Monthly Archives: July 2014

Worth The Read

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Black Roots

 

http://blackgirllonghair.com/2014/07/shocking-history-why-women-of-color-in-the-1800s-were-banned-from-wearing-their-hair-in-public/

Knowing our history is so important. I learned something new reading this article and  I plan to dig even deeper. I love history. I love learning. Our style, adaptability, and creativeness have long roots. This article makes me proud that I made the decision to go back to my natural roots.

Today we all have a choice. We have the choice to wear our natural hair and show it’s beauty and unique qualities, or we can “cover it up” with chemicals that strip away it’s natural beauty. The choice we  make is a personal choice and there should be no judgement (in a perfect world) with the decision we make. I just hope this article inspires and enlightens you the same way it has inspired and enlightened me.

Can 4c Hair Get Some Love Too?

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Love your natural hair

Growing up, my mother always commented on how coarse and thick me and my second oldest sister’s hair was. Our oldest sister had soft, fine hair like our mom. Anyway, my mother never spoke of our hair in a negative way, and she never treated me or my sister’s hair like it was an annoyance. She took the time and put in the work to care for our hair. Hot oil treatments, olive oil, mayo conditioners, raw egg conditioner, etc. She was, and still is, a firm believer in natural hair remedies. When I began to go to the salon to get my hair done in my late teens, I’ve had beauticians comment on how thick and STRONG my hair was. I had never heard of my hair being referred to as strong before, so this was news to me. I’d reply “Yeah, my mom always said my hair was pretty coarse.” Then I heard this: “Your hair is gorgeous. You know why? Because you can do anything with coarse thick hair, style it any way, and it holds curls. Women would die for your hair, trust me.” Later on I would hear similar sentiments from other beauticians regarding my thick, coarse hair, and I can honestly say that this was when I began to appreciate my hair for what it was and for what it could do.

I say all of this because there are many women who have 4c hair who would rather DIE (exaggerating…somewhat!) than go natural because they’ve been told all of their lives that they have “bad hair” or hair that was “too nappy.” They’d rather continue to get relaxers and perms than to have to deal with their natural hair. Then there’s the media and their very warped perception of what beautiful hair is – which is always bone straight and very long. Now that many black women are embracing their natural hair, you have cosmetic companies jumping on the bandwagon with products that claim to be for African American women with “natural hair” and made with natural/organic ingredients. They promise to give ALL natural hair these gorgeous spiral curls and light and fluffy hair. And the models they choose for these ads are usually bi-racial women with 3a-b hair that is already naturally curly. This is so misleading and disgusting on so many levels because at the end of the day all these companies care about is making money. They are desperate to find a way to recoup the money they’ve lost since many black women aren’t buying up relaxers and other chemicals to straighten their hair anymore. Not only that, but many of these companies have been busted for having the complete opposite of “all natural ingredients” in their products. They actually have harsh chemicals in their products that can damage your hair. The only difference is they’ve changed the label and make false claims to appeal to the natural hair community. Just another reason why reading labels and understanding what these ingredients with names you can’t even pronounce is so important. When you consider all of these factors, it’s no wonder why women with 4c hair have a hard time loving their hair, let alone the courage to go natural.

I have one question for these cosmetic companies: Why aren’t there more 4c hair models in advertisements that target African American women with natural hair? You do know that we exist, and there are MANY of us, don’t you? It’s false advertising to make claims that your product can make all natural hair do certain things when it is simply not true! And even if some companies don’t make that claim in writing they still show it by using models who clearly don’t have 4c hair to show how your hair could look after using their products. That my friends, is false advertising at it’s finest AND kinky hair discrimination.

Not all hair can do the same things, not all hair react the same to certain products. I LOVE my 4c hair, I think it’s beautiful and I appreciate it for what it can and cannot do. I’ve been natural for a year and some months now and I’m STILL figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I’m still tweaking my natural hair care routine as I go along. Do I get frustrated at times? Of course! But guess what? That’s what hair accessories are for! Head bands, head scarves, head wraps, barrettes, and pony tail holders. Having 4c hair is not the end of the world. It’s not the worst hair you could ever have. For many years society, from slavery times until now, have made people believe that straight and blonde hair is the definition of beauty. There were laws that prevented black women (during slavery times and after) from showing their natural hair in public. They had to cover their hair with scarves and wraps. That hair shaming unfortunately has continued through the centuries and into today, and it needs to stop.

There is no such thing as “Good hair.” Every time I hear that term I cringe. Because you are bi-racial or (my personal favorite) you have “Indian in your family” and your hair doesn’t kink up doesn’t mean your hair is better than someone with 4c hair. Just because you can wash and go and have beautiful ringlets that bounce all day long doesn’t mean you have good hair. We need to abolish that term and the meaning behind it because it has slavery roots. (Divide and conquer based on skin color and how straight or curly one’s hair is.) It’s stupid and it’s sick. If we all had the same type of hair can you imagine how boring the world would be? Imagine a world where everyone had straight, blonde hair or curly black hair. We were created with various skin tones and hair types and colors for a reason, and in God’s eyes they are all BEAUTIFUL! Why can’t we see things this way too? Love the hair you were given regardless of whether it’s straight, curly, kinky, or somewhere in between. And to my ladies who have coarse, kinky, 4c hair like me, please learn to love your beautiful natural hair. It’s not bad hair, it’s not ugly hair. It’s beautiful and it’s unique, and if you give it a chance you’ll see all the things your natural hair can do in all it’s beautiful glory.

What it Means to be Natural

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soap box

This is another soap box moment. Today I read the most disturbing and ignorant comment on social media. The post itself was about whether or not an R&B singer’s butt was real. This is the comment from a poster, and I quote: “Even natural hair chicks wear makeup making some portion of them fake.”

Help me out here. Isn’t hair and makeup two different things? Am I mistaken? What does one have to do with the other? Not every woman who decides to wear their hair natural believes that you have to be natural in every aspect of your life. Of course eating healthier has benefits for everyone, but to go to the extreme of saying that having natural hair should include not wearing makeup because makeup is fake and unnatural is simply absurd!

There are natural hair purists who make up these ridiculous rules on what makes you natural and what does not, and honestly they make me sick. None of these people can speak for all women all over the planet on what it means to them as individuals to be natural. Being natural means different things for different people. It is my goal to live a more natural, healthier life when it comes to the food my family and I consume and the things I put on my hair and in my body, but to not wear makeup because that’s deemed fake or unnatural? No hunny. My face will always be BEAT and my hair will remain chemically free of perms and relaxers. Hair color is another story. I want to experiment with color and make my fro POP even more! Whenever that happens I will have it done by a professional and I will use a product that doesn’t have the harsh chemicals that most hair colors have.

Many of us have abused our natural hair for many, many years with relaxers and other chemicals, so going natural is a big deal. Wearing the hair you were born with is just the beginning for some. I applaud those who make being natural a total lifestyle change. However, we cannot and should not push those changes on everyone.

Banding/Stretching Natural Hair

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Natural Hair Banding1

Last night (Sunday) on a whim, I decided to try banding my hair. I had already washed, deep conditioned and moisturized my hair Saturday. Sunday night before I went to bed, I went to my girl’s room and grabbed their hair bucket and went to the bathroom to get to work. By the way, the above picture is not of me! 😉

What is Banding? Well it’s a process that many African American women with natural hair use to stretch their natural hair instead of using heat, either from a blow drier, flat iron, or any other process that requires heat. Natural African American Hair, especially 4c type hair, experience extreme shrinkage when wet or in humid conditions. With banding what you do is take sections of your hair and take a cloth rubber band and band it down the length of your hair. This may require using two or three rubber bands depending on the length of your hair.

Because I pretty much knew what the general procedure of banding was, I kind of did my own thing. I banded my entire head (and looked like Marlon Wayans from “Don’t be Menance While Drinking Juice In the Hood” – Google it if you have no clue as to what I’m talking about!) I then took my spray bottle that had coconut oil, olive oil, Jamaican Black Castor Oil and a little water in it and spritzed my hair and ends. Backwards method I know, but it was done on a whim and I will be sure to moisturize beforehand the next time I try this method. When I was done banding my entire head I tied my hair up with my head scarf and went to bed.

The next morning I took the bands off and boy was my hair stretched! I LOVED the results! I simply finger combed my hair and that left me with a big, beautiful fro that looked like it had been blown out with a hand drier. Banding definitely works, and considering I did it on semi-damp hair I think I got better results than if my hair was weighed down with a lot of moisturizing products. I had watched a few YouTube videos for banding and some people used a lot of different products in their hair while banding. My advice is to do what works for your hair and to achieve the look you want.

Here is the results of my first time banding. Sorry for the not so great picture. 😦

SJ Banding2

If you’ve banded please share your experience/photos. I’d love to hear about your methods and see your results!