Category Archives: Beauty

How to Be Hair-Positive In The Natural Hair Community

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Positive

The emergence of the natural Afro in the late sixties and early seventies was not only meant to be a political statement because of the injustices of the times but to instill a sense of pride in African American’s natural hair. A returning to one’s natural roots if you will. Fast forward to the mid-2000’s and the natural hair movement is on the scene once again calling for natural hair pride. Today, many African American women have answered that call, denouncing chemical relaxers and fully embracing their natural hair while encouraging others to do the same. Never before have there been such an abundance of natural hair products available to us on store shelves or online. We’re also seeing natural hair in the mainstream (commercials, television, movies, etc.) now more than ever. These are all positive steps in the right direction, but there is still a lot of negativity within and outside of the natural hair community. How can we stop the negativity and be hair-positive?

It Starts With You.

Negative views of African American hair goes back to slavery. Terms like nappy, kinky, and wooly were used in derogatory and demeaning manners to describe our hair. It was also used to divide the slaves based on hair texture (and skin color). The mulatto slaves (or mixed race) were said to have “good hair, ” but the much darker African slaves had the bad or “nappy” hair. This caused division and resentment among the slaves, and the negative distinction became ingrained in slaves and passed down from one generation to the next, and it’s still happening today. This thinking must stop. Here are a few things we can do to be hair-positive when it comes to natural hair:

  1. Change your thinking. Before we can move forward, changing our way of thinking is crucial. We must put out of our minds all the negative connotations and speech associated with natural hair that we’ve been taught from our parents, people in our community, television, or society as a whole. Kinky, coily or “nappy” hair is not bad hair. It’s not something we should be ashamed of or dread having. Our hair is not uncombable, untameable, or ugly in its natural state. Our hair does not need to be tamed, which is code for chemically relaxing or straightening it for it to look presentable. Straight hair is not the definition of beauty.
  2. Educate yourself. It is important to educate yourself so you can better understand African American hair and it’s many textures. With that knowledge, you’ll understand why our hair has different curl patterns, textures, why it requires moisture and certain oils, and why our hair can be styled in so many different and artistic ways – all of which makes our hair truly unique and beautiful. Your appreciation for our hair will deepen, and hopefully, it will motivate you to spread hair-positivity.
  3. Change your speech. Many times we knowingly or unknowingly say negative things about our hair to our friends and family, and even our children because that’s what we’re used to hearing from our family, media, etc. Starting with ourselves, we must stop speaking about natural hair in negative ways. How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror and said: “Ugh, my hair is so nappy!” I’ve done it a million times myself, especially when I was getting chemical relaxers and had new growth! With your children, start at an early age speaking positively about their hair. Tell them their hair, and its texture is beautiful and unique. When they are old enough to understand, explain to them why.
  4. Make it a point to compliment others. Being natural is not always easy. Styling and maintenance can take a lot of time, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. However, we all know how good it makes us feel when someone compliments us on our hair. Hair that we put a lot of work into maintaining and caring for. When you see a woman rocking her natural hair, compliment her. Not only will it make her day, but you will feel good giving out that genuine, positive energy. And who knows, maybe that same person you compliment will compliment another natural too. Keep putting out positive energy!

The conversation needs to change in the natural hair community from negative to hair-positive. Let’s learn to love and understand our hair. Be more understanding toward those who may use different protective styles or care methods than you. It’s time we listen to one another instead of sitting in instant judgment. We can do this by making a concerted effort to have hair-positive conversations.

Hugs and Love.

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When The Creamy Crack Lures You Back

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Straight and curly hair

Hair is such a personal and emotional thing for women. We can wake up one morning and decide to cut it all off, dye it, wear a wig, get a sew in, or have it braided. It’s no different when it comes to having natural hair or having it chemically straightened with relaxers.

When I first started on my natural hair journey, I was like a sponge. I reached out to fellow naturalista’s and asked questions about their journey, what natural products did they use on their hair, etc. I was so excited and eager! Then I talked to those who were once natural but went back to the creamy crack, and it broke my heart. I couldn’t understand how that could happen because being natural is healthier, it’s liberating, it’s part of our culture. It’s the best thing ever…right? Well, that’s how I felt, and still feel. Fast forward a few years and I’ve come to realize, and respect, that not everyone falls in love with their natural hair. Natural hair is truly a struggle for some women.

For some, natural hair isn’t convenient because of the time it takes to care for and style it. It can also be expensive because of the plethora of products available in stores and on line for you to try, which can easily turn you into a product junkie. Others get disappointed when they can’t achieve the curly hair that they see promoted in advertising. I’ve also heard many times “My hair doesn’t act right natural.” There can be so many reasons why their hair doesn’t act right such as not having a healthy diet, not having a consistent hair care routine, or using products containing harsh chemicals. Maybe they aren’t keeping their hair properly moisturized. Whatever the reason, it’s making some women give up on their natural hair and go back to the creamy crack.

Hair relaxers were coined ‘creamy crack’ for a reason. It’s lure is powerful, and all it takes is one experience to become addicted. It offers convenience and versatility. You can apply it yourself or go to the beauty shop. It’s readily available, and it’s cheap – just like crack cocaine. The “high” that creamy crack offers lasts 3 – 4 weeks, sometimes longer depending on how you feel about having nappy roots (aka new growth). As with most drugs, the side effects of hair relaxers are awful: Scalp burns that often cause hair loss or permanent hair loss, breakage, and exposure to chemicals and toxins that get absorbed through our scalp and into our bodies that can cause a myriad of health issues. Despite the many cons of using hair relaxers, it’s still addictive and you come to depend on it, just like crack cocaine. I have firsthand knowledge since I was a hair relaxer addict for over 24 years.

In the end, I can understand why some do go back to the creamy crack. I have several friends who have big chopped many times, gone back to the creamy crack several times, all for various reasons. At the end of the day, we all have to do what is best for ourselves. But, knowing what I know now about chemical relaxers, and having watched Chris Rock’s documentary Good Hair, there’s no way I’ll go back to creamy crack. We’ve broken up for good.

 

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.

 

Showing and Accepting Love

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Sisterhood

This past weekend my husband and I were grocery shopping. While shopping, I noticed a beautiful woman shopping with her elderly mom. She was a tall, plus sized woman with no makeup on and just naturally beautiful to me. She walked with a quiet confidence. It was very regal to me. To top things off, she was natural and was rocking this huge, amazing puff with big hoop earrings. I had made a mental note to compliment her before I left the store. Sadly, I never did. This isn’t like me. Normally I would have been on top of that, but I was distracted more than the usual because we were at a store that we weren’t quite familiar with, so I was more focused on finding what I needed.

We eventually left that store and went to another one across from it to pick up other items we needed. While walking down an aisle, the same woman and her mom were at the end of the aisle. As we got closer to them I heard her say “Wait mom, I need to talk to this beautiful sista.” I look up and she said “I just had to stop you. I saw you in the other store and I told my mom that I thought you were so beautiful. You are a beautiful queen.” My heart melted, y’all. I was so humbled and taken back by her kindness, and amazed that we both had intentions of complimenting each other! We’re complete strangers, yet we both saw beauty in the other. I interrupted her because I had to tell her that I had intended to pay her a compliment as well. I told her “I felt the same about you! You, queen, are also beautiful! And your puff is AH-MAZING!” She rolled her eyes like “Oh my goodness, are you kidding me?” And I said “Stop it. Yes it is. It’s beautiful and you are rocking it girl! Accept it!” We both laughed and she said “Okay, I’ll accept that. But I had to stop you. I think you are a beautiful queen.” Again my heart melted and I said “Come here, I’m a hugger and I need to hug you. Thank you so much for that” and gave her a big, strong hug. My day was made after that. I felt good, I felt uplifted.

I appreciated this strangers love, it was so genuine and heartfelt. We talk about uplifting each other all the time, complimenting each other and building each other up as women, but how often do we actually do this? I know approaching strangers doesn’t come easy for everyone, and I’m not telling anyone to walk around and hug random strangers, but don’t pass up on an opportunity to compliment someone. As humans we need that love. As women we need that love. As natural haired women, we need that love and sisterhood. Giving and receiving love lifts the spirits in a way that nothing else can.

P.S.

After the stranger and I parted ways, my husband says “I mean, you aw-ight looking…I don’t know about all that beautiful stuff she was talking about!” I punched him in the arm as he laughed. He knows he married a beautiful queen. 😉

Love in the 4C Hair Natural Community

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~ Loving Your Hair With Natural Care ~

This is my first post of 2017! Hey now!

I stumbled upon a Facebook group called Type 4 Natural Hair. In this group, there is nothing but love and support for those of us with this hair type. Women from all over the world post pictures, seek advice, encouragement, and share tips. It’s such a supportive group and I couldn’t be happier that I found it and am now a member of its community.

Everyone in this group is in different stages of their natural hair journey, and it’s beautiful to read all the different experiences or some of the same frustrations that I once had when I first started. Women and men of all ages are in this group seeking advice and encouragement for themselves or their kids or grandkids. There’s no negativity allowed, no hair shaming or hair type shaming, and that is huge to me. This Facebook group is exactly what any kinky haired, tightly coiled, natural haired person with questions, concerns, or insights to share should want to be a part of. Check out Type 4 Natural Hair and request to become a member. You’ll love it.

 

Gabrielle Union Twists Update

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Tamar

Hey, lovelies! So a few weeks back I posted a picture of Gabrielle Union with her gorgeous, free flowing twists with the hopes of getting them myself. Well, that didn’t happen. I thought my braider could re-create the look with the same or similar hair used for Gabby’s twists, but that wasn’t the case. I ended up getting my usual Senegalese twists. Yes, I’m totally bummed about that. However, a few lessons (and reminders) were learned from this experience:

  1. Not every hair braider can do every style you want. Have a backup plan in place, and by backup plan I mean other hair braiders and stylists. It’s ok to shop around and keep an eye out for other talented braiders. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a very loyal customer to my beautician when I was getting relaxers, and I’ve been very loyal to my hair braiders over the years. When I find a good one, I stick with them and follow them wherever they may go…unless they go overseas which is what happened to one of my very talented hair braiders. That’s when the following stops, lol. But seriously, keep this in mind. There are other options out there.
  2. Braids are not cheap, and every woman who gets them can attest to that. That being said, we pay too much money to not be satisfied with the end product. That’s why it is so important that you find a braider that listens, not one who simply wants your money and gives you what THEY want you to have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. If they can’t recreate a style, are there any alternatives? Perhaps using a different type of hair or technique? If the shop provides the hair and they don’t carry the hair needed to do a certain style, offer to bring your own.
  3. There is no reason for your hair to be braided so tight until your scalp is in pain for days or weeks afterward. If your hair is constantly being braided tight, even after you tell your braider that it’s too tight, it’s time to look for a different hair braider. Heavy hands and tight braids will leave you bald around the edges and with bald spots throughout your scalp, and that is totally counterproductive (and unacceptable) to having braids in the first place. Braids are used as a protective style to us naturals to preserve what we have and to protect it from the elements and over manipulation. Keep that in mind when getting your hair braided. DO NOT allow a braider to damage your hair and scalp by braiding your hair too tight.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask other women who did their braids. Trust me, that’s how I’ve found my hair braiders over the years. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Just the other day at the grocery store, I complimented the cashier on her eyebrows. They were beautifully shaped and her make-up was beautifully done. It looked very natural and it wasn’t caked on. What I loved the most was she was a dark skinned young lady and she used all the right shades of makeup to compliment her beautiful skin tone. Anyway, she thanked me, and before I left with my groceries she handed me her business card. It turns out she’s an African hair braider and cosmetologist! She also has a YouTube channel that I will be checking out soon. But do you get what I’m saying? I now have another option to look into for my braiding and styling needs.

Too often because something is the “norm” we accept it. That should never be the case when it comes to our health, and it should never be the case when it comes to the health of our scalp and hair. Just because braids are typically done tightly doesn’t mean they should be. It also doesn’t mean that we should accept it. Remember, there are other options out there so don’t be afraid to explore them.

Cute Hair Accessories for Natural Hair

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Not only are the styles endless for those of us with naturally kinky or curly hair, the hair accessories are endless as well. Some women feel that certain hair accessories are for little girls only. I beg to differ. These days the market is overflowing with so many different hair accessories to choose from that the young and old alike can rock the same thing. Headbands, bedazzled barrettes, ponytail holders, or vibrant African-inspired headwraps.

Having two girls, aged 14 and 12, helps me to stay on top of trends. (Along with my obsession with Pinterest!) My 14-year-old daughter is very picky, but she also has great taste. She’s very fashionable, so it should be no surprise that one of her favorite stores to shop is Forever21. She went from obsessing with flower headbands in various sizes and colors to now obsessing over the more bedazzled headbands.  The cool part is, she wears both styles very well with her natural hair and braids. Her younger sister simply follows in her footsteps so she can look cute too. 😉

Here are a few hair accessories that I think are cute for naturalista’s young and old:

Don’t be afraid to play with hair accessories. Trust and believe, they come in handy! Like when your twist out isn’t the bomb or the new style you tried didn’t quite work out the way you had hoped, or you’re simply having a bad hair day. Or, how many of us simply didn’t feel like being bothered with our hair, and our easiest go-to accessory is a head wrap or a headband? Get creative and make your own hair accessories. Old (but clean) stockings make great headbands! Go to the fabric store and find some funky fabric and make your own headwraps. If you need help with getting those creative juices flowing, go to Pinterest or YouTube to get some hair-spiration!