Thursday, July 21, 2011

Help for Going Natural: The New York Times Is On It along with N.I.C.E. Advice on Transitioning to Natural Hair...

Today, I received a link for an article from one of my former students who is considering transitioning to natural hair which I want to share.  After praising this outstanding young lady for her courage and offering advice, I read the article that she sent to me in the link below.  In my advice to her, I shared with her my own process of transitioning which I want to share with all of you along with this fantastic NY Times article:

My Humble Advice on Transitioning to Natural Hair:
     The transition process, in terms of styles, particularly when you have perm in your hair, is a very personal matter.  For me, I let my hair grow from the root, and then cut off the perm, which left me with a tiny boy cut which I wore for about a year allowing for more growth with an occasional trim.   After that, I proceeded to braided extensions (synthetic hair) continuing with my vow never to put perm in my hair again.  After that, I took out the braids, when I had a decent length and went with short locks.  I was in NY so I wore a lot of very cool afrocentric hats, which were popular in NYC at the time.  I continued twisting and letting my locks grow and the rest was history :-).  I never went back and have had locks ever since which is about 20 years now.
Permed Hair on My Wedding Day
After Cutting Off all of the Perm

The Early Stages of My locks
My Locks As they Began to Grow

The End Result

     So, those were my steps. I felt that as I went through those steps, I really came to terms with a deeper part of my natural self which led to eating very healthy, use of herbs for healing, and continuing my physical regimen which was always a big part of my life. I merely expanded to new things such as Yoga, different dance classes and of course, I continued my favorite activity, swimming.   As for hair products, my recommendation is to avoid chemicals as much as possible.  I recommend Aubrey mainly for the swimmer's conditioner but overall, it is a great brand. However, there are other great products too.  Just go to Whole Foods and hang out in the hair section and read ingredients.  I recommend shea butter because I find it to be the best moisturizer, for skin and hair. I haven't found anything better than shea butter and trust me, I have looked throughout the world for options. 

     As for style, my recommendation is to get rid of the perm (let it grow out)  and then look in the mirror each day and decide what looks best for you on that day...Twist, curl, brush, braid and don't be afraid.  Just be natural and confident.  Truly, the key to styling your natural hair is not within You Tube videos (although they can be helpful for ideas) or anywhere else, but in your hands.  You have to sit in a mirror with your hands, your hair, products that you are comfortable with and confidence and then create styles that represent you .  You will be amazed with what you can come up with and how much you will come to love your natural hair and how you look with it.  You will see the true you, naturally. Remember, the word transition refers to a gradual process.  Take your time with this and you will grow as you make progress towards your natural goal.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dr. Oz Says Natural Is Cool Enough: That's N.I.C.E.!

     Recently, I was watching the Dr. Oz show and I was pleased with what I heard and saw.  Dr. Oz, along with his  guest, were breaking down the ills associated with wearing a perm.  It really was not new information but it was refreshing to see that dialogue regarding the use of dangerous chemicals in one's hair, in order to make it straight, is becoming part of the main stream dialogue.  So, below you will find the video link on this topic.  I think that at the very least, you will find it interesting. The title of the piece is "The Dangers of Hair Straighteners".  The information that is provided about Keratin is also very interesting. Th detail presented in this film fortifies the fact that N.I.C.E.!

    Chris Rock covered this detail thoroughly in his film "Good Hair."  However, perhaps getting this information out on a wide scale, through a mainstream, network, popular television program will have a far reaching effect.  At the end of the day, armed with information, better decision making is possible and women can consider the natural approach for managing their hair, seriously.  This has been a very, very hot summer, so some may ask, if not a perm, then what?  Weave perhaps?  I'm not sure how to respond to such  questions because I know that my natural hair (locks) is so hot on my head that for the most part I am wearing it in all kinds of updo's because it is long. I have fun coming up with new ideas to keep it up and it is generating a natural creativeness that I thoroughly enjoy.  If I had a weave on my head, which would feel like I was wearing a wool hat in 90-100 degree weather, I think I would absolutely pass out from the heat.  When I see individuals patting and scratching their heads with whatever they can get their hands on (pencils, pens, letter openers, etc.) I feel absolutely and truly sad.  So, perhaps reflecting on the video above and thinking about the freedom of wearing natural hair without having to use seriously dangerous chemicals or participate in furious scalp patting and scratching, will move all toward the goal of realizing that N.I.C.E.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

TSA Pat Down of Natural Hair: Really?

     Do you Travel Often?  Do you wear your hair naturally? Apparently, if so, you may experience a " natural hair" pat down in the airport because it appears that TSA does not believe that Natural is Cool Enough!  Check out this story at the following link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43668412#43668412

When I read this story, my first thought was that this is a perfect example of what I have written about in my book entitled Culturally Competency for Health Services Administration and Public Health http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/9780763761646/ , where I discuss the notion of  cultural incompetency

In my new book, that I am completing now, this is discussed further (as written by one of my Contributing Authors) through additional explanations of cultural and racial indignities, per the use of the term racial microaggressions which “are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults to the target person or group” (see source for this quote below).

     As one who enjoys traveling this world, which includes many treks to the airport, as a lock wearing sister, will I now have to look forward to a pat down of my hair, as a security measure, due to the fact that I choose to wear it in its, glorious natural state?  Does one have to perm, process and "relax" her/his hair so that folks in the airport will be relaxed?  Does natural hair pose a threat?  Really? The answer to these questions is a resounding "NO" because there is no doubt that in every venue and in every space and place, Natural Is Cool Enough! 

Source for quote above:

Sue, D.W., Capodilupo, C.M., Torino, G.C., Bucceri, J.M., Holder, A.M.B., Nadal, K.L., &

Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice. American Psychologist, 62(4), 271-286.