#TeamNatural Defined

What defines #TeamNatural?

Now if you haven’t heard about the CurlyNikki/Ebony diversity in the natural hair community showdown, you’re really missing out.

Pretty much CurlyNikki, a well known hair blog that a lot of naturals frequent, did a feature on a White woman who expressed how difficult it was accepting her own “natural” hair. Ebony.com, commented with their rebuttal to the fact that a White woman cannot understand the Black struggle, and should not be included in the natural hair community. Then Sarah, the White woman who the original feature was done on, gave her side of the story on why she should not be excluded from the mix. And to wrap it all up, CurlyNikki responded to all the madness to stand by her decision. When it comes to natural hair, the debates get pretty heated.

Diversity is a word that constantly gets thrown around nowadays, but there is also still a need for community in any case. Community with those of one’s own kind in order to relate to and rely on for support. Diversity fosters growth and progress, but so does community. The question is, should diversity be a part of community, more specifically, the natural hair community? Should #TeamNatural be exclusively for someone who is Black, or Biracial, or Afro-Latino, or Multiracial?

Many women who fall into the categories previously mentioned have struggled with hair issues since childhood, mainly with trying to find the right products for their hair because of an underlying factor that the natural hair movement seems to highlight: race. If the natural hair movement was to include everyone who deemed their hair as “natural” (never altering it with chemical processes), there would be no need for the natural hair community! It exists for a reason: for women of ethnic backgrounds to love and accept their hair. But by all means, if you want to call yourself natural, but do not “technically” fall into society’s definition of this community, go right ahead. Acceptance of your own hair, no matter texture, race, etc., is a beautiful thing.

But the natural hair products market was made for women of color, to cater to the needs for their hair. The market wouldn’t even exist if people did not see a need for it. It didn’t exist, or wasn’t thriving until women of color made their presence known. Others with “less difficult” hair textures, were already taken care of in the hair department. So why should the natural hair community be diverse? Yes, their hair is “natural” because that is how it grew out of their head, but it doesn’t differentiate them from one their own kind.

White hair has never been oppressed, shunned, looked down upon, or disgusted about. Black women have a history of oppressing their hair to be like the White women in order to get the same privileges and opportunities. But now, the one chance we get to be free and embrace our kinks and coils, that confidence is being taken away from us. When was the White woman’s curly hair ever the reason she got fired from a job or called nasty names? Yes, it might have taken her a long while to appreciate her hair, and in that we can relate and share experience, but the struggle, the history, the personal connection is not there.

It is not a secret that Black women take their hair seriously to the point where there is often an emotional attachment to their strands. The countless hours at the salon every weekend, the hot comb, learning the discipline of sitting on your butt while your mother combs out your hair from a young age, all these things create memories and a connection that many may never understand.

As women we should all embrace each other and whatever crown we choose to wear, but embracing one’s own crown does not exclude the fact that there are different crowns with different meanings. But we have come a long way. Far enough to promote diversity in a sacred space? The answer is still unknown.

 

 

Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/WfJGNZ

Top 11 Naturals On Social Media

It always helps us naturals to see someone with similar hair to ours to encourage us to continue our natural hair journey or just for entertainment! Here are a few naturals on social media that you might enjoy taking a look at!


 

Photo Source: http://hairscapades.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/mahoganycurls.jpg

MohoganyCurls 

 

This long-haired beauty has amazed us all throughout her natural hair journey. On her YouTube channel, she allows us to follow her journey from a fresh TWA to waist length hair. She is definitely inspiration to a lot of naturals whose main goal is to have have healthy long natural hair. She also gives us a peak into her personal life through her Instagram by showing us adorable pictures of her family. Both her username for Instagram and YouTube are MahoganyCurls.


Photo Source: https://root2curl.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/70bd649da23ae964691fc58e94fd6ba3.jpg

 

jouelzy

 

I first saw jouelzy while watching her video on YouTube – Realistic Expectations For 4C Hair. Ever since subscribing to her channel, she hasn’t left me disappointed. Her vibrant personality and uplifting voice is what I love about her videos. She’s never scared to try new hair styles. Both her username for Instagram and YouTube are jouelzy.


Photo Source: https://ionehellobeautiful.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/solange-knowles-gucci-cosmetic-launch-hello-beautiful.jpg?w=630&h=378

 

saintrecords

 

Solange. Solange Knowles. Sol Angel. Just the unique name is enticing! Now this lovely natural made it clear in a few statements that she is not a natural hair spokeswoman, but who could resist her authentic style? No matter if you’re following her for fashion, music, or like the rest of us, in awe of her natural hair, follow this Saint Heron artist on Instagram under the username saintrecords.


Photo Source: http://www.natreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/beautifulbrwnbabydol.jpg

 

beautifulbrwnbabydol

This woman is all around phenomenal. Not only does she have a Ph.D, lost over 100 lbs, have an amazing fashion sense… but she’s natural! She inspires us to be fit physically, mentally, and emotionally. She practices what she preaches and shows us that healthy hair starts from within. Both her username s for Instagram and YouTube are beautifulbrwnbabydol.


Photo Source: http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Alicia-James-Flat-ironed-natural-hair-December-2012.jpg

 

msaliciajames

 

She’s a singer, wife, mom, vlogger, and naturalista. Not only are her vocal skills amazing, her natural hair style tips are enlightening. Ever feel like you have no more options when it comes to your natural hair? She will help you get on track with your regimen and tell you tips on what made her hair grow healthy, strong, and long. Both her Instagram and YouTube usernames are msaliciajames.

 


 

Photo Source: http://www.thevinylbridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Ari-Lennox-La-La-La-La.png

 

arilennox

 

After listening to, and downloading, her song Cascade and I Do, I had to see what more this artist had to offer. I pulled up her Instagram expecting to see “common things musicians post,” and was pleasantly shocked to see that she flaunts her natural hair with ease! Her carefree afro is breath taking and looks amazing at the beach and in the streets! Both her Instagram and YouTube username are arilennox.


Photo Source: http://api.ning.com/files/GiJqgbF7cCF4y-qZhMzkLzEQzNmztBVFrmMNnB15ei422kL*oJS58upyJgxl0ma1g0VnlMjZWQWffks1-rh6jp7EDLjwgSuT/ScreenShot20130731at5.34.05PM.png

donedo

 

Hair Color Alert! Right now I have a screenshot in my phone of a picture I found of her on Pinterest because I loved her hair color that much. The day I saw her natural hair is the day before I dyed my hair. Her Instagram consist of selfies, professional photographs she’s taken, and different styles of braids. What can I say? – She’s got a lot going on in her life but it’s all under control. Her Instagram and YouTube usernames are donedo.

 


Photo Source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-o1bYH8q8qls/T4EzNi-hj8I/AAAAAAAADLM/_xY5RCNHy_I/s640/edde16de78d311e180c9123138016265_7.jpg

neffyfrofro

 

London’s very own taught me one thing: All naturals have single strand knots. I encountered her YouTube channel during the time period of my life where I didn’t know if single strand knots were normal or if my hair was being attacked by them. Not only did her video reassure me that it was completely normal, but she introduced me to the Shea Butter train and I haven’t looked back since. Both her YouTube and Instagram are under the usernames neffyfrofro.

 

 


Photo Source: http://scontent-a.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xpf1/t51.2885-15/10401773_247843628754354_1953442193_a.jpg

 

pashtash

 

I don’t even have an entrance for this unique spirit. I automatically knew when I was making this list, that I COULDN’T  make a list without including pashtash. Her hair length is close to mine so I felt that I could relate to her hair journey. I love how in one selfie she’ll post a 4×6 photo full of a picked out afro, and in one picture she had a defined twist out. Her fashion is unpredictable, yet incredible, just like her hair. To see more of her, check out her Instagram at pashtash.


 

Photo Source: http://edgemagazinesite.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/AndreaLewisintro-640×250.jpg

 

andrealewis

 

Yes, we ALL know her as the girl from Degrassi, but that girl is no longer here. This woman is gorgeous and talented in everything that she does. She flaunts her natural hair and makes the funniest YouTube videos with her best friend. She always posts pictures of her natural hair, her love for natural hair, and products she uses on her hair. She shows us that even while being young with a busy life and very promising future, you can still take care of your natural hair. To see more of her, her username on Instagram is andrealewis


Photo Source: http://www.turn-it-up.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/beautycon3.png

 

mayasworld

Long hair don’t care… No, Seriously.. Long hair don’t care. Maya proved to us that going natural should not be about length when she randomly cut off all of her hair! When she cut off all of her hair, her short hair styles were simple yet eccentric and bold. She showed us colors we never imagined dying our hair and hasn’t slowed down! Besides her natural hair, she does PLENTY of makeup tutorials. Her recent tutorial was to the video Flawless by Beyonce. Looking at her pictures, we can definitely tell that she “Woke Up Like Dis.” See her flawless pictures on Instagram under the username mayasworld and on YouTube under the username shamelessmaya.

A Lush Life

I spend way too much time in Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and online searching for and purchasing all-natural hair and body products. The price tags aren’t the best, but I genuinely appreciate organic and mostly natural products because of their benefits. This is mostly because with a degree in Public Health, I know way too much about carcinogens to knowingly continue to put them in my body. So thus, I have dedicated myself to clean eating and using predominately all natural products. Not doing so hot on the clean eating front (because I live in North Carolina where Bojanles and Cook Out are easy and abundant), but killing it on the natural product front. A few years ago I discovered LUSH, a company that produces cruelty free vegan beauty and bath products. Although LUSH is very pricey, I love supporting their business not only because they are all natural, but also because they are dedicated to providing a productive work environment for their employees and creating economic growth in the US.

For some odd reason I didn’t know that LUSH had a location in North Carolina, and I had only been hitting up their stores when I was in DC or New York. When my best friend told me there was one in Raleigh, I ran over, almost literally, and treated myself to a few things.

 

Rub Rub Rub ($21.95)

(photo credit:http://lushkeepitfresh.blogspot.com)
Photo Credit

Rub Rub Rub (Buy Now) is an in shower sea salt body scrub that can be used to exfoliate and prep the skin for shaving. It’s an electric blue color, which I love, and has an invigorating patchouli and lemon scent. Although it contains sea salt, the granules are small and softened so the scrub isn’t too abrasive on the skin. I like the fact that it goes on smoothly and produces slight suds. After using Rub Rub Rub, my skin is very soft and smooth post shower. Because I have dry skin, I would prefer a bit of a harsher exfoliator, but overall I have been enjoying using it. I’ve read a few reviews on Rub Rub Rub that state that it works really well for lightening darkened skin, most notably the underarm area because of the amount lemon and citrus juices it contains. I’ve been using it under my arms for the last few days and will give an update if it does help lighten over time.

 

Vanilla Puff Powder ($6.95)

(photo credit:http://lushkeepitfresh.blogspot.com)
Photo Credit

This Vanilla Puff Dusting Powder (Purchase) almost didn’t make it into my bag, but I’m glad I purchased it. It’s an absorbent fragrant powder that has a myriad of uses. So far I have used it in many ways, including as an eye-lid primer and to reduce shine on the T-Zone of my face. The sales associate recommended that I use it to reduce sweating in my bra and to prevent “chub rub.” Anyone who has experienced chub rub knows that it is of the devil and can be terribly uncomfortable. The powder works OK on these fronts, but you have to use quite a bit to make sure the inner thighs are coated adequately. I like the fact that it reduces friction and provides fragrance, but I’d still prefer Shield Guard for anti-chub rub. A little goes a long way with this little bottle of powder, and I would definitely purchase it again.

 

Tea Tree Toner Water ($9.95)

(photo credit:http://lushkeepitfresh.blogspot.com)
Photo Credit

The Tea Tree Toner Water (Buy) is the one item I knew I’d be walking out of LUSH with. My best friend recommended it to me a while ago, but I had never had the chance to buy it. Just like many combination skinned girls across the world, my mother has told me to use Sea Breeze astringent on my face for a little over a decade. Recently I had been trying to find a natural alternative to this and the toner water came right on time. It comes in a spray bottle, so I can spray it directly on to your face or onto a cotton ball, which I really enjoy. Most non-alcoholic astringents haven’t worked well for me (i.e Witch Hazel), but so far the toner water does a great job at reducing oiliness, removing build-up, and minimizing any bumps I may have. I’m currently monitoring it to be sure it doesn’t dry out my skin in anyway, but overall I would recommend it.

Fro vs. Foe: The Battle Between Hair and the Gym

The old myth of working out ruining your hair is just that, a myth, an idea of the past. Now that hair, especially natural hair is becoming a recurring theme in the realm of fitness. I love to workout. It takes the stress of the day away and it keeps me healthy, and my body looking and feeling right. Many naturals also attribute part of their hair growth to fitness and eating right. Now, why should your hair prevent you from getting in shape, and having that great body to match that amazing head of hair? Here are a few tips that might help with your hair and working out.

1. Pull your hair out of your face

Whether your hair is long or short, having your hair flying all over the place while you’re working out is no fun, and distracting. Use a headband (thick or thin) or a “hair tube,” as I like to call them. An example of a hair tube would be a Loc Soc or Sue Maesta hood. I personally use and prefer a “hair tube.” Mine is a Garnier “hair tube” that I received for free at an event I attended.

Another option, whether your hair is straight or in its natural state is Nicole Ari Parker’s Save Your Do GymWrap. It’s especially designed for the gym. And as the name suggests, it saves your hair from looking a mess after a good workout. It’s features “Edge Control Technology,” which minimizes sweat absorption and allows heat to escape while letting cool air in.

Photo Source
Photo Source

If headbands aren’t your thing, you could also do a cute and effortless hairstyle to hit the gym. A bun keeps your hair out of your face while protecting your ends. Also, a high ponytail is another option. It might be boring, but it gets the job done. Or you could go for milkmaid/goddess braids which are flirty and stylish.

2. Use the right products

Products are essential when it comes to preserving your hair while working out. Using the right products can maintain and eliminate frizz, and have your hair looking sleek.

A product I like to use not only for the gym, but on a daily, is EcoStyler Gel. I’m telling you, this stuff is a holy grail product; I use Krystal or Olive Oil. EcoStyler Gel will always have your edges laid (what more could a girl want). This gel comes in eight different varieties. There’s even EcoStyler Sport! The Sport gel retains moisture, imparts shine and gloss, and maximum hold for active lifestyles.

Also, any anti-frizz products should work well to help maintain your hair, and reduce the chances of it becoming frizzy and puffy while working out.

3. Be Free

And so what if all this fails. You got a good workout, and health is more important that poppin’ hair, right? Maybe your hair didn’t hold up like you wanted it to, but it wouldn’t be natural if it didn’t do its own thing. So just let it rock. Curly girls can be fit too!

 

Top Misconceptions About Natural Hair

I keep hearing misconceptions about natural hair and false beliefs about all of the new things one can do with natural hair – well I’m here to set the record straight! Here are 5 things that most naturals hear about natural hair:

 

  • – Natural Hair Is Stronger Than Processed Hair
  • – Good Hair vs. Bad Hair
  • – To Have Hair Types 3c & Above, One Can’t Solely Be African – American
  • – Natural Hair Can Handle More Chemicals Since It’s Not Relaxed
  • – Natural Hair Isn’t Seen As Acceptable In The Workplace

 

 

Photo Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-4piDBmDoW8s/T6zbhZocyjI/AAAAAAAAQFo/OLtxtpKUApQ/s1600/hair-curl-codes.png

 

Natural Hair Is Stronger Than Processed Hair

There is a technicality when it comes to this subject. Natural hair is stronger than processed hair simply because the protein in processed hair strands is broken down – therefore making the hair straighter. Natural hair, however, is not strong itself. It takes great attention and proper hair care for natural hair to nourish and grow. Natural hair in its dry state can be very fragile if not properly moisturized and sealed with some sort of oil or cream. On a hair strand, there are places where each curl begins and ends. Each place on the strand where the curl begins and ends, is a point of potential breakage. That’s why different hair types have to be treated differently.

Photo Source: http://elzonkeyshow.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/ludacris-afro-photobucket-xmudx.jpg

 

Good Hair vs. Bad Hair

Since slavery, there was always a dispute about which hair had less kinks and which hair “resembled” the heads of those in Africa more. I’ve heard of some hair shows that wouldn’t allow naturals with certain patterns to model hair products because it’s not “natural enough” or it was “too nappy.” Whether your hair texture can’t hold a curl, or can mold to a 2-strand twist in an hour… CurlyInCollege believes that your hair is beautiful and don’t you ever forget that!

Photo Source: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/fb/36/76/fb36769db71e07c9c3fea674d054df0c.jpg

 

To Have Hair Types 3c & Above, One Can’t Solely Be Of African Descent

 

A lot of people – even some naturals – believe that to have a more defined curl pattern where the curls are elongated and more visible, one MUST be mixed with other races besides African- American. Although your ethnicity can affect your hair’s texture and curl pattern, it doesn’t always. Sometimes DNA just predetermines things for us. Whether it’s your skin color, curl pattern, eye color, etc., some things you just have no control over. It’s our differences that make each and everyone of us special. Be proud of your hair pattern and texture, and never let dissatisfaction ruin your happiness on your natural hair journey.

Photo Source: http://blog.mellylee.com/mellyfiles/2013/11/MellyLee-ShamelessMaya008.jpg

 

Natural Hair Can Handle More Chemicals Since It’s Not Relaxed

 

Just like we discussed earlier, natural hair is only stronger because unlike relaxed hair, it’s not processed- however, that doesn’t mean that you can flat iron your hair everyday and color it 20 times in a year. A little hair dye or heat here and there won’t harm at your hair, but try to limit things things that chemically alter or dry out  your hair.

Photo Source: http://bpositivemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/natural-hair2-copy.jpg

 

Natural Hair Isn’t Seen As Acceptable In The Workplace


A lot of college freshmen are in school getting an education so that they can one day work in corporate America, and a lot of naturals already work in corporate America. Somehow they all seem to have one common question – “Will my hair be accepted in corporate America?”  I can’t 100% guarantee that your hair will be accepted by EVERYONE at your job, but I can guarantee that most of the time, the only person that’ll initially look down on your hair is YOU. Most of us are so paranoid of people’s initial opinions about our hair, when in reality they might not even notice our sudden change of style. If you are proud of your hair, others feed off of your positive views on your hair and will begin to love it as well- but the love of your hair starts with YOU.

A Black & Sexy Summer

Black folks and our representation in media has taken an interesting turn throughout the 2000’s. In the 80’s and 90’s black and brown folks were speckled across big and little screens like a neutral toned rainbow. With shows and movies like A Different World, Martin, Living Single, The Best Man, and Crooklyn the everyday experiences of being a black person in America were pretty well illustrated, not to mention we were killing it in other media arenas including music and print magazines (because be honest Vibe hasn’t been the same since 03’ and the 90’s-early 2000’s provided us with the quintessential rap and R & B collabo’s).

(photo credit:http://f0.bcbits.com/img/0001638393_10.jpg)

But than came the mid 2000s when black and brown folks became scarce in TV line-ups, and our favorite minority actors and actresses were deduced to being the token friend in the means of “diversity”. Needless to say, the lack of black stories has not gone unnoticed. Many years and think pieces later, there has been a rise in black directors and actresses taking things into their own hands by creating venues for media content featuring black voices, one of those being the crew behind YouTube TV channel, Black & Sexy TV. Dennis Dortche, Jeanine Daniels, Numa Perrier, and Brian Ali-Harding have come together over the past 3 years to tell the comedic, romantic, intelligent, inspiring, and sometimes unfortunate everyday stories of black twenty-something’s, and it makes for brilliant television. I live for Black & Sexy TV because it peels back the stereotypes of blackness and in turn provides real life stories that I can directly see my friends and myself in. Black & Sexy TV provides me with great narratives, awesome music, eclectic aesthetic, and surprisingly a host of amazing hair crushes. In celebration of the  July 4th season premiers of two of my favorite shows on the channel, “Hello Cupid” and “RoomieLoverFriend,” I wanted to share some of my favorite naturalistas of Black & Sexy TV.

Ashley Blaine Featherson
Whitney (Ashley Blaine Featherson)

Hello Cupid is probably one of the best shows on Black & Sexy TV. The cinematography, editing, and styling are amazing for such a noble production company. While falling in love with the show, I also fell in love with leading lady Ashley Blaine Featherson, also known as Whitney. On “Hello Cupid”, Whitney is the queen of effortless chic. She can usually be seen rocking a sleek puff or twist out. She makes a little go along way with her hair and it constantly makes me jealous. One of my favorite styles from her is featured in the double date episode (which was sponsored by Kinky Curly products) where she has a high bun accentuated with added in Marley hair.

Jeanine Daniels/Deon
Deon (Jeanine Daniels)

You ain’t never seen a Caesar cut rocked by a lady so fly until you have seen Deon of “That Guy”(except maybe Erykah Badu, but she’s THE Erykah Badu…she’s in a league of her own). Jeanine Daniels plays Deon, a fun loving, attitude having, big earring wearing girly tom-boy who is the third musketeer to leading men Mike and Judah. Mike and Judah are the guys your mother warned you about, but Deon attempts to keep them humble. She keeps her hair closely cut and neatly edged up, and occasionally accentuates her features with flashy earrings or simple make-up. I love the fact that she can make a low cut so versatile and feminine.

Chick (Numa Perier)
Chick (Numa Perrier)

“The Couple” features the cutely dysfunctional nameless couple, Chick and Dude. Of the 8 Black & Sexy TV shows, “The Couple” has been the most tangibly successful as it is currently being developed into a series for HBO. Chick, played by actress/director/co-creator of Black & Sexy TV, Numa Perrier, is another Black & Sexy girl who does a lot with a little. Her hair is often worn in a twist out, parted on one side, or pinned back. It’s very grown up, but also very care free and fun. Chick is most notable for her ability to make a simple hairstyle look formal as seen in the premier episode of “The Couple” and the Valentine’s Day episode.

Nia (Shawanna Davis)
Nia (Shawanna Davis)

Shawanna Davis is Nia in “That Guy,” Deon’s best friend and the mother of Judah’s child. Up until recently she was referenced more than we actually saw her in the show, but now she is getting her own spin off this Fall. Nia is a fashionable, conscientious, and sassy single mother who goes between protective styles and allowing her natural hair to fly free. My favorite style from her so far has been her long brown highlighted Marley Braids, which she usually wears down or in a bun. Check out BeBeautifulLA.Tumblr.com, Shawanna’s beautifully curated blog.

Robin (Hayley Marie Norman)
Robin (Hayley Marie Norman)

 Robin is the other leading lady in “Hello Cupid” and a total opposite of Ashley Blaine Featherson’s character, Whitney.  Robin is a vegetarian, yoga aficionado, who probably serves on Solange’s e-board for the Coalition of Carefree Black Girls. Her tresses are usually worn in a simple curly fro, and occasionally pushed back with a headband. Her golden blond hair color makes her stick out in a crowd and compliments her skin tone beautifully. Her most memorable look is her picked out fro at a 70’s party in the most recent episode of “Hello Cupid.”

You can watch all the Black & Sexy TV series on YouTube here. Don’t forget to check out the recently premiered episodes of “Hello Cupid” and “RoomieLoverFriend” that premiered on July 4th.

Naturalista Spotlight with Udodilim Nnamdi

Name and Age?

Udodilim (U.d.) Nnamdi, 19 years old

Why did you decide to stay natural?

I didn’t really make a conscious decision it all just worked out that I’ve always stayed natural. It was more of my mother’s decision. She didn’t have time or energy to take me to the salon, to relax my hair, and take me for touch ups while growing up, so I rocked box braids or puffs all the time.

I used to whine and complain, and ask her [my mom]  to straighten my hair but she told me that when I got to college I could perm my hair if I wanted. When I came to college I realized I wasn’t ready for the hair commitment, and the whole “natural movement” was already sweeping college campuses. I saw girls chopping off all their relaxed hair to attain the natural hair I’d taken for granted, so I didn’t perm my hair.

How has your natural hair journey been? (childhood til now)

My natural hair journey has gone from unimaginative protective styles (box braids), to a period of flat ironing my hair regularly in high school  (which caused my hair to break off because I did nothing to protect it), back to box braids, to experimenting with my first weaves senior year of high school. Now I constantly mix it up. I’m finally comfortable with letting my natural hair out for long periods of time as I try out natural styles (bantu knots, braid outs, twist outs), but 70% of the time I’m trying more adventurous protective styles (marley twists, crochet braids, diff weaves, etc).

When was the moment you fell in love with or accepted your natural hair? Explain.

The moment I accepted my natural hair was when I tried my first braid out because I was bored one day. I actually had amazing definition (to this day I have been unable to replicate that perf twistout ). I threw some makeup on, put on a cute outfit, and made the picture my profile picture. This was a big deal for me, and I was stunned by the overwhelmingly positive response from friends and family.

What have you learned about your hair since you’ve been in college?

I’ve learned a lot about my hair since college. I’ve experimented a lot more with products, and done my research by watching my favorite natural hair gurus. I learned things like: I have 4c hair, my hair is naturally very soft, which is a blessing and a cure (less combing but doesn’t hold styles as well), bantu knots or wash and go’s don’t work for my hair, and so much more.

 

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What is your biggest hair challenge?

My biggest hair challenge is trying to achieve the natural hairstyles I see from the gurus without breaking the bank, or spending so much time making my own concoctions. Learning not to get frustrated and give up when I cant get my hair to match another naturalistas is a constant struggle.

Why do you love your hair?

The thing I love most about my hair is how soft it is. I like how I always get a response or reaction out of people when I try new creative styles; it’s like a conversation starter.

Who is your hair crush?

My hair crushes would be YOU [Brianna M. Williams], Naptural85, and Taren Guy, to name a few. I follow so many inspiring naturalistas on Youtube & Instagram that it’s hard to pick a few.

What are your go-to or staple products?

My go-to hair products are the Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner and Curls Unleashed Curl Defining Creme. Oh and perm rods!

How do you feel about the natural hair community?

I have a love-hate relationship with the “natural hair community” on one hand they’re always willing to share tips and tricks, and are very encouraging of people transitioning. And they’re also very knowledgeable about products and natural hair remedies.

However, I feel there is a condescending nature that pervades the community. Some naturalistas have a tendency to look down on any woman who chooses to have relaxed hair or wear a weave, etc.

Introspection:

As a black woman I believe we have to be accommodating of all hairstyles, and not pick and choose who to support and who to look down upon just because of hair choices and texture. The outside world already looks down upon black women for making certain hair choices, so why should black women continue to participate the vicious cycle? We need to acknowledge that our beauty, value, sense of worth, and self-esteem are not tied to our hair choices and stop viewing women as sell outs if they have relaxed hair or as “more authentic” if their hair is natural. Also, just because a person doesn’t have natural hair doesn’t mean their hair is unhealthy (and vice versa), and we need to stop acting like “natural hair journeys” are the equivalent of some path to enlightenment, self discovery, and emancipation. For some, it is that deep. For others (like me) it was just an easy choice. Finally, just because I use products that are not all natural (because of money, time , etc) does not mean I’m not natural. We need to stop using a million and one different hair products in an attempt to get our hair super shiny, defined, bouncy, etc., if that’s not out how our hair NATURALLY is. There is a lot of hypocrisy in the natural hair community.

 

Photo Credit: Udodilim Nnamdi

Tips For Transitioners

Transitioning can be the hardest phase when going natural. Here are a few tips to keep you encouraged along your natural hair journey.

– Line of Demarcation Definition

– First Look At Your Natural Hair

– Don’t Join The “Natural vs. Relaxer War” Train

– Accepting Your Hair Pattern

– There ARE An Abundance Of Transitioning Styles

 

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Line Of Demarcation

The point where natural hair and relaxed hair meet is called the Line of Demarcation. At this point lies the weakest part of your hair. Don’t be freaked out when your relaxed hair starts breaking off from your natural hair. Some people can keep their relaxed hair throughout their natural hair journey until they’re ready to cut it off, and some can not. The way to cut down on this type of breakage is to treat your relaxed hair just like your natural hair. Deep conditioning treatments will especially help! Your natural hair needs this much attention and your relaxed hair will benefit from it as well.

 

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Don’t Join The “Natural vs. Relaxer War” Train

Countless times, I’ve heard “ natural isn’t for everybody.” Now does this make any sense? How can something that naturally grows out of someone’s head not be for them? Even if you’ve said this without intentionally meaning to tarnish someone’s view on their own natural hair, don’t discourage others who are trying to go natural or are considering it. Also, whether you’re a new natural or a long time natural, don’t talk down on people who choose to wear their hair in a processed state. Everyone has a choice and as a natural hair community, we should support each other no matter what.

 

 

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Transitioning Styles

There are plenty of styles to test out before you fully go natural (meaning to big chop or occasionally trim off your relaxed hair.) I recommend you to actually wear your hair in natural styles so you can get a glimpse into what being natural is all about. It’s better you know before your natural hair journey what you’re getting into instead of finding out later and becoming discouraged on your hair journey.

 

 

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First Look At Your Natural Hair

You’ll never be able to fully see your natural hair until your relaxed hair is cut off, although you will have a good idea of what it’ll look like. When your hair still has relaxed hair attached to the ends of it, the relaxed hair weighs down the hair therefore stretching the hair pattern out making the curls look more elongated. The fact that the relaxed hair weighs down the natural hair is a reason why the hair experiences breakage sometimes. Also, a lot of new naturals want to see their hair pattern immediately and choose to big chop. Not every natural wants to big chop their hair – which means cutting off all of the relaxed hair – but some choose to.

 

 

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Accepting Your Hair Pattern

This subject may be touchy, but it needs to be discussed. When some people go natural, they have expectations of how they want their hair to be and how it should be. They see other family members and think their hair will turn out just like their family members’, etc… Don’t be discouraged when you don’t have the kinkiest or curliest hair. All textures of hair can achieve the same styles, even if different methods have to be performed.

 

Why You Should Be Using Rosewater On Your Hair

Every natural has a spray bottle containing some DIY moisturizing concoction perched somewhere in their room. Usually equal parts water, leave in, and oils, having a simple moisturizing spritz for your hair is just something you must do. Because of its moisturizing and healing properties, aloe vera juice or gel is often a frequent ingredient in DIY moisturizing sprays. Many naturals swear by aloe vera juice, but I never felt that it was benefiting my hair when I used it in my spray bottle mixtures. Because of the magical wonderland that is Pinterest, I stumbled across Rosewater which has been a great addition to my moisturizing spritz.

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Rosewater is an easily accessible super ingredient with many beneficial properties for hair and skin. I originally went on the search for a bottle of it because I read that it worked well as a light fragrance and morning refresher for the skin. I found an 8oz bottle of Heritage Store brand Rosewater at Vitamin Shoppe for $6. I started off spraying a little on my face in the morning or throughout the day, but after more research I found that Rosewater could work even better for my hair. Not only is Rosewater moisturizing, but it is also conditioning, antimicrobial, and stimulates blood circulation. After getting my hair braided, I mixed rosewater and castor oil in a spray bottle as a moisturizer and it worked amazingly for preventing my hair from feeling dry and brittle. I always go a little longer between washes while I have my hair braided, and the rosewater mixture was great at refreshing my hair and adding a light fragrance. Its antiseptic properties helped kill some of the germs and reduce product build-up that I had. Rosewater can also help reduce dandruff and stimulate hair growth by promoting blood circulation. Its like super water for your hair! There are various brands of rosewater that can be found online and in most health food stores. I encourage you to give it a try in one of its many uses and share your results with us.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

 

Below is the recipe for my Rosewater Moisturizing Spray. It’s great for braids and protective styles, as well as general everyday use.

Rosewater Moisturizing Cleansing Spray:

¼ cup Rosewater

1.5 Teaspoon of Glycerin

2 Teaspoons Coconut Oil (Or oil of your choice, I recommend a light oil)

Additional tap or distilled water as needed

Play around with the measurements and see what works best for you

Protective Hairstyles for Summer

There are two times of the year when natural hair seems to not know how to act (other than the regular, everyday struggle), and that is winter and summer. These two times of the year, many naturals find it helpful to switch, change, and try to new products to help their hair acclimate to the harsh weather changes. The winter brings dry hair because of the cold air. And summer brings frizzy hot messes because of the heat. It is a lose lose situation in these seasons if you do not have to right products or the patience to deal with your hair. I have worn my hair out in these two seasons, but I typically prefer to wear a protective style, just so I don’t have to deal with the craziness, that is my hair, during summer and winter.

Protective styles are just alternatives to wearing your natural hair, that are supposed to protect your hair underneath, and stimulate growth because of low manipulation. Personally, I like to get braids or twists, that’s just my style. In the summer I like twists or braids because they are low maintenance, and require little style effort, unlike weaves (This is my personal opinion). There are other types of protective styles, such as weaves and wigs.

Here are different types of protective styling that you can try this summer:

Kinky Twists

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Kinky twists are usually the shortest of the twists. They can be done with kanekalon hair for your desired look. Also, to differentiate these twists from others, they usually are spiraled or curls at the ends as opposed to being straight.

Marley Twists

Photo Source: Brianna M.  Williams
Photo Source: Brianna M. Williams

Marley twists are one of the longest desired length twists because they are supposed to emulated dreadlocks. Marley twists are named after the famous reggae artist, Bob Marley. Marley twists are done with Marley braid hair, and are straight all the way down to the ends. They can be done in the invisible roots style method, which allows the twists to look like your actual hair.

Havana Twists

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Havana twists are similar to Marley twists, as they are often grouped together. Havana twists are thicker in volume than Marley or kinky twists. They are usually medium length (in between kinky and Marley twists). They have a more effortless and carefree look. Even Solange has rocked havana twists!

Senegalese Twists

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Senegalese twists are the thinnest in volume of all the twists. They can also be as long as Marley twists. Senegalese twists are done with kanekalon hair for a more sleek and polished look, and are straight all the way down to the ends.

Box Braids

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Box braids are one of the oldest protective hairstyles in the book. They can be long or short, whatever length or volume one desires. Some people have even brought back the box braids, a la Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice.

Cornrows

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Now, who didn’t get their hair cornrowed when they were a child? It’s a simple solution to a protective style if you don’t have the time to get one of these other styles, or if you want to be really low maintenance. You can cornrow your natural hair, or you can add hair for length.

Sew-in Weave

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A weave is another protective style alternative. It gives you the chance to have a more versatile look, a little more fun. Weaves can be straight, wavy, curly, long or short.

Wig

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Who said wigs can’t be natural? Just like weaves, they give you a different look to play around with. Wigs are the easiest to install if you do not want to wait hours to have your protective style done.