Friday, March 29, 2013

HairTroversy: India Arie and Skin Lightening Controversy

By Tenisha Mercer

India Arie on her new single cover vs. an image on the red carpet
Known for her natural hair and color affirming lyrics in songs such as "I am Not My Hair" a decade ago, soul songress India Arie is accused of lightening her skin in a new ad promoting a single on her new album, "Songversation."

Wearing a head wrap and a printed jacket, Arie appears much lighter than the rich chocolate complexion that we've come to know her for. And, as you might have guessed, folks are weighing in (as I am, too).

India isn't the first to be dogged with skin lightening rumors. Beyonce is also thought to have lightened her skin for her L'oreal ad campaigns.

Now, India is saying publicly that it's the lighting. Her representatives told TMZ that the criticism is ridiculous and said the lighter images are a photo thing -- angle and flash.

But not everyone is buying that explanation.

Rapper Rhymefest (who?) said, "even " It’s not the lights, even if it’s make up! Why India Arie!? This isn’t You! Please tweet her and ask her why…I hope her music sells I like her message but lookin like Alicia Keys isn’t the way nothing’s wrong with dark skin.”

I'm no photographer, and I have no idea about lighting or angles. All I know is my skin tone on my smart phone come out much darker and lighter depending upon the light and the angle of the camera.

Though India looks much lighter, maybe it's the angle. Maybe it's the foundation. Or maybe she hasn't spent a whole lot of time in the sun (many of us lighten up during the winter and our complexions deepen with the sun.)

I have no idea.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What to Wear: Stripes for Spring

By Tenisha Mercer

A few cute beach looks in stripes
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you can't help but notice how stripes have made such a BIG comeback. Not since the early-to-mid 1990s  have we seen stripes so prominent; they are everywhere -- in fitted blazers, slouchy tops, dresses, you name it, and they have been for a few seasons now.

Now, stripes are very classic and don't go out of style, but you can't deny that stripes are especially hot right now.

So, here are a few ways to transition the look from winter to spring:

Add stripes in lighter colors. For spring, stripes are in all types of things, especially pastels. Pair a striped slouchy top with a pair of pastel skinnies. Or, wear a classic striped dress with an up-down hemline in the front.
Stripes in lighter colors, traditional pairings

Think about striped accessories. What about  pairing a striped eternity scarf with your to-work outfit. This is a way to incorporate a hot "trend" into your normal fashions.

Striped hat

Go bold. This time around, bold stripes are particularly hot. Bold black and white stripes make an excellent backdrop with hot colors such as mint or seafoam green for spring.

Are you wearing stripes for spring?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nikki Minaj's Waist-Length Hair

By Tenisha Mercer

Nicki Minaj's hair on Twitter
Though she's known for her pink wigs and brightly colored weaves, Nicki Minaj revealed straight waist-length hair on Twitter last week.

The famous star tweeted: #LongHairDontCare #HangTime #ImaWearItOutWhenItTouchesMyASS =P

Not sure if it's relaxed or natural. And while many on Twitter and social media sites wondered if that's Nicki's hair (I really don't care), it got me to thinking: What kind of hair would we have if we had a professional team of stylists, as I'm sure Nicki does, at our beck and call daily?

The Professional Stylist in my Head

This isn't just about length though that is a consideration) but also about the care of our hair. After all, Nicki does wear weaves/wigs, so her hair is protected and is able to grow and flourish. But just think what we could do if we had a professional stylist tending to our hair.

No more marathon wash/detangling sessions. No  more of my arms being tired of doing my hair. Access to all of the best professional products -- at a discount.  I'd NEVA have a bad hair day, LOL. Because I could get my stylist to hopefully give me the look I'm going for and, if not, start all over again, LOL.

The closest I've seen others get to this is weekly hair appointments. But, that's not like having someone only dedicated to your hair; your appointment is among many the stylist has in a week. But this would be like someone who knows just YOUR hair, and your hair, alone. How epic would that be?

Now, you would have to watch out about heat styling, as I'm sure many celebrities have to be careful of (blow dryers and flat irons can wreck havoc on any type of hair, no matter how professionally maintained) to avoid heat damage.

What would you do if you had daily access to a professional stylist?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Natural Celebs: Blue Ivy and Beyonce

By Tenisha Mercer

Famous offspring Blue Ivy was spotted with her Mom, Beyonce, getting lunch in NYC. 14-month old Blue was wearing two cute afro puffs, and rocking a pair of baby Timbs (you can clearly see Jay's influence, LOL).

Bey, wearing a chic top knot and shades, was seen lugging Blue, who's looking quite big now (she's not a baby anymore). She's probably going to be a tall girl. Though it appears it was snapped by a paparazzi, this photo looks like one of the first clear public images of Blue, who usually is covered  - outside of Bey's documentary -- that the public has seen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

HairTroversy: Derek J Goes in On Natural Hair

By Tenisha Mercer

You'd think that if you were a hair stylist, that you'd at least be open to embracing natural hair. Consider that Black women are abandoning chemical relaxers like a good sale on Black Friday, it would be a good business move. And  especially when you consider that a whole lot of those who get weaved up have natural kinks and coils under their weave.

But not Atlanta salon owner and reality TV star Derek J. He went in on natural hair on an installment of his new show, "Fashion Queens," on Bravo, featuring fellow Real Housewives of Atlanta stylist Miss Lawrence and style maven Bevy Smith.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Natural Celebs: Teyonah Paris of AMC's Mad Men

By Tenisha Mercer

I LIVE for this topknot. That is all!

Mad Men actress Teyonah Parris on the red carpet at AMC's Mad Men season 6 premiere at DGA Theater in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Michael Tran/Film Magic

Derek Lam For Kohl's

By Tenisha Mercer

Derek Lam or Kohl's
He's a designer who has dressed the likes of First Lady Michelle Obama. Now his couture fashions are coming straight to a Kohl's near you.

Lam is the second designer to join Koh's DesignNation collaboration. He joins a growing number of upscale designers with fashions in major department stores, including Missoni and Jason Wu for Target, as designers whose luxury clothing ranges in the thousands bring their upscale fashions to a broader audience at lower prices.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Springing For New Natural Hair

By Tenisha Mercer

Today marks the first day of spring -- brushing off the winter doldrums, embracing a new season and a fresh start. It's also a good time to reevaluate our natural hair for spring as we head into warmer weather.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Natural Celebs: The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira

By Tenisha Mercer
Actress Danai Gurira's chic TWA
Photo Credit: Jennifer Graylock/FilmMagic

On the hit cult show "The Walking Dead," actress Danai Gurira (she plays the character, Mishon) sports a loced wig for her role in the comic book series. But in real life, the actress often wears a signature chic low natural cut.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to Create a New Natural Hair Regimen for Spring/Summer

By Tenisha Mercer

Spring is just a few days away and now is the time to reevaluate your natural hair regimen for spring/summer.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Weather -- Depending upon your climate, how you wore your hair in the winter may just not work. I wore my hair straightened mostly this winter; that will not work with the Atlanta humidity this summer, so I'll be wearing textured styles like flat twist outs. I finally found my holy grail twist out (more about this product later).
Products -- Our hair loves those heavier, glycerin-filled products during colder temperatures because they are richer and provide more moisture. During spring? Not so much. While a great moisturizer, glycerin can cause more shrinkage during humid and warmer temperatures. So it's time to look for new products that will work better in the summer. Many naturals find that they have to completely change their products during warmer weather.

Styling -- Now's the time to wear those "wet" styles that you may not have been able to wearing during the cold -- wash and gos, etc. Wearing those styles in the freezing cold could have cause your  hair to literally freeze and break off;  now is the time to wear those styles because walking out the door with wet hair is finally OK. Or, you may prefer more buns, topknots and ponytails that keep your hair off of your neck.

What hairstyles will you wear this spring/summer?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Top Knots for Spring

By Tenisha Mercer

It's not even warm out, but already I'm thinking about how to wear my hair this summer.

Flipping through the pages of Essence, I saw a beautiful collection of top knots.

Anika Noni Rose's reverse top knot. Nice!

I love Garcelle Beauvais' top knot

I like Tina Campbell's braided top knot

Thandie Newton's curly top knot

Kerry Washington with the perfect summer look

Niecy Nash's knot with bangs  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Halle Berry's LBD Creates Controversy

By Tenisha Mercer

Halle Berry appearing on Jay Leno wearing a Reem Accra LBD with a plunging neckline
Most Monday nights, I'm sleep by 11:30. Between writing this blog, my day jobs managing web content for a global technology company, running a media company and helping my husband run a security company, I'm spent most nights.

But I was up working on Monday night and happened to get a glimpse of  Halle Berry on Jay Leno, wearing a strapless Reem Accra dress with a plunging neckline.  At 40ish, Halle looked great in her LBD, which was trimmed in silver.

Some boobage action, IMO, but very classy. No nipples, check. No areolas, check. The dress plunged down in some parts to her navel, showing peekaboo parts, but not too much. Again very sexy. Nothing that would get her booted off TV.

But you know how the trolls are:

Monday, March 11, 2013

HairCrush Fridays

By Tenisha Mercer

Just a few of my fave natural hair pics from Essence Magazine.
Her hair is on point. Love it.
Carefree curls

That puff gives me life!

The cutest most defined curls -- EVA! That color is THE BUSINESS!

Marsha Ambrosius' curls

Lovely twists

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Duro Olowu or JC Penney

Duro for JCP
By Tenisha Mercer

JC Penney has debuted its first ever designer collaboration designed by Nigeria-born Duro Olowu;  the Duro for JCP collection has hit store shelves nationwide in recent weeks.

Products include clothes, shoes, jewelry, purses and other accessories, and homegoods, notebooks and luggage. A few things really stand out: bold prints, wild colors and geometric shapes that define Duro's collection and are apart of his signature style.

Curl Products Overload?

By Tenisha Mercer

How many curl products are too much?
Never has there been a time in the natural hair community when there have been sooo many curl products for natural hair. You don't have to look far to find all types of curl creams, mixes and potions. From high-end to low-end, to products that cater to different textures of natural hair -- each promising plump, defined natural curls -- they are all right there at your local store.

It's exhausting! Everytime I go to Target, beauty supply stores or even grocery stores, there's a new curl product, or entire line, sitting right there on the shelf.  It's enough to make a PJ go into product overload. I have no idea if any of these work; I'd be broke, if I did. It's just enough to make a new natural feel a bit overwhelmed.

Remember when naturals had to order the majority of our products online? Those days, thankfully, are gone. And gone are the times when the natural hair community rallied around certain Holy Grail products -- because we had little else! These days, naturals got plenty of hoices if they want curls -- even from manufacturers who paid naturals no never mind just a few short years ago.

Are Naturals Desperate for Curls?

Now, it wouldn't be right if we didn't ask ourselves if naturals have an obsession with curls (some of us do). It's almost as if we are chasing the curl, doing whatever we can to get it. At least, I'd think that way based on all of the curl products on store shelves right now.

Manufacturers probably say all they are doing is following demand; after all, relaxer sales have steadily fallen double digits since 2007. But my worry is that new naturals will think they MUST, MUST, MUST have curls or they won't be successful as naturals.

That's dangerous territory, because while natural black hair hair is very diverse and ranges from the kinkiest of the kinky to the straightest of the straight, not all of us can get our hair to curl. And if new naturals have those kinds of expectations based on their YouTube obsessions or visions of product grandeur, they might be in for a huge disappointment.

Are all of the new curl products for natural hair a good thing or bad thing?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What to Wear This Spring: 3 Trends for Spring 2013

By Tenisha Mercer

I'm sooooo ready for spring. It can't get hot enough, quick enough. Already, I'm thinking about what I''ll be wearing this summer and who can blame me --- spring fashions began hitting the stores as soon as the Christmas decorations were put away.

This year, think pastels. I know, I know. Pastels don't always look good on all of our rich complexions. But that doesn't mean you can't add pieces here and there. Pastels are particularly hot, as evidenced by the Academy Awards' red carpet.
I like her take on pastels

Go chevron. Chevron is the geometric print of the season. From cute shift dresses to flowy tops to scarves, get ready to see lots and lots of this cute, geometrical print in all types of colors.

Love this look

Wear colored denim. Forget boring old blue denim. Colored denim is hot -- again this season. Try a mint green (pastels, remember?) or a cute coral or bright yellow just for spring. Make them skinnies or skinny capris and you are all set.

I'd wear all of this

What are you wearing this spring?

HairNista's 501st Post

By Tenisha Mercer

Because I forgot to commemorate HairNista's 500th natural hair blogpost -- and because being ordinary is no fun -- let's raise a glass, shall we, to celebrate this blog's 501st post.

Ya'll rock. Thanks for all of the blog love, your insightful comments, and your support. You all really inspire me on my natural hair journey.

Here's the very first natural hair post on HairNista on Sept. 4, 2011.

See you at the 1,001st post!

Friday, March 1, 2013

HairCrush Fridays

By Tenisha Mercer

My fave natural hair pics from around the web.

Love the color

Sick definition

Feelin' the TWA

Corrine curls