Puff Balls

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dying to Dye

I used to dye my hair when I had dreadlocks. I wanted to lighten my locks so that they looked "sun-kissed". I loved the look; however, I quickly stopped dyeing my hair because it didn't make any sense to spend that amount of money on my hair when I was living on a meager graduate student stipend in New York (well, I WAS married at the time and my husband was my Sugar Daddy! But, you get my point!). I no longer dye my hair and a recent flurry of events make me even happier with my decision to stop the dyeing habit. In fact, I'm now afraid to use do-it-yourself hair dye kits.

Several weeks ago a British teen eventually died in a hospital after first collapsing minutes after a do-it-yourself hair dyeing episode (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/10/20/hair-dye-allergy-suspected-in-teen-death/; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2051098/Does-YOUR-hair-dye-contain-chemical-feared-killed-woman.html. The teen, Tabatha McCourt, was apparently an avid hair-dyer who loved to experiment with different hair colors. It appears that Ms. McCourt had a severe allergic reaction to Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) a chemical widely used in hair dyes (this article talks about the teen, another woman who had a severe allergic reaction and provides detailed information about PPD: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/nov/28/could-hair-dye-kill-you?newsfeed=true). Here is some information on PPD from the Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0805.html).

I am not a chemist, but it sounds like this stuff is noxious though it's been deemed safe as long as it doesn't touch the scalp. Wait a minute? How in the world can you dye your hair without any of the hair dye touching your scalp? That seems IMPOSSIBLE! Aren't the roots the main target of hair dyeing? It seems like we need to look into the safety of hair dye. I'm not the only one who thinks this is fishy. According to the British Medical Journal (2007): "Wider debate on the safety and composition of hair dyes is overdue—among medical and scientific communities, the public, and legislators. Cultural and commercial pressures to dye hair and, perhaps, the widespread obsession with the “culture of youth” are putting people at risk and increasing the burden on health services. It may not be easy to reverse these trends, however, as some patients have continued to use such dyes even when advised that they are allergic to them and risk severe reactions" (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1790769/).

Severe reactions that can lead to death. Folks, if you dye your hair or know of anyone who does, please be careful. I understand that natural henna and other plant-based dyes don't contain PPD. Again, I'm not an expert so please, check with your stylist, better yet your doctor.

Dying to Dye

I used to dye my hair when I had dreadlocks. I wanted to lighten my locks so that they looked "sun-kissed". I loved the look; however, I quickly stopped dyeing my hair because it didn't make any sense to spend that amount of money on my hair when I was living on a meager graduate student stipend in New York (well, I WAS married at the time and my husband was my Sugar Daddy! But, you get my point!). I no longer dye my hair and a recent flurry of events make me even happier with my decision to stop the dyeing habit. In fact, I'm now afraid to use do-it-yourself hair dye kits.

Several weeks ago a British teen eventually died in a hospital after first collapsing minutes after a do-it-yourself hair dyeing episode (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/10/20/hair-dye-allergy-suspected-in-teen-death/; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2051098/Does-YOUR-hair-dye-contain-chemical-feared-killed-woman.html. The teen, Tabatha McCourt, was apparently an avid hair-dyer who loved to experiment with different hair colors. It appears that Ms. McCourt had a severe allergic reaction to Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) a chemical widely used in hair dyes (this article talks about the teen, another woman who had a severe allergic reaction and provides detailed information about PPD: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/nov/28/could-hair-dye-kill-you?newsfeed=true). Here is some information on PPD from the Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0805.html).

I am not a chemist, but it sounds like this stuff is noxious though it's been deemed safe as long as it doesn't touch the scalp. Wait a minute? How in the world can you dye your hair without any of the hair dye touching your scalp? That seems IMPOSSIBLE! Aren't the roots the main target of hair dyeing? It seems like we need to look into the safety of hair dye. I'm not the only one who thinks this is fishy. According to the British Medical Journal (2007): "Wider debate on the safety and composition of hair dyes is overdue—among medical and scientific communities, the public, and legislators. Cultural and commercial pressures to dye hair and, perhaps, the widespread obsession with the “culture of youth” are putting people at risk and increasing the burden on health services. It may not be easy to reverse these trends, however, as some patients have continued to use such dyes even when advised that they are allergic to them and risk severe reactions" (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1790769/).

Severe reactions that can lead to death. Folks, if you dye your hair or know of anyone who does, please be careful. I understand that natural henna and other plant-based dyes don't contain PPD. Again, I'm not an expert so please, check with your stylist, better yet your doctor.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The North More Hospitable to Natural Hair?




Over Thanksgiving, our family had the pleasure of hosting two Southern Belles, both residing from Tennessee. They are beautiful, Black young women who've both decided to don their natural tresses. I love to spend time with young women, they are so fresh, full of life...wait, I am too! Still, they remind me of myself 20 years ago and I love the fact that my profession allows me to so readily connect with such wonderful people.



During one of our many conversations, we talked about our hair. The three of us silently acknowledged that we've all chosen a path that, though increasingly accepted nowadays, can lead to resistance. The three of us also share Southern roots. I grew up in Alexandria, VA. Technically that is the South but anyone who's been there knows that it feels different than the Deep South. My Southern roots were gained from my parents, my Father grew up in Arkansas and Tennessee, my Mom in Georgia and Florida. This explains my penchant for hot sauce (yes, I've been known to carry a bottle of hot sauce in my purse in order to doctor up meals that salt and pepper cannot salvage).


Okay, back to my conversation with the young ladies. I was curious to hear about what folks in their hometown thought about their natural hair. "They don't like it", they chorused, "especially the men". I'm not surprised, but I was intrigued by their musings that it's more acceptable to wear natural hair in the North than in the South. This thought had flitted through my mind in the past but I'd never allowed it to nest. Could this be true? What do you all think? I realize that people all over the globe encounter issues of hair acceptance when it comes to natural hair. If you are not from the United States, I'd love to hear your perspective as well about your own hair experiences.



Image found at: http://www.tableof4please.com/2010_02_01_archive.html





The North More Hospitable to Natural Hair?




Over Thanksgiving, our family had the pleasure of hosting two Southern Belles, both residing from Tennessee. They are beautiful, Black young women who've both decided to don their natural tresses. I love to spend time with young women, they are so fresh, full of life...wait, I am too! Still, they remind me of myself 20 years ago and I love the fact that my profession allows me to so readily connect with such wonderful people.



During one of our many conversations, we talked about our hair. The three of us silently acknowledged that we've all chosen a path that, though increasingly accepted nowadays, can lead to resistance. The three of us also share Southern roots. I grew up in Alexandria, VA. Technically that is the South but anyone who's been there knows that it feels different than the Deep South. My Southern roots were gained from my parents, my Father grew up in Arkansas and Tennessee, my Mom in Georgia and Florida. This explains my penchant for hot sauce (yes, I've been known to carry a bottle of hot sauce in my purse in order to doctor up meals that salt and pepper cannot salvage).


Okay, back to my conversation with the young ladies. I was curious to hear about what folks in their hometown thought about their natural hair. "They don't like it", they chorused, "especially the men". I'm not surprised, but I was intrigued by their musings that it's more acceptable to wear natural hair in the North than in the South. This thought had flitted through my mind in the past but I'd never allowed it to nest. Could this be true? What do you all think? I realize that people all over the globe encounter issues of hair acceptance when it comes to natural hair. If you are not from the United States, I'd love to hear your perspective as well about your own hair experiences.



Image found at: http://www.tableof4please.com/2010_02_01_archive.html





Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tim Okamura's "Loading" BLEW ME AWAY



If you are anything like me, you are blown away by this image. My picture doesn't do justice to Tim Okamura's painting called "Loading". For more information on Mr. Okamura, please see his website (http://timokamura.com/noflash.html) and his FaceBook page:



Yesterday, I took my daughter and her friend to the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. WOW!! If you are in the Boston area I strongly encourage you to visit. When I first saw "Loading" I gasped. First, I've never seen contemporary art depicting African-American women with natural hair in a museum before. Not in this way. I thought, "HEY!!! That is me!". What an exhilirating feeling to see world class art that depicts people who look like you. Second, the twin's hair is absolutely GORGEOUS! Can you say chunky twist-out and afro from heaven?!


Mr. Okamura, I haven't yet met you but I need to! :)













Tim Okamura's "Loading" BLEW ME AWAY



If you are anything like me, you are blown away by this image. My picture doesn't do justice to Tim Okamura's painting called "Loading". For more information on Mr. Okamura, please see his website (http://timokamura.com/noflash.html) and his FaceBook page:



Yesterday, I took my daughter and her friend to the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. WOW!! If you are in the Boston area I strongly encourage you to visit. When I first saw "Loading" I gasped. First, I've never seen contemporary art depicting African-American women with natural hair in a museum before. Not in this way. I thought, "HEY!!! That is me!". What an exhilirating feeling to see world class art that depicts people who look like you. Second, the twin's hair is absolutely GORGEOUS! Can you say chunky twist-out and afro from heaven?!


Mr. Okamura, I haven't yet met you but I need to! :)













Saturday, November 19, 2011

Skin, hair/pencil test and other crazy proof needed for acceptance


I am watching "Skin" a movie starring Sophie Okonedo (she plays the main character Sandra) that takes place in apartheid South Africa. Here's a link about the movie: http://www.skinthemovie.net/site/ and here is a brief description of the movie that I found on Amazon.com:

Despite being born to Afrikaner parents, Sandra faces prejudice from her community due to her dark skin and African features. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Sandra must overcome the racial intolerance of her society in this uplifting true story. Starring Sophie Okonedo and Sam Neill. Based on the best-selling book "When She was White" by Judith Stone.

In a poignant scene from the movie, Sandra is taken before government officials and subjected to inspection to determine her ethnicity. What is the first thing the inspector does? Takes his fingers and rubs her hair between his hands. The second thing he does? Puts a pencil into her tresses and asks her to shake her head. The object of this pencil test? To determine if the pencil would fall out; thereby identifying her as white. Wow! I couldn't help but be reminded of the paper bag test (allegedly used by historically black sororities to determine if members could join; those with skin darker than the paper bag could hang it up: NO admission for darker-skinned people).

I am literally watching the movie at the same time that I'm typing this post. My heart is breaking as another scene shows Sandra powdering her face with what might as well be baby powder. Even her mother says, "You look as white as a ghost". Oh my dear. I hope that we once come to appreciate beauty of all shades, sizes and curls. Maybe one day.



Skin, hair/pencil test and other crazy proof needed for acceptance


I am watching "Skin" a movie starring Sophie Okonedo (she plays the main character Sandra) that takes place in apartheid South Africa. Here's a link about the movie: http://www.skinthemovie.net/site/ and here is a brief description of the movie that I found on Amazon.com:

Despite being born to Afrikaner parents, Sandra faces prejudice from her community due to her dark skin and African features. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Sandra must overcome the racial intolerance of her society in this uplifting true story. Starring Sophie Okonedo and Sam Neill. Based on the best-selling book "When She was White" by Judith Stone.

In a poignant scene from the movie, Sandra is taken before government officials and subjected to inspection to determine her ethnicity. What is the first thing the inspector does? Takes his fingers and rubs her hair between his hands. The second thing he does? Puts a pencil into her tresses and asks her to shake her head. The object of this pencil test? To determine if the pencil would fall out; thereby identifying her as white. Wow! I couldn't help but be reminded of the paper bag test (allegedly used by historically black sororities to determine if members could join; those with skin darker than the paper bag could hang it up: NO admission for darker-skinned people).

I am literally watching the movie at the same time that I'm typing this post. My heart is breaking as another scene shows Sandra powdering her face with what might as well be baby powder. Even her mother says, "You look as white as a ghost". Oh my dear. I hope that we once come to appreciate beauty of all shades, sizes and curls. Maybe one day.



Saturday, November 12, 2011

DrTinaOpie.com about to launch! Stay tuned!

Hello everyone,

I wanted to share that I have been working on several things related to my research on hair and identity. I am excited to say that over the coming weeks I'll be migrating from Blogger to my own website: DrTinaOpie.com. Whew-hew!!!! The website will house my blog, research, news relevant to hair and identity and other topics of interest. Please stay tuned. Thanks to all of you for making this blog such a success. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

P.S.: A week later, I am still rocking my twist-outs that I styled with Doris New York (DNY) products. I am thrilled because my hair is soft, moisturized and pliant. Perhaps my old straw hair has gone bye-bye?! I do believe that my sisters and Mommy will be getting DNY products for Christmas! Ok, enough on my hair.

My twist-out a week later


DrTinaOpie.com about to launch! Stay tuned!

Hello everyone,

I wanted to share that I have been working on several things related to my research on hair and identity. I am excited to say that over the coming weeks I'll be migrating from Blogger to my own website: DrTinaOpie.com. Whew-hew!!!! The website will house my blog, research, news relevant to hair and identity and other topics of interest. Please stay tuned. Thanks to all of you for making this blog such a success. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

P.S.: A week later, I am still rocking my twist-outs that I styled with Doris New York (DNY) products. I am thrilled because my hair is soft, moisturized and pliant. Perhaps my old straw hair has gone bye-bye?! I do believe that my sisters and Mommy will be getting DNY products for Christmas! Ok, enough on my hair.

My twist-out a week later


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Twist-outs with Doris New York Hair Care Products

Yesterday, I used Doris New York products (Shampoo, Mud Pack, Leave-in Conditioner, Olive Oil Hair Cream and Hair and Scalp Oil) to do my twist out and I LOVE the results. My hair feels like silk and that is saying something considering the fact that I have struggled with my hair feeling like straw. In the past, I have relied on gels and hair products that often leave my hair feeling crunchy and coated.

What I did
I first washed with the shampoo. I next applied the Mud Minerals Pack Treatment, massaged it into my hair and scalp, combed through with wide-toothed comb, applied a shower cap and sat under a hooded dryer for 25 minutes. I then rinsed out the treatment and applied the leave in conditioner. I used the wide-toothed again and it slid through my hair. I then used a rat-tailed comb to part my hair and comb out each section of hair. I used clamps to separate my hair. As I combed out each section, I applied the Olive Oil Hair Cream and twisted that section. I did this to my entire head (wow, this took HOURS!!!! I need to figure out a faster style). I then sat under a hooded dryer. Once the excess moisture was removed, I applied the Hair and Scalp Oil to my scalp and edges and put on the satin sleeper.

The Results
This morning, I untwisted my hair by coating my fingers with the Olive Oil Hair Cream. I ran my fingers through my hair and smiled. I will say that I overdid it with the hair cream because my hair felt a bit greasy. I am used to dousing my hair with product, I think I only need a little bit of this product for it to work. Overall, I highly recommend the line. The product has also yielded phenomenal results on my daughter's hair when I've done a chunky twist out on her hair. Her hair also felt like silk and her twisout lasted for a week then I was able to pull her hair into a ponytail for another week. I'll be buying this line!

A Disclaimer
Please note that Marlene Duperley (co-owner and Senior VP at Doris New York) gifted me the Doris New York products. I typically don't review products but I wanted to share the results that I got. I appreciate learning about good products and wanted to tell you about it!

Twist-outs with Doris New York Hair Care Products

Yesterday, I used Doris New York products (Shampoo, Mud Pack, Leave-in Conditioner, Olive Oil Hair Cream and Hair and Scalp Oil) to do my twist out and I LOVE the results. My hair feels like silk and that is saying something considering the fact that I have struggled with my hair feeling like straw. In the past, I have relied on gels and hair products that often leave my hair feeling crunchy and coated.

What I did
I first washed with the shampoo. I next applied the Mud Minerals Pack Treatment, massaged it into my hair and scalp, combed through with wide-toothed comb, applied a shower cap and sat under a hooded dryer for 25 minutes. I then rinsed out the treatment and applied the leave in conditioner. I used the wide-toothed again and it slid through my hair. I then used a rat-tailed comb to part my hair and comb out each section of hair. I used clamps to separate my hair. As I combed out each section, I applied the Olive Oil Hair Cream and twisted that section. I did this to my entire head (wow, this took HOURS!!!! I need to figure out a faster style). I then sat under a hooded dryer. Once the excess moisture was removed, I applied the Hair and Scalp Oil to my scalp and edges and put on the satin sleeper.

The Results
This morning, I untwisted my hair by coating my fingers with the Olive Oil Hair Cream. I ran my fingers through my hair and smiled. I will say that I overdid it with the hair cream because my hair felt a bit greasy. I am used to dousing my hair with product, I think I only need a little bit of this product for it to work. Overall, I highly recommend the line. The product has also yielded phenomenal results on my daughter's hair when I've done a chunky twist out on her hair. Her hair also felt like silk and her twisout lasted for a week then I was able to pull her hair into a ponytail for another week. I'll be buying this line!

A Disclaimer
Please note that Marlene Duperley (co-owner and Senior VP at Doris New York) gifted me the Doris New York products. I typically don't review products but I wanted to share the results that I got. I appreciate learning about good products and wanted to tell you about it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Feeling good when "your good" is not enough


Hello everyone,

Well, in my last post I commented that I felt like an overweight dude. WOW! That generated quite a few personal comments to me. Don't worry. I am back to my normal self but I think it's important that we share those low moments. The comments that you all sent in really underscore the fact that most women, perhaps even most men?, feel unattractive at one point or another. It sounds like it's a normal occurrence.

The challenge is not to stay in that state. A few questions: how can you consistently feel good about yourself when you are bombarded with messages that you are not beautiful. That you're not enough? That you're not "right"? That you don't fit? My answer is in my Christian faith; how do you answer?

This post made me think of Naomi Wolf's best-selling novel "The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women". Here is description of the book from Amazon.com:

In a country where the average woman is 5-foot-4 and weighs 140 pounds, movies, advertisements, and MTV saturate our lives with unrealistic images of beauty. The tall, nearly emaciated mannequins that push the latest miracle cosmetic make even the most confident woman question her appearance. Feminist Naomi Wolf argues that women's insecurities are heightened by these images, then exploited by the diet, cosmetic, and plastic surgery industries. Every day new products are introduced to "correct" inherently female "flaws," drawing women into an obsessive and hopeless cycle built around the attempt to reach an impossible standard of beauty. Wolf rejects the standard and embraces the naturally distinct beauty of all women.

Image found at: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5WccPt0OboQ/TbQq9CIJPmI/AAAAAAAAAj0/ocWvAuRq9yY/s1600/the+beauty+myth.jpg


Feeling good when "your good" is not enough


Hello everyone,

Well, in my last post I commented that I felt like an overweight dude. WOW! That generated quite a few personal comments to me. Don't worry. I am back to my normal self but I think it's important that we share those low moments. The comments that you all sent in really underscore the fact that most women, perhaps even most men?, feel unattractive at one point or another. It sounds like it's a normal occurrence.

The challenge is not to stay in that state. A few questions: how can you consistently feel good about yourself when you are bombarded with messages that you are not beautiful. That you're not enough? That you're not "right"? That you don't fit? My answer is in my Christian faith; how do you answer?

This post made me think of Naomi Wolf's best-selling novel "The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women". Here is description of the book from Amazon.com:

In a country where the average woman is 5-foot-4 and weighs 140 pounds, movies, advertisements, and MTV saturate our lives with unrealistic images of beauty. The tall, nearly emaciated mannequins that push the latest miracle cosmetic make even the most confident woman question her appearance. Feminist Naomi Wolf argues that women's insecurities are heightened by these images, then exploited by the diet, cosmetic, and plastic surgery industries. Every day new products are introduced to "correct" inherently female "flaws," drawing women into an obsessive and hopeless cycle built around the attempt to reach an impossible standard of beauty. Wolf rejects the standard and embraces the naturally distinct beauty of all women.

Image found at: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5WccPt0OboQ/TbQq9CIJPmI/AAAAAAAAAj0/ocWvAuRq9yY/s1600/the+beauty+myth.jpg