Archive for June, 2012

Summer hair

Posted in great outdoors, Natural hair care with tags , , on June 27, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

We’re in my favorite season-summer! Which means long days, barbeques and the beach to name a few things that can be fun this time of year. This time of year can be a double edged sword for naturals, though. On the one hand, with the increased humidity in many places, it means that the air is rich with the moisture that our hair desperately needs. On the other hand, all that moisture may cause our hair to swell, meaning that controlled, defined hair like this (which was the result of a flat twist out I did over a month ago) :

could turn into BAA (Big Ass Afro) like this within minutes of stepping out the door:

Regarding the woman in the above picture, she’s Aevin Dugas. Last year, she made the Guinness Book of World Records for having the biggest fro. It measures more than 4 feet and is bigger than a disco ball. I only wish my hair can get as huge as this.

Some naturals don’t care about their hair starting out one way and then changing into something else, but if you’re the type to spend considerable time styling your twist/braid/bantu knot out and you get upset about the elements turning your hair into a style you didn’t intend, here are a few things to consider:

1. Simply don’t try to fight nature: Sometimes prepping for twist-outs and roller sets will only end in futility. Once the humidity gets ahold of your hair, those styles can become fro-outs real quick. If you do not intend to rock one of these styles only to end up with another, you can opt for a wash-n-go or other styles that won’t fight with your texture.

2. You can try protective styling to keep your hair off of your face and neck. I gave up on protective styling awhile ago as my hair isn’t thick or dense enough for certain styles to look good and my edges are too fragile for others, but a lot of naturals swear by it as the key to length retention.

3. You can try hats. Curly and kinky hair can be unpredictable, especially in humid conditions and hats are a great accessory. They have the added benefit of keeping your hair protected from the elements (wind, sea, sun, etc.). I’m not a big hat person myself, though I do have a big collection of baseball caps.

4.Forget heat styling. All the time and effort it would take to get your hair straight will only be undone once you step out the door. Your hair could resemble Ms. Dugas’s within 5 minutes. Not that it would be a horrible thing as she has great hair, but if you don’t intend for your hair to turn into a fro, save yourself the hassle and keep your hair curly.

5. Don’t use products containing humectants in high humidity, especially if they are listed within the first five ingredients, which means they are in high quantities. Humectacts attract the moisture in the air and draw them into your hair, causing it to swell. The most common humectants are glycerin and propylene glycol, but there are a few others.

I do have a caveat to all these tips though: If your hair is fine and thin like mine, there are times when you may actually welcome the frizz and the swelling as your hair will appear fuller. For those times when you don’t mind hair that’s undefined or uncontrolled, feel free to disregard the whole post. 😀

Happy summer, everyone!




Natural nod

Posted in curly/kinky hair, life, Racial/ethnic stereotyping, Styling, White privilege on June 26, 2012 by Confessions of LadyV69

I know it’s been awhile, but work has been crazy of late and I’ve been too tired and frazzled to put together anything resembling a coherent post. It’s supposed to slow down by next week, so hopefully, I’ll be able to post more regularly soon. As far as my hair has gone, I’ve been doing a lot of wash and goes and curly fros of late because they don’t take a lot of time to do nor do they require a lot of maintenance. I’ve just been too tired to do certain styles. I don’t have a recent curly fro picture, but here is a wash and go I did about a week or two ago:

Not bad, eh? I think it was either first or second day hair. I used the Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream and the pink Ecostyler for some hold. I also used a leave in underneath everything, but  I can’t remember if it was the Giovanni Direct Leave In or the Curl Junkie Beauticurls or the Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion. I did scrunch the excess product out of my hair so it wouldn’t dry crunchy. I know I got at least three days out of the style but I can’t remember anymore if I was able to get more days out of it than that. That’s what happens when I don’t update consistently.

Anyhoo, on to the point of this post. A topic came up last night on a board I frequent that was interesting. It wasn’t related to hair but it actually can be. I’ll get to how it can be in a moment. Anyway, the person stated how some white classmate at her college asked her why she always nods to the other black students there and why they do likewise and wondered if there was any historical reason for it. She also pointed out that less than 5% of the student body consists of black people. I was never aware that the nod had any major social or political significance before that question was asked on the board. I always thought it was simply a greeting. The fact that the white classmate noticed only the black students doing it probably says a lot about the social climate at that particular school and probably a lot about that person themselves. It’s human nature for people to gravitate toward those that look like themselves, share a common heritage or share something else in common. The poster who asked the question is black and may at times feel awkward and out of place being a minority in a predominantly white school. I definitely speak from experience. It can be comforting at times just to see another person that looks like you, so you (general you, just so no one thinks I’m singling any particular person out) acknowledge their existence by nodding. There’s nothing that deep about it. However, some whites feel threatened when they see nonwhites do this or when they see a group of blacks, Asians or members of some other racial or ethnic group hanging out together. This causes them to think that nonwhites purposefully isolate themselves and make themselves out to be victims. Never mind that systemic racism and discrimination perpetrated by whites is a major reason why nonwhites may associate only among themselves. Also, what are people of color supposed to think about White people who only interact with other White people? I personally could give a rat’s ass, but there are whites who believe nonwhites shouldn’t say anything about it because “White” is the default in our society and because they are the preference, why shouldn’t they do whatever they want? Everyone else is deemed inferior.

“The nod” isn’t just a racial thing. It can apply to any group of people who share a common interest. Sometimes bikers do the nod. Sometimes, people who drive Jeeps do the nod. And yes, people with curly or kinky hair do the nod too. There have been occasions where I’ll nod to a natural in the room and they do likewise-not because we were the only two black women in the room but because we were the only two naturals in the room. Remember, straight hair is still the default in our society. If you happen to live in a place that doesn’t have a lot of people that look like you and/or where many of the women are still brainwashed into thinking that straight hair is “good” hair, it can be mighty comforting to come across somebody else that dared to step outside the box. So you acknowledge their existence and nod. It’s an expression of a common bond. Nothing more, nothing less. Will there come a time when the “natural nod” won’t be necessary, because it will have been the norm? I can’t answer that. Speaking only for myself, even if natural hair ever did become the norm, I’m not sure I’d want the nod to go away entirely. Technology is making it easier for people not to connect and interact in person and we’re becoming a poorer society for it. Something as simple as a nod establishes a connection to another person, if only for an instant.