All Articles Tagged "hair"
Black women have always had a special relationship with their hair. We’ve all spent years having a love-hate relationship with it. Some days we fight with it, others day we turn heads because of it. But we all eventually learn to embrace it (or decide enough is enough and cut it all off).
And whether you wear it natural, you’re a weave chameleon or you keep it fried, dyed and laid to the side, Black hair teaches us a lot of lessons about beauty, about what our strands can withstand, and about the world around us. It’s true. Sometimes those lessons are for us, sometimes they are for the people around us. But Black hair always makes a statement, and part of the Black girl magic is being able to listen up.
What lessons has your hair taught you (or those around you)? Let us all know your black hair magic knowledge in the comment section.
Seven months ago I wrote about my horrifically dramatic big chop experience — you know the one that ended in tears and Popeyes. Since that time, I’ve only gotten a trim once, which I did at a Dominican salon back in February when my hair was blown out and, as I assumed at the time, that wasn’t necessarily the best decision for my curls. The trim made the bob I wore for two whole days look great, but when I went back to my normal wash n’go, my semi-asymmetrical ‘fro shape was pretty much gone and I’d definitely lost more volume than expected.
It’s for that reason that I’d put off my next trim for some time, despite the ragged ends that were poking from my mane every which way. I didn’t want to throw in the towel and get another $10 Dominican trim but I also didn’t want to fall victim to what I call the hater trim — you know the “shape-up” at (some) Black salons that’s more cut than trim with an expensive price tag to match? Eventually, one co-worker heard my woes and suggested Devacurl as a possible solution and, after doing a bit of research, I decided to give it a try.
The big sell of Devacurl is, as their name suggests, they’re all about curly hair — not just from a product standpoint, but in terms of styling. That’s why they use a method known as the Devacut in which they trim/cut your hair curl by curl while it’s dry in it’s natural state to ensure a finished result that better reflects clients’ expectations, rather than the historic “once it’s dry/straight/twisted out you’ll really see how your hair’s gonna look” approach most stylists have. That technique pretty much already had me sold because the last thing I wanted to do was sit in someone’s salon for three hours thinking I was getting cute, only to turn around and be pissed (and then not say anything to the stylist about it). Thankfully, none of the above happened.
For starters, there are two options for experiencing Devacurl: you can go to an official Devechan Salon for a service or choose a stylist from their list of salons whose been trained in the Devacurl cutting method. I chose the latter. When I arrived, Candace Witherspoon, the stylist I chose at Filamnent Hair Salon, sat me in her chair immediately so we could chat about my reason for coming in and my expectations. I told her I just wanted a trim — and most importantly not to lose too much hair — she told me she understood and the cutting process began. Instantly, I noticed a difference in the experience. Never have I gotten my hair done and been “allowed” to watch the process the entire time. I faced the mirror and watched Candace cut my hair for an entire 30-40 minutes, seeing her pull my curls apart, assess the overall shape of my hair, and cautiously make cuts here and there. Never was she intimidated by having me, the client, watch what she was doing and she welcomed the questions I had about deep conditioning routines and even her experience as a hairstylist.
After the cut, I was sent to the wash bowl where another woman cleaned my hair using the Devacurl “No-Poo Transformation Service.” This is basically a lather-free hair cleansing and conditioning process that’s followed by a section-by-section application of a setting product to bring your curls to life. I sat under a hooded dryer which, as an aside, was the most comfortable, non face-melting dryer I’ve ever experienced and the first I’ve seen that has a lower back with vents to evenly dry long hair, for about 35-40 minutes. (That’s also the shortest amount of time I’ve spent under a dryer without feeling like my skin was burning.) After my hair was dry, Candace had me flip my head over, rubbed some finishing oil through my hair, fluffed my ‘fro, told me what we were looking at was my natural curl pattern, and I was pretty much sent on my way.
Now I’ll admit at this point I thought, after applying edge control in the bathroom, I didn’t need to pay nearly $100 for that. After all, I’d been looking at my natural curl pattern for months and told my stylist I don’t really do twist outs. But then I thought back to my big chop experience and how helpful it would’ve been if someone had cut off my straight ends while my hair was dry so my expectations were better managed and then shown me my true texture and gave me a low-maintenance styling option for my particular curl pattern.
And even as someone who’s been natural for a little bit now, I must say this is the first time I’ve ever gotten my hair trimmed or cut and left feeling as though I have just as much hair on my head as before. There was no drastic transformation; just a reshaping, which is all I want and need as I grow my hair out and, honestly, that peace of mind was worth the money. I’m told (by a prior customer) that the cutting process will also help my hair grow out better and I do appreciate that my hair has more volume but is actually lighter on my head.
It’s for those reasons that I would suggest any woman thinking about dipping her foot in natural waters, take that plunge with Devacurl. What I appreciated most about the experience is that I still felt some control over what was happening to my hair, which is important for most women who truly treat their hair like their crown. But even if you’re in need of a cut and aren’t sure who to turn to, I’d encourage you to go to someone who specializes in curls. If I hadn’t I would’ve always been curious about whether I made the right choice for my hair and now I no longer have to wonder.
Have you tried Devacurl?
A couple of weeks ago I attended an intimidate dinner with five beauty and lifestyle editors and members of the Dove PR team to discuss their new “Love Your Hair” campaign. It was an intimate gathering of all Black and Latina women chatting about our various hair hangups and how we can get to a point of women feeling they have a right to love their hair however they choose to wear it — straight, kinky, colored, cropped, with extensions, etc. In the midst of uncovering all the barriers that keep us from doing just that, one interesting thing that came out of the conversation was all of our hesitancy to speak up when we don’t love our hair – not because of it’s natural qualities, but because we let a beautician have her way with us and didn’t like the finished product.
The client-stylist relationship is an interesting one. Like a visit to a doctor, when you go to someone else to cut, color, or style your hair you do so because they are an expert (and more than likely you’re not). But there’s a lot more subjective input on your end in a salon. When a doctor tells you you need blood pressure medication, there’s little room for argument. When a beautician tells you color B would look better on you than color A, which you had your mind set on, and you should should style your hair like X,Y,Z, you might hesitate to take her suggestions for a bit, but in the end you probably feel like the stylist knows better than you (the person who has to live with the look) so you do things her way — and then end up mad. On the inside.
All of us at the dinner table said most times we tell a beautician we like our hair and then go home and get in the mirror and immediately start fluffing, pinning, and parting our new styles so it actually looks how we wanted it. I’m not great at hiding my disappointment, so while I won’t tell a stylist I like my hair when I don’t, I do tend to begrudgingly tell her “it’s fine” and get out of the salon chair as quickly as I can and go on my way. By my logic, if we got to the point that you’re showing me my hair in a mirror, you actually think what you’ve done to me is okay and if I don’t like it then my assumption is you just aren’t the person to do what I need. Unfortunately, I’ve gone though that same thought process more than once or twice with the same beautician, still holding out hope they could make my hair dreams come true. And when they didn’t — yet again — I sourly said “It’s fine” and picked up my own hair products on the way home.
Some women said they don’t want to offend their stylist so they tell them they like whatever style was created, though Alvarez assured us beauticians actually want feedback, even if it’s negative. Which, in the mind of a woman not being emotional over her hair makes total sense because how else are they going to get better? But for some reason, as women we tend to let our attachment to our hair (and the mixed emotions we likely already have about it and its perceived effect on our beauty and sense of self-worth), mixed with our socialization not to speak up for ourselves keep us from getting the desired outcome, which is a hairstyle that allows us to feel confident and love our hair.
I can’t remember the last time I left a salon totally pleased with the resulting ‘do, but even more disappointing is the fact that I probably never even let the stylists know that outright.
Do you speak up when you hate your hair after your stylist does it?
Call us corny, but we’re suckers for couple activities — dates, PDA, color-coordinating outfits, matching hair…
OK, so it’s not every day you see a man and woman walking down the street with twist outs that rival one another, but when you do it’s cause for a double take, followed by a “awwww.” There’s just nothing cuter than being so in sync with bae you become hair twins, and though we can’t completely confirm the pairs on this list are all romantic couples, these male-female hair twins are giving us life either way.
While on a press tour in LA late last week, standing around rubbing elbows with members of media during a cocktail party, myself and two other writers were having an in-depth conversation about something significant and worrisome. And no, I’m not talking about politics, patriarchy or the terrorist attacks happening around the world. I’m talking about body hair. Did I mention it was a cocktail party? Therefore, topics of conversation stayed on the playful/laid back/shallow side.
I can’t even tell you how it started, but one of the women shared that she had a laser hair-removal procedure done down there because she was sick and tired of dealing with pubic hair. It took a whopping 14 sessions to rid her of any signs of a bush, and it wasn’t cheap, but she was happy with the results, going as far as to even recommend it to her mother. That catapulted into a conversation about body hair in general, including hair on one’s breasts and that pesky nipple hair.
“Sometimes I look down, and there are these ridiculously long pieces of hair on my chest,” said the other editor. “I usually pluck them out, but they come back even longer sometimes.”
I went on to say that I often shave those hairs off from time to time (in between pulling at them and curling them like the bows on gifts when I’m bored). But just like the other women, mine (which are more on my breasts than my nipples) always grow back here and there and grow back longer and longer. And while they’re not thick patches or anything that noticeable, they’re definitely annoying.
So how do you deal with them?
After doing my research, I found that my shaving method to get rid of breast hair is not a good idea after all. Same for depilatory creams. According to New Health Guide, the skin around the areola is quite sensitive so it could become irritated and your mammary glands could be affected. And according to Go Ask Alice:
“…one of the downsides to shaving hair in this sensitive area is that it could potentially lead to blocked follicles which may turn into benign yet un-fun sebaceous cysts. Other options like plucking, waxing/sugaring, and depilatory creams have similar potential for causing blocked follicles, ingrown hairs, infection, hyperpigmentation (discoloration of the skin), scarring, and just generally for being unpleasant in many cases.”
Both electrolysis and laser treatments, obviously the pricier options, are recommended for being a permanent option. But if the irritation or the extensive treatments aren’t your thing, scissors are also an option–though they won’t necessarily put a halt to the hairs and would just trim them. And plucking out the hair may not be so bad after all, because successfully pulling strands straight out could keep ingrown hairs from popping up.
But as women, most of us know that odd hairs come with the territory. Whether they’re popping up here and there on your cheeks, your chin, your stomach, in between your chest, all over your arms or on your breasts, the strand struggle is real.
I say all that to say, a few hairs here and there around the areola or breast, in general, isn’t a big deal. However, if you do see a noticeable increase, you might want to speak up about it with your doctor or gynecologist.
Is your hair-care routine up to date? The hair we have in our teens is much different from the hair we have in our 20s, or even our 30s. And if you want to keep lovable locks your whole life long, it pays to change up your hair-care routine as you age.
Pay attention to your follicles and you might be surprised at the changes going on up there. But aging hair doesn’t have to be a way of life. Gray hair might be inevitable, but breakage, thinning edges and hormonal hair loss don’t have to be — if you follow these hair-care rules as you get older. You’ll keep your hair beautiful, longer.
Teen To 20s Damage Control
These years are when we change our hair the most. While you’re staying fried, died and laid to the side, pay close attention to the products that you’re using. Stay away from goods with sulfates, alcohol and glycol, which can dry out your hair.
And focus on moisture. Leave-in conditioners and heat-protectant serums will help protect your hair from too much heat and sew-in stress.
Since the early 2000s, Mixed Chicks has been known for saving one kinky curly head at a time. However, with over a decade of being a trailblazer in the Black hair market, which is the fastest-growing in the market, the beauty company has some new and exciting products to add to their repertoire.
“We have to try and provide them with products that are requested and necessary. Making consistent products that work keeps you alive but staying in tune with the desires of our customers and hair community is what will keep us in the game!” CEO Kim Etheredge said in a recent interview with ESSENCE.
So, what exactly are customers wanting from Mixed Chicks these days? Apparently makeup is their latest endeavor. Continuing to build their empire, Etheredge explained that the company has decided to further expand their cosmetics line “In the Mix.” For now, there’s the Quick Stick, a smooth foundation and shimmering bronzer duo, that launched last spring.
While there’s no word on when the new products or full line will be released, we’re hoping for a liquid-based foundation, some concealer pots, and maybe some sweet lip gloss in spring/summer shades.
When the sun comes out so do the bright beauty trends and Serena Williams is starting us off early with this green ombre hair look in the first days of spring.
The tennis champ posted the pic above “for Genie and Chrissie,” two women we’ll assume told Serena she’d look amazing switching her hair up like this before the athlete finally gave in and proved them right.
Though few of us have jobs where we can get away with green ombre hair — heck half of us are still struggling with afros and braids — there’s nothing stopping you from rocking a wig in this print on the weekends for a fun night out, or even on vacation. Note: We do not recommend you dyeing your natural hair to get this effect; the damage from the bleach won’t be worth the 5 minutes you actually get to enjoy the fresh color. But we most definitely are here for green lace fronts and weaves if you so dare. Do you?
Is the thought of having to wash and dry (and moisturize and straighten and style) your hair keeping you from your workout goals? Running is an excellent way to work it out. But if washing that workout out of your hair is more than your schedule can handle, getting on the treadmill or the trail a few times a week can be too much to ask of your beauty routine–and your ability to be on time for work.
Luckily, you don’t have to sweat your hair out to have and embrace a healthy workout routine. These workout regimens and tips will allow you to feel the burn without working up too much perspiration to sweat out your style. Pair these moves with a healthy diet and you’ll be well on your way to toning up and looking fabulous.
Still crave some good old cardio in your life? We’ve got you covered when it comes to looking out for your tresses.
A Black woman’s struggle with keeping her mane maintained and edges laid while putting in serious work at the gym has been on going since what seems like forever. Some ladies have even felt forced to choose between working out and having great hair, which shouldn’t be the case, but it definitely happens. Whether you opt for a quick updo or a fashionable, gym-appropriate scarf to protect your situation, sometimes preserving your ‘do just doesn’t always happen like you’d like. And a new study proves this notion right.
According to JAMA Dermatology, when majority of Black women work out, we don’t actually protect our hair. The study pulled this conclusion after administering a 70-item questionnaire to a group of women at the completion of a 12-week community physical activity program featuring biweekly seminars and group exercise sessions. In addition, the questionnaire included 61 questions regarding demographic information, hair-and scalp-related symptoms, hairstyles worn, and hair care in relation to physical activity.
Approximately one-third of the women that participated in the study said they modified their hair to accommodate their workout with natural hairstyles or protective styles like braids. 38% protected their tresses during exercise by wearing a ponytail or bun, while 31% opted for a scarf or hair wrap. In addition, after completing their work out, 46% of women chose these same hairstyles to easily style their hair or didn’t style their hair at all.
In that same group, 18% of women copped to the fact that they willingly exercised less than they would like because they would sweat out their hairstyle, and 13% said the time they needed to restyle their hair was an inconvenience. Nevertheless, nearly half of the women stated that they didn’t do anything in particular to protect or preserve their hair during exercise. Interesting.
What are your thoughts about this study? Is protecting and preserving your tresses a major deal when working out?