Category Archives: African American Hair

Glutten For Punishment

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Glutten For Punishment

Seriously. I don’t know why I insist on doing these spur of the moment, last minute things when it comes to my hair. This morning for an example, I decided at about 7 am to attempt the typical wash and go on my hair, not like the quick one I did two weeks ago. So I found a wash and go video on YouTube for a refresher and then tried to do it. I even went under the hooded dryer to dry my hair quicker versus letting it air dry.

Let me tell y’all…when I say my hair was a crunchy hot mess, I mean every word of that!! I’m laughing now as I remember how much of an epic FAIL my rushed, last minute wash and go was! First I co-washed. Then I used my leave in conditioner, a little oil, and gel. Normally that would work for your typical wash and go, right?

Here is the learning lesson: Before I attempted any of this, my hair was not pre-pooed, it was not well moisturized at all. It was very, very DRY. In order for your curls to pop and for a wash and go to work, you must keep your hair well moisturized. I had been quite lazy since my last wash. I semi-straightened my hair with the electric hair brush and have been wearing it that way ever since. I’ve been walking around with dry, stretched hair. Yes, I know better.

So, back to the sink I went to shampoo my hair after my failed wash and go attempt. With my hair soaking wet, I added my leave in, quickly oiled my scalp with my special oil blend, and put in my homemade whipped mango butter. I put my hair in a puff and got ready for work. My takeaway from all of this is I still have some work to do when it comes to getting my hair healthy and keeping it healthy. My laziness has once again come back to bite me in the butt. And we won’t even talk about the uneven hair I’ve noticed at the crown of my hair. Breakage. Again. This time I have a pretty good idea of what caused it. The head scarf I was using to tie my hair up at night. Sheesh…

Here is how I rolled in to work today. And it’s still wet. LOL! If you take nothing else from this, please let me be the lesson for what NOT to do! xoxo

SJ 8-16

 

 

Stretched & Straightened Hair

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This has been one of the most humid summers to date in my neck of the woods. I took down my micro braids in early June and it’s been a challenge finding ways to to style and protect my natural hair. The majority of the time I let my afro flow freely. However…I also found it more difficult to deal with my hair in it’s constant shrunken state. I would plait my hair, tie it up, and it would be stretched, but by the time I made it to work, some serious shrinkage have already taken place.

I’ve done heatless stretching on my hair by doing the banding method or braiding or plaiting my hair and it worked just fine…during the winter months without any humidity. It’s summer now and I wanted something that would take less time and last a little longer in this humid weather. As my family and I were preparing to go out of town a few weeks ago, I decided to straighten my hair with a straightening brush.

Straightening brush

Most straightening brushes look similar to this one pictured above, including mine. I only wanted to loosen my tight curls, not get it bone straight, so I only ran the brush through my hair twice at a 400 heat setting. I figured that after shrinkage took place, it still would be easier to deal with, and I was right. About two weeks later I used the brush again. At night I would plait up my hair in medium sized plaits and tie it up. In the morning I take them down and finger comb and go.

What also helps me in the stretching process is castor oil or Blue Magic hair grease. I have thick, coarse hair, so I need those heavier oils. The only thing is when using oil or grease, you need to be more diligent about washing your hair. Make sure you use a clarifying shampoo to help clear away any and all buildup.

In the photos below you see my hair after having used the brush, but significant shrinkage has also taken place. Despite the shrinkage, my hair has been more manageable. I know constant use of heat is not good for your hair, and I’m not going to use the straightening brush again for a while, but it’s a nice option to have when you want to do something different. Or when you’re simply trying to fight the heat and humidity. And since I hadn’t stretched or straightened my hair in quite some time, it was nice to see my growth progress.

stretched hair

My Version of a Wash N Go

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Full disclosure: This isn’t a how-to post for wash and go’s. I haven’t done a wash and go since I big chopped four years ago. However, last week, at the very last minute, I decided to wash my hair before I went to work. Literally, I laid in bed for like a half hour debating on whether or not to wash it now or later in the evening. The chances were very slim that I’d want to wash it after dinner or before I went to bed, so finally, I decided to get up and get it over with. I hopped in the shower, cleaned my body and then commenced to washing my hair.

I towel dried my hair as best I could, detangled, did the LOC method (Leave in conditioner, oil, and a cream) and put in two flat twists – one on each side of my head. Okay, I’m gonna be honest here –  my flat twists were more like struggle twists, lol! They were not pretty at all, so I wrapped my hair with a head wrap and off to work I went.

My takeaway from this experience is that wash and go’s can be done. I had so many excuses as to why I couldn’t wash my hair in the morning before going to work. “It’s too much work. I won’t have time to style. Who has time for all of that? Wash and go’s won’t work on my 4c hair.” I only thought that way because I was thinking of wash and go’s in the typical sense where you’re using various products, techniques, and lots of time to achieve the perfect coils so you can wear your hair out.  That’s not the only way you can do a wash and go, but it is the most promoted way of doing a wash and go among naturalistas. I forgot that you can do a wash and go but instead of wearing your hair out, put some flat twists or braids in your hair and keep it moving.

There are no hard and fast rules for wash and go’s. You simply have to make your own version of it. Do what works for you.

Here’s a photo of me with my head wrapped wash and go last week:

SJ wash n go headwrap

 

Kinky, Coily Hair Love

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There are more of us with this hair type than not. Also, it goes without saying (at least for me), that kinky, coily hair, or type 4c hair, is beautiful. Once upon time as a young girl and even as an adult, I wanted hair that wasn’t uniquely my own. Having since embraced my natural hair, I don’t want anyone else’s hair but my own. Beautiful kinks and all.

 

Please Support Hair Love!

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Matthew Cherry is trying to get financial support for his animated short film called Hair Love. Please click on the link and donate if you can. This film is so needed, and the premise alone tugs at the heartstrings!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/matthewacherry/hair-love-animated-short-film?ref=71usia

The Forgotten Ones

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Curly red hair

The subject I’m about to discuss is a sensitive subject for many naturals, mainly because the natural hair movement started out being for and about black women. It was our movement celebrating our unique hair because it wasn’t being celebrated by society or mainstream media. But as time went on, we began to hear from other women who didn’t quite look like us, but had something in common with us: Curly hair that those in their own culture deemed unruly, unprofessional and ugly. They also have a hard time taming and finding the right products for their curly hair. These are women who are of Irish, Jewish, or other nationalities with naturally curly hair.

The fact that these women felt that they didn’t have a voice or platform to discuss their hair issues, which ultimately led them to the natural hair movement of African American women where we discuss every hair issue under the sun, intrigued me. Who would have thought that white women with curly hair would have hair issues? Who could possibly call their hair ugly? Okay, I can see their hair possibly being hard to manage because of the long length and curls, but still! The younger me would have loved to have their hair! It wasn’t until I started to read different articles about their hair struggles and how far back the hair shaming and hate goes that I developed a better understanding and empathy for these women, or as I call them, the forgotten ones. I was also fortunate enough to have conversations with a workmate who began to relate to me her own personal struggles with being a redheaded, curly haired Irish woman. From dealing with bullying as a child, perverted stereotypes of redheaded women as an adult, and being constantly reminded that her naturally curly hair wasn’t acceptable during her twelve year career as a television news reporter. Aside from being a television reporter, those are all things that I know I, as a black woman can relate to.

Our conversations started because she follows my natural  blog and she would tell me how much she loves that I blog about my natural hair journey and how I’m constantly reaffirming that our natural hair is beautiful. Her hair is thick, long and naturally curly. Like African American hair, any amount of heat or humidity makes her hair big, curly and hard to maintain. When she became a reporter, it was put into her contract that she had to chemically straighten her naturally curly hair. Curly hair was not allowed on television. Imagine having to do this every three months and pay $300 each time – for 12 years! During the summer months it didn’t matter if her hair was chemically straightened or not, the heat and humidity would poof up her hair and it would curl up anyway – and she’d get reprimanded for it.  It wasn’t just her who got talked to, it was all female reporters with naturally curly hair who were constantly chastised and reminded that if their hair wasn’t bone straight, it was unacceptable and a violation of rules. Talk about a blow to your self-esteem!

Then there’s the myth that red hair is tied to witch craft and the devil. So being a redhead was like a curse. In certain parts of Europe, having red hair could get you killed. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one. But nothing much has changed because today, having red curly hair still makes you a walking target for ridicule and shunning. My heart went out to her as she related different stories to me about her hair struggles, and how self conscience it’s made her over the years. Finding a beautician who knew how to care for and maintain her curly mane was a nightmare in itself.

What I find to be particularly disturbing and frankly disgusting, is the lack of knowledge, awareness or education within the news industry when it comes to female reporters of different races, backgrounds and hair types. This lack of awareness exists because the powers that be don’t care. What matters to them is ratings and viewer opinion. The viewers want to see female reporters with bone straight hair, therefore that is what the news outlets provide. For black female reporters, this means wearing weaves, wigs, or having to chemically relax their hair in order to be in front of the camera. No Afros or curly hair. To the viewing public, textured or ethnic hair of any kind is unkempt and unprofessional. I’ll let you take a wild guess as to who mostly make up this viewer demographic. Yup, you guessed it, white viewers. Unfortunately, in 2017 we are still dealing with this kind of close-minded thinking, hair shaming, and discrimination.

I make it a point to tell my workmate that her naturally curly hair is beautiful. I love that it’s red. It makes her unique. I love her freckles. They add character and enhance her beauty. In my eyes she is beautiful. Period. Women and girls who have naturally curly hair, regardless of race, need to hear that their hair is beautiful. No one should grow up hearing that their hair is ugly or be teased and called demeaning names. As women, we should uplift one another every chance we get. So while the natural hair movement started out being about us, African American women, it needs to branch out to the women who are also discriminated against, ridiculed, and looked upon as less than because of how their hair grows out of their scalp. Telling a female that her natural hair is ugly isn’t just about her hair. Those hurtful words get internalized to the point that when she looks at herself in the mirror, she starts to view her entire being as ugly. This is where low self-esteem and self worth come into play, and it can stay with you well into  adulthood. These women and girls will no longer be “the forgotten ones” to me. I welcome and celebrate all natural redheads and/or curly haired females. We all should.

And please, don’t say that these women should start their own movement or why can’t we ever have our own stuff to ourselves. It’s not about that. African American hair is unique. It’s beautiful. Our hair is not appreciated for it’s natural beauty still in mainstream media or in general, but we’re also not the only ones with textured, curly hair or who have hair struggles. I’m glad to see bloggers like Curly Nikki embrace curly haired women of all ethnic backgrounds and provide them with helpful tips and suggestions. That kind of welcoming, helpful spirit is what leads to better understanding and communication among women of all backgrounds. Isn’t that what we need anyway?

I found this great article below that speaks about redhead bullying. Check it out and tell me what you think!

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ama-yawson/red-ginger-hair-rare-and-_b_6071202.html

 

Am I in the Twilight Zone?

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My tired is tired

For real. I’m so tired of coming across these weird crazies on these here interwebs! All I want to do is encourage and help my fellow 4c naturalista’s in their natural hair journey and receive the same in return. I thought joining some natural hair groups on Facebook would be a great way to bond, get great tips, and just talk hair. Share our experiences with the good, the bad, and the ugly of having natural hair. And then the crazies come out and want to tell you what you should and should not say, how to say it, how you should and shouldn’t feel, and tell you that your opinion is wrong or doesn’t matter because they are the hair guru and you’re either their disciple or you get kicked out and blocked from the group.

You can’t have healthy conversations or even disagree without being chastised like a child. But here’s the problem: I’m a grown woman. I have my own opinions, and they can be strong opinions at times. I reject anything that smells like censorship of my opinions or ideas, especially when I’m presenting them in a respectful manner. With that being said, I’m seriously thinking about starting my own 4c hair group (not really) to show people how groups should be: Fun, respectful, insightful, encouraging. I don’t even care if it’s just a handful of people who join it. As long as those few and I are supportive and encouraging to one another, that’s all that matters. I know it seems like I’m a glutton for punishment, but I refuse to believe that there isn’t a group out there that is a pleasure to be a part of that discusses everything 4c hair and the moderator isn’t some lunatic that wants to control it’s members! Sheesh…