On Natural Hair And The Problem Of Hair Envy

On Natural Hair And The Problem Of Hair Envy

Hair envy is a self-defeating habit, a trick that our mind plays on us to make us feel inferior
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Being natural sucks sometimes. Taking care of kinky/curly hair is not a simple task. It’s more like a lifestyle. My bathroom sink is overrun with hair masks, treatments, gels, etc. I deep condition every week, I retwist my hair almost every night. I have to make sure that I moisturize my hair every day or else it will get dry, brittle, and break off. When you’re natural, you don’t have room to be lazy — you either stick to your routine or suffer the consequences (like going to sleep without your bonnet on and then wondering why you woke up with no edges).

Although it feels like a chore, deciding to go natural was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Not only is my hair healthier, but it feels good to be my authentic self. As sad as it is, I didn’t know what my natural hair looked like until I was fourteen. Before then, my curl pattern had been masked by relaxers (chemical treatments that make your hair straight), flat irons, and weaves. When I saw that my hair curled in a unique and beautiful way, I wondered why I had ever tried to hide it before.

It’s no secret that black hair has always been seen as undesirable. Black hair is poofy, overwhelming thick, prone to dryness, and tightly curled. Black hair is a lot to deal with. Black hair is the exact opposite of what “good” hair is thought to be (straight and fine-textured), so I’m not surprised that at one point in time, I thought my hair was ugly, or that I had to use chemicals and styling tools to make it “better” and more manageable.

Black hair looks very different, but different does not mean inferior. That’s a lesson I had to learn. I had to allow myself to be vulnerable and stop hiding the physical characteristics I had been born with. I would go to YouTube and watch videos about how to do twist-outs or braid-outs, how to make DIY deep conditioning treatments, or how to do protective styles. I learned more and more about my hair and I found myself getting more and more excited to try new hairstyles.

I also found myself comparing my curl pattern to the curl pattern of the women in the YouTube videos. A lot of popular natural hair gurus have 3C hair type, which is basically the holy grail of all the curl patterns. 3C hair is curly, but not too curly. It deviates from the universal ideal of “good” hair, but not too much that it is classified as unattractive. As I watched the videos of these popular YouTubers, I wondered why the products they used on their hair didn’t work for mine, or why their twist-outs were so loose and bouncy, while mine were tight and protruded outwards.

I'm a 4B

She's one of the most followed natural hair gurus, with — you guessed it — 3B/3C hair.

I watched them do wash-n-go's and have these spiraled, beautiful curls just by using gel and water. When I tried to emulate them, my hair did nothing but get tangled and frizzy. I had to twist or braid my hair to maintain a curl that was seen as “pretty,” while they didn’t have to do anything but add product and let it dry. I felt frustrated with my hair because it didn’t curl in a way that I wanted it to.

And then I realized… I was still hating my hair, not because it wasn’t straight, but because it wasn’t the right type of curly.

On YouTube and in the media, natural hair is being celebrated more and more, but the beauty of natural hair stops being praised once you cross the threshold from 4A to 4B and beyond. Just recently, Shea Moisture (a black-owned business that sells natural hair products) was criticized because in one of its advertisements, only women with looser hair textures were featured. Black women with type 4 hair have been supporting Shea Moisture for a long time, so to see the company completely erase us from their target audience was pretty much a slap in the face.

Black celebrities have no problem rocking weaves or wigs that are 3C hair type, but when was the last time any of them ever showed their natural hair (when it’s not straightened), or wore a fro? (And wearing a fro for a Halloween costume does not count.)

Lots of Black celebrities would rather wear artificial curls than their own (except for Lupita Nyong'o, of course)


The only time we've ever seen Blac Chyna's real hair is when it's straightened.

When we choose to embark on our natural hair journey, we’re supposed to be gaining more love and appreciation for our hair. But I’ve noticed that for some of us, those who have kinkier and tighter curls and those who have hair that doesn’t fit the universal standard, we just grow more and more frustrated with our God-given strands.

We see women in the natural hair movement that have the "right" type of curls and then we wonder if something is wrong with ours. We see only 3B/C portrayed in the media as pretty, while afros or 4C hair is only worn during fashion shows to be seen as different and "edgy." For women in the natural hair community with type 4 hair, the journey to self-love and acceptance has been a little bit rockier, and we've only made it so far because of our support for one another.

It wasn’t until I found YouTubers that had 4C hair and who loved their strands and rocked them like they were tresses of gold, that I started to truly love my hair and what it looked like. I found myself becoming envious of girls that had huge fros, not those that had loose, bouncy curls.

This video showed me the beauty of kinkier hair.

I developed a sisterhood among all of the women and girls who had hair like me, who had hair that was only seen as beautiful to those willing to look at it without bias. Even now, I still feel frustrated with my hair. There are days when I don’t feel like doing a twist-out, so I just let my hair dry and do whatever. When I wake up the next morning and my hair has shrunk into a ball of wooly mess, I’ll wish my curl pattern was looser. I’ll wish that I had straight hair that was easy to maintain and that didn’t get shorter when it was wet.

Sometimes I will sigh and be upset that my hair doesn’t hang, but instead just grows wider. But then I remember that God gave me the hair on my head and there is no reason to hate it. It’s much easier to love and accept it, to love and accept myself for who I am. I know a lot of us wish we had "better" hair. We constantly lust after and desire a certain type of hair, whether it be straight, curly, thicker, or thinner but ultimately, we must learn to accept what we can't change and realize that hair envy does nothing but make us feel worse about ourselves. Hair envy is a self-defeating habit, a trick that our mind plays on us to make us feel inferior. There is nothing to be jealous of because...

All hair is good hair.

Cover Image Credit: remythequill / Flickr

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Don't Eat Like Sh*t And 8 Other Ways To Get A Perfect Summer Bod Like Mine

No but seriously... get up and get your butt to the gym!
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Moms, dads, boys, girls and, most importantly, college students: summer body season is approaching us. As much as we have it set in our (un)determined minds, we are going to get that summer bod before we hit the beach.

So, take my advice and lets rock n' roll.

1. Drink water

I can't stress this enough... drop the soda and sweet tea, and start drinking water all day every day.

2. Go to the gym 5-6 days a week

As most of you have experienced, going to the gym and staying IN the gym is hard... but as soon as you go for a week or two straight, you won't want to stop going.

Here's a little workout to get you started.

Day 1: Back

Run 1 mile (inside or outside)

Pull-ups (5 sets: 3, 3, 2, 2, 1)

Straight arm pull down (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Shoulder shrugs (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

V-bar pulldowns (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Day 2: Legs

Run 1 mile (inside or outside)

Barbell full squat (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Leg press (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Seated leg curl (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Leg extensions (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Standing calf raises (4 sets; 8-10 reps)

Step ups with dumbells (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Donkey kicks (4 sets, 15 reps)

Day 3: Arms/Abs

Preacher curl (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Hammer curls (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Decline EZ bar Tri-Extension (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Crunches (4 sets: 25 reps)

Flat bench lying leg raise (4 sets: 25 reps)

Cable crunch (3 sets: 10-12 reps)

Planks (front, left, right: complete 3 sets on each side until failure)

Day 4: Rest!!!

Day 5: Chest

Incline dumbbell press (3 sets: 8-10 reps)

Decline dumbbell bench press (3 sets: 8-10 reps)

Dumbbell flies (3 sets: 8-10 reps)

Cable Crossover (3 sets: 8-10 reps)

Run a mile+

Day 6: Shoulders/Abs

Upright barbell (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Front dumbbell raise (4 sets: 8-10 reps)

Russian twists (4 sets: 25 reps with weighted medicine ball)

Opposite arm and leg raise (4 sets: 25 reps)

V-ups (4 sets: 25 reps)

Day 7: Rest!!!

Remember, on your rest days you should do some cardio and drink plenty of water. If you don't know how to do something listed, look it up on YouTube.

3. Don't eat like sh*t

Instead of eating three bowls of fruity pebbles in the morning, eat a banana and a peanut butter sandwich. When you go to work, don't eat out on your lunch break! Pack a sandwich and some fruit. You don't need a cheat day! It isn't worth it. Stay away from the pizza and the candy, you can fill those cravings with baked chicken and yummy fruit!

4. Take pictures of your progress

Seeing your progress through pictures is more motivating than it seems! Post about it on social media, hype yourself up! I mean... you're kicking butt. You have the right to boast about it. ;)

5. Find a friend to take on this challenge with you

Personally, I like to workout alone... but having a friend to do this with you will make it fun! Not only are you getting a hot bod, but you're also making memories while you're at it!

6. Buy a new swimsuit and clothes to wear

To match your new hot bod of course.

7. Be confident!

Going to the gym isn't easy, and neither is dieting... but it will be well worth it! Before you know it, you'll be on the beach with tanned skin and a big booty.

8. Don't give up

This is the hardest part of the whole process. Even on your worst days, be sure to make it to the gym! You can do it. Find your inner bad b*tch and get it done.

9. Last but not least...

Do this for you! You deserve it more than you think. The healthier you are, the happier you are.

So screenshot the workout, share this article so your friends can get with the program, and head to the gym! The beach is waiting on you.

Cover Image Credit: Macey Mullins

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My Hair Journey After Box Bleaching My Hair

Although it may seem cheap and easy, the reality of box bleaching your hair is disastrous. Professionals, this article is dedicated to you.

nadoty
nadoty
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In 2017, I made the disastrous decision to box bleach my hair that I am still paying for today.

It seemed cheap, easy, and was something fun I could do at midnight. Little did I know, this would be a choice that I would still be regretting to this day. Besides the awful reality of box bleaching your hair, such as the chemicals in store hair dye already being disastrous for your hair, if you don't know what you're doing you not only run the risk of damaging your hair, having your hair fall out, but could also seriously hurting your scalp.

Follow me on my hair journey over the past two years and use this article to look back on if you're ever bored and in need for a change. Wait to go to a salon!

May 23rd, 2017.

Nichole Doty

I like to call this moment the calm before the storm. Back in 2017, I had long dark hair. I loved my hair and was very proud of how long I grew it. This is the longest my hair had ever been at this point in my life, and I absolutely loved it.

July 31st, 2017.

Nichole Doty

This was the day that everything changed. I made the terrible decision to not only box bleach my hair but to add box pink hair dye on the underneath of it. Not only did it look terrible, but it was also an irreversible decision that was made that I would have to live with for the next few years to come.

August 12th, 2017.

Kasey Bauner, (kasey_bauner via instagram), who works at Jay Marie Salon and Spa in Schereville, was able to save my hair in a beautiful way.

Nichole Doty

HALLELUJAH! My hot mess was fixed! Through hours and hundreds of dollars later spent at the salon, they were able to salvage my hair without shaving all of it off!

December 9th, 2017.

Nichole Doty

A few months later, after some length came in, that's when the roots started to appear. After the first glace at the outgrowth, I knew that I would have to keep chopping my hair until the roots fully grew out.

January 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

This was the first big chop I had to do since the box bleach disaster I did to my head. I knew that I didn't want to dye my hair back to its original color, so this began my repetitive cycle of hair growing out, getting a drastic chop, and growing it out again.

July 5th, 2018.

Nichole Doty

In July, my hair started to show more length since I had to originally chop it. My roots were starting to come in the dark so I had to try and wear hairstyles that would discretely cover how much my hair had grown.

August 31st, 2018.

Another big chop when school started in the fall of 2018. There's something so disappointing about having to keep growing out your hair just to chop it, but unfortunately, that's what I signed up for when I got myself into this mess.

November 29th, 2018.

At this point, my roots looked terrible. From the back of my head, the roots were growing towards the middle. I had to keep reminding myself that I couldn't see the back of my head so I could gracefully ignore how terrible it looked. Aside from this awful outgrowth I had going on, the color in my hair was starting to settle into a yellow mess.

January 31st, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As if I didn't learn my lesson from the first time, I started to experiment with different colors. I used the L'Oreal Colorista Semi-Permanent dye. I will say, though, this really is the most Semi-Permanent dye I have ever used as it would fully wash out in two weeks without any traces of color left behind.

April 25th, 2019.

I felt as though if I added different colors to my hair it would make the roots look more natural. As it did, I do NOT recommend the Kiss Tintation hair dye. This was the most patchy dye I have ever used, although I did love the blue.

May 12th, 2019.

Nichole Doty

As of just a few weeks ago, my hair was a big green mess. The dye would not leave my hair, so I started to panic that I really messed up this time. I could no longer wait at this point as I felt the frantic need to chop my hair.

May 23rd, 2019.

Nichole Doty

Here we have it! At the end of my journey thus far, I have managed to almost have all of my natural colors back! Although there are some green strands still left behind, I am mostly back to a full head of hair being the same color.

Overall, I want this article to serve as a warning to those who are like me and don't think through decisions properly. I'm the type of person when I want something I want it at that exact moment no matter what. My rash decision has led to poor self esteem and issues throughout these past two years. Am I being dramatic? Maybe. Maybe I'm like you who feels as though your hair is a big part of your identity and who you are as a person. Thank you for following my hair journey and remember: ALWAYS think through big decisions properly and wait to go to a salon to get your hair done!

nadoty
nadoty

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