Every week a new article crosses my feed about how black children are asked to leave school because their hair is a â€œdistraction.â€ Itâ€™s not just school. Black women in predominantly white workplaces get some pretty idiotic stuff said to them about what populates their scalp as well. Of coure, the hair isnâ€™t actually a distractionâ€“ itâ€™s not making noise, shouting obscenities are doing anything that impinges on the ability of the other children to learn. Nope, it just sits thereâ€¦ being black. Parents have a choice: either dump pounds of questionable-for-the-health chemistry on the kidâ€™s head so it relaxes until it behaves like â€œnormalâ€ (read: white) hair, or just let it go natural beyond the occasional very thorough rubber banding.
I remember wanting the corn rows on my head when I was about 9 and asking a woman in Zayre (remember that store?) how she did it on her little boy. She was patient with me. â€œOh, your hair wonâ€™t do that sweetie,â€ she said. â€œHis does a lot of this naturally.â€
Shortly after I found out I would never be able to sing in a baritone or bass, being female and all. The combined disappointment was crushing. But my curiosity about corn rows was satisfied.
I wasnâ€™t asked my opinion on this and I know it. But still, I have a theory to propose on why white people â€“ especially women – are so idiotic about black hair.
White women donâ€™t do natural hair.
Oh we say itâ€™s natural. But we spend thousands annually on hair products to smooth, curl, boost, crimp, primp, color and texture. There are women Iâ€™ve met who honestly can not recall their natural hair color or texture. Some have never even seen it. The very idea that your hair can do some of that â€“ by itself â€“ itâ€™s a shock.
It may well be that for a lot of us, all the chemicals weâ€™ve been dumping on our hair have finally gone to our brains.
This is the only explanation I can think of for why so many men and women have taken to criticizing black hair…or trying to touch it. The one time a woman “helpfully” plucked a gray hair off my head (I had no gray hair yet) I wanted to punch her smirking face. I actually think less of myself for not doing that. I can only imagine the violence people walking up and touching your hair can invoke. How most people stifle their rage is beyond me.
While knowing where it comes from won’t solve the problem, it might be some information that helps. Perhaps when someone asks something stupid about your hair, ask bluntly, “Is that your natural hair? What would you do if I asked you what the hell was going on with it?”
Then again, that’s not useful in professional situations. FWIW, the way I get people off me about no longer dying my hair my once trademark bright read? I tell them I’m allergic to the chemicals. I don’t actually know if that’s true – but it gets them off me, fast.
If someone goes for grand ol’ stupid, tell them that those chemicals in hair relaxers cause cancer. Some of them actually do – that should get them to knock it off. If not, OSHA.
Materials for this post were provided free of charge by the producing company.
gÃ¶t2b hair oil
The good folks atÂ Schwarzkopf requested a review of their got2b oil-licious triple oil calm and shine styling oil. Thatâ€™s a mouthful, right? The bottle proclaims Triple Oil: argan, white grape and marula. I accepted out of competitiveness: as some readers know, Iâ€™m usually DIY my makeup, but I love to know what other folks create. Just like I try every restaurant eggs benedict to see if one is out there thatâ€™s better than mine (there are two, so far) I also try hair oil to see if thereâ€™s one that beats my own mix of jojoba, coriander and rosemary.
It is both a pleasure and a wound to my ego to say that gÃ¶t2b beats mine by quite a bit. But there are a few catches to its use. Also, with all hair products, what works may well depend on your hair.
So when you read this review, you need to know: Iâ€™m a white woman with brown, undyed and steadily going silver hair. The hairs themselves are quite fine â€“ as a mass they are freakishly thick. The last haircut I had a thinning â€“ all the hair removed came from the middle layers. There was about a pound of the hair on the floor. Two weeks later and my head feels too hot again. What hair growth most women see in two years I typically experience in two months. I blame my heavy yogurt consumption but I really donâ€™t know why. I also generally donâ€™t have high needs for hair removal elsewhere on my body.
So I can say this: got2b hair oil works great on my own hair. But if your hair has a different texture and thickness you could well have a completely different experience.
I might find excuses to use it even if it hadnâ€™t been so effective. It feels fabulous â€“ more like a serum than an oil. It has the perfect viscosity and came off my hands easily. It also smells like the best days Iâ€™ve ever had. Thereâ€™s this chocolately-vanilla-floral mix that is just the right intensity. This makes me feel like Iâ€™m using a high-end salon product â€“ just one I happened to get from CVS for $5.99.
The bottle says it is for both wet and dry hair. I expiremented with both. I canâ€™t say I saw great results styling with wet hair â€“ it had the same summer frizzer after application and a comb out. But on dry hair? Marvelous. It calmed my hair immediately. It was especially great for summer use.
I love this stuff. Iâ€™m definitely buying some of my own in the future.
Garnier BB Cream
After hearing all the fuss about BB creams I did get curious. So when Garnier, my preferred affordable brand, released their own version, I picked some up from my local Target. Normally, I avoid tinted moisturizers â€“ the only time I ever wore foundation was when I broke out in hives over my face or when on stage. So I had to get past some resistance. Iâ€™m glad I have. Itâ€™s very light, thereâ€™s no noticeable odor and I donâ€™t feel gross when I wash my face off at night. It also seems to be having an effect on the wrinkly spots I have here and there, especially around my eyes. Itâ€™s good stuff.
My only problem is the usual I have with tinted and â€œskinâ€ color products: skin doesnâ€™t come in one color. Garnier is a French company so theyâ€™re perfectly well aware that there is a significant market of women of color that would be all over this stuff. We all wrinkle the same and despite myths to the contrary our skin has the same types and associated needs. Why ignore an entire market? (The question that comes up every single moment in plus size fashion blogging.)
Pixi Cheek Gel
Pixi got filtered out of my consciousness as nothing more than that string of bizarrely expensive beauty products sitting incongruously on the shelves of Target next to the Wetâ€™nâ€™Wild. (WnW has improved many of their products since the 80s. Not all, but also worth an exploration.) When a friend gave me my own bottle of their original cheek gel â€“ the one that comes in the nail polish style bottle â€“ I got curious. Not only did it go on light and smooth on both cheeks and lips, it stayed â€“ yet gave me no trouble in the nightly cleansing routine.
Now, their new cheek gel is equally delightful. It is light, just a bit sheer and looks natural enough that my spouse didnâ€™t realize I had makeup on. (I am naturally a little bit ruddy but Iâ€™m at the age where I have to exercise to keep the color in my cheeks.) Iâ€™m fond of it â€“ itâ€™s like a grownup version of the Bonne Bell cheek tint I used as a kid!
So what beauty products are you loving these days?
I’ve often come out in favor of hats, and not just because I generally wash my hair and hope it behaves even at its current length. I also am developing an appreciation for hair ornaments – sparkly headbands, turbans, artfully tied scarves – and I wanted to point out some of the more interesting such discoveries on Etsy. How are you wearing your hair lately?
You can find more hair accessories on Fat Chic Clothing search.
I was just going to do my usual Great Clips $12 special, but my boyfriend had bought me a gift certificate to one of those silly-but-trendy salons, so I sucked it up and went. The salon was silly. Too-loud music played and I had to shout at the receptionist to be heard. People lounged in that studies pose you see when you’re told to lounge for a photograph. But the stylist? Fantastic. The hair products? Primo. Normally I duck and run when hair products are brought up – I make and sell my own very simple and effective materials, but this stuff did things that mine didn’t do, and the scent still produces a rhapsody from me.
I didn’t realize how much good hair can change my entire look. So all these years I’ve been walking around with mediocre hair, focused more on the clothing palette. I see the big picture now. I still need hair to be lower maintenance, but I can live with brushing it once a day.
And I hope that someday, you too can luck into a fabulous yet affordable stylist.
In the meantime, I have gone hunting for some good hair advice places. There are those websites where you can pay to upload your picture and then see different haircuts on yourself – my father was particularly impressed with these for some reason. Or you can ask friends, if you color, test-dye clippings of your hair, or even experiment with wigs.
The problem I’m encountering is that hair is a loaded topic. Hair isn’t just hair. It’s a racial discussion. It’s a health topic. It’s a political act if you choose not to start coloring as soon as you see grey, white or silver hairs. I have white hairs appearing slowly near my widow’s peak, and I love them. My simple act of enjoyment has become a political act. Just like dying my hair red in the 20s turned out to be some sexual signal with implications I just didn’t understand.
So all I can really do is step back and give some simple guidelines.
My guidelines are simple: looking for a good haircut is very similar to choosing the right pair of glasses. The right haircut/style:
Beyond that are more factors than one person can account for. If you’re on a good style hunt, I recommend the How-to-Hair Guide by my favorite fashion magazine, Marie Claire. They generally steer you right – and take diversity into account.