Monday, April 30, 2012

Can't Tell Me Nuthing!

Cute hair day ....

I Think I Know You?

It's not every day that you meet the owners of a hair care company with customers who have natural hair, relaxed and color treated hair. 

But that's exactly what happened to me this weekend. Hubby and I like to go to open houses on the weekends. So we were doing our normal open house thing on Sunday afternoon when we stopped by a gorgeous house, owned by an interior designer, in the Atlanta area.

First, let me say that I walked into this house with my mouth open. The house looked as if it was straight out of the pages of Architectural Digest. Nothing over-the-top or extravagant, but everything from the artwork to the chairs to tables were all extremely unique -- yet they ALL fit perfectly into this house.

I couldn't get my eyes off the home's decor, so much so that I barely paid attention to the couple touring the house before we arrived. We said hello, but I didn't really notice them until after the woman had almost turned to go out the door. She looked familiar, but I couldn't place her face. At first, I thought she was a YouTube Blogger and as she was getting ready to leave, I said, "Excuse me, are you a hair blogger?"

She smiled and said, "No, we own a hair care company, Hydratherma Naturals!"

The couple was Saleemah and Willie Cartwright, owners of Hydratherma Naturals -- hair care products that promise to give your hair a "nourishing balance of moisture and protein."


Natural Hair Care in the Flesh
FYI: I didn't think that this would be a blog topic until AFTER I met them, so I hope she doesn't mind me posting about how we met! For full disclosure, this post was my idea; the Cartwrights didn't ask me to write it.

I was geeked beyond belief! Saleemah and her husband were so nice in person.

We chatted about hair for a few minutes (her about her company, me about starting in late September, the World Natural Hair Show on Saturday in Atlanta, and  blogs we visit, such as,, and others.)

I'm sure the agent was looking at us like we were crazy, but I am all about the hair, LOL.

Hubby just looked at us in awe. Later, he asked me how I recognized her. Her picture is prominently featured on her products, that's why!

I NEVER thought I'd meet a hair care manufacturer in person. So, if you haven't checked out Saleemah's products, please go to Hydratherma Naturals. Nice to meet you Saleemah and Willie and congratulations on the success of your products!

Have you ever met a blogger, a hair care company owner or a YouTube vlogger in person?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Attending Natural Hair Shows: 5 Things to Know Before You Go

Look at all the people at the World Natural Hair Show!
Natural hair will be the talk of ATL this weekend, as the city hosts the 15th Annual World Natural Hair Show.

The show is a don't miss event -- there's simply no other time or place to see this many products at one time. EVERYONE is here -- from larger brands like Shea Moisture to mom and pop brands with dreams of making it big. If you've always wanted to try a certain brand of products, you're in luck.

There are sample giveaways galore and product demonstrations. The show is a product junkie's dream --- all natural hair products, all in one place, just fingertips away -- no need to pay postage or travel across town to grab your products.
I've gone to at least three natural hair shows. Before you go, make sure you follow these 5 tips. They apply to any large hair show. I'll warn you: The spring show is MUCH larger than the fall World Natural Hair Show. If you are scared of crowds, stay home. You'll probably be shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow patrons.

Also, be wary of bringing kids -- especially little ones. They're little legs will get tired dragging them around and it will make it tougher for you to shop. There are so many people that it's tough to have a stroller. A few years ago, I brought my tween daugthers and I spent too much time making sure no one got lost in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.
  1. Dress comfortably. I can't stress this enough. I know 5-inch heels are cute and all, but the hair show is in a large banquet hall area of the Georgia International Convention Center. You will be walking. And throbbing feet are so not the business! Make sure your footwear is comfortable. Cute flats are OK. Be cute, yes, but remember your outfit has got to be made for walking around.
  2. Narrow down your dream products. You will see LOTS of things you want. Last year, I knew I wanted to try Anthony Dickey's Hair Rules. So I stalked the booth and managed to get a fistful of products. There are so many exhibitors that it's easy to lose track. But if you know that you've always wanted to try Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding (they are usually ALWAYS there and give out tons of free samples and have product demos) and don't want to fork over $40 at Target, get over to the Miss Jessie's booths quickly. I still have lots of Miss Jessie's samples from the show last year -- probably enough to make a small jar. Samples are free, but they don't last forever. Last year, samples of Jane Carter's Curly Solution were gone within a few hours of the show.
  3. Cash rules. Lots of vendors will have credit card machines and there's an ATM at the convention center. But then again, some vendors won't have credit card machines and will only accept cash. Have cash on you just in case. You'll need it anyway for parking, which is $5.
  4.  Check prices. If you go on the last day, you're bound to get better deals from vendors who don't want to schlepp that stuff home. Know that you may find the same products -- especially earrings -- for sale at many vendors for different prices. Unless it's a pair of to-die for earrings (there are plenty of them at the show) try to be competitive and see what prices others are offering on them. Last year, I picked up three bars of Shea Moisture's black soap for $10; they normally retail for $4.99 each at stores.
  5. Be inspired. You will see show much freakin' gorgeous natural hair! From locs to twist outs and braids, natural hair is in full display. You'll get whiplash from the many gorgeous heads that you'll see.
How do you shop at natural hair shows?

World Natural Hair Show Hosts Largest Hair Show in Southeast

The 15th Annual World Natural Hair Show heads into Atlanta this weekend and I can't wait.

Sponsored by Taliah Waajid, the show is one of the biggest natural hair shows in the southeast, attracting tens of thousands. Anyone who is anyone in natural hair is here -- Shea Moisture, Miss Jessie's, Anthony Dickey, Jane Carter Solution, as well as many small and up-and-coming brands.

It's not just hair stuff; there are booths lined with earrings, clothes, hair accessories and more, and there are plenty of  hair competitions, exhibits and presentations. Natural songstress Chrisette Michelle is also scheduled to make an appearance.

If you are in or near Atlanta, you really should go. I'll definitely be in the building, soaking up all that is natural hair! Last year's spring show was so big that local fire marshals had to stop people from coming in because it was too packed. I'm expecting even more people this year.

General admission tickets are $10 on Saturday and Sunday; parking is $5.

Are you going to the World Natural Hair Show?

Monday, April 23, 2012

White Celebs Rocking Kinky Wigs

I saw this picture of Cher today and I just had to wonder: Are white celebs rocking natural wigs now?

Really? Is this a trend? Hold my La Jay wig! Cause it's about to be a run on afro wigs. And the one that Cher is sporting in this photo with Chaz looks an awful lot like a La Jay wig.

I can see the story now on those entertainment shows-- Cher wears natural wig. Hollywood embraces natural wigs. You better stock up now, because they're "in" and the price just went up! Is this what black women in  Hollywood need to embrace their natural hair -- a white woman wearing a wig? I kid, but really, I'm only half kidding.

Really don't know how I feel about this; we say hair is just "hair," but that's not true all the time.

If she likes it, Meh. As long as it's not stereotypical, worn in blackface as part of a stupid Halloween costume, I *guess* I'm OK? Though I've always found it very ironic that some white folks will wear kinky wigs during Halloween and have very negative attitudes about kinky hair. But whatevs.

What do you think?

Natural Hair In The D

Shout out to my former Detroit News' colleague, Donna Terek, for a wonderful Sunday column about natural hair in Detroit. I've had the pleasure to work with Donna in the past and she's one cool journalist.

Her piece was very thorough and well-researched with comments from local loctitians and natural hair stylists. She accurately captured the growth of natural hair in the Black community, profiling Naturally Flyy Detroit's natural hair meetup -- the brainchild of sisters Charise and Jennifer Thomas.

Our Culture and Natural Hair
Donna's is Caucasian, but she nailed it when it came to the cultural context of having natural hair -- the liberation we feel when wearing our natural hair; how wearing our hair naturally challenges straight hair is right ideology; why some women go natural; and how we scored a coup when Viola Davis rocked natural cropped hair at the Academy Awards.

Detroit is my hometown and is FIERCE in the hair world, so I'm always proud to show some love. I've copied the column below.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Men With Natural Hair

Women of color are embracing natural hair, but what about men?

Natural hair styles are just as "bold" of a choice for men as it is for women -- after all, most dudes have systematically gotten haircuts since they were toddlers. Maybe natural hair styles are an even bolder choice for them, because they also have to deal with a length stigma that men aren't "supposed" to have long hair because it is too feminine.

Men and the Natural Hair Debate

Natural hair styles for men are still one of the last natural hair "taboos." When it comes to black men and men of color, a tight faded cut has been a universal, go-to style since the 1990s. But things are changing.

Sure, celebs, singers and creative types like my Detroit homie and singer, Dwele, singer Eric Benet, actor Michael Ealy, singer Maxwell, rocker Lenny Kravitz, and comedians D.L. Hughley and Ricky Smiley and others rock natural hair.

Yet, around the way? It's still uncommon to see dudes rocking natural hair styles like freeform afros. (Locs have been popular for years, especially in areas like the South.)

But I'm starting to see more rocking natural styles beyond locs and that's a good thing. Men are redefining natural hair styles and what it means for them. For women, there's a bonus: There's just a certain sex appeal with men who wear natural hair styles, especially long, flowing locs IMO.

Natural hair styles for men -- YouTube

Resources for Natural Men
Just like women, men still face huge battles when it comes to natural hair  -- remember the controversy surrounding the 2011 Nivea ad that showed a Black man flinging the masked head of a man with a thick beard and afro with the words, "Re-Civilize Yourself?"

Sadly, there aren't a whole lot of natural hair resources made specifically for men. That's got to be difficult considering all of the online blogs, communities and forums about natural hair that cater to women., and other sites have male bloggers, but their perspective seemingly gets lost among natural women.

And if you want to get technical, most men do have natural hair, as long as they don't have texturizers.

Male Bias?
Still, when it comes to natural hair and men, it's usually from the perspective about how men feel about OUR natural hair. But what about THEIR hair? They face the same natural hair prejudices -- if not more -- than women do. Suggest growing out a toddler boy's hair and not cutting it and let me know how that works for you; it's still largely frowned upon, especially in the Black community.

Men can be just as biased about natural hair as women, considering that growing up they heard the same messages about natural hair as we did. Men who rock natural hair styles need our support too! As long as they aren't buying up all the natural hair products, we're good (LOL)!

What do you think about men who wear natural hair styles? Do men face the same natural hair challenges as women? Who is your favorite natural hair male icon?

HairCrush: Inna Modja

I love Inna Modja! Think she has fly style.

Check out her latest shoot for Beauty Magazine, via and NaturallyThick.


Who is your favorite natural hair model?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When Folks Come To You For Natural Hair Advice

I've had a few recent online convos with two people who are relatively new on their natural hair journeys; one is a heat-trained natural who now wants to wear her hair curly and the other is transitioning.

It's a weird feeling, HairNistas. Don't get me wrong: I'm honored to even be asked for advice.
For years, I was the one asking questions, lurking on forums, reading natural hair sites and blogs obsessively (still do that, LOL), trying to figure out my regimen.  

Now folks are coming to ME? WHAT! WHAT! I know I blog about natural hair, but it's much different when there's a name and a face that you connect with. I'm hoping that folks read this blog, but much of what's popular on my blog aren't the posts where I try my best to impart hair knowledge  -- it's fashion, celebs with natural hair, etc.

So now I pass on websites like,, and --- my go-to sites for natural hair and information. Great feeling and awesome responsibility.

The natural hair world is on my shoulders, yo!

How do you feel about giving natural hair advice?

HairNista on Facebook

In case you miss our fab posts on natural hair and fashion throughout the week, make sure you "like" the HairNista Facebook page to read about the latest trends in natural hair and fashion.

You'll find all of the natural hair inspiration, tips and fashion found on HairNista but in a different venue. It's perfect for those of you who may not come to the blog regularly, but are on FB at home, at work, in the car, at cheerleading pratice, LOL.

We're committed to giving you the best natural hair and fashion advice. If there are any topics you'd like to see on HairNista, let us know on our FB page.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wedding Natural Hair Styles: The Perfect Natural Hair Style [Video]

Wedding season is right around the corner. Whether you're the bride, have been invited to a wedding, or are a bridesmaid, your wedding natural hair style will be an important part of your ensemble -- especially for brides.

If you're not sure what natural style to pull off, Naptural85, a popular vlogger from Atlanta, has a video to help. Her style is perfect, isn't too complicated, and hopefully will provide you with some natural hair inspiration for wedding or formal hair.


How will you wear your hair for weddings this spring/summer?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Teens and Natural Hair: Going Back to My Roots

Teens and natural hair (Elaine is NOT pictured above)
This is a piece from Elaine Vilorio, a high school junior in New Jersey, about natural hair on, that really resonated with me.

A child is sat down. She is screaming. Why is she being forced to do this? It burns her scalp. It really burns her scalp. After this procedure, she is inserted into a high-temperature contraption. It is hot. She is crying. After being removed from the contraption, more heat is applied to her scalp. An irritated individual assures her that sobbing will only drag out the process. Finally, after many tears and many burns, the procedure is done. Look in the mirror, little girl. You are not hideous anymore. Smile -- your hair is now straight.

You might have thought the introduction was something borrowed from a horrendous child abuse case. Or you're more informed than I thought -- you might have recognized that the matter surrounding my description was a simple one: hair. We all know that individuals in our society take extreme measures to fit the mold of beauty. Teenage girls do not, after all, become bulimic or anorexic because it is fun. But this goes beyond fitting the mold of beauty. This is about racial perception and I am, by a long shot, not the first person to be discussing this issue.

If you know anything about the hair of people of African descent, you know that its texture is variably rough. Let's take a look at the history of black hair, dating back to the days of American slavery. In the 1700s, the white superiors of African slaves began referring to black hair as "wool," not as real hair. After slavery ended, black women wished to be taken seriously.

Natural hair was regarded as primitive and sloppy. According to, which provides an excellent outline of the history of black hair, "good hair" or straightened hair became a must for entering certain schools, churches, social groups, and business networks in the late 1960s and beyond. From then on, the business surrounding straighteners for ethnic hair boomed. Black women or women of mixed descent, their insecurities about their hair at quite a high level, flocked to salons to be transformed into beautiful, straight-haired amazons. Society established a mandate: straight hair is accepted hair.

Straight hair is deemed more professional, more sophisticated. It is, after all, "good hair." This phenomenon of the "right hair" stemmed from insecurities based on racist perceptions of beauty and has grown into a less serious but nevertheless disturbing entity in our modern-day society. Young girls, like the one described in the introduction, are brought to salons to make their hair pretty. After all, straight and pretty are interchangeable words.

Why do I feel so passionate about this topic? I am as apathetic to the world of fashion and appearance as a teenage boy. But, like anyone, I like feeling good about how I look and what I wear. I love to look my best. After all, who doesn't? There is a popular saying that everyone has heard: "Beauty is pain." Pain? No thanks, I like to avoid that. Having ethnic hair myself, I know about the effects of the perming process firsthand. It is no trip to the candy shop -- at all.

The FDA states that hair straighteners and hair dyes are one of its top consumer complaint factions. This is no surprise. The effects of perming ethnic hair include hair breakage, hair thinning, scalp irritation, and lack of hair growth. These symptoms sound like those of a disease. Go figure.
What makes perming you hair so hazardous? Sodium hydroxide, the same strong chemical used to clean drain pipes, is a dominant substance in hair relaxers. According to, the strength of this substance varies from a pH of 10 to 14; the higher the pH, the stronger the relaxer and the more damage it does. Certain relaxers proudly wear the "no-lye" label. This simply means that guanidine hydroxide is the principle ingredient, as opposed to sodium hydroxide. Although the former is less damaging then its colleague, it still contains potentially damaging chemicals.

The ways in which the relaxer "relaxes" the hair is both fascinating and disturbing, the same mixed reaction elicited from a good horror movie. The relaxer, whether "no-lye" or otherwise, changes the structure of the hair shaft by piercing the cortical layer and altering the natural curl pattern. This layer is not only responsible for giving the hair its curl pattern, but also for providing it with the elasticity and strength it requires to be healthy. Thus, in the process of making it straighter, the hair is left weaker and more liable to damage.  But, now, let's get personal.
 had been chemically straightening my hair from a young age -- six years old. My hair was unruly, wild, and thus, hideous. All through those years, my hair thinned excessively. In eighth grade, I let my mother know enough was enough. My hair was extremely thin and I did not feel comfortable dipping my hair into chemicals any more. After an interim of no relaxing, I finally broke down and wanted to relax my hair again. It was not straight, and so, it was not pretty. I wanted to feel pretty again. I was, after all, a 14-year-old girl.

Finally, last August, I began toying with the idea of growing out my natural hair and ditching the chemicals again. I extensively researched on the topic. What were the pros and cons of "going natural"? How would I look without my straight hair? How would I style my hair if it was not straight? After persuading my mother, who has naturally straight hair and did not understand my desire to stop perming, I cut my hair. I stopped perming it. My father was immediately displeased. He said I did not look presentable, put-together, or professional. "You should straighten your hair," he said, "You just do not look right."

My father voiced the very words that prompted former female slaves in the 1700s and 1800s to straighten their hair. When I went to school with my hair in its natural form, for the first time, I was met with mixed reactions. There were those who praised my hair and said they loved it. But, there were those who laughed and taunted me. I had a friend who stated, matter of factly, that people with my hair texture should not wear it naturally because it was "ugly" and "looked wrong."

Today, I am proud to wear my hair naturally, regardless of the sneers I get from people who first see it. I no longer wanted to hide my hair under a shroud of chemicals that were damaging it. The media and society in general should stop portraying the image that straight hair is the right hair. Women of mixed or African descent should not be ashamed to wear their hair in its natural state. They should be proud of what was given to them. The societal pressure to have straight hair should not shape our idea of beauty. The hair-care industry makes billions by taking advantage of this insecurity, and thus, damaging the hair of women and girls everywhere. As individuals, we need to shape our own personal idea of beauty. Bruno Mars wasn't lying -- you are beautiful just the way you are. Let the world see that.

Vilorio's piece was so inspiring. So mature for such a young age; I applaud her that, at a young age, she's gotten the lesson that many of us much older folks still struggle with: That straight hair isn't the only way to feel beautiful, we shouldn't feel ashamed to wear our hair naturally, and how the beauty industry takes advantage of our insecurity -- and laughs all the way to the bank. .

What do you think about teens and natural hair? Are you a teen with natural hair or do you have a teen with natural hair?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Product Review: Trader Joe Nourish Spa Conditioner

I have tried just about every type of cheap conditioner. Most of them just sit on top of my natural hair and do nothing. Other than using Herbal Essence Hello Hydration for detangling (it's got supa dupa slip), conditioners and I did not get along.

Until, I found Trader Joe Nourish Spa two weeks ago. For years, I've heard about Trader Joe's condish. But I never bought the stuff. It's only $2.99, but I think that deep down, I didn't think it would work well.

I've tried other cheap condishes that other naturals rave about -- AlbertoVO5 Moisture Milks, Aussie Moist, Garnier Fructis. While they were mostly great for detangling or providing a base to my wash-and-go, I didn't find many other uses.

The only conditioner my hair halfway liked was Scala -- a Dominican conditioner I used to buy at Big Lots. I think the conditioner isn't manufactured anymore and I'm really not willing to pay $5 a pop or more online for conditioner I spent only $1.29 or so for.

My Results
When I tell you that Trader Joe's Nourish Spa is the I keep kicking myself -- what have I been waiting for all this time? Finally, a condish that I can use for braidouts/twistouts, updos, flat twists and other protective styles.

This gives me so many styling options -- a benefit since I'm giving up wash-and-gos with gel. I desperately needed some new styling options; this provides it. Plus, it lengthens and smoothes out my hair cuticle with no shrinkage. I still can't do conditioner wash-and-gos to save my life -- (asking for too much, right?) -- but I'm just glad to find a product staple.

For $2.99, I'll never go without it.

Flat twist protective style with Trader Joe's Nourish & Spa condish

Have you tried Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner? What were your results?

Mourning the Death of My Beloved Wash-and-Go ...

Flat twist with Trader Joe's Nourish Spa condish
Natural hair doesn't always live up to our expectations.

Sure, we start off with lofty goals, high aspirations, even.

But then, the rubber meets the road. Or, in natural hair lingo, the deep conditioner with uber slip meets dry, porous hair. And that's when our expectations meet with reality and come to a screeching halt.

Don't get me wrong: I've been natural for a long time and my expectations are still forming. I still don't feel like I've totally figured things out all the way. Every product is a new discovery. Part of the reasons why my expectations are still forming, even after 5+ years of being natural (had a brief affair with a texturizer in 2007, but had been a heat-trained natural since 1995) is that what my hair needed at the TWA stage is very, very different than what it needs now.

The Wash-and-Go Breakup

Each stage of the game is different -- and so, too, are the products, techniques and even styles that play well with our hair. For me, wash-and-gos worked so well with my hair. They were easy; I thought I could do them forever. They were my boo!

But right now, I just can't. Me and wash-and-gos have had a falling out.

I know, I know. I've talked about the end of wash-and-gos for a while now. But you know how you have a relationship that's hanging by a thread and then there's the final straw? Yup, that's where I'm at with it.

The Back and Forth

It's been hard to let go.

I've gone back and forth. But now I'm sticking to my guns now. Our love affair is over!

I've looked at old pictures of wash-and-go hair and wondered, Where is THAT hair? Didn't see a tangle. But now? BYE! Tangles galore. And I've come to the conclusion, after looking at some recent pics, that as the longer my hair has gotten, they just don't look all that good on me anymore.


Only when my hair is in an updo is the wash-and-go look OK on me.

My New Go-To Styles

Meanwhile, I've found some other styles. For the last two weeks, I've been using Trader Joe's Nourish Spa conditioner (product review to come later) with good results. I still can't do conditioner wash-and-gos because the conditioner just sits on top of my hair. However, it's great for me when used with protective styles, because it's just about the only conditioner I've found that moisturizes and lengthens my hair without mad shrinkage.

I've rocked pompadour updos, flat twists in the front with a braid and yes, I've even gotten decent braidouts/twistouts with it. (Thank You, Jesus!) So, I'm glad to find a new product and more styles and perhaps even sadder to bury an easy, tried-and-true style.

RIP wash-and-gos.

What styles, regimens, products or techniques have you had to let go?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Hair

I opted for a simple look - a flat twist - while the girls wore their hair to the back.

Add caption

How did you wear your hair on Easter?

HairTroversy: Natural Hair As the Butt of Jokes

Source: TruTv on

There are naturals everywhere we turn, on blogs, in commercials and on YouTube, but there is no shortage of jokes about natural hair. From kids lobbing insults about natural hair on the playground, to grown adults, some people feel compelled to get it in whenever the topic is kinky, coarse natural hair.On a completely basic level, it begs the question, "why?"

Nappy Hair on Reality TV
That's exactly what I asked myself while watching the Weiners Circle reality show on Tru TV recently. Now, I will admit that the show was my guilty pleasure -- non-PC ratchedness every week around an infamous Chicago hot dog stand-- (hey, don't judge me).

I don't like to throw around the world "ghetto" but there's no other word for it -- a cast of all-black characters who serve mostly drunk white patrons near Wrigley Field. Ghetto is the only word I can think of when describing a restaurant in which employees call patrons "bitches " on the regular.

If those patrons are OK with employees calling them "bitches" and challenging them to stupid contests like giving a free hot dog to male customers who stripped or had shaved testicles, that's on them. Who am I to say no?

But it makes for hilarious reality TV.  Part of why I liked the show is for the foolishness factor. They clown on the patrons and they make fun of themselves. There's plenty of yelling, cursing, laughing and even impromptu dance sessions, rap battles and "hood" drama.

This is not high-brow television; no educational lessons or value here, and yes, very stereotypical. There's no shortage of tomfoolery and schooling white folks on "Black" culture -- having white folks translate Black slang,   asking Asian girls what Black folks like, white folks acting like Black folks, etc. As I said, very stereotypical. And while I could blog all day about this topic alone, I'm going to stick to just hair.

As I asked in an earlier post, though, are they laughing at us or with us?

Kinky Hair As The Punchline
And while the show was funny as hell for it's ratchetness, the jokes stopped for me when Weiners Circle employees Erika and Poochie called a lady wearing short twists "nappy" and a man whose natural hair they shaved off at the restaurant "nappy." For the record, his hair was a bit unkempt.

The show had been funny as heck -- up until that moment. And then it felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. I couldn't believe it. I counted at least three mentions of "nappy" hair -- one of which Erika let slip, then quickly changed her wording.

Nappy is one of those weird words in the natural hair community. Nappy is like the N word -- some folks want to redefine its meaning, others embrace it and put in on T-shirts and earrings, while others don't use it at all. Nappy has a lot of baggage -- and I'll admit that I've used nappy in many different contexts in my life.

The Joke is on Straight Hair
I love comedy. And I don't have a problem with some shows or comedians that make fun of everybody -- like Family Guy, Simpson's and even comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle.

But why is our ish on display for the whole world to see? It gives white folks a peek into our hair issues and gives them a license to use the word, too. I'm waiting on the day when straight hair is clowned on -- why is your hair straight? You need to do something with that straight hair! Your hair is so.... straight!

Oh, I forgot, that won't ever happen. See how weird it sounds? I want folks ragging on nappy hair to feel the same way. No one likes to have their hair made fun of. I just want natural hair to stop being the focus of jokes.

FYI: Weiners Circle is one of the oldest reality shows, getting its start on radio in the 90s and a stint on reality TV about five years ago.

As a side note,  I found a clip on Most Shocking TV on TruTV (found while searching for an online episode of Weiners Circle) that shows a scene of two black women fighting at a club. One of the women tears one woman's wig off -- revealing mostly bald hair, ravaged by what looks like alopecia. Humiliating, and I could feel this woman's pain.

How do you feel when people use the word nappy or make fun of natural hair on reality TV or in real life? Do you think we make natural hair the center of jokes?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Are Your Easter Hair Plans?

It's almost Easter and, if you're like some, you've gotten your Easter outfit ready.

Now, what about your hair?

Easter is one of those ... interesting holidays, especially when it comes to hair (Didn't you know, everything has a hair connection, LOL!).

Patent Leather Shoes and Frilly Easter Dresses
For many of us, Easter holidays growing up meant getting your new Easter dress, shiny shoes and your hair was probably done in a special hair style -- straightened or at least in Shirley Temple Curls. Maybe you headed to church. No matter, Easter was the time you got sugar sharp -- and usually that meant a special hairstyle that day.

I'll be heading to church tomorrow for services, joining the CMEs (Christmas, Mother's Day and Easter crowd who normally only attend on those holidays). I'm not an every Sunday, I'm in church kind of person, but I go far more Sundays than I don't attend -- and no, I'm not counting Bedside Baptist services, LOL).

The church I go to now is more like blue jean churches -- wear your denims or dress up; your choice. Along with all the fanfare of Easter, is a lot of tradition, especially when it comes to hair. It's such a big deal in some of our churches that some folks won't even go to church if they don't have the "right" outfit or the "right" hair style. Whatevs. Don't matter if you are a CME or if you aren't suga sharp. I believe there are more blessings waiting for you in church than outside of it.

As far as hair goes, I probably won't be doing anything really different to my hair for church tomorrow. The girls will do their hair in their normal styles (I didn't get their blow-outs this week, maybe next week). I definitely did not go out and buy Easter dresses.

What about you? Are you planning a special hair style for Easter?

Friday, April 6, 2012

5 Tips for Transitioners

Natural hair is catching the world by storm.

Everywhere you turn, there's a kink, curl, coil or wave.

Though many of us have long been on our respective hair journeys, there are transitioners who are new to the game. Here are a few hair tips for those who want to embrace their natural hair, but don't quite know how.

Change your hair perceptions. For many HairNistas, permed hair is all we know or all that we remember. Because we had relaxers beginning at a very young age, many of us many not know or remember how to take care of our natural tresses. Just as learning how to care for your natural hair is a process, so, too, is our perceptions of the hair growing from our scalps. This is a total change from the days when the first sign of a crinkle, curl or wave sent us running to the hair salon for a touchup or to the drugstore for a fresh box of relaxer. 

Your hair isn't the same, so it's going to look a lot different than what it used to. It's going to take a certain amount of "embracing" your hair -- all parts of it -- to avoid you from going transition crazy or running back to get that box of relaxer. If you are struggling with blending your straight and natural hair, styles like flat ironing, flexirods/curlformers and even wigging it are your friends.

Find motivation. Keep natural hair sites like, and --- all great resources. Accept that some days, your hair game may not be on point. When you are having bad hair days, go to sites like and for inspiration and motivation to continue your journey.

Avoid the urge to go product crazy. The temptation is so there for you to try every product under the sun, especially when you're new to this. Develop your staple regimen, but don't go broke doing it. What works at the TWA stage may not work when your hair is shoulder length. Find a few good products and stick to them. I like to stick with basics and go from there. If you know your hair hates shea butter, products with shea butter probably aren't going to work for you. And, if you do experiment, make sure you give your product enough time to work (at least a month without mixing too many other new products) and capture the results in a journal or by picture.

Avoid hair comparison. When you're new to natural hair, it's easy to obsess over things like hair type or have illusions about what our hair will do based on that YouTubers hair or maybe our friends' hair. You think: Her hair grew eight inches that first year, mine will, too. Maybe it will; maybe it won't. But don't set yourself up for disappointment. Your hair is your hair; no amount of YouTube vids will make your hair like HER hair.

Get the basics down. It's easy to go hair crazy when you first go natural. But no matter the length, the basics are the same -- detangling, washing, conditioning, deep conditioning, and sealing and moisturizing. Get these routines down -- ESPECIALLY moisturizing and sealing -- and the products and and your hair will thank you for it.

What was your experience during your transition? What helped and what didn't help?

Inna Modja For Cosmo

Inna Modja for Cosmo
I don't have to tell HairNistas how fly, sexy and sophisticated natural hair is --- you already know!

But in case you need a little reminder, these natural hair images via speak for themselves.

Inna Modja for Cosmopolitan Magazine

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Natural Plus-Size Model Philomena Kwao Wins National Modeling Contest in U.K.


I don't usually get too hyped on model news, and no, this isn't an America's Next Top Model rehash.

But I'm glad that Brit Philomena Kwao, 22, won a UK national search for the new face of the high street fashion chain Evans. Kwao, of Ghanian descent, has also been in clothing ads and in spreads in Cosmo.  She also has a top modeling contract with Models 1, which has represented Naomi Campbell and other top models like Linda Evangelista and Claudia Schiffer.

And, did I mention she's natural? Naturals, represent!

The Bristol University economics grad, international health management grad student and self-described "geek" is stunning, whether sporting  her trademark faded hairstyle or rocking a weave. Though some have dubbed her the UK's first "Black plus-size pin up," I like that Kwao doesn't emphasize beauty over brains.

“I hope to use this as a platform by which I can hopefully empower girls and young women like myself.," said Kwao, quoted in the Daily Mail via Coco and Creme. I also want to be a figurehead for young girls today who sometimes may become disillusioned by ‘the glamorous lifestyle. I want to show them that you can really do it all if you try; that is to pursue your dreams, whatever they maybe and get an education. Your education doesn’t have to suffer! I also want to help spread the message that there is beauty in everything: every shape, colour, size, and height … whatever. We are all beautiful.”

Curvy Models To The Rescue?
Kwao,who is a size 16, is among a wave of "curvier" models who  have recently begun to grace magazine spreads and runways. Though designers have for years of focused on size 0 and 2 models, they have begun to rethink their so-called "heroin chic" look  and we've begun to see models with slightly more realistic bodies.

Though what the modeling industry calls "plus-size" a lot of times really isn't; it's just average.


What do you think? Do you think that more designers are embracing "curvier" models? Are more natural models next?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Daddy, Daughter Hair Moments

President Obama and a young Malia Obama with her hair in a puff. How cute!
Seems that our favorite president, President Obama, himself, has hair styling skills -- or maybe not!

During a dinner with six guests at a private dinner with the President and FLOTUS as part of the President's dinner contest, Obama told a story of when he styled Malia's hair. This is what he said, according to :

"My favorite story out of this is Malia, when she was 4, she had a little dance thing. Well, Michelle was gone that weekend so I’m taking her to ballet. And I get her in her little leotard and her little stuff. I did her hair, put it in a little bun.
We get to the dance studio and one of the mothers there right away comes up to Malia – she thinks she’s out of earshot of me and she says, ‘Sweetie, do you want me to redo your hair?’ And Malia who she’s 4 says, ‘Yes please, this is a disaster’ you know, she didn’t want to hurt daddy’s feelings."
Too funny!

No Daddy Memories, but Hubby Memories

I don't have any daddy/daughter hair stories (my father didn't raise me) but I would always "help" my grandfather, who did raise me, comb his hair.  He never combed mine, LOL! Grandaddy was mostly bald, but had a wee bit of hair on the sides.

He'd come home from work, tired from working as a supervisor on the assembly line at Chrysler, and sit in a chair at the kitchen table. I'd grab his pocket comb from his shirt pocket and begin combing his hair as he nodded off to sleep. I had to have been a very  young child. My grandfather has been gone for almost 14 years now, but it's one of the memories that I cherish.

Now, my husband on the other hand,  has done the girls' hair a few times -- once when my oldest was 1 1/2 and I was having my youngest -- and brushed it down a few other times when the girls' ponytails were a mess and I was out of pocket. All of those times, my girls looked a HAM!

I had just had my youngest, who was born premature, and I took one look at my then toddler's hair and was like, WTH? Yup, he's been "banned" from doing their hair ever since!

What daddy, daughter hair stories can you share? Or,  does your  husband do your daughter's hair? Is he better at styling than you?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

You Know You Are Obsessed When ...

Three naturals in a crowded TJ Maxx. One natural says to another natural (they both worked for TJ Maxx),

"I have that shampoo for you from Miss XXX."

I'm standing in the check out line and thinking, "What shampoo?" I wanted to ask so bad!

Later in the parking lot, hubby asked me why didn't I ask about the shampoo? He knows me and knew was just dying to ask. I told him that I started to ask, but didn't want to butt in the convo.

Have you ever overheard another natural talking about a product or regimen and you wanted to butt in?

Was it Just Me?

Over the weekend, me and the hubby were enjoying our usual Saturday spring routine -- cruising for garage sales. Hey, when you find Betsey Johnson belts for $1 and $10 bottles of genuine Cartier perfume, you'd garage sale shop, too!
We rode up on a garage sale and the sellers were still putting merchandise in their driveway. No sooner than we walked up to the driveway, the seller, an Asian man, told me, "I have specials for you."

Now, in my mind, I'm thinking, good! It's not everyday that you stumble upon a garage sale mid-morning and merchandise is just being put out. We like garage sales, but we don't stalk them -- as in, get up at the crack of dawn and pull up to the house BEFORE the sale begins. So, I thought we were lucky to get the first crack at the merchandise.
Turns out those "specials" weren't so special. The man holds out a package of Deja Vu weave.

The "Special" that Wasn't
"$5," he said.
Wait just a damn minute.

Weave? I was so confused for about a half second.

I looked at the package and then back at him and said with a confused look on my face, "No, thank you, I don't wear fake hair."

Bow! No shade at all for those of who you do rock weaves. It's a protective style and you know my motto: Do you, boo! But everything ain't for everybody. Besides, I had my share of weave back in 1992, with my french roll and glued-in track for a long bang. It was the first -- and last -- that I ever wore weave.

Didn't know nothing about fake hair and I wet my hair without making sure the track was loose enough. As I attempted to take it out, a bit of my hair was ripped out in the front and that area has been thin ever since.

Back to the Garage Sale ...

Now, I thought to myself, why would this man just assume that I'd want to buy his weave? Is it because I'm Black? Maybe the guy was a beauty supply owner, IDK. And maybe all of the other Black women he deals with are all over weave. But one look at my natural hair -- I wore a large, wild twist out -- should have told him that maybe I might not be the weave customer he was looking for.

What do you think? Do you think the garage sale owner assumed I'd want weave?  Do you think I overreacted? Has anyone ever made assumptions about your hair?

as stilhat wWe found one sOne partroutineme and the hubs were doing our normal saturday garage sale shopping. as i walm up to a sale an asian man runs out and says
i have specisls. 5. shows me jair. i
said i dont wear fakr hair