Tag Archives: natural hair

Guest Blogger: I Am No Longer Obsessed With Curls

26 Mar

 

Stacy writes:

I saw your post Kinks, Curls, Coils…It’s All Beautiful!!. It made me think about my own story and how far I’ve come. I wanted to share with your other readers.

I went natural last year to have healthy hair and to liberate myself. Then I got caught up in the curl obsessing. I spent so much money on all of the products that claimed to define your curls. None of them worked for me like I thought they should. None of them gave me loose defined curls like I wanted. I just kept spending.

I tried all of the Miss Jessie’s products. They didn’t do anything for me except empty my wallet and give me build up. I tried all of the gels. They still didn’t make my hair look like the girls in the Youtube videos. They didn’t give me that look I was looking for.

One day it hit me. I am watching videos of all of these women who have looser curls and expecting the same results. There was nothing wrong with my hair. It just wasn;t the same as their hair. I’ve been beating myself up and spending money for no reason. I decided to find some videos featuring ladies who had a texture closer to mine. I decided to stop obsessing over this curly look. It works for some people, but not for me. That isn’t why I went natural.

I wish I would have come to that conclusion a year and hundreds of dollars earlier. I am sharing my story to try to help other women who may have the same experience.  I also want to thank all of the natural hair veterans who have helped me to accept the new me.

Thanks for sharing your story, Stacy. If any of you would like to be a Guest Blogger, please send submissions to me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.

Photo Credit

Guest Blogger: @Kissmycurls

29 Dec

@kissmycurls writes:

Dear America and naturalreviewbyl readers;

I remember my first doll. She was the African-American version of a popular and normally Caucasian doll. She had dark skin, like mine. She had brown eyes, just like me. And she had long, silky, black hair with pretty ribbons in it that matched her dress. Obviously NOT like mine. I didn’t think about this. I played with my doll, taking no note that the doll/human brush that was included didn’t work in my hair. 

                I got my first Barbie doll when I was 9 years old.  She was a Stacie doll, the black version, of course, and had the exact same qualities that my first baby doll had. I touched my own thick and kinky hair in comparison to hers. Stacie’s hair reached her waist. Mine barely touched my shoulders. Hers was soft and combed easily. Only my mother could do my hair.

                In addition to this, all of my classmates, mostly African American, had straightened hair. They wore it loose, compared length, talked about “perms” which at the time I had never heard of. I became the butt of many jokes, called “nappy headed” by my girlfriends, until my thick plaits and tight coils seemed more like a curses than anything else. And after seeing my first Just for Me commercial, and hearing the remixed “I’ll even do your naps for free” jingle sung by my peers, I was convinced that the relaxer was the answer to my young hair prayers.

                I pestered my mom for days, no, weeks. She told me how I could do it in college so that I could have a lot of hair then. I told her how the kids said that my hair doesn’t grow anyway, so I wouldn’t have any hair in college. In addition to this, my temples were starting to thin due to the fact that I played with my edges when I was anxious, which was becoming a daily occurrence anytime I entered the classroom. Mom finally caved and sent me to a hairdresser.

                And so it began. When I became old enough to work, I would send myself to the salon, spending $55 to $60 dollars of my hard-earned tween-aged cash every three weeks to achieve smoothness in my hair and acceptance from my peers. I would leave the salon with my hair “whipped” for a few days, wash and restyle with heat and gels, and become victim to breakage AND looking ridiculous.

                Everyone around me complained about hair breakage, hair growth, white people’s hair, thinning, thickening, box perms and salon trips. It was everyday language. We, only middle-schoolers at the time, were already burdened the threat of hair loss and desperately searched for ways to remedy it. Like puberty wasn’t hard enough. We called each other “nappy-headed” and “bald-headed” and made fun of girls with “African hair” together. I was in! But inwardly, I was very unhappy with my hair, which now only reached my chin even after many hair growing attempts.

                In the coming years I tried everything. Wearing braids for long periods of time. I went for few months only pressing my hair instead of relaxing it. I wore weaves. I wore t-shirts on my head. I wore only ponytails. I bought hair pills, mixed potions, did lotions, deep conditioned for literal hours at a time. My hair would grow, and I would rejoice, until I noticed some damage, went for a haircut, and had to start at step 1 again. Even though my hair was full, I didn’t feel like it was reaching it’s full potential, and I started to resent other races that could just wake up with their hair looking the same way mine would  if I’d spent my morning hours styling instead of sleeping.

                Then in college my sister went natural. She just upped and did it. After witnessing her after her big chop, I stared, gawking. It was a concept I had never thought of before. Just, you know, stopping. Stopping everything, all the chemicals and the heat and wearing YOUR hair as God intended.

                It was the scariest thought I’d ever thunk.

                It was then that I decided that natural hair wasn’t for me. My hair was “nappy”. It “didn’t grow” which was evidenced by its current length. It was “ugly” just like my third grade classmates had told me. The relaxer WAS my savior, I was NOT going back. I didn’t have the right face shape for natural hair anyway. Or the right hair type. I didn’t have time to style my hair. And there was a boy I liked; I can’t approach him with an afro. And I have a pimple on my cheek that I use my hair to hide. I would probably have to get a new wardrobe. I don’t have enough heels, and I’m going out this weekend. My ponytail is my signature; I can’t do that with naps.  Nope, going natural is not for me. Na-uh. But when I saw how my sister’s hair grew, on it’s own, and how she loved it much more than I loved mine, I decided to do it. It wasn’t like I had the greatest hair anyway.

                It took me 8-9 months to finally do my BC. It was short. Like SO short. Afterwards, I stared at it in the mirror. I cocked my head to the side. Then I turned to the other side. Hmm. I got a small mirror and checked out the back. Ooo, it was short. And a little curly…wait, my hair does THAT? I stretched it. It went from 0 to 3 inches. WHOA. All that was in there?? And these discoveries, though terrifyingly new, were enlightening and refreshing.

                I’ve been natural for two years now. It’s been scary, has threatened my self-esteem and then built it up. I’ve been through dry days and greasy days and times when I started the day looking one way and ended it looking another. But this is MY hair. FOREAL. It’s healthy, MANAGABLE, growing, and strong. I don’t feel like an unsuccessful perpetrator anymore. I don’t compare my hair to my Caucasian and Hispanic counterparts because my 4 b-c hair is nothing like theirs; they can see it, and I can see it. It kinks, it curls, is wild when I want it to be and tamed when I don’t. It bounces and does things that straight hair can’t.

                I like my hair. I touch it, I style it, I show it off. I chat up random strangers with curls like mine who have experienced the same freedom-from-cream-crack euphoria. This is finally MY HAIR. The stuff I was born with. After years of relaxing and myriads of weaves, styles, and products, I’ve finally discovered my hair, myself, and my pride. 100% me.

                                                                                                                                Sincerely;

One of the minds behind @kissmycurls

Thanks for sharing your story! For great tips and advice, follow @kissmycurls on Twitter.

Make Natural Hair a Trending Topic

26 Dec

In June, naturals attempted to make “natural hair” a trending topic on Twitter. We are going to try it again. The date has been set for January 2nd. If you are on Twitter, make sure you talk about natural hair on that day. Tell your friends too. Find updates on Twitter from @noireboss.

 

Photo Source: Xenstudio.co.uk

Reflecting on 10 Years of Natural Hair

4 Dec

 

My love of natural hair started when I was in middle school. I remember a friend asking me why black people couldn’t grow long hair. I looked around, and I noticed that I didn’t see many black people with hair down their backs the way I saw with other races. I figured that our hair just didn’t grow that long. Then I remember seeing Maxi Priest and other people with locs. Some of them had hair down to their knees. Most of the time when I saw black people with long hair, it was natural. It made me wonder why. It made me think that the relaxers/perms were doing damage to my hair and keeping it from reaching its full potential. I also loved the way that natural hair looked whether it was locs, afros, or anything else.

When I was in the high school, I came across singer Cassandra Wilson. Her locs looked different than other ones I’d seen, and I loved them.  I told a few friends that I wanted to do my hair like hers, and everyone was appalled because they said that I would have to cut off my hair to do that. I let that deter me. I didn’t want to stand out in that way in high school. I wasn’t ready for that. So, I waited.

I continued to relax my hair until I was 19. I knew it was time because I was more attracted to natural hair styles and more turned off by my straight hair. I waited longer in between perms to give myself more volume. I was tired of the flatness of my hair, and I wanted a change. My older sister made the leap and started sisterlocks. That helped me to finally make the decision to be natural. I had my last relaxer in April of 1999. I wore extensions for a few months, and I did my big chop when I was 20.

My big chop date was November 25, 2000. I still remember when I went back to school after Thanksgiving break with my hair cut low and in coils. The question everyone asked is “Why did you cut off all of your hair?”What they didn’t understand is that there wasn’t just a quick easy answer for that. Also, I didn’t feel like I owed them an answer. So, I usually said “Because I wanted to.”

The black population at my college was pretty small, and I didn’t see any other girls with natural hair. I knew it would make me stand out more than I wanted to, but I also knew that it was something I’d wanted to do for a long time. I couldn’t let being the only one stop me from doing what I wanted to do for myself.  I was proud of myself and excited.

As my locs started to grow, it seemed that the people around me were more uncomfortable with my hair and sometimes their own. They would ask why I wanted locs and explain to me why they couldn’t go natural. Without me saying anything, they assumed that I would judge them. I always looked at my hair as an individual decision. I made a choice about the way I wanted to wear my hair. How other people wore theirs was not important to me.

I had my locs from 2000-2005. Then, I was ready for another change. I started by cutting my locs shorter. That didn’t satisfy me. I considered coloring them. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I was still trying to decide what to do when I spontaneously cut them all off one day. I was nervous because I’d never dealt with my loose natural hair, but I did it anyway. Five years later, I still know that it was the right choice for me.

I have had lots of ups and downs with my loose hair. There were so many failed style attempts and lots of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t.  It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s worth it. I have learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes, and I have never regretted my decision.

I know that natural hair is a lifelong decision for me. I may do a TWA again. I may get locs again. I may get sisterlocks. I don’t have those answers, but I know that I never loved my hair the way that I love it now. I started on the journey with my older sister as my only companion. Now I have two sisters who are natural. My best friend is natural. There is an entire natural community. I love that, and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow.

Happy 10th Birthday to My Natural Hair!!

Black Girls Rock 2010

8 Nov

I watched Black Girls Rock on BET on Sunday night. Awards were given to several different women for making a difference in their own way. I loved that some several young women and even some teens were recognized.  Some of the women who received awards were Raven Symone, Iyanla Vanzant, Keke Palmer, and Ruby Dee.  Iyanla’s acceptance speech was very touching. It was a great show, and we need to have more occasions where women are recognized for making a positive impact. We especially need to recognize young women who are on that track. That inspires them to keep going, and it encourages others to follow down that path.

Of course, one thing that stood out to me was the natural hair. There were natural presenters, performers, dancers, and audience members.  There was a natural backup singer with a blond mohawk. If you look closely, you’ll see lots of naturals. Here are a few who were on stage:

Marsha Ambrosious

Ledisi

Free (far left)

Iyanla

Tracee Ellis Ross

The suprise for me was Malinda Williams. I had no idea that she was natural. Her short hairdo was very cute.

The highlight for me was the performance of Nina Simone’s “4 women” by Marsha Ambrosious, Ledisi, Jill Scott, and Kelly Price. I love that song, and their version was AWESOME!!
Here is a video of the performance:

BET will air Black Girls Rock on Tuesday at 8pm/7pmc

(Check for additional times)

Why do you think that black girls rock? I think there are so many reasons. One is that we are so resilient.

Photo source: Black America Web and BET

What’s the Best Thing About Your Hair?

20 Oct

We are great about giving other people compliments on their hair, but how often do you really take the time to appreciate what is great about your own? Be a little bit vain for a moment, it’s okay.  You’re amongst friends.

Follow me on Twitter @naturalbyl

Sesame Street Celebrates Natural Hair

15 Oct

I’m sure a lot of you have seen this video already, but I am posting it anyway.  I think it is really cute. I liked that they showed the versatility of natural hair. Pass it on to people with and without kids. Enjoy!!

If you love your natural hair, take my natural hair survey. There are over 100 people who have responded so far. I want to hear from as many people as possible. Tell a friend or twenty.

Click here to take survey

L.Y.N.K.H.’s August Meetup

29 Aug

I had the best time yesterday with the ladies of L.Y.N.K.H. (Love Your Natural Kinky Hair). It was my first time going to one of their events. 

Alyssa and Nicole are the great minds behind L.Y.N.K.H.

The description of the meetup said that it was going to feature Kelli of Khemet Botanicals.  I thought we were going to learn about her products, make some purchases, and mingle a little.  I was surprised by how educational it turned out to be.

Kelli wasn’t just interested in telling us about her line, she was informing us about having a healthy scalp and hair. As a chemist, she had a lot of great information to give.  We hear so many opinions about what’s good and what’s bad. It was great to hear from someone with a deeper knowledge about ingredients.  She gave a wonderful presentation, she allowed people to ask questions, and we got the opportunity later to smell and touch her products (which all smelled so so good and have great ingredients).  I will have to try her Lemongrass and Sage shampoo and conditioner. I pretty much love everything lemongrass.

I also met so many great ladies there including two YouTubers. 

YouTuber-The SistahChick. Click HERE to visit her channel

YouTuber Curly Top Lori with her daughter. Visit her channel:HERE

Here’s a few photos of some of the other ladies:

The lady in the picture above was going to go get a new relaxer, but came to the meetup instead when she was invited by a friend.  I thought it was so great that everyone in the group embraced her and gave her some great feedback.  They didn’t tell her that getting a relaxer was bad or wrong.  They just shared with her how they feel about their hair, and how they care for it.  Whichever decision she makes, I felt good about the love she was given.

I can’t wait for the next event! I will definitely be there. 

If you are interested in learning more about L.Y.N.K.H., visit the site:HERE
You can also check them out on Facebook: HERE .

Submissions for NaturalReview

22 Aug

This blog is not about me and my hair.  I can share what I like, but I want others to share their experiences as well. The more people who share, the more beneficial it is to others who read.  I want to show different hair types, ideas, and styles.  For that, I need some stories, reviews, photos, and tutorials from all of you.  Remember that the blog is also about more than hair.  I will put some ideas below of possible submissions.  If you have something different, send that too.

  • Hairstory
  • Product Reviews (for hair, skin, and body)
  • Style tutorials
  • Tips/Advice
  • Happy stories/horror stories
  • Photos of you and your hair
  • Recipes (for food, body, home, and hair)
  • Videos
  • Topic suggestions

Send all submissions to me at naturalbyl@gmail.com.  Thanks to all of you who have submitted stories and photos already.  I appreciate it.

10 Tips for Transitioners

3 Jul

 

Yesterday there was a post on my page asking about transitioning.  The writer wanted to know what her relative could do to keep her hair from breaking off as she transitions. 

This process is different for each person.  It has a lot to do with the condition the person’s hair was in before they began the transition.  Even so, there are some basic things that a transitioner can do to work towards healthy hair.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Regular deep conditioners
  • Reduce use of heat
  • Try to incorporate protective styles
  • Comb your hair while it’s wet
  • Use a widetooth comb
  • Sleep with a silk/satin scarf or on a silk/satin pillowcase
  • Find a good leave in conditioner that works for your hair
  • Trim your hair if it is needed (Don’t try to hold on to damaged hair)
  • Try EVOO, shea butter, coconut oil, and other natural products

 I encourage others who are reading this to add their own tips in the comments section.