Puff Balls

Puff Balls

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Website!

Hello everyone,

I just launched my brand new website dedicated to my research: http://hairasidentity.com/

I hope you check it out and have a chance to interact!

Friday, June 1, 2012

New York Times Video on Natural Hair: Ms. Zina Saro-Wiwa Knocks it Out of the Park

Hello everyone,

You know that natural hair is not a fad when the NY Times dedicates an op-doc video to the topic:  NY Times video on natural hair.  Ms. Zina  Saro-Wiwa (read more about her here) does a fabulous job narrating the video (she is also director, producer and camera).  Plus, she has a big chop in the video! I also love how Ms. Saro-Wiwa deals with the media's near universal depiction of Black women wearing wigs and weaves.  I am sentimental and I find myself in tears as I watch the video.  I am so proud to be part of this return to our authentic selves.

What do you think?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cross-Cultural Hair Experience at Lush Cosmetics Part 2

Hello everyone,

As I mentioned earlier,  I had no idea that Lush takes its customer service so seriously.  A White saleswoman reached for my hair, my eyes grew large and I thought, "Wait, is she about to DO my hair?"

YES!!!!  Before I could jump up, she put her hands in my hair and began to scrunch the R&B product through my bangs.  As she scrunched, she said things like it will soften my kinky hair, make it smoother, longer, etc.  Wait, did SHE just call MY hair "kinky"?  Yes, I have kinky hair but that's for me to say not her, right?  Right?  Why in the world did I find that adjective so offensive when it came from her mouth?  My observant Mother was giving the saleswoman the side eye and looking at me as if to say, "No she didn't".  We walked out of the store with our sample in hand (still need to try it) venting about the saleswoman's gall to call my hair kinky.

Don't get me wrong, I think the saleswoman was an absolute sweetheart who was doing her best to educate me about what looks like a great product (White saleswoman, if you are reading this, please know that I am not hating; sorry, I really should have gotten your name!).  However, I do believe that such organizations should recognize potential pitfalls when working with different hair types and textures.  Specifically, I think their employees need to be sensitized to the fact that hair is intimately connected to identity and that identity is connected to ingroup (us) and outgroup (them) dynamics.  Because of this, outgroup members may accidentally set off identity landmines and be completely unaware that they have incensed a customer.

What do you think?  Have you ever experienced such an interaction?  Do you think that I should write Lush Cosmetics and have this discussion with their management team?

Curious to hear your thoughts.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cross-Cultural Hair Experience at Lush Cosmetics

Hi everyone,

I had an interesting cross-cultural hair experience the other day.  My Momma (yes!  visiting from Florida) and I were shopping in the mall when we decided to peruse a new store, Lush Cosmetics.  The store's brand is based on homemade, natural products so I wanted to check it out.  I went in and admired the soap bomb fizzes (wonderful smells!) and then noticed that Lush carried hair products.  I asked a saleswoman if they carried products that might work on hair textures like mine.  She said they did and showed me a leave-in-conditioner called "R&B" (Click Here for a link to the product).  Here's a description of the product:

"Enjoy some of our smooth R & B hair stylings to control your frizzy, flyaway hair. An instant best-seller, our easy-to-use “hair finisher” uses softening ingredients of organic avocado butter, oatmeal, olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil and candelilla wax because they are extremely effective for conditioning the hair and scalp. Three of our UK shop managers came up with R & B to revive and balance their wayward follicles. It works well with African American or curly hair because it conditions with a lot of moisture. And once you smell the seductive orange blossom and jasmine fragrance, your hair will truly get its groove back."

Wow, I was sold!  Well, at least I wanted to try the sample.  However, I had no idea that Lush takes its customer service so seriously.  What happened next was the first such cross-cultural hair experience I've ever had.  The White saleswoman dipped her fingers in the R&B, massaged her hands together and reached for my hair.  My eyes grew large and I thought, "Wait, is she about to DO my hair?"

Monday, May 14, 2012

Do organizations have the right to regulate employee hair styles?

Hello everyone,

Today I came across an interesting article by Erik Kambel "Black French Flight Attendant Forced to Hide Dreadlocks Under Wig" Click Here for the article.  According to Dominion of New York's article, the Black French flight attendant may not wear his dreadlocks while working, he must wear a wig.

Photo of Aboubakar Traore, flight attendant required to wear wig to cover his dreadlocks.  
Image found at dominionofnewyork.com.  

But, this rule only applies to men.  Women are allowed to wear dreadlocks because the company seems to recognize that hair can be connected to a woman's identity.  Hmm, what about men?

What do you all think:  do organizations have a right to regulate hair styles?  Should there be certain boundaries to such hair-regulating rules?  Please chime in!



Friday, May 11, 2012

Wash and Go Hair- Eco Styler Gel and Kinky Curly Products

Hi everyone,

My Eco-styler gel, Denman Brush style lasted for four days.  Here are the results:

Pros:  This style lasted for several days and was super cute (well, it grew on me.  At first, I was not feeling it).  Also, my curls clumped together more perhaps leading to a bit more curl definition.   Cons:  it took TOO long to blow dry my hair, then apply gel, then brush it through only to end up with the same amount of shrinkage (for me, too long is an hour, plus, I'd rather find a style that doesn't require much if any heat); crunchy, crunchy, crunchy!  After a few days, gel residue started to show.

So, this morning I washed my hair and tried Kinky Curly Knot Today and Curling Custard on my wet, freshly pre-pooed hair without a brush.  Here are the results:

I LOVE it and this took about 20 minutes to do.  I could definitely do this on a daily basis BUT this style should last at least two to three days!  Whew-hew!  I did have to use my diffuser because I had an appointment and there was visible product in my hair.  Next time, I'll do my hair with more lead time so that it can fully air dry.  Plus, I'll use less product!

Thanks and this hair journey is getting REALLY fun!  I love the experimenting!  I'm starting to understand my hair and OWN it.  I am truly recognizing that it doesn't have to take a ton of time, money or product to bring out the beauty of afro-textured hair.  I'm also learning to accept and embrace my kinky texture.  Hallelujah!  Stay tuned for an upcoming video blog about this latter topic (yes, I'm venturing into vlogging, pray for me!).  :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Embrace your gray hair!

Hi everyone,

As I perused the headlines for interesting discussions about hair, I came across the headline "Gray Hair Celebrated in New Exhibit".  YAAYYYY!  I for one adore gray hair, better said, silver hair.  Men and women blessed with such manes look like silver foxes.  They typically have a certain regality, a beauty that has been EARNED.  So, I am thrilled that the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, CA (ww.buckinstitute.org) is exhibiting photos that depict women sporting their natural silver hair.   The Huffington Post wrote an article about the exhibit:  Huffington Post article about "SILVER: A State of Mind".

I got my first silver hair in my early teens.  I plucked it out and taped it into a keepsake book (I believe I still have it somewhere...so much for keepsakes, I need to do a better job of keeping track of them!)  I loved my silver hair because it connected me to my Father.  He too had a patch of silver hair right in the front of his head and, really, nowhere else (he now shaves his head bald so I don't get to see the patch of silver anymore).  I guess it was in my genes because I too developed a splash of silver in the same spot; you may have noticed my splash of silver in pictures.  My Mother has beautiful silver hair.  She's been stopped by strangers who compliment her on her beautiful, silver tresses.

I can thank both of my parents for my healthy attitude about graying hair.  When I used to dye my locs, I specifically requested that they section of my silver hair so that it wouldn't be scathed by the dye.  The silver patch had sort of become a unique trait and I didn't want dye to make me blend in with everyone else.  My patch has spread and I have silver hairs throughout my hair.  I still wear them with pride, in fact, I feel that my silver hair reflects wisdom that the Lord has given me (Proverbs 16:31).  It's something to be embraced in my opinion.

That's why I never quite understand it when aging people try to cover up the inevitable procession of life.  We are ALL going to get older (if we're blessed to live long enough).  Why is there such an effort to erase signs of aging, especially when it comes to graying hair?  I think one reason is that graying hair is symbolic of our mortality.  Our hair, like changing colors of foliage, represents a change of seasons.  I believe that some fear this change and so they clutch to youthful memories of times when hair was not gray.  What do you think?