When I recently complemented a friend on her full, shiny, natural tresses, she responded with two words, Blue Magic. Hold up...hair grease? I flashed back to my childhood ritual of sitting perfectly still on a chair next to the stove and getting my scalp oiled with Blue Magic before having a hot comb run through my hair. Long since that time, I abandoned hair grease as I transitioned through a number of phases, from relaxed, wrapped, braided and back to natural.
When it comes to hair grease, the prevailing school of thought has maintained that the density of the heavy compound clogs pores and actually stunts hair growth and weighs hair down. In my transition back to natural, I've leaned heavily on organic hair dressings, smoothies and oils. It never once occurred to me to revisit the old staple of hair grease.
With a bit of research, I quickly found that I am actually late to the party, there's a whole hair grease movement happening with brands such as Blue Magic adding new lines to their classic formula and natural hair vloggers such as @AfricanExport singing their praises to the hair grease gawds in product reviews like the one below:
Obviously, preferences and outcomes will vary. But with this reawakening of the classic black household staple, good old fashioned hair grease might be worth a second look.
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In 2014, I made the brave decision to take my talents across the pond and study abroad in London, England. I had an amazing time, but one night in particular always filters its way to the top of my mind. I was in a club one night and in a fit of drunken stupor, a random British savant rubbed his hands through my hair. Now, my first instinct was to box this fool. But as I dwelled on the situation further, I knew this wasn’t this man’s fault. This white man knows not what he can’t see. Therefore, I dedicate this post to him, and any other unaware savants.
Everyday I rise from my slumber at exactly 6:23 a.m. Not because I physically need to be up at 6:23AM, but because Black Twitter usually gets interesting past my bedtime, and I need time to catch up on what I missed.
At 7:15 a.m. I move from my bed and finally make it to the bathroom to get ready for work. I usually brush my teeth first. Gotta get the residue from those Swedish Fish I ate right before bed off my teeth and pray to every God I didn’t form a cavity. I apply deodorant to make sure I’m not adding to the New York City stench that already exists. I lather myself in only the finest of cocoa butter-based lotions because ain’t nobody got time to explain why I look like all of the hydrogen dioxide has been usurped from my body by a racist river nymph. But then, and only then, do i begin to tackle the true issue at hand. My hair.
I can’t just brush my hair and call it a morning, those days are long gone.
As a black male, growing the hair out of your head past brushing stage means I have to be open up an arsenal of products and tools to ensure that my hair is looking flyer than Michelle Obama at SoulCylce.
I begin by first taking an afro pick and actually picking out each of yesterday’s curl like formations in my hair. Afro picks can't simply be compared to most combs. They aren’t here for your comfort. They don’t care if you’re enjoying your experience. Are crying bruh? Are you mad that I’m yanking your soul from the top of your head? An afro pick is very much the first reminder of life not being fair that you’ll receive for the day.
Then I have to wet the pseudo afro on top of my head at this point by putting my head in the sink and praying I don’t pound my head on the faucet this time. Now, some might ask “Carrington, why don’t you just take a morning shower?” and to those people, I’d say: 1) Mind ya business, and 2) I work in New York City, night showers are very important here
After ensuring that the pseudo afro is damp, that the circumference of my head is properly lubricated with what I can only assume is water adequately filtered by the state of New Jersey, I then prepare to add the styling cream.
Now, this is no ordinary styling cream, oh no. I had to travel to the ends of the Earth (Target) for this styling cream. I had to fight suburban moms and angry kids who obviously need a nap to obtain this styling cream and hold it in my possession. It is infused with only the finest of oils, none of which i know how to pronounce. It is prepared and contained especially for me in by what I can only assume is a beautiful black woman in a lush Nubian paradise and shipped to my local trading outpost to be picked up at my convenience.
The bond between a black person and their choice of hair product is quite special.
I apply liquid gold commodity onto my head and listen as my hair lets out tiny shouts of complete and utter joy. “You did it," I silently say to myself as i put the final brushes into the masterpiece that is the top of my head. If I get nothing else right, if nothing else goes my way today, at least my hair game was on point.
So with all of that being said, dear reader, after all of the turmoil, the bloodshed, the greasy fingers and picked hairs, I ask you this question: Would you let someone that has touched an NYC subway pole, a Starbucks napkin dispenser and probably their junk, run their fingers through your luscious afro locks?
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Summer's officially here, and the heat and humidity makes the idea of shaving your head more tempting than ever. Whether you're relaxed or natural, a full head of hair on your neck can be hot — not to mention what a pain it is to keep your wash-and-go or perm looking right despite the humid air. Instead of beginning to resent your hair, look into a DIY protective style to last you anywhere from a day to a few weeks. The Blavity team will be at Essence Festival in early July, and you can bet that more than a few of us will be rocking protective styles to help us survive the NOLA climate. Check out some beautiful options below:
1. Havana twists
2. Senegalese twists
3. Box braids
4. Halo braid
Pro tip: This style is great for when your straightened style starts to revert or when your curls have been stretched out all week.
5. Crochet braids
6. Satin-lined cap
(Ok, this one isn't really DIY. But if the price on these is too steep, you can certainly sew some satin on the inside of your favorite hat for a DIY spin.)
7. Crochet braided pigtails
8. Bantu knots
9. Wrapped in a scarf
10. Ghana braids
11. Goddess braid bun
Which style is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below! And join us at Essence Fest in New Orleans July 1-4, 2016.
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Whether you're booked for a relaxer, a fresh lock twist or a new install, when you step into the beauty shop, styling is only a fraction of what you can expect. Brace yourself on any given salon visit to meet at least a few of the following cast of interesting characters:
1. The Gossip
She's always at the shop, she know everybody's business, and what she doesn't know, she's happy to fill in. We aren't sure if she even gets her hair done, but best believe she'll be making her rounds from station to station, serving up that freshly brewed premium tea.
2. Deaconess First Lady-Elect
Oh, you thought she came in for that fresh set and curl for Sunday Service? No ma'am, she came here to judge. Ain't none of y'all living right up in here.
3. The Insta Model
She has all-access passes to every event, a body that refuses to quit and an IG following of 75K. You can catch her in the chair taking duck lip selfies of that fresh install.
4. Hustle Man
You hungry? Hustle man is here with them hot fish plates. Need that new designer-like bag? Hustle man got you. Don't sleep on the hustle. He got dresses, blu-ray discs and dental plans for the low-low.
5. The Introvert
There are a lot of strong personalities in here. The volume stays on 10. If you're not paying attention, you might not even notice my girl under the dryer minding her magical black business.
6. The Intern
Baby girl just graduated from beauty college and she came to work, work, work, work, work, work! Her energy is awe-inspiring. They won't let her touch the hot tools yet, but she sweeps, runs errands and hooks up all the pre-sew-in cornrows.
7. The Don
His hands are gifted and his book stays full. There is absolutely no style, color or technique he can't slay! If you're privileged to have your scalp graced by his touch, prepare to have your entire life politely gathered, folded and neatly tucked away.
8. The BAWSE
The salon owner is super chill and down to earth and 100 percent about her business. If you're working in her shop, your rent will be paid on time, your clients will be set as scheduled and the petty drama will not be tolerated.
9. The Bougie Chick
All designer everything. You can find my girl under the dryer, giving head-to-toe brand check and looking generally annoyed. If you can't elevate her status, save your friendly salon chat. She can't be bothered.
10. The Woke One
She comes through bearing homemade butter for her natural client list. Find her at the shampoo bowl kicking knowledge on everything from chemtrails to yoni eggs. Hustle man packs his special organic quinoa and black bean salad just for her. Her aura is always on point.
No matter what salon you go to, these characters are staples you're sure to see. And together they keep things interesting, even while you're under the dryer.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know who you expect to see during your salon visits in the comments below!
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Summer is right around the corner, which means it's time to face this humidity and hit these beaches without the worry of maintaining these natural tresses. Like many black women, I happily dedicated a full Saturday at the salon for my install. This season, I went with waist length Senegalese twists. Although I absolutely adore my zero-maintenance look, I quickly grew tired of alternating between two styles. I needed some versatility in my life.
This YouTube tutorial by Mariama Giovanna helped me to diversify my look to suit any occasion and gave me the basic skillset to try out different styles of my own. Let this tutorial bless your braids and baby hair summer!
Share this video with your friends on Facebook below!
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I'm not sure about you, but my hair is still trying to make a serious recovery from being overly dry and breakage after these pesky, long winter months. In experimenting with several recipes, this DIY avocado mask seems to do the trick in leaving my hair bouncin' and behaving!
Here is what you'll need:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons raw honey
1/2 can coconut milk
Mix it all up, apply to your hair, cover with a cap and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Let us know how it works for you!
What is your favorite DIY recipe for getting your hair moisturized? Share in the comments below!
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It's 2016 and all around me seems to be nothing but naturalistas and transitioners. As much as I would love to feed into the hype, the truth is, I'm over that stage of life. When I was 14 years old, I made a decision to stop getting relaxers. When I discovered that my natural hair had curls and waves, I was in love from that point on and I wanted nothing more to do with the creamy crack and my relaxed hair.
Then came seven long years spent of me growing my hair out, loving my twist-out, hating my natural curl pattern, cutting my hair, dyeing my hair, locking my hair and doing anything to keep me and my hair on good terms. But what about when you get tired of fighting with your kinky curls? Or what about when the dye has dried your hair out and those twists outs have never looked the same since?
I spent half a year cracking down on all of the popular relaxed YouTubers. I found my select few (ulovemegz and sofreshdyamond) and I started from the beginning of their journeys. After months of in-depth research, fighting with myself about where I would stand in the black community after this and convincing friends and family that my hair wouldn't fall out — I did it. I sat down on October 6th in my apartment and let my roommate take me back to the first 11 years of my life.
I started getting relaxers when I was 3 years old. Though it sounds crazy, my mother just couldn't handle the curls floating around on my head. My time being natural let me know that I couldn't either. My natural hair journey was a lesson learned and an experience that I will never forget. More than anything it's taught me a major life lesson: do what's best for you.
As much as I wanted to feed into what other people thought I should represent, I simply couldn't. Logically speaking, I was damaging my hair more by remaining natural. I was consistently leaving it in a ponytail for days at a time or flat ironing it every second just to get some manageability.
Since I've been relaxed, I'm the happiest I've been in a long time with my hair. I'm able to achieve many styles that I never could before, it's convenient and my hair is actually healthy. I will never be embarrassed to stand in a room full of natural women and you shouldn't be either. Know that your hair is just as beautiful, and most importantly — it's a part of you being genuine to...
I have a lion’s mane. No, truly, I do. My lion’s mane, also known as my natural hair, is something I grew to love — which is something I never thought I could do.
In 2011 I stopped relaxing my hair. I was tired of the breakage and did not see the benefits of adding harsh chemicals to it anymore. After that I just alternated between straight and natural hair. I barely liked my natural hair back then. The only reason I even decided to keep it natural was because I did not want too much heat damage. It was too big. Had too many kinks. Didn’t all curl the same way. I just couldn't deal with it. Straightening it made it better. Made it manageable. Made it beautiful.
But the beginning of 2014 came and I had no access to a straightener.
Imagine my horror. I was forced to leave my mane be. I couldn’t straighten it. I refused to go to the salon because Lord knows I’m not spending $40 each week. It wasn’t easy dealing with my natural hair. There was only so much I could do with it. It barely reached my shoulders! I was forced to either leave it out or put it in a bun. Keep in mind I didn't use any natural hair products. Please cry for me.
I don’t know how exactly it happened, but I recall my friend telling me to check out this natural hair blogger because her hair was long and gorgeous. I decided to check out her videos on Youtube, and at that point I was introduced to my current hair inspiration, MahoganyCurls. My natural hair educational journey began with her and spread to so many different bloggers, mainly natural hair bloggers, including everyone from Shameless Maya (#lifegoals) to Beauty by Lee. From then on I learned about everything including twist-outs and what a protective style was.
Seeing all these women do so many different things with their natural hair inspired me. It showed me that my hair doesn’t just have to be put in a ponytail, bun, or left out. These beautiful women showed me that my hair could be just as versatile as straight hair. It was truly life changing. From then on, I threw out my old products, adopted some for natural hair and tried different techniques.
I don’t remember the exact moment when it happened, but I do know I started to accept my natural hair more. I did not care when it got wider or shrunk. I no longer felt the need to straighten my hair. There is no way to describe how I felt the day I washed my hair after having it straight for about a week. There was just something so amazing about feeling the cool water hit my scalp and feeling my hair break free from this organized state. The interesting thing about it all is that about a year ago I would have not felt the same way. In fact, I would have been scared to wash my hair when straight. Being able to feel my curls in all their untamed glory is such a unique and wonderful experience.
Loving your hair is far from easy, but it is possible. For once in my life, I finally let my mane be my mane, a wild beautiful beast. Like a lion, I wear my mane with pride. When you tame a beast for that long, it’s only a matter of time before it breaks free.
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