Natural Hair IS 'Good Hair'

Natural Hair IS 'Good Hair'

Deconstruct the stigma against natural texture.
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My eighth birthday marks my earliest memory of straightening my hair. I dreaded the routine; having waist-length hair gave no aid to the seemingly endless process of hot tools being held to my roots and dragged downward, steam rising from my scalp. Burnt ears, brittle ends, and complaints of tangles and frizz were trademarked experiences. However unfavorable, the process never failed to elicit: “Your hair looks so nice like this! You should wear it that way more often.”

From age eight onward, I tried to. A majority of the people in my life are certain that my hair is straight and have never believed it to appear otherwise. I have worked diligently to maintain that popular understanding. I’ve invested in expensive titanium tools, smoothing shampoos, and the like. The girl with curly hair is not one that many know to exist.

It took me years to understand the power of the words I heard at age eight. This inherent preference for straight, sleek hair is one that women have obsessed over for centuries. Hair discrimination is largely systematized, and permits that women who wear their natural curls be disadvantaged in schools, the workplace, and other social settings. Black women have experienced the most negative societal repercussions for wearing their hair natural. The “Good Hair Study” implements a Hair Implicit Association Test to measure the implications of the term “Good Hair.” Overwhelmingly, findings indicate that “good” denotes smoothness and silkiness, and abides by normalized European beauty standards. They note that “while the ‘good hair’ standard has historical roots, it is perpetuated by pervasive cultural messages that idealize this vision of hair and offer treatments or products to achieve it.”

My experience is not comparable to theirs. As the study states, “women of other races and ethnicities who have curly or textured hair may experience pressure to conform to these beauty standards; but black women, in a sense, are often pitted against them.”

There is, however, a remarkably evident generational difference in hair perception. Recent years have seen the rise of ‘naturalistas’: women who spearhead a movement towards acceptance and normalization of natural hair in society. Per the study, “79% of black millennial (under age 30) naturalistas currently wear their hair in a natural style.” In addition, “millennial naturalistas have more positive attitudes toward textured hair than all other women.”

In conversation with peers that now proudly wear and celebrate their textured hair, the impact of those millennial naturalistas is undeniable.

One student recalls: “I was seeing a new image of black women across all kinds of media, and all those women wore their hair naturally. The natural hair movement was far reaching, especially on the internet...I was sick of not being myself. I wanted to finally accept myself in ways that I hadn't before. Growing up, black girls are often told that their hair was not ‘good hair’...So basically at 17 I was like f*ck that shit and stopped chemically straightening my hair.”

Another, who was raised natural states: “My grandmother didn’t know how to take proper care of my mother’s hair when she was growing up and a lot of the braiding techniques she’d do would put such strain on my mother’s hairline that her edges started breaking. She started doing her own hair in her teens, but perms were so popular at the time, that she gave in and went along with the trend, only to regret it years later. So she raised us natural, so that our hair wouldn’t end up like hers did.”

To those considering going natural, they say:

1. Be patient- your hair may not be flourishing right away, give it time. Rome wasn't built in a day.

2. Love your texture. Most of the time, girls who are going natural haven't seen their true hair texture in over ten years. When you're able to feel it and touch it and comb it, you're gonna love it.

3. For healthy, long natural hair, you must go fully natural. Forgo products with harsh chemicals in the labels (i.e. ones with silicones, parabens, etc.) Stick to products made specifically for natural hair.

On the hardest things about going natural:

“Don't get me wrong, I love my hair, but it's high maintenance. It requires a lot of care and sometimes I get lazy. My hair was far more manageable when it was straight, but I'd rather trade manageability for healthy hair.”

Furthermore, “the hardest thing for many is that it is very time-consuming. To take care of your hair, you must be gentle with it.”

Finally, on the topic of gaining the confidence to wear natural hair:

“Don’t be afraid to take on the challenge. It won’t be easy, and a lot of the time, you may feel like you’ve been working hard on your hair for so long and aren’t seeing any results. The journey to healthy hair is tough, but it is so worth it in the end.” Additionally, “people will not like it and that's okay- some of those people will be your own family. They may even say ‘your hair looked so much better straight.’ Ignore them and carry on.”

Their words are resonant with anyone fearful of going natural, in the process of it, or advocating for it. Though my own acceptance of my hair has yet to come, it is refreshing to see the transformative shift in attitudes towards natural hair, and the movement that accompanies it.

Natural hair IS good hair.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Sophia / Unsplash

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8 Products That Prove Glossier DOES Live Up To The Hype

It's time to update your makeup y'all.
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If you’re into the makeup scene, or maybe not (honestly I’m not a huge makeup buff), you’ve probably heard of Glossier by now. Glossier is known for being a predominately online makeup/skincare brand. They do have a showroom in New York and do have pop-ups (the current one is in San Francisco). Great news though! Glossier is opening up their first store in LA in May!

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this brand, some love it and some don’t. While it is definitely up to your preferences, I’m here to tell you that their products definitely live up to the hype.

I recently binge bought most of their products (treat yo self, right?). Y’all I literally ran to the door when I heard the mailman ring the doorbell. I frantically washed my face to try out all my products and here’s a rundown.

1. Priming Moisturizer

I was actually really nervous to try this because after I bought it, I read a considerable amount of reviews stating that it made their skin breakout. A couple of my friends also said it gave them red bumps. Naturally, I was nervous because my skin is really sensitive (Burt’s Bees face wash makes me break out kinda sensitive).

The result? I love it. It was enough moisture to make my face seem more alive and light enough where it didn’t feel like anything or make my face shiny. The best part? It didn’t make me break out! Score!!

2. Stretch concealer

So I’ve owned my fair share of concealers (I have Vitiligo— ya know, the same skin condition Michael Jackson had) and was hoping that this concealer would cover it up more naturally. The concealer is very sheer but also very buildable; it gave me a perfectly natural look around my eye. It covered my Vitiligo on my forehead which is beyond impressive. It leaves you with a dewy finish.

3. Perfecting skin tint

I went back and forth for ages trying to figure out which shade to buy. While there may only be five shades, they are very adaptable because of how sheer they are. I’ve never been a fan of very heavy coverage and this is very very light coverage while still evening out your skin tone and I *love* it.

4. Boy brow

Known for being their best seller, I can see why. This is their "all in one brow fluffed, filler, and shaper." I also have Vitiligo on one of my eyebrows and frequently dye it because it’s just more convenient. I’ve been pretty lazy on being consistent and boy brow went beyond my expectation and actually did an incredible job of not only filling in and help define the shape of my brows but also helping boost color in my Vitiligo eyebrow.

5. Cloud Paint

I only recently started getting into blush and wanted something to give me a nice natural flush. This product is so blendable it’s ridiculous. I love the color I bought (dusk) and it makes me hella glowy.

6. Haloscope

I went out on a whim and bought their highlighter, even though I’m still playing around on where I should be putting it on my face. I was worried it was going to make me look sweaty rather than glowy but was pleasantly surprised that I look like I was reflecting all the light, naturally of course.

7. Lidstar

The newest addition to the Glossier line is their eyeshadow. This could work for day (sheered out) or night (built up). My extent of eyeshadow knowledge is applying it with my finger and applying it till I can visibly see the color, which is perfect in this case.

8. Generation G Matte Lipstick

If I own any sort of makeup, it’s lipstick. I love lipstick y’all. Maybe because it’s the only thing I know how to actually apply (what’s lip liner?). I drilled it into my head that these lipsticks are sheer colors, but you know what, I didn’t mind it! These add just enough tint to your lips and are perfect for when you don't want to go without lipstick but you don’t necessarily want such a bold or heavy looking color.

I bought these products on a whim and I’m so incredibly happy with each and every product I have purchased. I will definitely be re-buying them in the future. Everything is so easy to use, blend-able, and can all be done with your hands! I highly suggest Glossier if you want to change up your makeup routine or are looking for a more natural makeup look. You do you y’all and happy shopping!

Cover Image Credit: Nour Elshazly

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3 Pros And Cons For Chopping Off Your Hair

The truth about the short hair life.
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I think we can all agree that long hair can really be a huge pain in the butt. Whether it's ponytail headaches, hair stuck in zippers or burning yourself with your flatiron, sometimes you wish you could just chop it all off. After not cutting my hair for a good four years, I threw caution to the wind and got a pixie cut. While I love the short hair life, it's not for everyone. Here are some pros and cons of chopping off your hair.

Pros:

1. You get to sleep in

This is, hands down, my favorite part of having short hair. When my hair was much longer, styling it added an extra 15 to 20 minutes to my morning routine. All I have to do is wake up and go, meaning I can sleep in and spend those extra minutes eating breakfast or watching something on Netflix. Chopping off your hair means little to no brushing, straightening or tying up.

2. Save money on shampoo

Shampoo gets to be expensive, especially when your hair is at your waist. I remember going through giant, family size bottles of shampoo in less than a month. Now, I buy super small bottles and they last me months. Without having to buy shampoo so often, you can invest in some fancier, slightly more expensive shampoos just because you can.

3. It dries instantly

The bane of my existence when I had long hair was waiting for my hair to dry on its own. While blow dryers are nice and all, they ruin your hair and do more harm than good. Chopping your hair off will save you six hours of waiting for your hair to dry or 25 minutes of flexing your arm muscles drying it yourself.

Cons:

1. It's not exactly cheaper

When you get a pixie cut, the first thing people think is “wow, you’re probably going to save so much money now,” but this not always the case. While you save tons of money on hair products and shampoo, you still have to spend a good chunk of change to keep your short hair maintained. If you wait longer than six weeks for a haircut your hair will start to look and feel like a hot mess.

2. So many negative comments

"I don't like short hair on girls" is something you’ll hear all of the time. My favorite response to this statement? Just smile and nod. If you want to chop off your hair, don’t let other people’s opinions get in your way. Do what you want and ignore the snide comments and break society's notion that all girls should have long, perfect hair.

3. Bad hair days are twice as worse

With longer hair, when you have a bad hair day there are at least one or two ways you can hide it. With shorter hair, your options are pretty limited. You can’t tie your hair up or braid it away. If you have a bad hair you’ve got to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: Eunice Lituañas

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