Tag Archives: hair texture

Kim Kardashian Channels Her Inner “Black girl” [PHOTOS]

I promise I’m not a hater. As a matter of fact, I think Kim Kardashian’s hair is really cute (sans the “black face” makeup…). These photos are a behind the scenes look at a photo shoot she she did with photographer/director Hype Williams. On her website she writes,
“Clyde Haygood and Joyce Bonelli glammed me up and we went for a fun, crazy look, channeling Diana Ross. Definitely a new look for me. Xo”

The Hollywood socialite and star of the hit reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians is known for playing dress up. She has also has done shoots posing as Elizabeth Taylor and Cleopatra. So, her posing a Diana Ross should be no big deal, right? Wrong. Kim gets a lot of flack for dating only Black men and fully indulging in urban culture from fashion, to making music videos. People constantly criticize her, accusing her of trying to be “black”. Should there be a double standard for white women who want to wear textured wigs and dark makeup when black women do the exact same thing with long, straight weaves and lightening makeup? Ouch…The thing we need to realize is that there is nothing wrong with enjoying aspects of cultures outside of your own. All skin and hair types are beautiful. One should be free to explore different looks. However, there is something to be said about being comfortable with who you are naturally. (See post on celebs who only wear weave.)

What are your thoughts about Kim’s new look?

“What am I supposed to do with this hot, tangled mess?” Best Practices for Detangling

Come on…don’t tell me you’ve never had this moment before.

Having long, kinky hair is a blessing and a challenge at times. With longer hair comes more styling options, but also longer detangling time. Leaving the hair loose in an afro or old twistout for too long is a recipe for disaster. The strands of hair and shed hair start to tangle into each other, forming knots. Long gone are the days when getting your short hair to bounce back with water and leave-in conditioner was all you needed. Sectioning, patience and TLC are the best ways to deal with hair that is having a hard time. My average pre-shampoo detangling time is about 30 min. In the shower time is about 30 minutes and out of the shower time (detangling) is about 30 minutes. Here are some detangling practices that I find most helpful.

1. Pre-poo
It is so necessary to use an emollient oil or conditioner to smooth and soften the hair prior to shampooing. Take the hair section by section (I do at least 1 or 2 square inches at a time) and GENTLY work and comb the product through the hair and loosen tangles and knots. I used to use olive oil (or whatever was available) to pre-poo, but I find that conditioner works better because I’m adding moisture at the same time. It’s also helpful to add oil (just pick one…) to your conditioner for extra “slip” to combat resistance and breakage when loosening tangles.

2. Finger detangle
Your fingers can feel for knots and maneuver to loosen them better than a comb. Be sure to use your fingers first to detangle before applying a wide-tooth comb to prevent breakage.

3. Wide-tooth Comb
I’m not sure of the name for this comb, but I love to use the “feather” comb with the larger teeth on one side, smaller teeth on the other and 3-tooth pick on the end. If my hair is really jacked up, I’ll start with the pick end first on a small section to loosen hair, then work on it with the large-tooth side, and then further smooth out that section with the smaller tooth side. This method has really cut down my detangling time.

4. Two-strand twist detangle
So, once you smooth out a section of hair, it is helpful to put it in a two-strand twist to keep it out of the way, and to keep the hair stretched. It is also helpful to wash your hair with the two-strand twist installed and cleanse the hair section by section to reducing tangling.

5. After shampoo sectioning
Once the hair is washed, I personally find it necessary to repeat this process of sectioning and twisting on wet hair with a good leave-in conditioner or milk and oil. I leave the twist in to keep the hair stretched until I am ready to style because my hair immediately shrinks down into a small (tangled) afro after washing. And, if I let that happen, what was the point in all the detangling I did before?

Share your detangling tips (or woes) with us!

“Wit Yo Nappy-Headed Self”

This is not my son…lol

So, I’m having a conlict with my husband. Our oldest son has my hair texture. What does that mean? It means that when he gets a hair cut the hair starts to grow back beaded up. My husband, who has hair that lays flat and has a loose curl pattern, is like “Ugh! It [our son’s hair] doesn’t lay down when I brush it” Stating, “You know yo’ hair is nappy when you go to the store and say give me the hardest brush you got.” LOL. Of course, we had a good laugh at that one. So then, we started talking about his childhood and the stigma of being “nappy-headed.” You see, the nappy-head little boy was the bad boy. He was the one who couldn’t sit still, was always acting up in class. “Oh, you talking about James, that little nappy-headed boy down the street.”

When, my husband sees my son’s hair start to bead up, it makes him want to go get the hair clippers and shave it off. The conflict is that I don’t want his head bald. When my husband gives him a mohawk, he cuts the sides practically bald. I’m like, “Bay, why do you have our son looking like Mr. T?” His reply,  “so that the hair won’t bead up as fast” He keeps going back to the stigmas of his childhood and he doesn’t want our son to be “that kid.” “Little boys, black men need to be clean cut.” Or, at least, that’s what society has told us in order to be something in life.

This is very aggravating. Though, I know that he is not alone in these sentiments. Growing up if you were arguing with another little girl you could usually win the battle by ending off, “wit yo nappy-headed self.” We’re not children anymore, but these deep-rooted sentiments have carried over into adulthood. To this day, when a little Black baby is born everyone is waiting to see if the hair is going to “turn.” Mothers are still smothering their baby’s hair in mineral oil hoping prevent the inevitable.

I’m thankful that my husband and I can laugh about this. It does not hurt any more to think that there is a part of me that he would prefer different (or, at least, tamed). These sentiments are just a part of our culture and history that comes with the territory. I will not stand in the way of my husband training our son to be a man. I will however, give our son the balance of loving self that a mother gives. I believe that as more of us embrace our natural hair and define beauty on our on terms, those old stigmas will not be an issue anymore.

Share your thoughts…whatever they may be…

Growth Chronicles Part 2: How Hair Grows, and why Black Hair is Different

Do you have problems with hair growth? Have you ever wondered why your hair does not grow as fast or has seemed to stop growing? In our part 1 of this series, I shared my personal story with hair growth. Now, I personally want to take my hair to the next level…but can I? Will highly textured, tightly coiled hair grow free outside of braids and locs? I think that an understanding of why and how hair grows and why Black, afro-textured hair is different may ease some of the frustration. For some of you natural hair vets, this may seem elementary. Of course, I will put my spin on it, so here goes.

The Basics: What is hair?


Hair growth begins inside the hair follicle found under the skin. The only “living” portion of the hair is found in the follicle. Other structures of the hair follicle include the oil producing sebaceous glands which lubricate the hair. What we think of as the hair that grows out from our head is the hair shaft. Once the hair shaft (hair) grows out from the follicle it is considered “dead” because it has no biochemical activity. The living part of the hair is bottom part of the shaft surrounding the papilla called the bulb. This bottom part is the only part fed by the capillaries (blood supply). The cells in the bulb divide every 23 to 72 hours, faster than any other cells in the body.

The hair shaft/strand is roughly divided into three zones: the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The cortex, the middle layer is the main structural component of the hair. It is primarily made up of the keratin protein and is the primary source of mechanical strength and water uptake. The cortex also contains melanin, which gives the hair color.

The phases of growth
Hair production occurs in phases, including a growth phase (anagen), and transitional/cessation phase (catagen), and a rest phase (telogen).

Anagen phase: Anagen is the active growth phase of hair follicles. The stem cells of the hair are dividing rapidly, adding length to the hair shaft. During this phase the hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. Your hair can stay in this active phase of growth for 2–7 years. The amount of time the hair follicle stays in the anagen phase is genetically determined. At the end of the anagen phase an unknown signal causes the follicle to go into the catagen phase.

Catagen phase: The catagen phase is a short transition stage that occurs at the end of the anagen phase. It signals the end of the active growth of a hair strand. This phase lasts for about 2-3 weeks.

Telogen phase: The follicle then goes into the Telogen or resting phase for two to four months, during this time the hair still does not grow but remains attached to the follicle. Approximately 10-15 percent of all hair strands are in this phase at any one time. Therefore, all the hairs on your head are in different stages of growth.
 What makes Black hair different?

A study by the British Journal of Dermatology showed that Afro-textured hair is not as dense as other textures. Specifically, the average density of Afro-textured hair was found to be approximately 190 hairs per square centimeter. This was significantly lower than that of straight hair, which, on average, produces approximately 227 hairs per square centimeter. Further, the study found that Afro-textured hair grows at an average rate of approximately 256 micrometers per day, while straight hair grows at approximately 396 micrometers per day.

Our hair texture can range anywhere from pin-straight to extremely curly. Follicles that are round in cross-section give rise to straight hair. Those out of which curly hair grows are oval. Very tightly coiled hair is due to the nearly flat, ribbon-like structure of the follicles. This hair texture is very common in people of African ancestry. Afro-textured hair is wiry, tightly coiled and often coarse. And though Afro-textured hair produces the same amount of oil as straight hair, due to the tight curls, the oil fails to spread evenly along the hair fiber.

Without lubrication, the fibers become very dry. This causes the brittle strands to flake and roughen, resulting in hair that is coarse to the touch. The brittleness of Afro-textured hair adds to the illusion that it cannot be grown long. The tight curls create stresses at each turn in the hair fiber. The hair strands become weak and fragile, making them prone to breakage. As a result, tightly coiled hair tends to stay quite short. This is why moisture and oil is so important to combating breakage.

So, now what?
Don’t be discouraged. Black hair does grow. It may just grow a little slower and take a little more TLC. If your hair has reached a plateau in growth it could possibly be in a state of rest. In which case, keep taking care of your hair and eventually growth will accelerate on its own. If your hair is not growing, then you may want to look at dermatological, medical or even emotional reasons. Take an honest look at your hair practices and regimen to see if that may be the source of the problem. Please subscribe and check in as we discuss more reasons for sluggish hair growth, stimulation, genetics and healthy hair practices.

Web References
African hair growth parameters – Loussouarn – 2001 – British Journal of Dermatology – Wiley Online Library