They’re all going to laugh at you…

Rihanna and Chris Brown concert, Brisbane Ente...

Rihanna and Chris Brown concert, Brisbane Entertainment Centre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post is for the sister sitting at home contemplating making the change. She’s sitting in front of her computer looking for videos, blog posts and comments for encouragement to do something she’s been wanting to do for quite some time. “Why doesn’t she just start the process and see how she likes it?” says the avid reader of OohMyHair.com. “Do what makes you feel good girl!” they continue to shout at the computer as they’ve thought about a few people in their personal lives that seem to be going through the same thing.

We know it’s hard to believe in a world where Rihanna, Amber Rose and India.Arie exist and thrive that there are still women afraid to make bold hair moves in 2013. Nobody on the staff can stand as a judge, because we’ve all been there. To the sister that’s searching the web high and low trying to find a way to make that first step, we say, bust a move!

There are so many resources and far more sophisticated products available now. Consider those of us on staff that started this journey when the only people who were available to help were people who smelled funny and made up words like the inmate character that Daman Wayans played on In Living Color. A few posts back we talked about some of the bad advice that was, and still is, floating around the once small community. There were times that some of us had so much product doused all over our heads that had there been an open flame nearby a situation would’ve arisen. We say that to let you know that even though this journey has had some not so fun times, the joy that you find in learning to deal with exactly what you’ve been given and love it is indescribable.

Push past that wall of vanity. We still deal with perception and confidence issues in the back of our minds, especially in the “Corporate world”. However, the moment you realize that the styling that needs to take place is not on top of your head but inside it, you’ll find that the most important factor in this decision is your own personal happiness. In later posts we will discuss some of the health risk factors that may aid you in deciding to take the leap towards natural hair, but today it’s all about you feeling sure and knowing that there is nothing abnormal about taking your time.

We wish you luck, but even more we ask you to stop by every now and then and pick up a few tips and funny stories even if you decide that natural isn’t for you. As always, please ask questions when it stops making sense. Enjoy!

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Beware the Kitchmatologist!

Hair Care

Hair Care (Photo credit: howzey)

What’s a Kitchmatologist?

There are many people all over the country that practice hair (like how I dressed that up?) out of their kitchen as nothing more than a way to make money. Let’s start off by saying that at its core there is nothing wrong with letting an experienced friend style your hair. There are also stylists that work in salons that refuse to attend any shows, don’t get more than the required continuing education credits who pose just as much of a threat to your hair health.

Ok, Where did this come from?

I took off yesterday to read around the WordPress community and see what’s the current buzz. I happened upon Hair Carer’s blog, which is pretty cool, and remembered a conversation that a hair school instructor held with me a while back. A hair license is not proof positive of anything other than a person sitting through requirements. Professionalism revolves around how seriously one invests in constantly learning and growing. Her term for people who didn’t take that time is, Kitchmatologist.

What’s the big deal?

You should be able to engage in intelligent dialogue regarding hair with whomever you entrust to aid in your hair’s health. The questions that you ask of Ooohmyhair.com, you should be able to get a well thought out answer from behind the chair as well. If that is not the case, and you feel like you’re never able to maintain a look/feel between visits, leave. I know that seems harsh but if your doctor never answered questions about your body’s health you’d be uncomfortable I’m sure. Your hair is not only your crown, but beyond the aesthetics, as we always discuss, your scalp is a gateway. The product additives that we’ve discussed previously in, Clean Curls 101:Poo Basics, and What’s the Deal with Shea? , the harm that they can potentially cause to your health happens through absorption into the scalp. You want to know the methods and philosophy your hair professional may hold since they have so much access.

Now What?

Prior to your next appointment (Dads on duty, this goes for you too), write down at least three new questions to ask your hair care professional. There is nothing wrong with them not having the answer immediately, but they should be willing to research and return with something helpful. It’s not a test of whether or not they know everything, that’s impossible, it’s a test of whether or not they care to keep you informed. If not, you may have identified a Kitchmatologist…. Run!

The first week after the big chop!

Lauryn Hill at Central Park

Lauryn Hill at Central Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congratulations! You’ve taken a large step into this journey and you decided it was best to dive in head first. Depending on your curl pattern you may be experiencing straight patches and flyaway hair. If you conducted the ceremonial ritual at home, there’s a chance that you may need professional assistance soon. Some of the questions that I’ve encountered from people in this stage include:

Why doesn’t it look like an Afro?

Why isn’t it even, even though I keep chipping away at the stray pieces?

I love the curl when it’s wet, how can I keep that when it’s dry?

Answers:

This is the week of discovery. Freshly cut ends on any texture of hair need some time to settle. Increase your water intake, grab some Biotin and be patient. If you have the curl pattern that will produce a stunning Afro as pictured, this is where you pay your dues.

Try not to clip at the stray hairs, until your curl pattern starts to really reveal itself, which will probably be this time next week.Then it’s time to select an approach. The nightly care for hair that’s long enough to twist or braid includes moisturizing the hair and sectioning it off into braids to retain the moisture, the more you chip away, the more difficult that process becomes. If you’re not comfortable roughing it out, this may be a good time to get a braid style. Be mindful of the tension put on your hair. Some braid stylists, even now that natural is popular, put additional stress on the hair because it may appear to be difficult to manage. A professional will be sure to analyze your hair prior to attempting a style to be sure it is executed in a manner that does not compromise your hair health.

This is the time to observe your hair, your curl pattern is not ready to be diagnosed yet. I suggest holding off on purchasing an abundance of products until you see what you can come up with as naturally as possible. A whipped Shea butter product from a trusted Shea Processor will provide light-weight moisture which allows your hair to breathe and come into its own.

Hopefully this puts some of the first week jitters at ease. Leave comments and feel free to send questions. I’m here to help.

~Margaret Ellen