Category Archives: Beauty

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. ūüėČ

Love in the 4C Hair Natural Community

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loving-natural-hair

~ 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. ūüėČ

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!

Hey Girl Heeeyyy!

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It’s been a long time, and I’ve missed you!

Let’s talk HAIR! I’ve been rocking braids for the majority of the spring and summer. Keeping my hair in a protective style (with a few weeks of rest between styles) has produced growth and retention. I don’t fuss with my braids when I have them i.e. putting my braids in buns or constantly pulling them up or back into ponytails. I love my edges and I want to keep them! When I take them down I’m not experiencing a ton of shedding that would have me concerned about breakage, which is awesome.

I just took down a cornrow style that I had for almost two months and I’m just rockin’ my afro at the moment. I plan to have braids installed again next week. My usual braids of choice are Senegalese twists or Kinky twists, but my latest braid-spiration (yes I just made up that word) came from Gabrielle Union. She wore these beautiful twists to the BET Awards about a month ago and I was mesmerized! First of all, they were neatly done, so shout out to her hairdresser/braider, and secondly they flowed as if they were the weight of a feather! What the heck? It was clear that her hair braider didn’t pull her edges tightly at all, and the hair that was used was different from any other hair I’ve seen used for twists.

Gabby's twists

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Ever since seeing Gabby’s braids (yes I called her Gabby as if we’re friends), I was on a mission to find out what kind of hair was used to accomplish this beautiful, regal look. I asked my hair braider and she told me the name of the hair used, and of course I can’t recall it at the moment, but I text her a picture of Gabby’s braids and told her that I wanted them. I cannot wait!!

Here are some pictures of me in the braids I’ve been rocking since the last time I’ve posted.

BeFunky Collage

I’ve also been keeping my two girls’ hair in braids and their hair is growing and is very healthy as well. Keeping our hair moisturized while we have the braids and deep conditioning is a must after I take our braids down. And remember, be gentle and take your time when taking down your braids so you won’t experience unnecessary breakage.

I’ve kept my products to a minimal, still making my own butters and mixing my own concoctions of oils. I’m in love with my organic mango butter, coconut oil butter that I make that is awesome for your entire body from head to toe. And yes, to have an awesome twist out I will use good ole’ Blue Magic hair grease from time to time, but not often. I’m looking for a new shampoo and conditioner to use and I’ll post about that at a later date. Till next time my lovelies!

Kisses

Undefined Curls

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Afro power

Undefined curls or undefined afros is something I’ve been hearing about for a while but never¬†really paid much attention to. I don’t feel I can continue to ignore it¬†because it’s really starting to bug me since these terms are actually targeted towards those¬†whose 4c hair may not curl up and bounce like other natural hair types. Apparently to some, undefined curls or undefined afros are deemed undesirable or even unkempt. All I want to know is why? I know unkempt hair when I see it, and no it’s not attractive at all. But if a woman decides to just rock her beautiful afro with no particular curl pattern in it, what’s wrong with that? Why do people think that only curly natural hair is pretty?

There was a discussion on FaceBook yesterday regarding an article that had several pictures of women rocking their undefined afros in very elegant ways. The point of the article was to show that women with 4c hair can rock their hair without defined curls and still be beautiful. I think that is a great message to put out there and we need to hear it more. In the comments following the article, one naturalista made a very powerful, eye-opening statement:

“Curls¬†are the new relaxer for natural women.”

I¬†emphatically said “YES” when I read this statement because it is so true! There is a curly hair obsession reminiscent of the creamy crack (chemical relaxers) addiction¬†among many in the natural hair community. There’s¬†an insatiable thirst for curly hair. This, in turn, breeds product junkies because they are constantly searching for¬†that magic potion to curl up their hair and give it the best definition. Somehow, curly naturals have become the standard of beauty to which we all should strive for, and again I want to know why?¬†Please don’t think that I’m bashing those with curly hair because I’m not. I know there are many who have naturally curly hair, and there is nothing wrong with that.¬†There are also those who go through painstaking efforts to make their hair curl. And then there are those who are ok with just letting their natural hair do whatever it is it does.

Many of us became natural because we knew it was the healthiest¬†decision to make.¬†We have educated ourselves and have personally experienced the harmful effects of chemical relaxers. We’ve vowed to get and maintain the healthiest hair possible by going natural. Somewhere along the way, the belief that curly hair is the only hair and¬†the most beautiful hair to have has taken over. Maybe that belief was always there but I ignored it because I was so wrapped up in my own natural hair journey. I never cared about having curly hair because I knew from the beginning what my hair could and could not do, nor was I¬†interested in trying to make it curl up.

As if we don’t have enough fighting and dissention amongst us as¬†black women,¬†it saddens me that we still have to deal with this very old,¬†poisonous belief that kinky hair is ugly and undesirable, but curly (“good hair”) is beautiful. If less emphasis was put on having curly natural¬†hair and more focus is put on natural hair health and the beauty of ALL hair types, then maybe there wouldn’t be such an obsession with achieving the ultimate defined curls. Maybe more naturalista’s would simply love their hair regardless if it can curl up,¬†or if it’s just in an amazing afro standing tall and proud with no emphasis on curls.

Love of Self + Culture = Love of Natural Hair

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Angela Davis Art

For¬†the past few months I’ve been reading and hearing disturbing accounts of black¬†women being shamed or¬†made to feel ugly because of the darkness of their skin, the kinkiness of their hair, the fullness of their lips or noses, or the curviness¬†and voluptuousness of their bodies. This isn’t just happening in America, it’s happening in Brazil, Cuba, Africa, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic – any place where there are darker hued people. To me, it’s a reminder of how deeply rooted racism, colorism, and self hate really is. In Louisiana for an example, it is a fact of life that those deemed Creole,¬†who are basically light skinned (might as well throw in “with good hair”) do not associate with those who are darker skinned. They won’t even allow a darker skinned person in a photo with them, let alone stand up in their wedding! In 2016 this is still happening, and it blows my mind.

In Brazil, there’s a young woman named Nayara Justino who is a model and actress. She¬†made history by being the first dark skinned woman named Carnival Queen. Sadly, she was¬†stripped of her title because of the racist outrage over her dark skin. The people wanted the tradition to continue of only¬†crowning a¬†lighter skinned Brazilian woman. This poor woman was called every racist name in the book on social media, and the judges cowardly caved into the¬†public outcry and stripped her of her crown and giving¬†Nayara no reason for doing so. Much later they denied taking her crown because of the color of her skin,¬†even though everyone knows that’s exactly the reason why. Let’s be real –¬†if the public never had a problem with her being Carnival Queen, she’d still have her crown, right? Right.

I hate hearing and reading about these things, but I’m glad for social media because without it we’d never hear about these things happening. Mainstream media never report about these types of things because they want you to believe that¬†the world isn’t as racist as it is. Well you’d have to be living under a rock to not know that racism in America and in other countries is alive and well. It’s this narrow-minded thinking¬†that¬†keeps black women and¬†women of color¬†from loving everything about themselves. This is why it’s so hard for women to even attempt to love their natural¬† kinky,¬†coily¬†hair¬†because all they hear and see on tv and in print ads is that straight, long hair is the only hair that is beautiful, and it’s the only hair you should want.¬†Curls and kinks are ugly, unkempt looking,¬†and wild. Just writing this makes me cringe at how ridiculous this thinking is, but it’s out there and the roots run deep in the minds of many black women and black men.

Recently I watched the documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution on PBS. During the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a call for black pride because of the hideous racism and persecution taking place¬†against blacks at the hands¬†of white people. Loving ourselves, our culture,¬†skin color,¬†and¬†natural hair were just some of things that were¬†encouraged by the Black Panther Party. Seeing all of those beautiful, natural afros of various sizes, textures, and colors in this documentary made me smile. It made me swell with pride because all of these people looked like me, they had hair like me and they wore it proudly. After the demise of¬†The Black Panther Party, that pride¬†in our natural hair¬† practically¬†disappeared as chemical relaxers and Jheri Curls took over. Fast forward to today and you have¬†black women¬†once again saying no to¬†putting¬†harmful chemicals¬†in their hair and yes to proudly wearing their natural hair. Many call it a movement, others call it a fad. Ask the manufactures of chemical relaxers and beauty salons about their sales for the past ten years and they’ll tell you it’s not a fad. Today, women are more informed and aware of the harmful side affects that chemical relaxers cause. There is a plethora of information all over the internet at our disposal to educate ourselves with. So no, this is not a fad. This is a lifestyle change and natural hair is here to stay.

Collectively as women, we need to¬†help and¬†encourage each other whether if we are natural or not. Don’t look down on those who aren’t natural, be encouraging. Remember, most of us were addicted to the creamy crack for many years too! Don’t preach to them, be informative. Compliment one another and be an example. Be willing to discuss your hair journey if given the opportunity. Your story could help someone else make that final decision to go natural.¬† Before I went natural, when I would see black women rocking their afros, afro puffs, or twist outs, I always felt their hair was beautiful. I felt a sense of pride seeing them rock their natural hair because I always felt our natural hair is beautiful. I wouldn’t hesitate to compliment them and tell them how beautiful their hair was. Then I had to look at myself and ask¬†“If you know natural hair is beautiful and it’s healthier for you, what’s keeping you from going natural?”¬†I had no answer, and I had no excuse because there was nothing holding me back. My daughters were natural, so again, what was holding me back? Nothing. I got educated and I took the plunge. I big chopped.

There is nothing wrong with loving our culture. There is nothing wrong with loving our blackness. And there is definitely nothing wrong with loving ourselves and our natural hair.