Best subscription boxes for loose and loc’d naturals Subscription boxes have been hot ever since 2010, when Birchbox launched the first. If you are wondering what subscription boxes are, essentially they’re goodies, sample items and products from a particular niche that are packaged and delivered […]
If you’re anything like me (a low-key health crusader and alternative health investigator), the increasing rates of women afflicted with breast cancer are giving you growing cause for concern. Recent statistics from BreastCancer.org report that: About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12.4%) will […]
The Natural Girl’s Guide to International Travel
When planning an international trip, there’s usually a long checklist to tick off when packing, and when you add natural hair to the mix, the list gets even longer…
And yes I agree, rocking a protective style is more convenient and requires minimal maintenance, but sometimes you just want to let it ‘fro, and that’s alright too.
In order to rock that style all trip long, there are 5 essentials every Naturalista should have in her travel bag on an international trip. You can add to this list of course, but here we’ll cover the essential must-haves.
Moisturizers and Styling Cream
This is top of the list! Pack your tried and truly tested hair stylers and conditioners. And pack them all in the right sizes so your faves don’t end up in the TSA trash. Be a smart traveler, reduce those extra baggage fees by getting travel-sized bottles from Amazon, or your local beauty supply store.
Also, you’ll want to ensure that they’re tightly sealed. You can pack them in a Ziploc bag, wrap them with cling film or open up your product, cover it in cling wrap, or bits of a plastic bag, then seal with the container’s cover. This will keep your products from spilling. And if they do still manage a leak, the sealed Ziploc bag will be a lifesaver.
Unless you’re a pro finger detangler, travelling without your detangler is a no-no. And no, now is not the time to experiment to see if you’d be good at finger detangling….lol! Save that for when you return from your trip when you can simply detangle & chill.
Hotels don’t offer satin pillow cases and there’s no telling if you’ll find one at the local market of the country you’re visiting or how much the vendors will charge you when they realize you’re not a local.
Scarves can also do double duty as a head wrap. Depending on where you are going, you might be required to cover your hair when out in public visiting sacred temples and spaces. So it’s a win-win.
Absolute necessity! You can mix your oils and water in it before packing. But be wary of TSA and pack an empty one. You can also fill travel-sized bottles with your favorite oils as suggested above. Or wrap them up and put them in your checked bag, not your carry-on to be on the safe side.
The Emergency Essentials
You know, good ol’ bobby pins, elastic bands, and turbans for when your hair decides to act a child. Now we don’t plan for your hair to ruin the your mood on your trip, but if you do have a bad hair day or a styling malfunction, you can rest assured if you have a Hairmergency Rescue Kit to help you out.
With the basics ticked off on your checklist, deciding what else to pack depends on some other factors like…
Some products work best in certain climates and are terrible in others. For example, if your favorite product contains humectants and you are planning a winter trip, your curls will get thirsty because although humectants attract moisture from the air in humid conditions, in cooler climates they expel moisture from your hair into the atmosphere.
Don’t forget to pack anti-frizz sprays and serums if you’re heading somewhere warm like Morocco, and your satin lined hats if you’re heading some place cold.
Consider Your Activities
Will you go swimming? If yes, you’ll need some chelating shampoos and conditioners. If you plan to go backpacking or a safari ride, overly sweet-scented products might attract bugs which you don’t need. So leave those out of your bag.
Well, that sums up your natural hair must-haves to pack on your next trip. So now the only question is… where are we headed next?
Gifts for Him You Probably Didn’t Think Of… Father’s Day is right around the corner and you’re not planning to give him another tie or bottle of whisky for the umpteenth time, right? Getting gifts for guys can prove to be stressful because, what do […]
How Closely Related Are Your Hair Products To Your Lady Business? There are numerous chemicals in use today that negatively affect our health, hence the rise of “all natural” products that have flooded the market, from pet food to household cleaners. But have you ever […]
Since returning to being a loose Natural after 11 years of being loc’d, I am rediscovering different things to do with my hair and ways to wear it out and about, to work, and in various other daily activities.
I think of myself as a simple loose Natural. Meaning, I don’t fuss with my hair a lot and I usually keep one style for the week. I don’t do too much to it beyond a daily moisture spritz & seal to prep and wrap it before bedtime.
The K.I.S.S. Method to Natural Hair Maintenance
In essence, I use the K.I.S.S. method when it comes to my natural hair regime. (I have a little more fun on the weekends though).
So I was intending to put it up in a chignon last night but stopped short of that when I glanced in the mirror and caught a side profile of my full-out Afro puff in all of its glory. And the look actually gave me pause…I liked it. I wasn’t expecting that…
BUT, surprisingly, it also brought up some other feelings that I was not expecting and was not ready for.
I guess you could say I’m caught between two worlds…new school and old school thinking. The majority of me is determined to accept me as is, no apologies…especially when it comes to my hair.
But if I’m totally honest, there is still a small part that rehashes the old, discriminating thoughts as to the degrees of overall “kemptness” of kinky, curly hair.
Questions quickly started running through my head like ‘is this OK?”, ‘is it too much?’, is it too ‘out there?’ — basically, will it draw too much attention to itself? I work in a pretty small office and the boss is fairly conservative. I’m the only one that looks like me in there…so anytime I do something different with my hair it’s a new experience for the people in my office even though it’s pretty normal for me and that got me to thinking…
Natural Hair Hangups: Why All the Fuss? …A Brief Look At History
Our hair is an integral part of our history, in more ways than one. Before colonialization, afro-textured hair was prized, donned in elaborate hairstyles by African women and even African men. Different hairstyles could tell you about a person’s social status, religion, clan, among other things. If a woman’s hair was unkempt for any reason, it was to signify a period of mourning. Regardless, the point is, black hair was not seen as less than, or with any subliminal meanings attached to it. In fact, as with most other cultures, it was a source of pride.
When the slave trade was in full swing, it was common for slave traders to shave off the head of Africans to humiliate them and strip them of their identity. Due to the long, grueling and dehumanizing hours that they were forced to work, quite naturally slaves had no time for their hair, and even if they did, there were no styling tools fashioned for afro-textured hair as they had back home in their native lands.
Ayana Byrd and Lori Tharps in their book, Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America write that some African slaves used sheep fleece carding tools to take better care of their hair but this resulted in infections and breakage. Hence, they resorted to covering their hair for lack of better options.
Slave masters also preferred to keep slaves with “good hair” for house jobs. This led to some slaves using lye soap or lye and other mixtures to straighten their hair in hopes of looking neat enough for house jobs. Although house jobs were just as tedious as field jobs, they were deemed somewhat better.
This continued into the post-emancipation era when blacks had to straighten their hair to blend in and not have “slave hair.” Slave hair as you can imagine, was characterized as short, kinky and unkempt.
It’s shocking to discover how far the system would go to degrade black hair. In the late 1800’s, there was actually a “law” in colonial Louisiana which prohibited women of color from wearing their hair out in public places. Can you believe it?! They were ordered to cover their hair because it was seen as a threat to white women. Although it was not an official law, the governor at the time made the guideline which was part of the ‘Edict of Good Government’ to be punishable to the full degree of a law.
The edict was made to downplay the attractiveness of black women and separate women of color from their white counterparts.
“The distinction which exists in the hairdressing of the colored people, from the others, is necessary for same to subsist, and order the quadroon and negro women, wear feathers, nor curls in their hair, combing same flat or covering it with a handkerchief if it is combed high as was formerly the custom,” a section of the edict reads. [source]
However, this rule is known to have backfired as the black women made quite a show with the pieces they used to cover their hair.
This clearly shows that natural hair was often stigmatized as either not ‘neat’ or ‘too much’ and this message has been transferred from generation to generation both directly and indirectly. This explains why many black women feel the need to look “presentable” and not stand out where a white employer or predominantly white gathering is concerned. And you will see that the stigma of curly hair extends beyond people of African descent, you can witness threads of disdain across any ethnicity, even its own as witnessed here.
Is an Afro Puff ‘professional enough’ for the workplace?
I wanted to share these thoughts with you because I figured if I was having these thoughts then there are others out there having these thoughts as well. Maybe we can share some ideas of how to deal with them, process them and move past them because I would love for us to get to the place of so what?
What I mean by that is to acknowledge hair as being just hair and not weighed down with so many meanings, assumptions and associations.
Big and fluffy or kinky and coily doesn’t mean unkempt, and it doesn’t mean political or confrontational, it simply means not straight. Period.
Honestly, when contemplating wearing my puff to work what I felt initially was fear. And that simple fact bothered me. I didn’t like it and reaffirmed silently to myself that I refuse to apologize for my hair or hide its texture. I woke up the next morning, fluffed my puff and went off to work. I’m confident that I made the right decision.
Although I do believe in workplace appropriateness (the old school part of me coming out). For example, I wouldn’t expect a bank teller or law clerk to sport multi-color hair and I’m not rolling in to work with booty shorts on. The simple notion that hair texture could or would be associated with an individual’s capacity to do their job is simply ridiculous. I won’t take part.
In case you were wondering, the day was rather uneventful. No one commented on my hair. Even though sometimes they do…and when it happens, I normally just chalk it up for the team (#teamnatural) and try to keep the conversations surrounding the novelty of my hair brief and lighthearted. But in this case, I didn’t have to. The day came and went, and I had a small victory for self-esteem. Yay!
Do you have concerns about whether or not natural hair is professional? Do you ever question your hair style choice and it’s office-appropriateness?
Tell me about it in the comments below and how you dealt with it. I’m listening…
More Good Reads:
Okay, maybe I’m a little biased but I just have to tell you about Sugar Snaps Hair Barrettes for Locs & Twists. Read on and you’ll soon understand my enthusiasm… Little girls love to feel beautiful, cute, and pretty. One of the many ways they […]
From festivals to fashion runways, you’ve seen these bold and colorful prints pop up in the most modern of ways. And while instantly recognizable, you may not have know it by name. So what exactly is Ankara fashion, and why is there such a buzz? Well, […]
“I love my hair…you, not so much.”
— Natural Hair T-shirt
Ok, the quote above is a bit tongue in cheek, but the struggle of having a hair complex is very real. Seriously though, when I was growing up, it was during time when being a dark skinned little girl with short hair was not necessarily popular.
Nobody wanted to be that. You wanted either to be light skinned or at least have long flowing hair—the looser the texture, the better. That may not be en vogue to admit now, but it was a very real feeling back then. And a very heavy weight to carry (queue “Bag Lady” by Erykah Badu here…)
A Journey Back To Love: A look into my Natural Hair Journey and how it might give you LIFE…
Like most children, I had a best friend in elementary school. We were close (thick as thieves) up until the new girl arrived to our class. She had long, curly hair and everyone flocked to her when she arrived. She immediately became the most popular girl in class even though she was extremely shy and introverted.
People gravitated towards her and wanted to be around her because of her social currency—a loose, curly hair texture and head full of long, shiny locks.
Suddenly, my best friend no longer wanted to be friends with me. She became best friends with the new girl who had the hair that everyone loved and coveted.
I vividly remember passing a note to my former best friend in class one day, asking her why she didn’t want to be my friend anymore.
She responded dryly and unaffected by saying, “This is America and I can be friends with whoever I want to be friends with.” And that was the end of it. I had to find a new friend.
That was painful at the time and there were many other experiences I’ve had growing up that left me with a feeling of inferiority. There were undercurrents in many situations throughout my life that made it seem as though popularity or desirability was based upon your hair texture and length.
And in fact it was, just think of the hair salon scene in School Daze. Especially during jr. high and high school…the most influential times when you’re growing up and forming your own identity.
These experiences planted a seed within without me even realizing it.
The reason why I am so passionate about what I’m doing now is because I don’t want any more little girls to grow up with that heavy burden.
It hurts my heart just thinking of all of the #blackgirlmagic being smothered and silenced by negative messages we subtly, and not so subtly pass downs to our girls — these negative ideas about beauty that get recycled generation after generation.
The way we can break the pattern is by reaching the mothers of little coily-haired girls everywhere. We have the power to destroy the stigmas and negativity surrounding afro-textured hair.
We can get rid of “good hair” vs. “bad hair” so that no little girl will feel like she’s less than. My mission is to affect people by fostering pride within them about their own hair texture, and I do that through my creations of natural hair accessories.
Let’s work towards eliminating the stigmas together, so that little girls everywhere can recognize, honor, and be unapologetic in their own beauty.
Can you relate? Do you have a hair story that profoundly impacted you? Share it with me in the comments below…I’m listening…
And if you’re on the shy side, here’s a great natural hair tee to let folks know how you really feel…
Hair Vitamins? Really?? You’ve seen them on store shelves and you’ve read the hype online. “Take these pills and your hair and nails will grow like crazy!!!” We secretly wish… ? Shoulder length? Check. ? Bra strap length? Yes please. ? Waist length? […]