Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts

Jun 24, 2015

DISCUSSION: Shrinkage, what is it good for?

As I prepare to remove my second set of box braids, I prepare to deal with my nemesis … shrinkage! Natural hair wearers all over can cite shrinkage as being more annoying than a grain of sand stuck under your eyelid. But why? Why do we hate shrinkage so much? Is shrinkage ACTUALLY good for our hair? Let's discuss. 

My hair is super coily and kinky; I'm a 4B true and through! I experience more than 70% shrinkage when my hair is totally saturated. Unless I blow-dry or straighten my hair, the true length is never seen. So, I understand the struggle when it comes to dealing with shrinkage. 

Like for real, you grow this gorgeous head of hair, but no one can really see it. Right? But what's the big deal. Why is it so important for us to showcase how long our hair has become? Why do we urge our curly sisters to "straighten it out"? Are we still scared to rock out natural strands the way they naturally grow out of our heads?

Truth of the matter is, shrinkage is an indication of extremely healthy hair! You want to pull on that curl or link and watch it snap back. Natural hair is so amazing that it can protect itself from damage and dryness by shrinking. And think about it, when you do straighten your hair (for an event or for a trim) you always hold your breath wondering if your hair will go back to its normal state. At that moment, you WISH for shrinkage!

My hair, mid-shrink, mid stretch
Of course, I strive to find the happy medium between extreme shrinkage and totally straight hair. When my hair is too shrunken, I tend to experience single-strand knots and breakage. So, I utilize a light blow-out technique with nightly twisting/braiding to keep my hair the way I like it. After experiencing several bouts of heat damage, I've learned my lesson with using too much heat on my hair. The perfect level of mid-shrink/mid-stretch is my ultimate goal.

So, the next time you are sending out hate mail to the shrinkage headquarters of America, just remember, when your hair is all shrinky, sucking up all the moisture - it's really healthy. When it bounces back after a Dominican blowout or a silk press, thank God for your unique strands. Our shrinky, stretchy, curly hair is something that so many cultures envy - they even lie about it (you know who I'm talking about). Seem as though, shrinkage is pretty good!

How do you handle shrinkage? Let me know in the comments section.

May 7, 2015


Each time the public challenges a celebrity's status as a "role model", I think of my own.  When I look at people that had a fashion sense I admired as a child and teen, they seemed a bit closer to home.

Lady M: My Grandmother captured by me.
My Grandmother was my biggest fashion influence.  She was my shopping partner and I learned that there could be a simple elegance to dressing.  Looking back, I saw the difference between shopping and building a wardrobe.  She always went for classic.  It lasts.  I will also include my Mother, Auntie Diane and cousin Teri Lynn with her.  I think they all got the same lesson.

Feb 23, 2015

NEWS: E! Host jokes that Zendaya's locs smell like weed! Offensive?

 Zendaya Coleman, actress/singer, walked the Oscar Red Carpet rocking the trendy and stylish hair style, Faux Locs. As with most red carpet arrivals, the folks over at the E! network love to discuss the celebrity style. On today's Fashion Police, host Guiliana Rancic joked that Zendaya's locs may smell like "patchouli and … weed". Then the hosts laughed. However, it's not funny.  

Twitter caught wind of the situation and started addressing the television host citing her commentary was rude and offensive. I'd have to agree! Wearers of natural hair work hard to present the world with positive examples of black hair and culture. While some people with locs may partake in marijuana - does that mean they all do? Why jump to such a vast conclusion about a simple hairstyle?
Zendaya's response, originally posted on twitter

Zenday published a wonderful and inciteful  response to Guliana's thoughtless joke. I like the fact that she bought up how young she is, her family history with the hair style, and how it's detrimental to the outlook of black people who choose to wear their hair in its natural state. Some may think of this as a small offense but it's thoughts like these are what make it hard for people to transition to their natural hair. 

Zendaya with her father - who wears real locs

What are your thoughts on this exchange? Leave your comments below. 

Aug 20, 2014

DISCUSSION: Removing braids, shed hair, and bald spots - HELP!

As a person who rocks braids more than wearing my hair out, I've had my experience with taking down my braids and thinking, "OH MY GOD! I'm gonna be bald, my hair is shedding like CRAZY!"

Shed Hair vs. Hair Loss vs. those braids you thought were "so cute" is a real fear. We've heard stories of that friend who lost her edges or had bald spots after rocking a braided style. Maybe her braids were too tight, maybe her scalp too sensitive, or maybe she whipped her hair back & forth a bit too much. Either way she's decided that 'braids are the devil' and the hair that is balled up on the floor is her evidence. So let's discuss the differences and what you need to do.

When I take my braids out - I get a BALL OF HAIR too - What's up? - That's SHED HAIR. Seeing a bunch of shed hair, after removing braids, weave, or a protective style is scary yet totally normal. Remember, we usually shed 50 - 100 hairs PER DAY!

The average protective style or braid installation lasts for about 6-8 weeks. Doing the math - that equals 2,100 - 4,200 hairs locked into your braids during your installation. SO when you remove the style, you'll see all this hair and you will think - I'M GOING BALD! But you aren't it's just shed hair that wasn't able to fall out because it was braided tightly into your installation.

I removed my braids/weave and now I have a BALD SPOT/No EDGES! Help! - Now, if you remove your braids or weave installation and you find you have a bald spot (or broken spot or sad edges) this is not the end of the world. But it does mean your installation was TOO TIGHT and your hair follicles gave up the ghost. It sucks, but the hair will come back. Nightly scalp messages with essential oils, leaving your hair out of tight protective styles, and light manipulation will stimulate hair growth in that area.

BUT my hair is STILL shedding, I think I'm going bald for real! - Now, you've taken down your braids or removed your weave. You've been being gentle, and it STILL seems like you hair is shedding more than usual, it's time to see an expert. First step, go to a hairstylist who you trust. She can tell you if your hair is breaking, shedding, or if you are experiencing true hair loss. She may even suggest you see a dermatologist. Sometimes hair loss or excessive shedding can be fixed by adding vitamins, changing our diet, or adding/removing a product.

Don't be scared to ask the question to get the results.

So if you see any of these issues after removing your braids - don't IMMEDIATELY blame the braids, their could be a number of reasons why your hair decided to say good-bye.

Jul 24, 2014

TIPS & Techniques: When's the right time to throw away your products?

This post is for all my product jukies who have too much stuff under their bathroom cabinet - it's time to throw away some of those products!  Looking for that holy grail, you start to amass more products than you hair can use. Sometimes you think about saving something for that friend or selling it to a colleague. But when is the right time to just THROW THEM AWAY! The list below will help you sort through that box of products just collecting dust.

But first, WHY should you throw away products? Jessica Wu, and MD of Dermatology practicing in Los Angeles said it best:
"Most beauty products are designed to stay fresh and stable only for a limited period of time. After that, they start to break down, so your cream might not work as well, your makeup may streak or change color, or — worst case scenario — you could develop a terrible infection.”
So, you need to throw products away because, over time, they may not work as well as they did when you first purchased them.

  • It's past the expiration date - most products have an expiration date stamped on the bottom. Just like food, if the expiration date has passed, then it's time to toss that product.
  • Smells Funny - That smell like 'peaches and creme' product that didn't quite make your curls curl quite right doesn't smell good anymore - it's time to throw it away. Change in smell indicates a breakdown in the formula. It's not gonna work as well anymore.
  • Color Change - Color change is the best way to tell that's it's time to let a product go. Color change is another indication of a chemical breakdown. Which means the product won't work as well as it did when first purchased.
  • Growing Mold - Yeah, for all of you who make you own products or purchase homemade products, if those products aren't stored in a cool spot, they will mold. Don't try to scrape it off, just throw it away.
  • Just a dab left in the corner - Yeah, I know that Uncle Pete's Fancy Curl Creme costs $50 a jar, but c'mon homie it's time to let it go. Constant opening and closing breaks down the chemical formula. 
What's the best way to preserve you product - make sure to store it in a COOL dry location. Also, keep the lid closed.

I hope this helps. As you progress in you natural journey, you'll buy less products and have less waste. Until that time comes, make sure to swap out products with friends - that will save you from a throw away pile.

Jul 20, 2014

DISCUSSION: Would you rock the Braided LACEFRONT WIG!

So, this picture floated across my timeline earlier today - you know black twitter exploded! Lol! Apparently, the braided lacefront wig is phenomena that not many knew about. Whoop, y'all late! 

Brandy been rocking lacefront braided wigs for a minute now! If you watch the "Put It Down" video she changed her hair style no less than four times. There's no way you can fit all those braids under all those different wigs. The braids … are a wig too! Lol, Hollywood Magic!

I'm not knocking the idea of a braided wig. People been rocking braided wigs since Ashford & Simpson days! However, I think it's the lace front and the baby-hairs that got people going crazy. It's pretty fly though! 

So, would you rock this wig? It's the ultimate protective style with a dash of trend thrown in. PLUS, you don't have to worry about pulled edges or lost time (8-12 hrs in a chair). Hmmm … I've almost convinced myself to get one! Lol! 

Wanna buy a lacefront braided wig? 
Check out

May 13, 2014

DISCUSSION: That's not NATURAL! Dealing with Natural Hair Bullies

IG Natural Hair sensation, @Mz_Tammy, rocking a great blow-out
Sigh! I'm writing this post with all the attitude of a teenager asked to wash the dishes during a Love and Hip-Hop marathon. Let me set it up:

I was enjoying a wonderful lunch at the Farmer's Market and I noticed a very cute couple. They were eating lunch as well. Sidenote: Yes, I was ear hustling, don't judge me. The young lady had a cute natural 'do. It was pinned up and kinda looked like a Janelle Monae style. I could tell her hair was quite healthy.

The guy, her boyfriend, commented her hair and asked what she'd do with it "since it's getting hot outside. He asked, earnestly and honestly, "Would you straighten it anytime soon. Like with a flat-iron?" Poor thing. He didn't even know he was dating a Natural Hair Nazi. Ol' girl went OFF!

"Listen, girls who say that they are NATURAL but they use heat to straighten their hair are NOT natural. I am not one of those people. You will NEVER see me use heat, color, or anything that takes away from the hair that grows out of my head." she trailed on and on. The boyfriend kinda looked glazed in the eyes. I was feeling . . . Some kinda way.

This color isn't 'natural' but it sure is NICE
I cannot take it! I get so tired of the argument of what's natural and what's not:
  • If you wear a weave as a protective style - you not really natural.
  • If you straighten your hair - you're not really natural (and you are subscribing to the white aesthetic- SIGH)
  • If you color your hair - you're not really natural - unless you have locs then that's ok . . .
So let's get real - the most natural anyone can be is the baby that's being born as I type this post.

If you use shampoos, moisturizers, conditioners, and the like, that you didn't MAKE in your own kitchen, you are already stepping away from the natural line. And, if you don't have a 100% natural diet, straight from the ground, that you grew yourself, then you step a bit further from the natural line. So, technically, if you ONLY stop using relaxers, then you aren't as natural as your sister who is 100% organic in EVERYTHING she does (what she puts on her head and what she puts in her mouth).

My friend, Tonya, rocking her flat ironed hair.
What I hate is when people want to JUDGE the next person for the choices they make with their hair. The glory of letting go of the relaxer life is seeing what your hair can do. It's also about finding an identity that you never knew existed. Letting go of the relaxer is a journey in patience, education, and diligence.

What I hear when someone starts talking about what's natural and what's not is someone who is trying to tell me what's BLACK and what's not. This is the ongoing convo with black women and our hair decisions. If you can't see the kink then I'm not that natural. If she has a lighter complexion, then you'll hair commentary about how her natural hair journey is 'easier' than our kinky sisters. The point of the matter is - IT'S JUST HAIR and it's a personal decision. The way I wear my hair doesn't define my BLACKNESS nor my association in the Natural Hair community.

The new natural, reading this post, doesn't need a Natural Hair Bully telling her what she can and cannot do with her hair. I'm not gonna say that using constant heat, dyes, or chemical filled products is the BEST thing you can do for your relaxer-free hair. But, if you wanna do it, I'm not going to judge you. I'm not going to be the one to condemn you, but I will be the person to help you find a healthy route to dealing with damage - IF it happens

So ladies, if you are the 98% natural wonder, don't turn your nose up at the lady with the blue hair, weave, or the straightened 'do. You can be there for her when she trying to up her natural hair percentage.

Apr 16, 2014

DISCUSSION: Have you tried hair growth supplements?


HOLA!  Back in 2012 I wrote a post about adding Biotin to my diet to add in growing my hair. I've continued to use biotin but can't say it's helped or hindered my hair growth process. I mean, I did shave my head a couple months ago - lol. Anyway, as I cruised the instagram streets, I've seen many Hollywood Celebs and hair bloggers report on the amazing results of using hair growth supplements. It made me think, maybe I should try some of these so-called miracle pills.

For people who want to grow longer, stronger, healthier hair, most experts suggests a cocktail of WATER, Biotin, Vitamin B complex, and some Omega-3 fatty acids (source). Each of these supplements exist in our hair naturally, but through hormone imbalance, stress, and genetics, we tend to lack the crucial vitamins that sustain healthy hair growth. 

Of course, this varies from person to person, but most women can testify that their hair was longer and thicker as a child, than it is now. Why, your body was rich with hormones and natural supplements. I guess this is why we are looking for the holy grail of hair growth.

The two front runners in the natural hair vitamin supplement game are Hairfinity and Manetabolism (seen above). Below is a breakdown of what each promises:

Results from using Hairfinity via @she_becute_naturally
HAIRFINITY ($24.00 a bottle): Hairfinity is titled as a "Dietary Supplement" and said to have a proven formula that nourishes hair from the inside out. The company boasts that it's vitamin B complex, Biotin, MSM, and a couple other supplements that (used separately) are well known at helping hair to grow stronger while resisting breakage. Hairfinity has the most celebrity endorsements (Monica, Kim Kardashian, and Keyshia Knight-Pulliam) and the most multi-cultural users. Hairfinity sells supplemental haircare products as well.

Results from Manetabolism user @PorshaBelle
MANETABOLISM (@24.99 a bottle): Created by a husband & wife medical team, Manetabolism is the brainchild of natural hair celeb Courtney Adeleye (@CourtneyNaturalHair). Courtney is a nurse and her husband a physician, the two researched using Courtney's own hair. The product boasts the same ingredients as Hairfinity, but with more background studies and info to make buyers feel comfortable. Really the website is comprehensive! AND Manetabolism sells haircare products, oils, and supplies.

So, I've decided to try one of the supplements listed above. Although I've shaved my sides, I'm looking to have some extreme growth on top. Next month I'll reveal which supplement I've tried and my results so far. I'm going to commit to a 3 month trial, just for you, my favorite readers! 

Have you tried hair growth supplements? What's your verdict? Let me know in the comments section.

Mar 5, 2014

From the Stylist's Chair: The Sometimes UGLY Politics of Natural Hair

I am two months away from being done at Aveda! I am so very excited and also slightly leary. When I first began at Aveda the majority of my clients had natural hair.  It was strange because while I was initially the student I had also placed myself to be in a position to educate as well, as Aveda doesn't currently have a natural hair curriculum.

As school progressed my educators spoke to me about taking less natural hair clients to make sure that I was developing a well rounded talent.  At first I didn't want to hear anything about it, and then after some further thought I realized they were correct.  While I love natural hair I didn't want to confine myself to just one aspect of hair, because honestly I love it all. Having the ability to work with different textures of hair has truly help me to develop. I now ask questions from all sides of the equation.

I am very adamant about natural hair and the ability of all hairstylists, yes all hairstylists being able to handle all hair types, no exclusions or excuses.  While I realize that this will never be the case, a lot of the women in my class have reached out to me with open arms wanting to know more. I have been more than happy to share my knowledge.

But I also have concerns with attitudes of some of the natural hair and relaxed clients that come into the salon.  There are two specific instances that have happened numerous times that make me cringe:
  • The COST of Natural Hair styling: If you had to pay yourself for the time spent on hair and products I guarantee you it would not be cheap. We all know how much time a effort natural hair takes. Every head of hair is different and has different needs. At Aveda we charge $30 for natural hair styling, and the students don't get any of that money.  We are allowed to accept tips and that's it.  I have watched numerous women with natural hair act so ugly over this price! I've heard rude comments from clients and even had women refuse to pay the price while torturing their stylist through the entire service. Why is this necessary and why is this the reaction from some naturals? If you are going to a salon you aren't (and shouldn't be) just paying for hair.  Its about the service, the added benefits and little treats, and the relaxation that you get as a part of that service. It also about the true talent of a stylist! He/she may be able to learn your hair and perhaps tell you things about your hair that you didn't know. Eventually giving you an action plan to provide you with the best hair possible.
    • Your hair should be an investment, and if you are willing to take the time to supplement some of your hair maintenance to a salon throughout the year then you should budget accordingly. We as stylists invest in continuing education, keeping up with current styles and trends, and also study to learn how to keep your hair healthy and to look out for unhealthy warning signs. Doing hair may seem like an easy job to some but myself along with the stylists I work with - we provide a luxury service, one that isnt just about hair but your entire experience from when you walk in the door to when you leave. We not only educate you on your hair but we pamper mind, body, soul.  
  • The RACE card: The best hairstylist you might ever have may not look like you or have hair like you.  Some of you may never know that stylist because you are too consumed with what you want to see behind the chair. I can understand wanting to see and to have someone like you working on your hair, but this doesnt mean that there aren't others who are equally as qualified and  have a talent and knack for your hair even if it is different from their own.  I have watched some of my fellow stylists literally be intimidated and ripped to shreds by women who felt that because of the color of their skin they were inadequate to deal with their hair. I don't know how being rude is doing anything to futher the cause for acceptance of natural hair. 

As a stylist and a natural hair wearer, I want to put natural hair on the worldwide map. Every school should have a curriculum for it, every salon should be able offer services that are of a high quality with an immaculate end result. I don't by any means seek to remove the history or the culture that has come along with our hair. There is a freedom that comes with natural hair, a chance to remove the chains that have held us back in the past, embracing that freedom should mean less fear and more love. After all you have learned to love yourself in its truest and most natural form.

Natural hair is political, there is no doubt about it but, how you share and grow those politics is up to you. No one is saying that you can't be protective of your hair and who you allow to work with it, but everyone deserves to be treated from a place of love and respect whether you think they hold the same knowledge you do or not, and what purpose does that knowledge hold if you only keep it to yourself?      


Feb 26, 2014

Discussion: Memories of greasing my scalp

Black History month is coming to a close. But most black people celebrate our heritage and history everyday. However, I thought it'd be cool to give you a flashback to a part of our history that most ladies can remember - getting your scalp greased.

When I saw the photos, below, of all the different hair grease, a wave of nostalgia washed over me. I loved the smell of Ultra Sheen, anything with coconut, and that Royal Crown. But I knew when my mom took out the Royal Crown, the hot comb was coming out too - OH NO!

No matter how painful the hair-styling process, I loved when my mom would grease my scalp. After tussling with washing, then blow-drying, greasing my scalp was the calm before the storm. The storm being the tugging and pulling of getting my hair cornrowed. Whew LAWD, my mom had some heavy hands!

Greasing the scalp and getting my hair done was also a time to listen to my mom. Sometimes she'd be on the phone with friends - so I got to hear the grown-up gossip. Sometimes we'd watch a movie and we'd discuss the various characters. Sometimes she'd give me a stack of magazines to read (Essence, Ebony, Jet, and National Geographic). Most times we'd listen to her favorite albums: Stevie Wonder, Bill Cosby comedy, or Earth Wind & Fire. No matter what, we'd share a wonderful closeness and communication - it was great time for her and I to bond.

What's your fave memories of getting your scalp greased? Do you remember you favorite grease? Do you still grease you scalp today?

Dec 17, 2013

Discussion: What oil is best for my natural hair?

At least once a week I get questions from reader asking about oils and why their hair is so dry. When you first go natural, big chop, stop using creamy crack, etc, you have to develop an entirely new routine for your hair. Many of us were raised thinking adding grease equaled adding moisture; not quite.

OIL DOES NOT ADD MOISTURE (read this 100x)
Seriously, it doesn't. 
No, for real, it doesn't. 
Stop shaking your head, I'm telling the truth. Stop it! 

Well, what adds moisture? WATER! I know, it's blowing you mind and you are thinking, "But, what about oil? Because water makes my hair shrink?"  Here's the oil/water connection:

Water adds moisture because the water is the essence of moist-ness. Sounds weird, I know. It sounded weird as I read/typed it. OIL seals in the moisture. Adding oil to your hair AFTER you've wet it with water is the best way to retain moisture. You have to find the right oil that works for you, some may be too heavy, some may be too light. I could not recommend the perfect oil for you becuase everyone's hair is different. It's trial and error - but read this article to figure out the difference between carrier and essential oils. Back in 2011, I wrote:
" . . . dry hair needs moisture. The best moisture for hair, skin, and nails is WATER! Since hair is so porous, water tends to escape quickly over time. In order to protect strands from the evaporation, you must seal the hair shaft with a natural oil based product such as Coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado oil....These oils have been scientifically shown to penetrate the hair shaft and help hair retain water and won’t leave your hair feeling greasy. Mineral oil and petroleum are not the best, and tend to cause more dryness overtime." - How to Keep Moisture in Natural Hair
So, your job is to try to keep as much moisture (water) in your hair (and body) as possible. Same way you put lotion or oil on your skin after bathing, so you won't have dry skin, is the same way you should treat your hair. Try to Using the LOC method, it helped me in sealing more moisture in my hair.

LOC method 
1. Liquid (leave-in conditioner)
2. Oil (whatever oil works for you) read this article on How Oils Work
3. Cream (some sort of cream hairdress or styling product). 

In addition, add more water to your diet. Drinking 8 glasses a day is ideal, more is even better. You'll see a huge difference in your hair, skin, and nails. Remember, having natural hair is about trial and error. Even when you wore a relaxer, you found products that didn't work for you. Just because it's made for natural hair, and promises a miracle, doesn't mean it will work for you.

Dec 3, 2013

Discussion: I Forgot My Headscarf

Are you a mobile natural who commonly forgets her headscarf or bonnet? It's a common thing for some of us, myself included. I've been traveling a lot lately. And when I'm not traveling, I often spend the night at my home away from home. Being on the go so much makes it incredibly easy to forget to bring some protection for my hair. Yes, I can go everywhere and leave all 5-7 of my scarves and bonnets at home.

It's easy to remember to pack a scarf if you are planning an overnight trip. But we all know some trips aren't planned. A late night out might mean you crash at a friend's place. A steady relationship could mean you sleep over your beau's house regularly. If you haven't done the logical thing and left a silk/satin scarf at a places where you frequently sleep over, here are a few helpful tips to protect your strands while you slumber.

Yes, this is my shirt on my pillow. It's a natural hair lifesaver!

Wearing a silky shirt? Put it over the cotton pillowcase. It's simple, right? Cotton is nice, but it doesn't play well with hair that is prone to dryness. So take that cute shirt off, and put it on or around your pillow. Cotton blends and softer fabrics make it easier to get a good night's sleep without worrying about morning hair. Softer fabric not only feels great on your skin, but it works wonders for keeping moisture in your hair at night. Get your money's worth out of that blouse. It can double as a pillowcase (or covering). It's definitely worth the trouble... unless your hair is full of oil and will permanently damage that silky shirt by morning. In that case, let the cotton soak some up of that grease. (Just kidding... kinda.)

Put your hair in a bun. Not just any bun. A high bun. Give yourself the highest bun you can manage. A bun on the top of your head, means that your ends are tucked up high. When sleeping, the top of your head is much safer than the sides or back of your head. These areas are usually exposed to much more friction while tossing and turning at night. Besides, once you've been natural for a while you quickly learn to keep a few elastic bands and bobby pins within arm's reach. It's a logical alternative if you don't have a scarf handy, and your hair is unfit to sleep on your soft, silky shirt. Or if your shirt is made out of wool.

Braid or twist your hair down. Okay. What if you didn't wear a shirt, and you don't have any elastic bands or pins? You take your two hands, and you twist or braid. You braid your hair down, and tuck those ends. But I don't want him to see me in braids! Well natural lady: 1. Him seeing you in braids is better than him seeing and hearing you try to untangle that matted mess in the morning. 2. Did you bring your water bottle and hair products? If you go out to breakfast/brunch, your hair will be off-balance ALL DAY. 3. You didn't even wear a shirt! You are well past the point of worrying about him seeing your nighttime braids!

So that's it. If you have a  problem remembering your headscarves or bonnets, we've given you three very easy options to save your hair. Being natural doesn't mean that you have to carry around a briefcase full of moisturizers and products for a 40 minute routine every night at bedtime. And you don't have to rush home at night like a curly Cinderella. But it does mean that sometimes you have to be a little creative when it comes to keeping your hair looking  in amazing condition.

Have you ever tried any of these ideas? What do you do when you forget your hair scarf?

Nov 26, 2013

DISCUSSION: Naturals Cracking the (Dress) Code

In the wake of so many KNOWN instances of employers and schools creating rules that unfairly forbid natural hair and natural hairstyles, it is easy to become an unofficial member of the Liberty and Defense of Natural Hair Association. (Since I just created this association 2 seconds ago, I voted myself founder and CEO.) However, I've noticed recently that some naturals can tend to take the natural hair liberties too far. When you work in a corporate office, there are usually dress codes and rules regarding your appearance. In case no one has ever mentioned it: THIS INCLUDES YOUR HAIR.

And by "your hair", I mean your naturally kinky, coily, curly hair. Yes, even you have to abide by certain rules. I'm not referring to the school who told the 7 year old Tiana Parker that her dreadlocks were a problem. Nor am I referring to Farryn Johnson, the Hooter's waitress who was fired because she colored a streak of her hair blond. Ashley Davis' situation is also excluded. She worked at a bank in Missouri, and was told 2 months after she was hired that she needed to cut off her 10+ year old locs to keep her job. That's not the same as being professional when the job calls for it. This discussion is about how you choose to wear your hair when companies request that while you are at your desk or cubicle, you maintain a corporate or business casual appearance. Having textured hair doesn't exclude your hair from needing to be business casual as well.

If you are in the number of naturals that love to experiment with their hair, that's fabulous. I'm all for it. I personally haven't had time for much experimenting since I've begun working again. But I have big plans to do something new to my hair.... eventually. I don't, however, plan on testing the rules at my new job with a hairstyle that is definitely not work appropriate.

Being natural can allow you to express your free spirit just as much as it fits your out-of-the-box personality. However, when you are in a work environment the focus should be on your work, NOT on your hair. I know there are those who will say "Well my work should speak for itself, and they shouldn't judge me for my hair". It's no different from coming to the office with super messy, tousled beach wave style hair. Or showing up on Tuesday in a club dress and high heels. The texture of our hair is not a reason to bypass dress codes. Besides, if you are just LOOKING for a reason to rouse the people who provide your income, there are several more creative and entertaining ways to do so. Try spilling a drink on your computer... and then maybe another 2 or 3 colleagues' computers. Bring a bottle of merlot and chocolate for a day of Netflix on company time. Flip your manager's desk all the way over. Go out with a bang!

But wearing styles that were made for photoshoots and hairshows are not appropriate. They do not add to your company value, and they can distract you and others from work. I do not ever agree with companies firing or having different standards of appearance for those with textured hair versus straight hair. There are enough battles to fight without creating unnecessary ones. This is not about adhering to Western beauty standards. It's about adhering to company policies. Natural hair is versatile enough to be funky and professional. Enjoy the freedom of your natural hair. There is so much you can do with it and still manage to stay within the lines of professionalism.

Do you test your limit with hair in the workplace? Where do you draw the line on work appropriate hairstyles?

Nov 19, 2013

DISCUSSION: Is Natural Hair Too Much Work?

If I had a dollar for every time someone said "Natural hair is too much work," I'd be able to buy myself something nice. (Not brand new car, but a really good Groupon or two.) Conversations usually start off with a hair compliment, and (if I'm sporting a nice twistout) talks about "good grades" of hair. You should see the looks on their faces when I tell them that I am not a "silky" natural. I usually show them pictures of my untamed hair and they can't believe I'm a nappy, kinky, coily natural... just like them. They usually end with someone explaining their return to relaxers by saying natural hair is too much work.

Properly caring for your natural hair may seem like a lot of work, but we at Natural in Nashville have found a solution. It's a genius solution that we're about to present to you. Are you ready to have your mind blown? Here goes: When you feel like taking care of your hair is a lot of work you should--


Now that you've gathered yourself, we should elaborate. Many of us go through a stage in our natural hair journey known as the "product junkie phase". It's the stage where we try any and everything to get the Tia and Tamera hair. During this stage, your bathroom hair cabinet will be nearly impossible to navigate. And you will become convinced that you need to use 3 or more of these products regularly. No wonder people tend to think that caring for natural hair is a chore. When your wash day has 17 steps and 12 product applications for completion, OF COURSE you'll be overwhelmed. Hair should be cleansed, conditioned, moisturized, and protected. That's the short version of what your hair needs.

  • Clean your hair so that it can breathe and not be weighted down with layers upon layers of products.
  • Condition your hair so that it is optimal for styling and manipulation. Deep conditioning should be done regularly.
  • Moisturize your hair whenever it is dry. The best moisturizer: Water. Aloe Vera is an excellent moisturizer as well.
  • Protect your hair. Water evaporates from hair because it is exposed to the elements. Seal your hair with an oil or cream based product. This is especially important if your hair is prone to dryness.

Do you see how simple that is. Unless you are doing mini-twists or another time-consuming style, this should cut a lot of time from your hair routine. There is an option to include styling products, but that's a world of its own. One of my best twist-outs happened when I used all of the above steps, protecting AND styling my hair with a mix of shea butter and coconut oil. I'm not suggesting that you forsake all styling products. Everyone isn't meant to be a kitchen mixologist. But simplifying your hair routine really isn't hard. You don't need 12 products for 4 steps. You can keep your hair looking fabulous and have a life that isn't confined to your bathroom mirror.

Remember that you are not your hair. Life is not hair. It's pretty common to want to experiment. It took mos of us a while before we learned that there is no 'miracle product' that you can put on your hair once and it maintains your hair's moisture, condition, and shine until your next wash day. However, if hair becomes more of a chore than it is a joy, it's time simplify change. Delegate some the dreaded, excess time spent on your hair to things that actually make you happy. Read a book. Learn a new language. Sing in the rain (in your newly learned language). Go pet caterpillars. Simplify your hair care routine so that you can spend more time in your happy place and less time focusing on your hair.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by your hair care routine? What did you do to simplify it?

Nov 12, 2013

DISCUSSION: You KNOW it's time for a haircut!


Since I've gotten my haircut, I've come to realize, I was REALLY neglecting my situation. So stuck on holding on to length, I neglected healthy hair. No matter how long you hair is, it's imperative that you schedule routine maintenance on your natural curls. Wear and tear cause ends to split and became frayed. Frayed ends are a NO-NO and will cause you hair to break off. 

Getting you ends clipped is one of the ways to ensure natural hair success.  Maybe you aren't stubborn when it comes to trimming your hair, maybe you just don't know. Below I've listed some tips to help you figure out when it's time to clip those ends:
  1. You have a TON of single strand knots - Single Strand Knots (aka Fairy Knots) happen when really curly hair tangles within itself, leaving little knots on EACH strand of hair. Once your hair has a single-strand knot, the only way to get rid of them is to clip those ends. Read more on Single Strand Knots 
  2. Your hair is SHEDDING like crazy - It's normal for you hair to shed. 100's of dormant hairs will depart your scalp on a daily basis. However, when it looks like you have more hair shedding that your used to, it may be time to clip those ends. Shed hair sometimes attaches to single strand knots and pulls the extra hair out during detangling. 
  3. It takes FOREVER to detangle - Every natural girl complains of detangling sessions. But when detangling is followed by knots, and extra shedding, then you need to trim. Frayed ends are more prone to tangles because they’re rougher and can easily get caught on one and other causing knots.
  4. Your hair is uneven - When I wore more hair in an updo most times, I never really appreciated the full length. But when I'd blow it out, I noticed the right side was long than the left. It happens. Unless you like wearing you hair in an asymetrical bob (a-la Salt & Pepa 1987) then it's time to get that trim.
  5. Your hair starts to lock - In shorter hair naturals, wearing you hair in wash-n-go styles tends to make you forgo detangling sessions. So, your ultra curly hair starts to loc, clump, or tangle. (source). Tangles that intense can only be removed with getting a cut. Don't let it get that way - get a trim regularly.
  6. You curls aren't CURLING - So you have a uniform curl pattern. But now, you curls aren't curling quite right. You may have a lot of frizz too. It's time to clip those ends and reveal those curls again.
These are just a couple ways to indicate when it's time to get a trim. No matter what the issue, you should routinely get you hair trimmed AT LEAST three times a year. Visiting a professional stylist can help you decipher how often to trim you ends and a professional stylist can help you figure out other issues/obstacles that may be holding you back from healthy hair.

QUESTION: When's the last time you got a trim?


Sep 24, 2013

DISCUSSION: Did your dad do you hair?


I didn't grow up with the luxury of having my dad at my house, so I don't what it's like to have him do my hair. So, I thought I'd pose this question to my readers. Did your dad do you hair when you were younger? Does your hubby/boyfriend do your daughter's hair now?

Yep, I love my daughter so much. I’ll do anything for my little princess. She means the absolute world to me. Hopefully there are more fathers out here like this!!!!! #ProudDaddy #Father&Daughter #LoveMyPrincess #MyWorld #MySunshine #MyEverything
I saw the picture above floating around my facebook feed; the man in the picture, Mike Heath, posted this on his personal FB page. The photo is SO endearing. Not even the fact that he's a white man doing his black step-daugher's hair, but the fact that he, a MANLY looking man, is taking time to do her hair.

We all agree that doing natural black hair can be a bit more difficult than other hair - just for the tight curls and the de-tangling. Men, in general, don't quite understand why women (black or white or any other ethnicity) take so long to do our hair. So for a dad to sit down and do his daughter's hair seems awesome and amazing to me.

Taurus James doing his daughter's hair, read his story HERE
Searching Google, I've found other pictures of men doing their daughter's hair. I like that men are taking the time to learn about the needs of their girl children, and not just leaving the responsibility to the mothers. Through my Google research, the easiest style for guys is two strand twists! Ladies, don't let the guys beat us to perfecting those two-strand twists! LOL!

So, this week's discussion question is simple - did your dad do your hair? Does you mate do your daughter's hair? Chime in below!
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