a la Christopher Columbus. Sorry, baby hair by another mane will always be Missy Elliott-Ginuwine-MJ-Chilli baby hair to me.
But truth be told, I don’t know who to be more upset for: Black people who’ve once again had a style we’ve been over for 20-something tears taken from us and allegedly re-invented without an ounce of credit or the white girls Ricky’s is gonna have walking around looking like 1993 Marques Houston in 2015.