I was scrolling social media the other day when I ran across a post on the fantastic salon Miss Rizos (Miss Curls) located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Its was started by Carolina Contreras. She herself went through a transition from relaxed to natural and wanted to help others embrace their natural hair as well. It is well documented that many Dominicans (not all) have a hard time embracing their African roots and do whatever they can to not be identified as of African decent. So this ends up heavily effecting those who have darker skin and/or kinkier hair. They are ridiculed often and their hair is called Pelo Malo (bad hair). Carolina experienced this discrimination her self and tells the tale in the video below.
I always said that i did not want to visit DR nor contribute to their tourism industry due to the self hate issues that have plagued the community there and also due to the mistreatment of Haitians by Dominicans on the island that both countries share. This video gave me hope and should I ever change my mind and visit DR I will definitely be visiting Miss Rizos so that i get my curls pampered and hopefully meet Carolina to tell her how proud i am of her for being a conduit for change! If you are planing a trip to DR please go support her salon 🙂 I hope that more and more Dominican women will embrace their africanity and begin their journeys to embracing their natural hair! Check out the video below and leave a comment to let me know what you think 🙂
In thinking of African American hair beauty, you will want to use herbal hair products with natural and/or organic ingredients to keep your hair healthy and strong. Be sure to avoid chemical and synthetic ingredients, so that you won’t be causing a build-up of unnatural product in your hair.
Having true hair beauty is not an accident. Genetics play a part in the way your hair tends to grow and act, but you can do some things yourself to insure that your African American hair will look its best. If you have even average hair quality, you can help your hair by using natural products. If your hair is in poor condition, it may take days or weeks to see a real difference, cowashing and conditioning can help your hair to become healthy and shiny again.
Regular shampooing is also healthy for your hair depending on your hair type. Over-shampooing can tend to pull oils from your hair that it needs to maintain hair beauty if you have type 3a-4c hair. You can use different shampoos and see which one works best with your hair’s pH balance. Alternating shampoos may give you the best results. Conditioners can be varied each week, as well. You can help your hair’s health and vibrancy by using conditioners with different pH levels, in an effort to balance your own.
Over-brushing your hair and over-styling is also damaging to your hair at the basic level. African American hair beauty depends on brushing that is adequate to distribute the oils, but you may damage the ends if you brush too much. Your hair will need trimming more often if you over-brush or over-style. I have found finger combing or finger detangling to cause the least stress on my hair.
Herbal Hair Products
Herbal hair products are designed to clean and condition your hair without harsh chemicals, synthetics and preservatives. Nature provides the earth with many herbs, flowers, roots and plants that are rich in minerals, proteins, enzymes and vitamins, which all will add to the health of your hair. Blended together, the resulting products will be a natural and organic alternative to chemicals.
Using shampoos and conditioners with no heavy metals or preservatives allow these herbal hair products to properly treat African American hair. The manufacturers of these products do not use genetically manipulated substances or mineral oils and chemicals; they use all natural ingredients to provide proper hair care.
You should treat your natural hair with natural hair care products that will bring out your best look. Natural shampoos and conditioners will help your hair to achieve its most luxurious look.
Natural / Organic Shampoos
If you are looking for products to safely and effectively clean your African American hair, you’ll want to select an all natural shampoo. Organics are an excellent way through which you can give your scalp and hair a natural cleaning. Natural products are abundant on the market, but be sure to read the label ingredients and make sure the product you buy is free of chemical additives.
Beauty product manufacturers can’t just attach an “organic” label on their shampoo. The product has to be at least seventy percent organic in order to truly be an organic choice. Some organic shampoos may be difficult to lather, because the ingredient that helps build a lather is not a natural one. This ingredient, sodium lauryl sulfate, may dry out your scalp and your hair, and is the reason why your eyes burn if you get shampoo in them while you’re washing your hair. It’s not that hard to get used to less lather if it means healthier hair.
Natural shampoos for African American hair will add nutrients to your hair in ways that are gentle for your scalp and hair. Jojoba oils and coconut oils can be helpful ingredients in an herbal shampoo. Organics and herbals treat your hair to great cleansing with no harmful effects.
Hair conditioning with natural hair care products for African American hair is important for your overall look, and for the health of your hair and scalp. Natural ingredients can give you excellent results, and you can make your own products at home that can be beneficial as well.
Knowing or learning how to best care for your hair will probably involve using natural hair care products, because they are safer for your hair and gentler on your scalp. If you choose to add color to your hair, use an herbal or natural hair color product, since these aren’t harmful. Select a hair style or cut that flatters the lines of your face. Ask a stylist to help you define the type of cut would be most flattering for you. Seek out knowledgeable friends and stylists to help you select natural hair care products that will show off your hair to its best advantage.
The politics of black women’s hair has been a hot button issue for decades. The legacy of slavery and white supremacy means that, on an near-global scale, kinky or frizzy black hair has been systematically maligned and devalued, while European straight hair has been systematically lauded and ‘normalized’.
In the nineteen sixties and seventies, following the civil rights movement, the Afro emerged as a potent symbol of the ‘Black is Beautiful’ mantra, but by the end of the eighties, jheri curls and relaxers had firmly replaced the Afro as the styling choice of the majority of black women.
In the last 15 years, however, an evolution has taken place. Increasing numbers of black women have joined those sisters who had always ‘bucked the trend’, and are embracing and celebrating the kink: black women are falling in love with their natural hair. (It’s worth noting that in 2015, a market research company, Mintel, estimated that the black hair industry was worth $774 million and that relaxer sales are set to decrease by 45% by 2019.)
Rules on Wearing Natural Hair – When to Conform
We are loving our natural hair, and we are ready to staunchly defend it. The fight has been long and hard, and the battle still ensues. So does anyone have the right to tell us how we should wear our natural hair? Frankly, yes.
Uniformed institutions such as the military have that right. The idea of a uniform is to equalize members and to homogenize the ‘unit’ into an identity. Want to wear your hair your way, all day? The military may not be for you. A cursory glance at a website owned by the US Navy has photographs and clear instructions on the authorized length and styling of hair.
Women of every ethnicity are required to conform to the same guidelines. Regardless of texture, hair can be worn open as long as is no longer than two inches. The Navy also allows for braids, cornrows, wigs and weaves on duty as long as they are styled, like other long hair styles, into a bun. The black natural styles shown are like those that African-American women wear voluntarily in civilian life every day of the week.
What about schools? Do they have the right to legislate hairstyles? Of course. They have a right to dictate how their students present themselves. No dye jobs or Mohawks allowed? Fair enough.
When to Object to Rules on Wearing Natural Hair
The rightful objection comes when rule-setting is used insidiously to discriminate against people of color who have chosen not to replicate white “norms”. For example, if a white child is permitted to attend school with his six-inch-long hair falling across his face or brushing his shoulders, but a black child with a six-inch-long Afro or locs is barred from the same school for having ‘untidy’ or ‘unruly’ hair, then this is not about rules. This is about racism and bigotry.
If a law firm says nothing when a white woman comes to work with her long hair held off her face with a bandeau, but that same firm wants to demonstrate against a black woman coming to work with her halo of natural frizzy hair held off her face with a bandeau, we are talking racism and bigotry.
And if the black women in the office who sports relaxed hair or a straight weave are considered more ‘professional’ than the black women who rock natural twists or locs, we are again talking racism and bigotry. And this is where we should not comply.
However, the news is encouraging. Slowly, but steadily, companies are becoming more aware of the need to embrace and respect racial diversity in the workplace, and laws are constantly being made and revised to ensure this.
What of our responsibility to ourselves, as people of color? It is arrogant folly to believe or promote that that there is only one ‘way’ to be black, or to assume that all black women who relax their hair are ashamed of their heritage.
Further, every adult woman has the right to make her own style choices. The dogged promotion of the ‘them and us’ camps – the relaxed sisters versus natural sisters – is counter-productive and a distraction.
We have bigger cultural issues to confront and solve. The debate should focus first on our health. There are proven and documented risks in using chemicals of any sort on your scalp – and relaxers are among the most damaging.
The Hidden Dangers of Relaxers
Most relaxers contain a cocktail of harsh ingredients, such as sodium hydroxide (lye), parabens and phthalates. (Note: even ‘no lye’ relaxers still cause serious damage over time.) On average, women who relax their hair do so every 8 to 10 weeks – often, for decades.
It is virtually impossible to apply relaxer topically without it getting onto the scalp, and therefore into the body. Follicle damage, irreversible alopecia (baldness), endometriosis, fibroids and heart disease have all been linked to long-term use of relaxers.
How to Transition to Natural Hair
If you are thinking of making a change to a healthier scalp and re-uniting with your natural hair texture, remember that there are several ways to make your transitioning journey easier. And an added bonus is that your hair maintenance costs may well come down because natural hair thrives under the care of coconut oil, Shea butter and other superb natural oils that may be obtained very affordably. The freedom from the tyranny of the relaxer is not to be under-estimated!
Love your natural hair, and watch, in wonder, as it loves you right back.
You see it on TV, movies, and magazines – the most lustrous, shiny, deliciously awesome and bouncy natural curls. You want your hair to look the same way, but don’t have the budget to put a professional stylist on your payroll.
There are many products out in the market for those of us looking to engage in natural hair care. Using a mask is only one solution. Drop the drugstore deep conditioning treatments – they don’t work as well as these do-it-yourself, all-natural hair mask ingredients. After all, why not feed your hair the same healthy foods that you feed the rest of your body?
First, let’s go over the basics. There are key hair mask ingredients in every recipe, and each plays a very important role. So what you put into the hair mask for your kinky, curly, coily hair depends on the current health of your hair.
For example, for battling dry, damaged hair, use extra virgin olive oil and honey. Both key ingredients have restorative properties that add moisture to dry hair. If your hair is dry and dull, use honey. If it’s dry and damaged (like ramen noodles, for instance), use extra virgin olive oil.
For oily hair, use lemon as an astringent to get rid of excess oil. If you don’t want to lighten your hair color (lemon does this), you can dilute the lemon with water (use one-part lemon, two-parts water). If your hair breaks easily, add a little egg for a protein boost, which strengthens your locks.
If your hair is not too dry and not too oily, but still lacks that softness and shine, use coconut oil. If you want softer hair, use milk. If you have dandruff, a little apple cider vinegar will get rid of excess oils on the scalp and clear that flaky stuff right up.
Fruit is not only good for the body, but also for your hair. They are simply the best natural hair mask ingredients.
The next time you buy bananas, buy extra for your hair. Bananas are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, potassium, and natural oils. If you want to moisturize your hair and make it stronger to prevent breakage – and to get your curls to look bouncy – blend one or two overripe bananas with a teaspoon of coconut oil, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of honey. Slather the smoothie into your hair and let it settle for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and comb through. No need to shampoo out, but a second rinse might be necessary.
If your hair is on the oily side, make a strawberry hair mask for your kinky, curly, coily hair. Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, which works to control oil production. Simply blend a handful of fresh strawberries (7-10 for shoulder-length hair) to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply evenly to damp hair and leave on for at least 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water, and voila! You have yummy-smelling, healthy, shiny hair!
Try one of these great hair mask and then leave a comment to let me know how it worked for your hair 🙂
It is almost impossible to have healthy skin and hair without also incorporating a healthy nutritional component to your routine. Superfoods definitely add a large group of nutrients to your body in one dose. One of the most popular superfoods out there is spirulina. Below is a great article which delves into all the benefits that Spirulina has to offer. Leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂
If you’ve spent any time reading my blog post for the past 5 years, you know that I believe very strongly that nutrition plays a very important role in caring for your beautiful black skin.
So today I thought we’d take a look at Spirulina. It’s being marketed as the next great superfood. Since it’s been on the planet for thousands of years, why now? Could it be that in man’s arrogance, he actually thinks he’s discovered something new, again. With that being said …
Let’s talk about Spirulina … What is it?
Imagine … you come across a plant that’s been said to nourish your body, provide you with most of the protein you need to live, it can prevent sniffling and sneezing from allergies, reinforce your immune system, help control your blood pressure and cholesterol And help protect you from cancer. Yes, this is what they’re saying about spirulina.
Spirulina is not the average plant found in your garden. It’s often referred to as the miracle plant. It’s actually blue green algae that’s found in bodies of warm fresh water.
One of the oldest life forms on earth, Spirulina cells contain no nucleus and their walls are soft. Why is this important? Because it allows for very easy and complete digestion of the nutrients in Spirulina. Did you know that Spirulina was considered a food staple for certain people for centuries. It’s said that the Mayans and Aztecs consumed Spirulina and actually used it as a form of trade goods.
Essential oils are a great addition to your natural hair and skin regimen. They have great health benefits not just from an aromatherapy standpoint, but also from being applied to the hair and skin directly via carrier oils or creams. Below is a great article breaking down the benefits of essential oils as well as how to properly use them. Leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂
When you think of essential oils, you probably think of how great they smell or don’t smell for that matter. Although they are used to create great smelling perfumes, most essential oils don’t have a perfume type of aroma.
Essential oils are becoming an integral part of alternative modalities when it comes to health, skin and hair challenges. I’m sure you’re familiar with the basic essential oils such as Lavender, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Rose, Eucalyptus … you get the idea. What does this mean for you? For starters, you can use essential oils for your beauty, hair and health care needs.
For skin health:
Some of the best essential oils for skin health are Lavender, Rose, Jasmine and Geranium. In your cleansers, moisturizers, toners and serums by using essential oils, you can create products for yourself that you know are pure and good for you.
Lavender is a wonderful essential oil for minor burns. It can often help you prevent blisters and scars when used “neat” ( applied straight) on your skin.
The right ingredients can make a world of difference when it comes to the results you get for you hair. You should always make sure they are natural and that the blend you use promotes the right amount of moisture for your hair to grow. The article below list the 7 best ingredients to get healthy hair. Leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂
Everyone wants to know that they are putting the best of the best not only in their body, but also on their body. And when it comes to a woman’s hair, we want to make sure that we are putting the best ingredients into our hair in order to get the best results for moisture, shine, and growth retention.
You have to constantly be aware of what you’re putting in your hair to ensure that your hair is always in its best state. You are the one in control of the products you put on your hair. So, how do you know what the best ingredients for black hair care are?
Education is the key. You’ve got to put some time in and know for yourself what to look for and what to avoid.
More and more women are embracing their natural hair while at work inspite of any push back they may encounter. Thankfully there are more work environments that are relaxing their policy when it comes to us being able to freely wear our hair natural in various ways at work. The article below does a great job of addressing the topic. Leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂
All to often you see women taking on a very relaxed approach to their hair and skin during the weekends, giving their tresses and skin a much-needed break.
But what happens when you decide to extend your natural look into your work environment? The sky’s the limit. There’s so much versatility when it comes to natural hairstyles.
There’s also much more information available on Natural Hair and how to care for it.
While natural hairstyles can convey many things from trends, to cultural statements or declarations of individuality … they can be styled to look extremely professional for your work environment.
The right protective styles are a must to help your natural hair grow long and strong. Below is an article that gives you some options on the right style for you. Leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂
Have you gotten so comfortable with your hair that you no longer explore and experiment with new hairstyles?
Water challenges, which are real by the way, got you frustrated with the look and feel of your hair. Probably!
You’ve spent years nurturing your beautiful black hair, having your locs done without fail every two weeks, especially in the beginning phase. And now that you’ve gotten that long awaited ponytail that you can swing from side to side whenever you want too, your creativity has been lulled to sleep.
Sound familiar? What happened to those sweet up dos, beautiful chignons, that cute French roll or side sweep? I’m just saying, there might have been a time when you put more energy into styling your natural tresses and expressing yourself through your hairstyles.