2017 Goals - Healthy Hair Edition

Typically when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, most people proclaim, "New Year, New Me." While that's great (go head, y'all!), I've been trying a new approach this time around: New Year, Healthier Me. Now this doesn't just mean eating right and getting adequate exercise. It also means fostering healthy and organic relationships, drinking more water--hello skin glow up--and, of course, healthier hair. Here's what I'm thinking:  

Hydration

One thing I don't do well enough is hydrating my body, thus hydrating my hair. So in 2017, I'm committing myself to 8-10 cups of water per day and good hydration treatments for my hair. The only brand I've tried so far is Shea Moisture, which I loved, but I'm open to giving other products a go. If you have suggestions, let me know in the comments below!  

Trims

I've always heard that you should trim your ends every 6 to 8 weeks to avoid split ends and excessive breakage from them. I did pretty well with this in 2016 so I vow to keep it up this year. Although, I must admit, most of my trims ended up being full blown hair cuts because I'm obsessed with my bob 😭. So more trims, fewer hair cuts.  

Protein & Moisture

Protein treatments are the ultimate glow up because they prevent breakage. Now, it's important not to get them very often because too much protein isn't good for the hair. But let me tell you, when my hairdresser does my protein and moisture treatment, I cue the Beyoncé wind, slay and carry on! Aphogee is the brand I use for these and I try to get them every time I get a trim.  

Love My Scalp

Many stylists have told me that our scalps don't need oil but I beg to differ. I notice that my style lasts longer and my scalp itches less when I use a light oil such as olive or jojoba oil. I also plan to massage my scalp when I apply the product to get the blood flow going (and a scalp massage is just ah-maz-ing!). While I won't oil it everyday because it can make my hair clumpy and stiff, I  will do it once or twice per week around the nape of my neck, the middle of my scalp and my edges. Speaking of edges...  

Healthy (& Laid) Edges

My final 2017 hair goal is to maintain and grow my edges. My favorite product for this is Jamaican Black Castor Oil--I love the thickness and how it truly makes my edges feel moisturized hours later. I'll also stray away from edge control gels because they dry my edges out and usually make them curl up (a big no when the rest of my hair is laid!).  I'm going to do my best to keep a journal this year of my progress on all of my 2017 goals, including my hair, so I'll update y'all in a few months.

What are your healthy hair goals this year? Let me know below!

Sun, Sand, and Slay - 4 Tips for Perfect Hair on Your Next Trip

At least half of my social network just caught a glitch fare to Africa or Asia, so it's only fitting that I give you tips to stunt hard on the #travelnoire feed! 

Whenever I had a vacation coming up, I knew the inevitable freakout about what to do with my hair was coming soon. The last thing I wanted was a total hair fail. I needed my hair to always be in tip top shape regardless of a new climate or even if I dived into water. I wanted something more exciting than the braids I’ve worn on vacation since childhood, yet more functional than the non-protective yet fashionable styles I usually wear.

I’ve finally come up with a few tips to help prepare your hair for your next “Slaycation”.

Don’t experiment with new styles right before vacation.  

You want to be happy with your pictures right?  Make sure you plan accordingly for your new style before you leave. Much like you would for a wedding, it helps to decide on a vacation style in advance and give it a test run. Make sure you install your protective styles a few days before vacation so that it’s not too tight throughout your vacation. Also, choose a style that can last the duration of your trip or a style that you can easily fix yourself if it starts to look rough.

hairstyle freddie.gif

Pack the essentials.

Of course, you already know to bring your travel size (3.4 oz) products and your satin scarf/pillowcase. Consider packing some items which can come in handy but are hard to find abroad – anti-humectant pomade, oils for your scalp, curl refresher, or a braid spray that reduces itching and tension. And, in case of emergency, make sure you take cover! Bring headwraps, wigs and hats as a last resort if your hair decides to take it’s own vacation!

Protect Your Strands from the Elements.

You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! Salt water, chlorine, UV rays, heat, wind and dry climates can all wreak havoc on your hair. Before swimming in the ocean or pool, soak your hair and coat with heavy oils and butters to prevent salt and chlorine from drying your hair out.  Wearing a swim cap, although unflattering, can add an extra layer of protection. If out in the hot equator sun, wear a hat or headwrap to protect your hair from the sun. Ultimately, try your best to maintain your normal wash/moisturizing routine but if you can’t, use wipes to clean your scalp and rinse or co-wash hair as needed.

Choosing the Look.

Should you get extensions or try to work with your hair au naturale? It depends on how much maintenance you want to do and how long your vacation is. Some long term options which still look good regardless of the environment or activities would be box braids, twists (senegalese, marley, havana, etc), cornrows/ghana braids, curly extensions, faux locs, or crochet braids. If you want something with more flexibility, opt for a wig. If you’re feeling confident and up to the task, rock your twist out or wash and go but make sure you maintain it properly.

DIY Marley Twists from my last vacation. 

DIY Marley Twists from my last vacation. 

Navigating Hard Times & Blackness in the Workplace

Another child shot by police. An innocent woman killed in her home. The election of a bigoted, hateful candidate.

When White America tells us that they don’t value our lives or view us as equals, but we still have to face them at work, how do we cope? We still have to support our families and provide for ourselves, but there is an emotional cost to account for.

In many work environments, I have been the only Black woman, and those around me were either vocal about their opposing views, or remained silent regarding police brutality, discriminating legislation, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and blatant misogyny. The silence is more menacing because it is tacit approval .

How do we navigate the minefield of workplace aggressions and microaggressions ?

First, and most important, take care of yourself.

Next, decide if it is worth it to you to spend time and energy educating your co-workers. Consult company guidelines or HR first! You are not responsible for educating your peers and you do not bear the responsibility of being the spokesperson for all people of color, LGBT or women. However, if you choose, you can share your unique perspective and experiences on current events. For many of your co-workers, you might be their only access to someone who is “different”. Use these water cooler conversations to put a human face on your struggles. Offer concrete tasks to draw them into allyship, such as organizing a vigil after a police shooting or an open forum to engage with the communities affected.  Discuss what steps your organization can take to support marginalized communities.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to engage in conversation about current events with your coworkers, you can deflect and redirect. If someone asks “How does this make you feel?” because you identify with a marginalized community, you can deflect. Make it about them instead, “I’m actually interested in your views on the matter. How do you feel?”. If someone  makes an offensive comment, hold them accountable by asking, “What did you mean by that”. Most people don’t expect to have to explain their ill-intended jokes, and explaining it forces them, and those listening, to interrogate their meaning.

Finally, be the change you want to see in the world. The daily aggressions and microaggressions can really take a toll on your psyche. You have the power to take a negative experience and let it propel you in a positive direction: volunteer, organize and advocate. Speak with your actions, showing everyone around you that these causes are worth time and attention. Even if it doesn’t persuade anyone, you have the satisfaction of making a difference in the world.