Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Was Blind, But Now I See.

How many of us don't think twice about where the money we spend on our hair supplies ends up? Probably most.

In an article about "Taking Back the Black Hair Care Industry", Mika Pettigrew talks candidly about our responsibility, as consumers , for letting the now Korean dominated black hair care industry slip through our hands. She writes:

"In 2004, sales of black hair care products exceeded $1.7 billion, as reported by Mintel International Group, a consumer research company. This figure does not include the synthetic and human hair additions that have gained tremendous popularity in recent years... Korean immigrants “get it” and have gotten it for decades, and now have almost complete control of the industry in 2007. They are sizing us up, assessing our needs, crafting and passing out the products. We, in turn, loyally tithe our dollars to strengthen their communities. It is time to consider the roll we play in the crisis within the Black hair care industry, by examining the choices we are making as it relates to us individually, the Black hair care industry specifically, as well as strengthening our communities and preserving our culture in general."

---When I think about that money going towards the employment of their family, to educate their children and to strengthen their communities it makes me angry-not at them, but at us (including myself) for so blindly spending our hard earned dollars and at the few black-owned beauty supply store owners who I've come into contact with whose service and product selection were less than stellar. You know, the communities where these stores are prevalent sure could use that money. African-Americans can surely benefit from controlling the black hair care industry. Mika continues:

"In the early 1900s, Black-Americans controlled the industry with the likes of Madam C.J. Walker, a manufacture and distributor of Black hair care products, and Anthony Overton, a manufacturer of Black beauty aids as well as a magazine publisher and president of a Black-owned bank...The period between the Great Depression and the civil rights movement was vital, as the industry proved its resilience to economic and social turmoil growing out of racial discord. This was critical since Black manufacturers in the Black hair care industry managed to emerge from the Great Depression while other institutions disappeared. The industries staying power did not go unnoticed. Manufacturers of Black hair care products became the focus of public discourse during the civil rights movement.
The years from the civil rights movement to the early 1990s proved to be pivotal for the industry. Black manufacturers began to lose ground to large white conglomerates prior to the Korean take over, and economic barriers were reproduced for Black professionals in the industry."

---Now, Ive never been a racially sensitive militant conspiracy theorist but to me this sounds like something was stolen from us.

Fun Fact: Madame C. J. Walker, touted for inventing the relaxer, made history as the first female American self-made millionaire. She created thousands of well-paying jobs for African-American women, promoted giving back to African-American communities and she was a major financial contributor to many charities and black initiatives. She was the pioneer of the, then African-American controlled, black hair care industry and I'm sure she's rolling over in her grave at the state of the industry today. SMH. Hopefully, in the near future, products by black owned businesses like Oyin Handmade and Karen's Body Beautiful will become more accessible.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer Styles

Alright ladies, summer is not officially here, but you can't tell by the temperature outside right now in Atlanta.
Even this heat-styled natural knows when to retreat. The summer months are usually the months that my flat-iron doesn't see much action. I'm going to continue with protective styling and hopefully I'll see some significant length retention. I have braids in right now and I hate them. I haven't had cornrows since... years ago. I was debating the idea of getting a short cut sew-in, but I don't know how to do it myself and I have trust issues when it comes to stylists. I'll most likely opt for a half-wig. I retain a lot of length with them.

How will you be wearing your hair? Braids? Twists? Sew-ins? Wash-n-go? Buns? Wigs? Or are you lucky enough to not have to worry about it?

Conditioning tip: Got Frizz?

Try a Cholesterol treatment.

Apply the treatment liberally, cover with a plastic cap and go under a heat source for 15-30 minutes then rinse thoroughly.

Fine and thin hair types should avoid using cholesterol treatments as they tend to weigh the hair down.

Friday, April 24, 2009

She's One of Us.

After years of mostly protective styling, Oprah declares, "no I'm not wearing a weave" via twitter. Loves it!

Click here for the article and video in case you missed it.

Great Read: Chee Gates on Being Natural.

Every black girl I knew—whether she was ebony-skinned or the color of butternut squash—wanted the same thing I did: hair that hung silk-straight. Our collective desire was rooted in the self-deprecating mentality that kinks were gross and had to be concealed, if not corrected. Straight hair promised romance, laughter, abounding beauty. If I wanted to be happy, I had no choice but to unravel every nap on my head. There was only one method that would do it: I'd have to get a perm, also called a "relaxer."

That first perm is like a black girl's bat mitzvah. It's a coming out—a rite of passage into womanhood. What's different is that the initial relaxing doesn't happen at any set age. And waiting too long could retard a girl's social progress. Here's why: Before your hair is relaxed, you're viewed as a child. (Or even a dope. Or you aren't viewed at all.) Because being invisible doesn't jibe with an only child whose astrological sun is in Leo—I could barely wait ten minutes to be in the spotlight—I got my first relaxer before I was even old enough to wear deodorant, thinking it would accelerate my path to stardom.

I was a follower—mimicked whatever was deemed of-the-moment.... Click to continue reading Being Natural.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Major: Deep Conditioning

It has preventative and restorative functions. It's a necessity. Period.

The greatest change in the manageability and elasticity of my hair is most definitely due to deep conditioning consistently.
Having been dependent on a hairdresser for many years, I thought of deep conditioning as a special extra $20 treatment that I only had to do once a month. It was only recommended to me once a month. At home, conditioning was using the partner that came with the shampoo on sopping wet hair for the 2-3 minutes directed. The use of sulfate-laden shampoos and heat-styling tools should always be preceded by and followed with a conditioning treatment that provides moisture and strength appropriately.

The most difficult thing initially will be recognizing when your hair needs a specific treatment i.e oils, moisture, protein or cholesterol. That's why it's important to become an expert on our own hair and not a just copy our hair idols.

I thought I knew how to deep condition when I first started this journey. I was wrong. Mimicking my old hair dresser did nothing for my hair. Here's what I changed:

-Give the DCing process it's due respect: I hop out of the shower after squeezing out excess water, lightly pat with a towel and apply conditioner in sections. This is one of the best tips that I've learned. Removing the excess water allows the conditioner to penetrate better and applying it in sections ensures that I haven't neglected patches of hair.

-The cold water rinse: It closes the cuticles and helps to seal in the moisture.

Make sure you have a deliberate and effective deep conditioning experience. :)

BTW, Shout out to CHAKA who so wonderfully pointed out that the header had been misspelled for months. Smh @ anyone who saw and didn't say anything lol.

Also, if you emailed me, I'm currently going through them so be patient with me. AND if anyone has any tips on how to get over a guy in 24 hours, it would be greatly appreciated ::sniffles::