The Underrepresentation of 4C Hair

Natural hair texture varies from naturalista to naturalista. In order to accurately identify and properly take care of your hair, each hair texture has been categorized based on how tight or loose the curls appear. Below I’ve attached one of many hair-typing charts. Continue reading The Underrepresentation of 4C Hair

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Meet The Interns: Maya Lewis

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Hi! My name is Maya Lewis and I attend Agnes Scott College. I will graduate in 2018.

When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition?

I’ve been natural my entire life.

What is the most memorable part of your natural hair journey?

My mom has been a huge part of my natural journey. When I was looking to get a perm in middle school to fit in, she was the one person who taught me how to care for my natural hair instead.

Have people approached or treated you differently with natural hair?

My natural hair journey has been just that- a long journey. I’ve had to grow into myself, and learn how to love natural, barefaced me. Before my journey, I genuinely didn’t realize how much courage it takes to rock natural hair; there is a different appeal to it, you have to hold yourself differently and accessorize to compliment your style. I have so much respect for women who devote their lives and entire careers to loving natural hair and educating women about it. I never realized how much patience, strength and creativity my favorite youtubers must have as they create and share new looks just about twice a week.

What is your favorite part of your hair routine?

On a regular day, I find that more people approach me to compliment my hair when it’s natural as opposed in a straight style. Also, different types of guys approach me depending on my hairstyle.

What are your top 3 must have hair products?

Washing out my deep conditioner and feeling how soft my hair is! I detangle before I wash my hair so after deep conditioner my hair is butter soft and I can run my fingers right through it!

What are your top 3 favorite hair tools?

As I Am Leave in Conditioner, Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, and I can’t imagine living without Ecostyler gel.

Who is your current #MCM and #WCW?

My #MCM has to be Michael B. Jordan, but currently I’m having this obsession with detective Amaro from Law and Order: SVU  (blame Netflix). And I love love love love Lisa Bonet forever and always (with Beyonce as a close second-obviously).

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Meet The Interns: Tatyanna Hunter

My name is Tatyanna Hunter. I attend Hood College and will be finished in December 2015, and will officially graduate in May 2016.

When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition?

I went natural in March of 2014. I did the big chop!

What was the one deciding factor that made you go natural?

The deciding factor that made me go natural was when my hair broke off when I got a perm. My hair was growing long and healthy with perms for years, but early in 2014 my hair broke off and I was devastated because I lost so much length. From there, I started seeing more natural celebrities and natural women on social media and I decided that I wanted to become a natural sister as well.

How has your perception about yourself, and others, changed since you’ve been natural?

My perception about myself and other have changed since I’ve been natural because I see more confidence in myself and other women when they have natural hair. When I see women with natural hair I see that they have a sense of pride in their natural beauty and that is awesome.

Have people approached or treated you differently with natural hair?

People have approached me differently because I actually get more compliments on my natural hair than I ever had when I was getting perms regularly. A lot of women come up to me and call me “sister” or “natural sister” and I think that it’s cool that wearing my hair naturally kind of opened me up to a new sisterhood and community.

What is your favorite part of your hair routine?

My favorite part of my hair routine is wash day! I love washing my hair because it feels so great and soft. I love seeing my shrinkage and seeing how my hair looks naturally right after I finish washing it. It’s a long process, but also a very fun and relaxing process as well.

What are your top 3 must have hair products?

My top three must have hair products are all Shea moisture products because its my favorite brand. From the Leave in Conditioner to the Curl Enhancing Smoothie to the Curl and Shine Conditioner.

What are your top 3 favorite hair tools?

My top three must have hair tools are bobby pins, satin bonnet, and my deep conditioning cap.

Who is your current #MCM and #WCW?

Aside from my lovely boyfriend, Shawn, my #MCM is Shia LaBeouf and Youtube star Jacksepticeye. My #WCW has to be my favorite singer/celeb Ariana Grande and the amazing fashionista Stacy London.

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Meet The Interns: Chyna Jones

Hey! My name is Chyna Jones and I am double majoring in Psychology and African American Studies with a minor in Women Studies. I am an aspiring race and gender studies professor. I plan on specializing in Black feminism, masculinity and family dynamics in the Black community. I attend the University of Alabama and plan on graduating in May of 2018.

When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition?

I went natural August 6th 2013 after transition for second time.

What was the one deciding factor that made you go natural?

Around tenth grade I realized I was depending on weaves and perms to feel “beautiful”; even at such a young age I realized that this wasn’t healthy for my self-esteem or self-worth. I spent a lot of time on YouTube searching for styles I can achieve with my real hair. I found myself being more attracted to the hairstyles that the ladies with ” big hair” could achieve. As I was doing my research, I learned that “big hair” is referred to as natural hair and that I too can achieve this look.

How has your perception about yourself, and others, changed since you’ve been natural?

Big chopping forced me to accept who I am and what I looked like. It was difficult ( I spent many nights wishing I could get my hair back or change certain facial features) but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I do believe peoples’ perception of me has changed but I try not to pay it much attention unless it’s positive.

Have people approached or treated you differently with natural hair?

I have noticed that guys treat me differently since I’ve went natural; some men praise me while others have negative comments to say. As for other women, I just get a lot of curious stares and questions which I don’t mind at all.

What is your favorite part of your hair routine?

My favorite part of my routine is definitely styling my hair the morning after I did a braid out, twist out or bantu knots. I love the feeling I have after undoing and picking out my hair. I feel as if I can take on the world!

What are your top 3 must have hair products?

Coconut oil, Jamaican Black Castor oil, Miss Jessie’s Leave in Conditioner

What are your top 3 favorite hair tools?

Hooded dryer, flexi rods, perm rods

Who is your current #MCM and #WCW?

I should say my boyfriend is my Man Crush Monday but I have to give it to O’Shea Jackson Jr. because he looked amazing in Straight Outta Compton and my Women Crush Wednesday is always a tie between SZA and Solange Knowles.

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Meet The Interns: Taryn Daniels

Name, College, Graduation Year

Taryn Daniels, American University, 2017

When did you go natural? Did you big chop or transition?

I’ve been natural all my life. My mom was really wild with her hair when she was younger but when she had me, she was team natural all the way. I guess I grew up knowing no other way.

What was the one deciding factor that made you go natural?

What made me stay natural all these years was the great appreciation I have for my hair. It beautiful and it works with me, even when I dye it weird colors and accidentally cut it. It sticks by me, like a partner in crime…Is that weird?

 How has your perception about yourself, and others, changed since you’ve been natural?

I love my natural hair, always have. However now that I am wearing it out again, versus in braids or a weave, I find myself having to work a little harder to be confident in my skin. Having natural hair has made me much more observant of other naturals that I see on the street. I think I have like ten hair crushes a day. Seeing other women wearing natural hair with such swagger, make me want to stay confident with my hair at all times.

Have people approached or treated you differently with natural hair?

They like to touch my hair A LOT. But on a more serious note, I think there is a stigma in our culture about natural hair versus straight hair. It is perceived that straight hair symbolizes an ideal beauty, when in fact everyone should be seen as beautiful. I have noticed that with a weave or braids, sometimes I receive more blatant and outright attention from the opposite sex. While this isn’t always the case (nor is it an experience that everyone has), it has to stop! Everyone is beautiful! End of discussion.

What is your favorite part of your hair routine?

I love when my hair is fresh and clean, so my favorite part of my routine is definitely washing it. The only other thing that could top that is when I deep condition it, because then I get to start experimenting with styles.

What are your top 3 must have hair products?

Two of my three must have hair products are my Chargrin Valley shampoo and conditioner bars. I was wary of using shampoo in the shape of a soap bar at first, but it makes my hair so soft! I use the Babassu Marsh Mallow shampoo and the Butter Bar conditioner. My third must have hair product is my Cantu Shea Butter leave-in conditioning repair cream. I love the way it smells, and it makes my hair so soft when I want to style it.

What are your top 3 favorite hair tools?

My wide tooth comb, elastic hair ties, and my headscarf. I basically go everywhere with them. We are kind of a package deal.

Who is your current #MCM and #WCW?

I can never choose just one! At the moment, my #MCMs are Michael B. Jordan and Dylan O’Brien. What can I say? I am a sucker for hot guys who are also really goofy. My #WCWs are Zoe Kravitz because I am obsessed with her vibe, and Ariana Grande because I am OBSESSED with her music and her voice!

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Mini-Twist Out Challenge Update

Sometimes when you challenge yourself to something it falls through. Well this challenge has fallen through for me. I got tired of wearing the same style all of the time. I am the type of person to switch things up from day to day. However, I am proud of myself for sticking with the challenge for a month. I loved wearing the twist because I did not have to do my hair every morning, but most importantly, my hair grew a lot. I was really happy to see my hair growth progress because that was the reason I started wearing twists.

I took my hair down last Saturday. I had to take my picture for a photoshop project I had for one of my classes. I really wanted my hair down and in a fro. It really did not help that the next day was Easter, and I did not want to wear the twists that day either. Since my hair was growing, I decided to take it down. The twist out left my hair really curly and pretty. I was amazed at how well my hair responded to the twists. The growth was evident in my fro as well.

When I started the challenge, my plan was to wash and re-twist my hair every three weeks. I stuck to the plan, so after the first three weeks I took my twists down and left my hair down for a day. I did this to prepare for my wash the next day. Here is the process of my wash day after three weeks of twists.

  • Co-wash with As I Am Coconut Co-wash. I decided to use this instead of regular shampoo because the co-wash helps me retain moisture better than the shampoo.
  • Condition with Aussie’s Moisturizing Conditioner. I just use this to help with detangling. I apply the conditioner to my hair, and then run my fingers through it.
  • Apply Leave-in Conditioner. I used Shea Moisture’s Leave-in Conditioner from the castor oil line. I really do not like the smell too much; I like what it does to my hair though. It leaves my hair really soft.
  • Twist hair into six sections. I do this to allow my hair to dry for an hour. I realized that if I twist my hair while it is slightly dry, they would be more elongated.
  • Apply Shea Butter and Black Jamaican Castor Oil mixture. This is what I use as I twist my hair. The mixture allows me to keep my hair very moisturized.
  • Twist the hair into mini twists.

After I did this process, I left the twists in for a week, and that is when I took them down. I have decided that I am going to finish the semester without the twists, in which I get out the beginning of May. I am going to wear the twists for a month to finish the challenge. I am not going to just give the challenge up.

Have you stuck with the challenge?

 

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Acknowledging Your Progress

Photo Credit: Ivie Enoma

This is my second time returning to natural hair and I am happy to say that I am far more patience this time around then I was the first time. This can be attributed to my hectic schedule and exhaustion or my overall desire to not focus too much on my hair. Either way, I’ve noticed tremendous growth in my hair and so have others! It’s so easy t
o convince yourself that you’re not making any progress in your hair journey (if it’s geared towards length) because shrinkage is the ultimate form deception! However, once you slow down and begin to notice the little things like finally being able to do a bun without needing bobby pins (I have yet to reach there) or you’re using up your products at a faster rate, you’ll know you’re retaining length. Some people like to have routine length checks but at this point in time I’m not too concerned to get back into that habit. However, every once in a while I will stretch my curls whenever I do notice growth. Just within 5 months I’ve noticed great growth! The last time I straightened my hair, I was struggling to do my signature flip with my bangs and couldn’t hold on to my ends very well. 5 months later and my bands are flippable and significantly longer. I could possibly be at the same length from when I relaxed again in 2015 in the next 5 months.

With longer hair comes changes. I’ve experienced texture change where my hair is now more wavy near my roots and curly towards my ends (I have a head full of lazy curls) and dryer ends which I have to pay more attention to or even switch up my products for. I definitely think my low maintenance and coconut oil massaged has helped a lot. If my hair isn’t in a flat twist and low bun, then it’s in mid-bun and a headband. I sometimes dabble in the occasional wash and go but I’m not a fan of the awkward length stage. I’ll dabble in a bantu knot out if I’m feeling fancy.

Now that I’ve figured out a stable regimen that works best for me, I may play around with different hair products now. Any recommendations you’d like to see my try? And that things do you like to do that you feel have helped you retain length?

See you in the next post!

xoxo

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Alternatives to Dying & Bleaching Your Hair

I think it is pretty safe to say that the only thing more beautiful than a big bush is a big bush with a vibrant pop of color. Around my second year of being natural I started to get really bored with twists outs and braids outs, and I wanted to do something different with my hair. I looked into different hairstyles that I could try out, but nothing really sparked my interest. I checked out natural hair blogs on Tumblr and that’s when it hit me, I could dye my hair! I was so excited about dying my hair until I realized I had to strip my hair of its natural color and potentially damage it. I refused to settle for a plain brown bush, so I immediately started looking for other alternatives.

One of the very first options I came across was eyeshadow. I know it sounds crazy but eyeshadows serve as great alternatives for dying your hair. You just rub the palette across a strand of hair and Viola!They’re quick, easy, fun, and most importantly they do not damage your natural tresses.

I was extremely excited about discovering the versatility of eyeshadow, but not long after I was using it on a daily basis I realized that it tends to get everywhere. I immediately went searching for other options and I came across hair chalk. Hair chalk comes in so many fun colors and they work perfectly for people with naturally dark hair who do not want to risk damaging their hair.

I played around with different brands of hair chalk, but my favorite by far was Anastasia Beverly Hills. They had colors in lots of different shades and hues, so if I ever wanted to achieve a certain look it was almost always certainly possible. As of lately my favorite go to product for when I want to dye my hair would definitely have to be ProShots and ColorMe. I purchased both of them from a professional beauty supply store, but I’m sure they are available online.

IMG_6811 I love ProShots and ColorMe so much because the color you see on the bottle or the label is the EXACT color you get. I have to admit that these are both a little more expensive than a eyeshadow palette or hair chalk, but it is completely worth every penny. The other really great thing I loved about ProShots and ColorMe was the precision I could achieve. The design of ColorMe is similar to that of mascara, so you just take the “spooly” and apply the color directly where you want it. ProShots is pretty similar when it comes to precision because you pump the dye onto your hands or an applicator brush and there you have it!

I honestly believe the only “down side” to eyeshadows, hair chalks, and ColorMe and ProShots is that you won’t really be able to achieve a “natural” color so to speak, but wouldn’t you much rather have popping purple highlights rather than boring blonde ones?

So as you can see there are lots of options out there if you’re interested in dying your hair, but you love your hair a little too much to risk damaging it. What are you waiting for? Go and grab an eyeshadow or two!

 

 

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My Hair Does Not Define Who I Am

Is wearing natural hair a professional style? This question is often raised when it comes down to getting a job and interview time. Although my hair does not essentially define who I am, my hair IS a part of me. Accept all of me or none of me, right? I do not intend to be rude about my opinion. I just do not want to work for someone who does not approve of my natural hair. I do not mind the standards of professionalism, but I think natural hair should be accepted as long as it is well-kept and maintained.

In order for you to get a better understanding of why my hair does not define me, I have written a poem that conveys how I view myself and my future. I hope this poem will be an inspiration to someone else. As you read the poem, think about how your natural hair enhances your beauty, but not necessarily affect your goals and aspirations.

 My Hair Does Not Define Who I Am

By: Chekaylah Bradley

I am more than the 4C type

It does not get me where I’m going in life

The kinkiness does not exemplify what I am capable of

Just how I present myself out of love

I am more than the twist outs, braid outs, and wash and go’s

Even more classy than the glamorous afro

I am deeply enriched in intelligence

To support all of my investments

I am more than the olive oil and coconut oil

I’m just in love with my future to which I am loyal

I am concentrated to make it through

Just like the conditioner and shampoo

I am more than the natural hair product

Even though it not working would just be my luck

I am on a bright path towards my future

In which my dreams only need to mature

I am more than the deep conditioning and protein treatments

For my success does not have limits

I am going to be somebody

But I don’t know if the world is ready

I am more than the bad hair days

Because I conquer them in many ways

I am often misunderstood

In fact I knew that I would

I am more than my hair

Including its texture and style that makes people stare

I am only focused on the characteristics and traits that make up my personality

Therefore, my hair does not define who I am most importantly

 

My self-confidence came with time. Since I have been natural for five years, I have had the time to learn about what makes me who I am and realize the value of my self-worth. The next time someone comments negatively about your hair, tell them that your hair does not define who you are. You are more than what can be seen about you from the outside. The only thing people should worry about is what is on the inside of you, such as your character and personality.

Feel free to share this poem with your friends and family.

Does your natural hair define who you are?

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Evolution of my hair regimen

Over the past year or so, the questions I have been getting are “what products do you use on your hair?” and “what is your natural hair routine?” It is always difficult for me to answer these questions because I have tried so many products and switched up my routine several times. At the beginning of my natural hair journey, I only used products that my friends suggested. Well, eventually I realized that everyone’s hair is not the same, and what works for one person does not work for the next. However, I was willing to try all of the products as a source of trial and error, so that I could learn what did and did not work. Although I usually answer the question with the products that I currently use on my hair along with my current hair regimen, I tell them about the products I have tried that did not work for me and why they did not work.

When I first started wearing my hair natural, my hair regimen was very complicated simply because I was doing the most with my routine, especially when I did not know why I was using the products I was using and had read about the somewhere.

My routine consisted of:

  1. Washing my hair with Bronner’s Castile Soap
  2. Deep conditioning with 1 egg and mayonnaise for 30 minutes
  3. Rinsing my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. Taking three hours to do a twist out with a leave in conditioner, shea butter, and coconut oil
  5. Adding the shea butter and coconut oil mixture to my hair as my hair started to dry out throughout the week

I stuck with this routine for about a year. I learned a lot from the products I was using. I figured out that the protein from the egg and mayo really helped to grow and strengthen my hair. On the other hand, I learned that the coconut oil was drying out my hair; therefore I started mixing olive oil with the shea butter, which really helped to keep my hair moist.

When I saw that my hair was progressing in growth, I switched products and changed my routine.

This routine consisted of:

  1. Co-washing with Tresseme Naturals Conditioner
  2. Using the Paul Mitchell Leave in Conditioner
  3. Styling with up do’s using the shea butter and olive oil mixture

I reduced my regimen when I realized that I only really needed to keep my hair moisturized, and it would grow. However, I switched from this routine when I discovered my hair type. I started using products that suited my hair texture.

My current hair regimen consists of:

  1. Co-washing every two weeks with Tresseme Naturals Conditioner
  2. Shampooing with Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
  3. Styling using Shea Moisture’s Curl Soufle and olive oil

The evolution of my hair regimen has taught me that my hair texture will constantly change depending on how I care for it. I have also learned the level of moisture my hair holds depending on the products that I use.

How has your hair routine changed? What have you learned about your hair over time?

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