The Mollie Column: Over the last few years, African American women have been embracing their natural hair for various reasons, such as: freedom, versatility, health reasons (physical health and healthy hair), etc. Ok…hold up! Let me back up, Elle’s readers are very diverse and some of you may be wondering, “What does she mean by natural hair, I thought everyone’s hair was natural!” LOL! Here’s a quick session of Natural Hair 101.
All over the world, there are different types of hair: curly, silky, straight, fine, thick, coarse, short, and long. Ladies from backgrounds outside of African descent, tend to accept their hair the way it is and alter it only by adding hair extensions or hair color/dye. This is not always the case, but more times than not. As for African American women, we alter our hair with chemicals also known as the Relaxer or Perm. This chemical causes our hair to remain straight in any environment without it diverting back to the natural pattern of curly or course. Now, I have never had a perm/relaxer in my life, therefore, my definition could be a little off…but, you get the point! :) In essence, natural hair is hair that is not processed or permanently straightened by way of a chemical, like the relaxer.
Now that so many have ditched the relaxer, they’re left with a head full of thick curls (or knots, lol) that they don’t know how to tame; especially for the sake of the workplace and/or grad school. I have learned that there are multiple ways one can wear their hair in the workplace and still look presentable.
My favorite hairstyle is what I call the “Tuck and Roll.” All I do is roll each side and place bobby pins to hold the style in place. In the back I usually roll it upwards and tuck it away with bobby pins also. I have done a bun in the back and on the side with this hairstyle in the past. I receive a lot of compliments when wearing this style. Many say it gives people a chance to see my full face. Sorry I don’t have any pics of myself with this style, but check out the YouTube video. She gives a great tutorial on how to do it. My tuck and roll is normally a neater, but hey!…make it your own!
The second style that I enjoy doing is the famous bun, but different variations of it. Back in high school I was on the dance line, so I was really familiar with this style on Friday nights at the football games. This style also allows people to see one’s face without the bangs falling in the way. It’s very classy and looks good with your pearls, big studs, or chandelier style earrings. Both of these hairstyles are grad school and workplace friendly.
Pic stitch of my bun here…
The third style is a style my coworker wears regularly. Her hair is shorter than mine because she started her natural hair journey about two years ago when she decided to cut her hair (BIG CHOP!) and give up the relaxer. I absolutely adore her coils! They’re tamed, but fierce enough to match her personality. As you can see the hairstyle still looks professional with a blazer and mid-size earrings. In my opinion, this is for the daring lady; I’m just not there yet! Lol. My hair is too big, but that’s really not an excuse, huh?! Tracee Ellis Ross played Joan, a lawyer in the sitcom Girlfriends, and rocked her curls faithfully and looked professional in those awesome suits! Pray for me, boldness is coming soon! Lol!
Pic stitch of my coworker here…
Here’s a pic of Tracee Ellis Ross with her beautiful curls!
One last hairstyle I enjoy playing with is twists. Some natural beauties enjoy the “twist-out,” but my hair doesn’t respond to that. Ok, another quick natural hair lesson for those that don’t understand. A twist out is when one take small to medium size pieces of her hair and twist them together. She may leave the twists in for a day or two and then take them apart to wear a full curly look. Personally, I just twist my hair all over and pin it up in different styles. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of myself, but here are some pics of others with similar styles that I’ve done. Again, it is a feminine and professional updo.
Check out these elegant updos with twists! Again, I have no pics, but I did my hair very similar to the young lady in the video. Remember, you can pin up your twists any way you want, it all depends on how fierce you want to be.
Below, I have posted some people you can follow on YouTube and websites for additional hair care tips and styles. Remember, we are beautiful regardless of how we wear our hair and whether or not we choose to remain natural or alter our curls. Beauty is on the inside of us, but remember people see our faces, hair, and clothing before they hear what comes out of our mouths! We still have an image to maintain in our schools and our places of employment. People are watching us, for we’re the lights in dark places and a city on a hill.
Most of all, we represent Christ! So, be encouraged my natural beauties! You can still be professional with your beautiful curls, twists, and puffs just take time to experiment and don’t be afraid. Love you!
Always remember to keep your hair moisturized with water (this element is more important than you think!), leave in conditioner, and seal the moisture in with oils of your choice. My favorite sealant is Carol’s Daughter Hair Balm, (click to view) which contains many different oils (coconut oil and sweet almond oil). If I don’t use that I use a shea butter and olive oil mix. However, one will have to figure out what’s best for her hair…we all have different textures.
Check out these sites for great hair care tips:
Still Learning and Living for Christ,
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