Tag Archives: weaves

Another Celeb Showcases their Natural Hair

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Porsha Williams is yet another celebrity to reveal what’s underneath their weave, on Instagram. The Dish Nation and Real Housewives star took a quick selfie with her natural hair, just before installing her trademark waist length weave, captioning it: “Natural for 2.5 sections”. Many commented rightly on how beautiful her hair was and even how healthy her edges looked.  It does make me wonder why many celebrities continue to cover their natural tresses with weaves or wigs of a completely different hair texture. Perhaps their natural afro-textured hair isn’t considered glamorous enough for their world.

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Porsha recently posted this picture on Instagram

Many claim it is simply to ‘protect’ their hair. I understand that weaves and wigs can be a great protective style, and celebrities often manipulate their hair for events, photo shoots etc. However, too much of anything is never good and we have seen the effects of perpetual weaving from such celebrities as Naomi Campbell, Countess Vaughn and Tamar Braxton. The thinning of the hairline or hair in general, can often result, especially if they use chemicals as well. Maybe this is why such celebs take the ‘ real hair’ selfies, to prove that not all of them are balding under their weaves, and they could rock their natural hair if they wanted to. So why don’t they, ever? Of course a person can do whatever they want with their hair, and asking such questions runs the risk of being called a ‘natural hair Nazi’. However I have previously pointed out the benefits of not being over reliant on weaves and wigs and I stand by this.

Tamar Braxton

Tamar Braxton

Porsha currently has her own online business selling weaves called Go Naked Hair – ironically, truly ‘going naked’ would perhaps be to take the weave off – so she obviously has a vested interest in wearing and promoting weaves. Most people would kill to know where their favorite celebrities obtained their weaves! The point is, she is getting paid to wear weaves (it’s her business) and present a certain image of herself.  So it’s understandable why she prefers weaves to her natural hair. Many in the entertainment industry such as Beyoncé and Rihanna are getting paid to dress and present themselves a certain way.

Nikki Minaj may not have received as much attention or been considered controversial had she not worn those elaborate, multi-colored weaves for years. Her real hair also appears to be long and healthy but was never seen until her ‘real hair’ selfie. I hope we can teach our young girls to consider this and not be heavily influenced by pop culture, especially when it comes to their appearance. I’m seeing girls younger and younger with waist length Kim Kardashian-esque weaves. Unfortunately, some of us end up looking like we are in costumes every day, emulating celebrities who wear such weaves to perform in shows and on TV.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Porsha’s hair looked beautiful, and many accredited it to using the weave as a protective style. It appears to be natural as well. Some celebs use the term ‘natural hair’ when they are showcasing their chemically straightened hair, but that’s another debate entirely.  There are women in the entertainment industry who wear their hair natural, Janelle Monroe, Solange Knowles and Esperanza Spalding for instance. Occasionally we see some of them wear wigs or weaves, including those which match their natural hair texture, but their natural hair is their trademark style. This dispels the myth that we need to rely on weaves to protect our hair, women of other races do not have to do this. It seems to be more to do with image than protective styling.  It would be a shame if a person went most of their adult life, never experiencing their natural hair, other than for ‘2.5 seconds’ just before installing yet another weave. Especially when their natural hair is so beautiful.

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding

What do you think of these ‘real hair’ selfies? Share your thoughts below.

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Are wigs and weaves bad for your health?

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On a recent episode of The Doctors, actress Countess Vaughn spoke about lace front wigs and the damage they caused to her health. She candidly described the result of an allergic reaction she had to the glue used to install her wig.  The Parkers star admits to falling in love with the wigs after her hair stylists introduced her to them in 2004. She said she didn’t consider the health risks and was so excited about wearing them.

Countess Vaughn

Countess Vaughn

Immediately you have a full hairline.  I was wearing it 24/7.  5 years after, the drama came in. The red flag was the oozing, from the ears, from my forehead, the whole nap around my head, the puss. It had a horrible smell. It was painful

Her experience is a strong warning about the potential dangers of constant weaving.  This is not just confined to lace front wigs, which require harsh glues. The tension required for installing weaves and braids can also lead to hair loss.  Some wigs come with comb attachments that can put stress on the hairline.  Unfortunately, many hair stylists prefer to braid and sew tightly for neatness.   Traction alopecia  is more prevalent in females with Afro-textured hair, according to a piece written in the Dermatology Online Journal: The fringe sign for public education on traction alopecia. The study found that the prevalence:

  • Is higher in African schoolgirls than boys (17.1% vs. 0%)
  • Increases with age in girls [8.6% (6-7 years), 15.6% (10-15 years), to 21.7% (17-21 years)]
  • Is higher in girls with relaxed vs. natural hair (22% vs. 5.2%)
  • Is highest in adults (31.7% in women vs. 2.3% in men; with affected males more likely to wear cornrows and dreadlocks)

Countess Vaughn admitted that she now has to draw her hairline with an eyebrow pencil and people have assumed she has vitiligo due to the discoloration caused by a skin reaction to the glue.  Women who have experienced such hair loss are likely to have more of an appreciation for the hair they may have thought wasn’t good enough by itself. Vaughn’s honesty and openness about this topic is commendable.

The damage caused by  an allergic reaction to lace front glue.

The damage caused by an allergic reaction to lace front glue.

So does all this information mean that you should stop wearing weaves immediately and go ‘cold turkey’? As with everything, moderation is the key.  Occasional use of wigs and weaves for diversity and protective styling can be beneficial. If you wear weaves and wigs, there are ways to minimize the risks associated with them, whether your hair is relaxed or natural.

Here are some suggestions compiled by Transform Medical Group:

  • Hairstyles should be painless, and if you are experiencing pain, the only solution is to loosen the hair.
  • Traction hairstyles should not be done on relaxed hair until at least two weeks after relaxing.
  • Only new growth should be relaxed. Relaxing hair that has previously been relaxed can increase the risk of damage.
  • Heat treatment (straighteners etc) can damage relaxed hair and should be avoided
  • Weaves, braids  and dreadlocks present greater risk when done on relaxed hair

How many of us endured the pain and headaches associated with tight braids or weaves, instead of taking them out? There is a general belief that the tighter the braids, the longer they last and the neater they look. The pain from tight braids and weaves is only reduced when the hair strands weaken, break and fall out.  Many of us have also made the mistake of coloring our hair soon after relaxing it usually for convenience or because of impatience.

Relaxed hair is hair that has been weakened by harsh chemicals and stripped of its elasticity. So any additional styling or chemical use must take this into consideration. According to Dr Marboor Bhatty of the Transform Medical Group, many of the traction alopecia cases he sees come from people being ‘disrespectful to their hair’.

Naomi Campbell

Naomi Campbell

So respect and look after your hair to avoid these dangers. Do not give more care and attention to your fake weave than your real hair underneath.

Have you had a bad experience with wigs and weaves? How do you minimize the risks associated with them?  Share your experience below.

Sources:

Transform Medical Group

Here is the link to the original article

http://www.transforminglives.co.uk/news-blog/blog/2014/03/hair-extensions-%E2%80%93-reducing-risks/

Dermatology Online Journal

http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1h81c7s1

I Am Natural! (Underneath)

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Although wigs and weaves can be great protective styles, isn’t it time you revealed your real hair.
Weave and wigs can work great as protective styles.  They allow you to leave your hair natural and enjoy the convenience of straight hair. No shrinkage to contend with, less detangling, protection from the weather and versatility. However, for some women it may be time to let their natural hair out, to shine in all its glory. Here are some benefits to doing this. Hopefully this will encourage you to take the next step and come away from being reliant on weaves and wigs.

So what are the benefits of ditching the weave and letting your hair out more often?

Tamar has said she has natural hair

Tamar claims to have natural hair

You will become better at managing your natural hair
As with most things practice makes perfect. The more you leave your hair out the more practice you get at managing it. You will learn the best techniques for maintaining it on a daily basis. This includes forming a hair regimen that suits your routine and lifestyle. You will also have the opportunity to eliminate products and techniques that do not work well on your hair. If your hair is packed away under the weave or wig cap every month, you many only see it once in a while. Some people only take their hair out of the weave to wash it, then they reinstall it all over again. If you wear your hair out regularly you will become familiar with it and learn the best techniques managing it.

You will be in a better position to assess the health of your hair
Detangling my hair this week made me realized it was definitely time for a protein treatment. Because I am familiar with my hair I noticed there was more shedding than usual. I was able to rectify this straightaway because I had access to my hair. When your hair is weaved you don’t have immediate access to it. If there is a problem you will not know until you take the weave out. By this time more damage may have occurred that could have been avoided. When your hair is out you can assess it regularly and decide what action to take, such as: a trim, a wash, a treatment or a moisturizing boost.

Janelle monroe

Janelle Monae

It is easier to moisturize
Many of us know that we should moisturize our real hair regularly when it is in a weave. How many of us actually do this though? I certainly didn’t.  It seemed too complicated at the time and out sight out of mind. I spent more time grooming the weave because it was the weave that was visible to everyone. I would take the time to style it with curling tongs or a flat-iron, moisturize it and blend it with my real hair so it would look its best. I would usually forget about my real hair underneath. If your hair is out more often you will know immediately when it becomes dry and be in a better position to moisturize it. You are also more likely to moisturize it on a regular basis and prevent it from drying out in the first place.  When it is hidden away under the weave, it’s easy to forget about it.

Others will become use to your natural hair
If you are concerned about the reaction friends, family and work colleagues will have to your natural hair remember that the sooner they see it the sooner they will get use to it. If people see you with your hair out all the time it really doesn’t become that much of a big deal after some time.  They also get to see how beautiful it is natural.  You may have to deal with comments and questions, some may be negative but you will be better equipped to deal with them after some time. Some people may not admit that they feel more comfortable with you when you wear your weave. The sooner they realized that you are not going to hide your hair away for their benefit the better.

There is also that dreaded feeling you get when you have to take your weave out and don’t have an appointment to get it reinstalled straightaway. You kind of feel naked or may not be sure how to style your natural hair in between weaves. If we are honest some of us dread bumping into people that are used to seeing us with our weaves. If you wear your hair out you will no longer have to deal with the dreaded ‘in between weaves feeling’. What you see is what you get with natural hair.

Liya Kebede

Liya Kebede

You will become a hair styling queen
Styling your natural hair will become second nature to you. It’s like learning to play the guitar. If you never take it out of the case how will you ever learn to play it? Your natural hair is like a blank canvas, there are endless styling tutorials on YouTube and you may also surprise yourself  by inventing some styles and techniques of your own. The more you leave your hair out the more of an expert you will become about styling and managing it. Weaves and wigs are great protective styles but there are numerous protective styles you can try with your own hair that are elegant and appropriate for all occasions. These include: two strand twists, buns, roll tuck and pins, French braids and various updos. Check out CharyJay’s and Fusion of Cultures’  YouTube channels.  They are protective style queens. If their styles seem too complicated, you can  adapt them to suit you personally. These tutorials should provide you with inspiration; you don’t have to follow them exactly.  Remember natural hair is very versatile so there is no reason to get bored or run out of styling options. Check out the series: The Versatility of Natural Hair.

Charyjay

Charyjay

Fusion of Cultures

Fusion of Cultures

You will not have to worry about the negative aspects of weaves, wigs and hair extensions
Many of us gasped in shock when we saw the first photos of Naomi Campbell’s receding hairline. The damage to her hairline was believed to have been caused by years of wearing weaves or hair extensions. In an industry that promotes a certain standard of beauty you can imagine the pressure she was under as a black model to look a certain way. Over the years more photos of her have come out highlighting the same problem that only appears to be getting worse. It is as if the fake hair on her head is taken care of more than her real hair underneath. Traction alopecia can occur if your hairline is constantly put under pressure through sewing, braiding, glues and tight comb attachments.

naomi-campbell-21

Naomi Cambell

Naomi Campbell

The problems associated with weaves are unlikely to affect women who simply use them once in a while for diversity. They are going to have more of an impact on those women who rely on weaves for everyday use. Another negative aspect is that sometimes weaves look awkward, we have come a long way in ‘weave technology’ but it still isn’t perfect. Sometimes you see people’s tracts showing, your hair doesn’t blend well, or you have hair that sheds like crazy. I don’t consider any of this easier than having my natural hair out. You will also save a lot of money. We seem to be the only race that wears hair texture that doesn’t match our natural hair. Some of us don’t even wear weaves that match our natural afro texture when it is straightened (Yaki).  The silky textures seemed to be preferred.  I’m glad to see more black owned companies introducing afro-textured weaves that compliment our natural hair.

Even Beyoncé has experienced downside of lace front wigs

Even Beyoncé has experienced the downside of lace front wigs

Natural hair only gets better with time
The more you learn about managing your natural hair the more it will thrive. Most of us had to deal with negative comments from family members when we first went natural. However, the more time that passes the fewer and far between these comments become and we even start hearing more compliments from the same people. Carefully managing your natural hair will result in growth, better styling techniques and overall healthy hair. It is because of this that natural hair is like wine, it only gets better with time. Don’t hide away behind fake hair, week in, week out. This is choosing second best when you have the best on your head already.

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding

“No one should feel that they have to wear a weave to have presentable hair; a weave should be a conscious styling choice, not a crutch”

~ Audrey Davis-Sivasothy~

Do you prefer weaves to wearing your hair out? Share your thoughts below

Step Away From the Relaxer!

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So you did the big chop or you are transitioning. It may have been a few months since you stopped relaxing your hair. Perhaps your hair is growing to an awkward stage where it’s no longer a cute TWA (teeny weenie afro), neither is it long enough for the big puffs and twist outs that frame your face. You are probably experiencing the perils of shrinkage and all of this will be new to you.  When you think about it, the last time we saw our natural hair was when we were kids. So the fact is, having natural hair will be something that you have to get use to and the longer your hair gets, the more challenges you are likely to face.

TWA

At this stage when your hair is growing out it may be difficult to make it presentable at times, especially when you have very little time. When I was at the TWA stage I would simply spray my hair with my water and glycerine mix, it would curl up nicely and I would be ready to go. At most, I would put a little flower in my hair or a scarf around my head to jazz it up. I loved this stage! People would ask me if I texturized my hair because it had a distinct curl pattern and was very soft. This was the last thing I expected before I went natural. My last memory of my natural hair was trying to pull a comb through it and it being dry and coarse. However, as I soon came to discover, it was never my hair that was the problem, it was my lack of knowledge. My lack of knowledge in caring for my natural hair caused me to use products that were not designed for my hair type, comb my hair in the wrong way and left it without being adequately moisturized.

After going natural and facing the challenge of my new length, again it was my lack of knowledge that was the problem, not my hair.  At every stage you will learn new things about caring for your hair, and it continues to be a learning process. If you are at this stage, do some research before considering going back to a relaxer. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some tips about overcoming this difficult stage. These helped me continue on my natural hair journey, I hope they will aldo help you:

1.  Don’t forget about braids, wigs or weaves.  If you are at that awkward stage and find that you don’t have the time to deal with your hair, just put it away for a few weeks. I found that a good wig helped me tremendously. This way I was able to cornrow my hair underneath and not have to deal with it. Also, this gives you the opportunity to change your style if you are stuck for ideas. Braids are great as well and still give you that natural hair look.  For instance you can get kinky twists which look like you just put your natural hair into two strand twists. The important thing to remember with braids and weaves is to not get them done too tight and to remember that your real hair still needs to be moisturized. You can spray your roots with the product of your choice or simply with a water, oil or glycerine mixture.  Also, if you are using a lace-front with glue avoid sticking the cap to your hairline or your edges will be harmed.

Be mindful of the effect such styles can have on your edges, a good hairstylist shouldn’t only be concerned about how good the style looks, they should also make it their priority to protect your real hair from damage.  Remember that hair sheds between 50  and 100 strands a day, so when you you loosen your hair you will find an accumulation of shed hair. It is nothing to worry about if you have not been neglecting your real hair. Of course weaves and wigs are not for everyone. I will also include a section about protective styles using your own hair. These also give you a break from daily styling and manipulation.

Solange usually wears afro style wigs

Brandy

Here is a vlogger that wears wigs and weaves regularly as a protective style.  Check out her channel for ideas. Her rants are also very interesting!

2. Moisturize correctly.

Dry hair becomes weak and is extremely difficult to manage. It makes life a lot more difficult when you are dealing with dry brittle hair. So keep your hair well moisturized .  I use to think that oil or Shea butter  alone moisturized my hair, and I would wonder why it would feel dry even when using a great amount.  Sometimes I would have so much oil in my hair it looked like Jheri curl! The fact is true moisture comes from water. Oil and Shea butter help to seal in the moisture, so that the water doesn’t just evaporate soon after.  If you apply oil or Shea butter alone, you are simply coating your hair and weighing it down.  So make sure your moisturizer is water based (aqua should be the first ingredient on the list) or you can simply spray your hair with water then follow it with an oil of your choice or Shea butter. I use coconut oil because it seals in moisture very well. I also use Shea butter, depending on how I feel. You could buy a leave in conditioner, these are usually water based, and then you can add oil to make sure the moisture is sealed in. I’m more of a juices and berries girl so I don’t use that many products. As long as I have Shea butter, coconut oil and water I’m fine.

I find a great time to moisturize my hair is when it is in twists. I allow them to become damp in the shower then I apply my coconut oil to seal the moisture in. I can wrap my hair (like I did when my hair was relaxed) and this usually stretches the twists to their original length or I just put them back in a bun.

I hope this has been helpful. Look out for some more helpful tips next week. What were the main challenges for you when you were transitioning or are you currently experiencing this. Share your stories here.