ONTD Political

INFO POST! ISSUES AFFECTING WOC: NATURAL HAIR & YOU

9:24 am - 10/30/2011
Info posts may contain triggering elements, so please be mindful of the topic and read at your own discretion. Perhaps minor racism triggers, but I think this post ought to be okay for everyone.

These posts are a "safe space" to ask questions you might otherwise be too shy to. Please do not reply to people with "Plz Google" or "educate yourself". Everyone should enter them with a learn and teach mindset (in that order). WITH THAT SAID, HOWEVER, please remain mindful of your questions and phrasing, be open-minded, learn, and know when to be quiet. If you are flippant with your ignorance, no one will not stop angered members from telling you about yourself.

For current natural curlies, lovelies with locs, transitioners, hopefuls, and folks who are just plain curious! This post is enormous.



The Article: 'Can I touch it?' The fascination with natural, African-American hairCollapse )

I added pictures in the main article to get people to read it but I know the real reason y'all were so thirsty for this post....

OP Intro: Now most of you who have been graced with 3b hair and up know that “hair tips” in most mainstream magazines have nothing to do with us. When they do bother to make a (bare minimum) effort, they reference photographs of women who are wearing wigs, weaves, have chemical relaxers, or are completely bald. They use fake/photoshopped hair as a reference point for hair health (who do they think they're fooling??) and they recommend products that were clearly not designed for our hair type. They don't even talk about hair lotions, oils, or any other kind of product that would add moisture to drying hair, just "sheen spray" or "anti-frizz" serum. Gee thanks! Their standard for curls is “hair like Hermione”. They write about our natural hair as though it's unmanagable unless it's straight (false, false, false) In fact, it's actually quite difficult to find mainstream articles that don’t have negative undertones about kinky hair, if not outright boldly declaring its undesirability. Well, in recent years more and more black women are feeling as though they don't need to "hide" their hair anymore! Go behind the cut to see the way black women are redefining their culture through hair care!

THE FUN PART: LET'S TALK ABOUT OUR HAIR!!! WARNING: extremely media heavyCollapse )

Please offer any additional hair tips, styles, PICTURES, products, and techniques you use to care for your hair! Also anecdata about your own hair transition journeys, big chops, experiences with family/friends/colleagues/etc. or anything else that may be helpful for us currently in the journey and those unsure if pursuing natural hair is the right option for them.

Some last things...Collapse )
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cindel MopTop Maven is a scammer30th-Oct-2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
There is no illness. She scammed people out of their money and now she has a new business called "Enso Naturals" which she's using to scam.
msloserrific Re: MopTop Maven is a scammer30th-Oct-2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
That was so disappointing. I loved her articles and I started buying oils from the Indian market down the street because of her reviews (they work excellently, btw).

I was one of the people who thought that her customers had the right to be upset but she was simply an ill woman with poor business sense :(
_udntnome 30th-Oct-2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Love.this.post. Black women's hair is truly a political issue. When I was in elementary school and HS I got the hair touching thing a lot whether my hair was relaxed, braided, or natural. I've been natural for about 10 years now and my hair is in the 3e range. I still get a lot of Black women now who touch my hair mainly because they are curious about wearing theirs natural. I really don't mind when they do it. When they ask how I got my curls to look like they do the only thing I can honestly say is 'genetics'.

Right now I use Carol's Daughter Monoi products to wash and condition and I use 6-n-1 oil after washing. Every other day I put a dab of coconut oil on it to maintain softness.

Has any one every had someone that was not a person of color touch their hair and then (discreetly?) wipe their hand off? Umm, you shouldn't have touched it in the first place!
ladylothwen 30th-Oct-2011 10:09 pm (UTC)
This is an excellent post.

I did notice occasionally when I was in school how white girls would want to touch a POC person's hair and sometimes did it without permission and comment on their weaves or dreads. I always thought it was odd but I couldn't pin point why back then. I can't even imagine touching someone's hair without permission let alone passing judgment.
supermishelle 30th-Oct-2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
It's so annoying whenever I decide to straighten my hair people ask me if it's a weave just because it's long.
msloserrific My hair! I call her Ruby :D30th-Oct-2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Reposting my orig comment because the pics were H-YUGE:

My hair on it's 1st Birthday:

IMG_5344



My hair in twists (which I do a lot):

moonlightblack Re: My hair! I call her Ruby :D30th-Oct-2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
You look so good! It looks so nice and healthy and thick!
drownanddive 30th-Oct-2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
I think I'm a 3A? Thanks for this post!
myrrhmade 30th-Oct-2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
This is the best fucking post ever!
alryssa 30th-Oct-2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
Just want to say I'm loving being able to see the faces (as well as hair!) behind some of the usernames here. You all are gorgeous!
rex_dart 30th-Oct-2011 10:37 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty much blown away by how beautiful our members all are. This is the best post. ♥
vanillakokakola 31st-Oct-2011 03:39 am (UTC)
M. T. E.
angelofdeath275 31st-Oct-2011 02:39 am (UTC)
I don't know how appropriate it is to say "I've gone natural" considering I'm Hispanic but a lot of other Puerto Ricans in this area and even on the Island ALL straighten their hair like crazy. I straightened my hair all the time growing up hating my frizzy curly puffy hair.

Weeell, if we look at the history of how Cuba (or just Hispanic people) came into being, with decimating the original folk, enslaving them, then where a good majority of slaves taken from west Africa were enslaved...you wouldn't be too far off-base to say you've "gone natural". It obviously carry the same weight as black women going natural, but still adds a dimension to this as there are black Hispanics.
poetic_pixie_13 30th-Oct-2011 10:41 pm (UTC)
I think my hair's between 3a and 3b. I used to hate my curls because I couldn't manage them but now I love them. I have quite a few people tell me how I'd look 'so much prettier' if I straightened my hair but, fuck 'em. Straightening takes at least 45 minutes and idc enough to do that shit.

I really suggest putting henna in your hair, it's an amazing conditioner. You make a mixture out of the henna powder, tea, water and you can even add a bit of egg and it makes a kind of paste. Get that shit all up in your hair and let it dry for an hour or two (I usually get lazy and just leave it in for a good while) and then wash it out. It makes your hair so incredibly soft, and even gives it a faint auburn tinge and colours your greys red. It's amazing, I haven't done it in a while and I really want to. My mom usually mixes it, so if anyone wants the exact mixture just ask and I'll get it from her.
msloserrific 30th-Oct-2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
"Straightening takes at least 45 minutes and idc enough to do that shit."

RIGHT? No time.

I want to color my hair with henna, but the only henna I could find was designed to leave your hair black or brown. I'll keep looking, though.
sarahofcroydon 30th-Oct-2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
This is an amazing post. Everyone here is just beautiful, keep on rockin'!
msloserrific 30th-Oct-2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
ikr? so much pretty!
thatssojessy My story30th-Oct-2011 11:15 pm (UTC)
4A calling, OMG I love natural hair posts

So I've been natural since I was 13 (I'm 20 now) meaning that I've gone through my entire adolescence trying to be at one with my natural hair. My first two years of HS were tough because I really had beauty issues (knowing that long, flowing, straight hair was in as opposed to my short extremely curly hair) the rule in my house was that I was not allowed to touch a relaxer until I turned 18, so I had to learn my hair and find confidence in my other abilities. My last two years, I had moved away and I used it as a time to re-invent how I felt about my hair, so for a while, my hair was in kinky twists and by graduation, my natural hair really flourished. Now, there's absolutely no way that I would go back to a relaxer because now that I think of it, my hair was never healthy when I had chemicals in my hair. I made lots of mistakes along the way (the biggest one being very over-reliant on a certain Dominican stylist who insisted I had to crank the heat in order to get pin-straight hair) but it was worth it :)

This is me as I stretch my hair out in pigtails
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and this is my hair down
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
msloserrific Re: My story30th-Oct-2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
Aw, you and your hair are so qt!
romp me me me30th-Oct-2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the post, esp the chart. I guess I'm 2a/b which is good to know since haircutters just tell me my hair is odd with the texture of curly hair without the curls. With some strands, I can feel and see twists close up but it just hangs straight anyway.

I have some ringlets when my hair is drying. Then the top layer is straight when it's dry and it's all downhill. On day 1 after I comb, it's frizzy straight IYKWIM, dead-on Cousin It in a broken/damaged way :( and on day 2, it's pretty much just straight.

I'm using a wide-tooth comb only now because that's important if you have any curl, right? So this hair type thing may help me figure out what I can do with my hair.

/allaboutme
msloserrific Re: me me me31st-Oct-2011 12:33 am (UTC)
Are you moisturizing as it dries? My hair used to frizz up until I started putting water-based moisturizers on it and then sealing with butters or oils.

I'd say that wide-tooth combs are probably fine. I actually prefer detangling with my fingers, I'm less likely to rip my hair out that way. Then I go through with a comb.
lozbabie 30th-Oct-2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
I'm going to admit to being wildly ignorant on the fact that POC have different textures with their hair. It wasn't until my cousin married her husband (who is Jamacian) and I was brushing their sons hair that I even realized.

I'm going to send her this link as she's just had a baby girl after four boys and she's freaking out about how to do her hair.
msloserrific 31st-Oct-2011 12:35 am (UTC)
This site always has great children's hairstyles: http://www.beadsbraidsbeyond.blogspot.com/
romp 30th-Oct-2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info on silicone. I know if...but it makes my hair so easy to comb. And makes it look healthy. I guess I should actually work on making it healthy instead.

And I was surprised/pleased to see Burt's Bees as a link. Before they were bought out (Revlon?), their lip balm was in 4 shades with the darkest being called Ethnic. I love their stuff but always try others first because of that amazing fuck-up. But maybe that's old news.
thatssojessy 30th-Oct-2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
If your hair is healthy with the silicones, then I wouldn't really bother with trying to get rid of it. Heck, I've even put hair grease (only on the ends because I need them to stay moisturized) to seal moisture and I don't think I'll ever not use grease.
sobota 31st-Oct-2011 12:22 am (UTC)
i hate my hair but i can't put relaxers in because they cause chemical burns. beyond that, i have it straightened (with a flatiron) all the time and that's the only time i like it. I've got 4C mixed with my mum's 2A and when it's 'natural' i literally cannot do ANYTHING with it.

i wish i didn't have such a funny shaped head or else i would shave all my hair off. i literally literally literally hate everything about my hair.
simplefaith08 31st-Oct-2011 12:57 am (UTC)
This is an awesome post and you should feel awesome! *bookmarks for future reference*

My hair was natural all throughout my childhood (it's was really long and thick, and I don't think my mom wanted to mess with it), and then around high school I started to flat-iron it. Then I got a relaxer, which pretty much screwed up my hair, so I won't be doing that again. At this point I'm wearing it natural, and though I've pretty much got all the relaxer out and it's thick again, it hasn't grown back to the length it was quite yet. I wish I had current pictures (I didn't realize how often I don't take pictures until now, haha). Maybe I'll take some.

I've only had someone outside my family express interest in touching my hair once; a dude I knew in high school, when I started wearing my hair naturally after my relaxer (there...weren't a lot of Black kids at my high school). And then there was the girl who told me "I love how you're doing your hair now! How do you get it to curl like that?" I was like "Um, this is how my hair is." "You mean it's not naturally straight?" xD
homasse 31st-Oct-2011 01:45 am (UTC)
*snicker* I had a similar thing happen once, with the "it's not naturally straight?!" thing.

It was picture day at an elementary school I taught English at, and the photographer was having some kind of problem with his equipment, so some of the teachers starting chatting. One guy looked at me and said, "You must really like curly hair!" I kind of blinked, and thought I had misunderstood the Japanese, so just nodded and said, "Yeaaaaaah..." and he went, "How long does it take you to curl your hair every day?" I blinked, and before I could answer, the principal of the school went, "It must take a long time! My daughter curls her hair, and it takes her a really long time, and she doesn't curl hers as small as yours!" I finally realized, no, I was definitely not having a language fail, and went, "...I don't curl it. This is natural." Both of their jaws dropped open. >XD And the principal lot out a shocked, "It's NATURAL?!" and reached out to touch my hair without thinking about it. *snicker* He caught himself with his hand about a centimeter from my head, turned red, and went, "Um, is it OK?" >XD

I pretty much am immune to getting upset about people touching my hair (being foreign working at an elementary school in the boonies in Japan will do that - I could not keep the kids away from my hair because they just loved to tug on it and watch it spring back. After I had a frickin' puppy do the same thing when I was at a friend's place - there is nothing as surreal as waking up to find a chihuahua puppy grabbing a lock of your hair in its teeth, backing up to stretch your hair out, then letting go and wagging its tail in glee before doing it again - I gave it up as just inevitable that my hair is a toy), and I just laughed and said it was fine.
homasse 31st-Oct-2011 01:20 am (UTC)
I don't have any recent pictures, so here's one from Halloween last year:



I've been natural for around 12, 13 years now, and it was nooooooooooot easy when I started, mainly because my family haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaated it. As in, my mother threatened not to pay for my next semester of college unless I permed my hair straight (I did; the man doing my hair, after failing to cheer me up or get me to talk in more than one-word answers when he was putting the crap on my head, asked why I was so sour about getting my hair done, and when I explained the situation, he stood me up, walked me over to the sink, and washed all of it our of my hair right then and there. It was too late, though, and my hair ended up really damaged and the ends split almost all the way to the roots. After a year of trying to salvage my hair, I gave up and chopped all of it off and started fresh, and my hair has not seen a chemical straightener since.) Both my mom and my grandma got mad at me for not straightening my hair for my grandfather's funeral, but honestly, their reaction to my hair is their problem, not mine. My mother once declared I kept my hair the way I did because "she just wants to be white," and the cognitive dissonance nearly broke my brain.

It's a lot easier for me, I think, to be natural in Japan than it was in the US, mainly because I don't get the pressure from family to straighten my hair. I have my own set of issues with my hair and people's reaction to it, but in general, people keep their hands to themselves in that respect. XD;;

I'm still trying to find what works best for my hair - my hair is thick, but the individual strands are so damned fine (which is a big reason why I don't want to ever straighten my hair - when it's curly, at least the hairs stick together and are sort of controlled. Straight? Every damn hair wants to go off in its own, unique direction, and will tangle, I wish I were kidding, pretty much as soon as I start brushing another section of hair. I'm not even kidding at how fast my hair tangles when it's straight. My hair straight is a tangled, bushy mess), so I get split ends really, really easily, and it breaks off.

I started recently doing twists, and I think I'm going to go back to doing that, since it was low upkeep and it looked really good. The only problem is it takes a loooooooooot of shea butter for me when I do it, to keep it moisturized and not dry out (curse Japan's lack of humidity compared to Georgia; my hair hates it), and shea is expeeeeeeeeeeeeensive (and ridiculously hard to find) here. And, ahaha, I also like to do nail art, and I have to time doing my hair around when I don't have things on my nails, otherwise, the decorations get caught on my hair and pop off. My hair is in a pony tail this week just because every time I try to do it, my nail stickers get caught. XD;;
romp 31st-Oct-2011 02:31 am (UTC)
There's a woman on Vancouver Island who's originally from Ghana and her business, Shea Butter Market, gets it direct from there.

You might check her prices in case the shipping isn't too horrible.
kira_snugz 31st-Oct-2011 01:51 am (UTC)
i`m somewhere in the 3 section. people have always touched my hair. and man when i was pregnant, it was like i was a magnet with a sign that said `touch me everywhere!` people would either start with `oooh having a baby!!!`and work their way up, or go `omg curly hair` and then worked their way down.

its really damn short at the moment and i`m growing it out. its slowly but surely turning into a fro, and it`ll stay that way for about a year before it gets long enough to not puff upwards.

i`ve thought about going natural but i`m literally allergic to the water here, and i am on a low bath-shower cycle to keep the hives down, so i`m sticking with quick and easy and onhand.
snarksnarklaugh 31st-Oct-2011 01:52 am (UTC)
I agree with the "Ask before you touch" sentiment.
Personally my hair is something like 2c on a low humidity day ( my hair is basically humidity sensitive and nothing else seems to affect it). Pomade is awesome and anything with Keratin. I think natural hair is better looking on most people then articfically trying to make it something it isn't and keep it that way. I wish I had the gall to cut it all off but I probably have some wicked looking scars on my head and I don't want that much attention on my head/face area or in general.
lickety_split 31st-Oct-2011 02:25 am (UTC)
Damn you guys are making this post HAPPEN! Loving all the participation!
romp 31st-Oct-2011 03:21 am (UTC)
yay for your keener post ideas!
mel_darcy 31st-Oct-2011 02:32 am (UTC)
Thank you for this fascinating post. As someone not in the US I've only seen any of this discussion through US TV and have not had any context to understand.
Such a full article, perfect for all audiences :)
starryniteynite 31st-Oct-2011 02:41 am (UTC)
My (white, Irish) cousin is married to a black man and is expecting a little girl in February. She's been collecting hair advice/tips for when the time comes, and this post is excellent. Her sister-in-law suffered major scalp/hair issues from a perm-gone wrong, so she's most interested in natural styling, etc. I'll see if she has any info to add that she's come across, but this is pretty comprehensive! Thanks for compiling this.
lickety_split 31st-Oct-2011 10:32 am (UTC)
You're welcome! It's great that she's aware of how her daughter's hair is going to be different from her own and is preparing for that in advance so I hope she's able to find something useful in all this information.
angelofdeath275 31st-Oct-2011 02:49 am (UTC)
I can remember one time when my hair was touched by white people.

It was when I was a kid and me, my dad and my sister just came back from watching the fireworks. A white couple saw me, and asked to touch my hair. Being a kid I felt all special and let them. When I came back, my dad had this glare across his face, and I couldn't figure out why.


....But now I do understand.....UUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH.....now I look back on that with shame. Why oh WHHYYY didn't my dad curse them out DXXX
astridmyrna 31st-Oct-2011 04:50 am (UTC)
Slightly OT, but this sounds like a story Zora Neale Hurtson may have wrote.
vanillakokakola 31st-Oct-2011 02:57 am (UTC)
i have a question: what do you guys do about tangles? when i'm in the shower, i'll have my apple cider vinegar rinse double as a detangler and do some initial separating of my hair, and then i'll comb it hair with a wide-toothed comb (still wet).

the problem is that i inevitably have tangles on the end that i have to pull through, and i end up with some pretty nasty split ends (to the point where the bottom of my hair is golden blonde whereas the rest of my hair is brownish-blonde). is there anything i can do to help counteract it?
msloserrific 31st-Oct-2011 03:02 am (UTC)
I use Herbal Essences "Long Term Relationship" split end prevention. I also try to start out by detangling with my fingers, since they're less likely to rip out my hair when they encounter knots.

I also try to grab my hair a bit above where it's tangled and hold it to the side (I hope this makes sense) and comb that way instead of down to reduce the tension when I tug with my comb.

I don't know if there's anyway to counteract splits that are already there minus trimming, though.
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