Tag Archives: Natural Hair Products

Here We Go Again…

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eye roll

Lately there’s been this uproar in the natural hair community over Shea Moisture’s new online ad that in the short clip, seemed to only feature white women who claim to have “difficult hair” and have been “hair shamed” for whatever reason. The only woman of color in the ad was a young lady who looks to be of mixed race heritage with long curly hair. You can watch the video here:

http://www.thefader.com/2017/04/24/shea-moisture-video-hair-backlash

Before I go on, if you’re unfamiliar with the brand Shea Moisture, it’s a brand that made natural hair products for African American hair. The CEO of Shea Moisture said the ad was an oversight and that they didn’t mean to alienate black women. Mind you, Shea Moisture was created for black women, was supported by black women, and became successful because of black women. So I understand the uproar expressed on social media regarding the message Shea Moisture sent with this new ad campaign. The execution of the ad was horribly done. In that short clip it didn’t show black women, but in the full clip, it shows black women. What’s that saying a bout first impressions?

Here’s the thing: Companies and brands expand all the time. They try to reach broader audiences because they want money from everybody’s pockets. In Shea Moisture’s case, it’s the way they went about trying to target the other dollars that left a bitter taste in many mouths. Me personally, I haven’t bought Shea Moisture products in quite some time. If I don’t catch it on sale, I don’t buy it, and that’s with all products.  I find that most products on store shelves that are made for African American hair teeter on the expensive side. That in itself is a huge issue for me. Yes, I want to support black businesses, but good grief! Spending $20 and up on an 8 oz jar or smaller of a product is just too much for this sista that’s on a budget! But that’s a story for another day.

Most of you know that I’m big on DIY products. If I can save a buck or two I will do so. Every once in a blue moon I’ll try a new product, but for the most part I stick to my more reasonable products or I’ll I make my own and I rock with it until I perfect a recipe that suits my hair needs. I guess that’s why when I read about the uproar with Shea Moisture, I rolled my eyes because at the end of the day, sometimes you’re better off learning how to make your own products or going with a smaller brand that’s less expensive but still effective. Many accuse Shea Moisture of changing/watering down it’s product, and Carol’s Daughter has been accused of the same. I don’t use their products to be able to give an opinion, but both claim they have not. I can see formula change as a valid worry for naturalista’s, especially when the company has been sold as in Carol’s Daughter case.

I’m not as upset about what Shea Moisture is trying to do as others are, I’m more disappointed in the execution. At the end of the day Shea Moisture is a business, but for black women, we felt we finally had a company that made and sold products just for us and our natural hair needs. We no longer were forced to use shampoo’s and conditioners that weren’t made for our hair. Now with this new direction that Shea Moisture is going in, many loyal black Shea Moisture customers feel betrayed. Black women are the ones who were fiercely loyal and supportive of a brand that dared to bring forth a line exclusively for African American hair, and this is how we’re treated. I get it and I empathize with those feelings. But we must remember, at the end of the day it’s about dollars and cents. Nothing else matters to these companies. Not even customer loyalty.

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Interview With A Naturalista: Part III

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Flaunt your fro

This is my final interview in this series, and I must say it has been a lot of fun connecting with all of the ladies and talking natural hair. Michea is a long time friend of mine. We go waaaaay back and she’s one who has been natural since I’ve known her, and I’ve known her for well over 20 years! She’s the sweetest, funniest, most outgoing person you will ever meet. I think you will find her interview very honest and refreshing.

Q: How long have you been natural?

Michea: I’ve been natural most of my life.

Q: What made you go natural?

Michea: After I got my first relaxer at 14, it has been pure laziness and busy life that keeps me natural.

Q: Was the transition easy?

Michea: I’ve been obsessive about protective styles which has allowed me to be natural so long, so transitioning is always easy. I cut it short then get some braids. When I get bored with my natural hair, I relax it. So no big “natural hair movement” for me. I flip-flop.

Q: What do you love most about having natural hair?

Michea: Versatility and being the only race that has this ability to do what we do with our hair.

Q: What do you find to be your biggest challenge with natural hair?

Michea: Umm finding different hairstyles. When the natural hair community found YouTube, I got more ideas.

Q: What advice/encouragement would you give to someone considering going natural?

Michea: Be patient. You may not love it at first. Do it because you want to not because of pressure, and if you don’t find peace and happiness do something different. Sometimes that means going back to a relaxer.

Q: What are your favorite products to use and protective styles, if any?

Michea: Honestly, I don’t think I have any real favorite products. But since the beginning grease and a spritz of water has given me all I ever needed for a good twist out. Braids are my favorite protective style.

Many thanks to my girl Michea for taking the time to chit-chat with me. Like I always say, every naturalista’s journey is different. Not everyone’s truth is the same as the next person’s. All of my participants, Mleta, Tyssa, and Michea spoke their truths. You may not agree with all of their views, but you can do nothing but respect them because these are their stories and their truths. THANK YOU to all of these lovely ladies for sharing a bit of their natural hair journey with me. I hope it inspires and encourages those who read their interviews and provides them with insight. Let’s keep spreading the positive love and acceptance of everyone’s natural hair journey!

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.