Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh, those Beautiful Textures!

It was the first time we'd ever valet parked.

Driving up to Atlanta's glammed out Bar One Lounge, we relinquished the keys to a gentleman in white, checked in and were escorted inside. Indoors, the posh white interior was splashed with brilliant pink lights giving it an ultra modern boost.

A floor to ceiling canvas displayed Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia, sporting a perfectly groomed afro. Across from it three naturalistas, wearing Beautiful Textures tops, greeted new arrivals and modeled their uniquely styled tresses.

Beyond them, the wait staff maneuvered trays of hor'douvers in and out of groups of mingling attendees, camera crew and reporters. And after giving guests an hour or so to get acquainted, Kimberly Walker of Tress Talk, Atlanta's premiere multi-textural consultant firm, along with Charlene Bastien, Strength of Natures Marketing Director took center stage, swathed in all the cosmo chic attire that the event called for.

As if speaking to each individual guest, they delved into a sophisticated show and tell, introducing several models who came to sit on barstools on either side of the stage. They discussed the models hair type, the products used to create a particular look, the length of time and each step.

The line consists of seven products: Tangle Taming Moisturizing Shampoo, Tangle Taming Leave in Conditioner, Moisture Butter Whipped Curl Creme, Shine and Silken Growth Oil, Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner, Curly to Straight Flat Iron Silkener and Curly Control Defining Pudding. All of which can be used alone or cocktailed with another of the Beautiful Textures line to cater to the personal needs of any curly girl!

Beautiful Textures will be available this winter in fine beauty retailers. For more information visit Click here to see additional pictures.

And as informative as this event was, out favorite part was the parting gifts: a 15 oz jar of Rapid Repair, a 6oz bottle of Curly to Straight and oodles of samples (reviews coming soon!)

Oh yeah, and those adorable Beautiful Textures tops!

Join the conversation!

Twitter: @LovinMyTextures

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Erykah Badu: A Super Natural

On a warm spring night after performing to a jam packed arena of her biggest Birmingham supporters, the Queen of Neo Soul lounges on a sofa in her hotel room. At a dining room table not far off, her body guard and agent have struck up a candid conversation. Like an old girlfriend, Erykah Badu excitedly directs us to sit with her on her sofa and easy chairs. She munches contentedly on a tray bearing bunches of red and green grapes, slices of granny smiths and huge strawberries while waiting for us to start our interview.

An impromptu interview at that. A chance meeting at the lobby’s front desk, led to an animated conversation about natural hair, which was followed by us joining her entourage, getting jealous looks from star struck observers and now, sitting in her hotel room trying all but in vain to stay professional.

Our camera has spazzed under the pressure, so I pull out my phone and fidget nervously for the camcorder.

Ms. Badu is on the sofa. Candace is perched and thrilled beside her. My camera chimes that it’s recording.

Curlologists: Thank you for interviewing with us! So, I have never seen you with your hair straight. You seem to have embraced your natural hair even when pop culture wasn’t. What were the reasons behind that?

Erykah Badu: My hair is an aesthetic choice. And I don’t feel I have an obligation to wear it one way or the other but to health for myself.  And to me it’s healthier to, I guess, be as natural as you can in your most natural state.  At the same time, how you wear your hair is a political statement as well. Pretty much everything you do as a black woman is a political statement. I don’t feel like it’s a responsibility or anything cause at that point I’d be putting myself into a penitentiary and that wouldn’t be a natural state!  So the most natural thing to me is to stay as pure to or real to or close to who I am as possible.

C: So I know you know about the natural hair movement that’s sweeping the nation. What are your thoughts behind that if any?

EB: Not at this point. I really don’t [think] a lot about how people wear their hair right now, cause I’d rather see a person with a natural mind and processed head than a processed mind and natural head. I always feel like I’m a spiritual being first, a human being second, man or woman third, Black, White fourth. Nappy headed or whatever else anybody wanna call it, ‘good hair’, that’s last on my list. And it may be a result of not altering myself.

C: You don’t seem to be a person that’s influenced at all by anyone but yourself. Has that been constant through childhood or is that something you’ve been cultivating?

EB: Somewhat through childhood. But I’ve always been a non-conformists. I don’t know why, it’s just the way they made me whoever “they” be. But the confidence does develop over time like any other muscle, so yeah.  Being natural is really fresh but every once in the while, super natural!

Singer sewed synthetic textured hair to spiral cornrows

Indeed, she is a super natural :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Damn Thing

The Damn Salon
The Damn Salon.

What more of an introduction could you possibly need? But just in case Wanda Lott, our guest of honor wasn’t convinced by the uber cool atmosphere, muted gray walls and candy red and animal print accents strewn with effortless precision, they spared no expense in seeing to it that she changed her mind.

Two stylists, each sporting signature Damn styles, greeted us warmly and after a few brief introductions, led Ms. Lott to a black and platinum salon chair. We, the Knotty and Nice crew along with Chase, Wanda’s son, were guided to the salons cozy reception area, where we were offered complementary white wine and allowed to observe her entire transformation.

Somto, Damn salon stylist for three months, started on Wanda’s tidy salt and pepper TWA, carefully twisting in the salon’s exclusive blend of synthetic and human hair. And fast too. Roadrunner rapid. Like everything I’d ever done had been in slow motion. But I digress..

Ephinae co-owner & chef extraordinaire
As if reclining on plush leather upholstery and sipping wine while a fusion of genres pumped through surrounding speakers weren’t enough, the Damns co owner, Ephinae, whipped up the most delicious cuisine I’ve had in a while. A sculpted dome of yellow rice, a cut of juicy steak garnished with rings of sautéed onions and topped with vibrant spinach leaves cooked to perfection. It was a meal that came with all the flair Damn is known for—set before us by stylists, who brought them in on funky zebra print platters. I’m no food critic, but damn!

And like all good meals, it was followed up by good conversation. Somto chatted amicably with us on everything from Beyonce to Colorado’s wild mountain llamas. (Apparently just as dangerous as mountain lions, but with more spit). The conversation was so lively we scarcely noticed when she was finished. But when we did—

We were FLOORED! The end result of this four hour process was stunning! Even Ms. Lott, who considers herself very picky with things concerning her hair, was immediately enthralled and helped herself to a mini camera phone photo shoot on the spot!
Wanda in The Damn's signature Urban Twists
 And speaking of photo shoot, Damn’s got one especially planned for our lady of the hour and we’ve got her story, the reason the salon took notice, especially planned for you. So stay tuned. Stay Haute. Stay Damn!

Wanda and son, Chase

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is "Manageability"?

Dr. David Drew Pinsky hosted a fiery "Good Hair" debate on his talk show "Dr.Drew" today.

I remember the first time I dealt with straight hair. I was a freshman in high school in Milwaukee, WI. My blue-eyed, blonde-haired, straight-stranded friend Becky (yes that was her real name) wanted me to curl her hair for a special occasion that was coming up. I said sure! I was a whiz with hair, even back then, so I grabbed her curling iron thinking that this was going to be a piece of cake. Yea…not so much. Even after using the hottest setting and spraying her hair with the stiffest hair spray, I COULD NOT get Becky’s hair to curl. She ended up leaving my house with one stiff lock of hair and the rest of it just as straight as when she first came over. I remember thinking, "For straight hair being so famous for being 'easy', that was some hard ass work." Since then I’ve realized that someone with more experience probably could’ve figured out how to get Becky’s hair to curl beautifully, but I didn’t know the rules, so to ME it was unmanageable. Because I was UNFAMILIAR with straight hair, straight hair was UNMANAGEABLE. Do you see where I’m going with this?

After watching the Dr. Drew special and hearing the term manageable over and over in relation to the term “good hair”, I felt the need to address this. The term “manageability” is relative, just like the term “good” is. Using one word to describe another does not further define it. The fact though, that there was no confusion when the definition given for “good hair” was that it was “more manageable” shows that to many people, it’s not relative. In fact to most it only means one thing; the straighter your hair is, the easier to deal with it is.

The belief has to change. The natural hair movement has made some great strides, but we have yet to deal with our negative language. We still envy other textures and assume that we must describe our kinky hair as “unruly”, “unmanageable”, and “too thick”. Not the case. Yes, when I first went natural, my hair was VERY unmanageable. But that was MY fault, NOT my hair’s. Though my hair has gotten no closer to straight, I can now manage it very well, as well as any other textures that are similar. Give me a straighter haired person though, and it’s Becky all over again. Even curly hair is somewhat of a mystery to me.

My point is this: learn your hair and its limitations. Learn its strengths and build on those. Most importantly, know that EVERY texture has its limitations, everyone has to have SOME kind of daily routine, and EVERYONE has to ward off unmanageability. In the video below I talk (or rant, rather) about some the true roots of our beliefs, these terms, and what needs to change. I think that Dr. Drew has started a good thing, and I hope that other talk shows do the same.

Have a different opinion? I'd be happy to hear it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Natural hair dolls are here!

FINALLY! Dolls that really do look like the little girls that play with them! While a few toymakers are slowly waking up and smelling the coffee, a some industrious women have taken it upon themselves to create kinky-haired dolls! Make sure that you don’t miss out this Christmas on dolls that look like your special little girl and make her feel like her hair is special too.

This lady has updated Barbie more than Mattel ever has. Barbie not only sports a new hair texture, but familiar and popular styles, and even better clothes! Stylish Bella has given Barbie swag; who knew? These dolls range from $26-$60, and are completely custom made. But they ARE limited, so get a move on!

These dolls are so cute and huggable!  Little girls will love her, squeeze her, and now they can even wear matching hairstyles! We LOVE the maker’s mantra: “Pretty Puffs are made to show minority girls, teens, and women that being different, having brown skin and kinky hair is absolutely a thing of beauty.” These dolls are roughly $25 apiece, not including shipping and handling.

Each doll is made to physically represent the country that she is from. Rahel, the Ethiopian doll, sports a curly afro and traditional wear. She comes with her own storybook, and you can even order her a change of clothes! With every purchase, Hearts 4 Hearts will donate part of the purchase price to a charitable organization to help real life girls in other countries.  Hearts 4 Hearts works to encourage their customers and the girls they are helping that they can rise above any circumstance. These dolls range from $13-25 dollars, not including shipping and handling.

Lots to Love Baby Steps Doll

We found her at Sears for $10.99 and thought that she was ADORABLE. Your little girl probably will too. J

BFC, Ink Fashion Dollpack – Calista

She is just SO COOL! Fashionable AND curly-haired…what’s better than that? We had to search hard for this doll, she’s out of stock nearly everywhere, but Amazon DOES have a few in stock for about $40 a piece. Hurry!

Princess Tiana

At $150 this doll is a little pricey, but so gorgeous that we think she’s worth it!

These cute dolls inspire little black girls to dream! Made with little dreamers in mind, these dolls start at about $70 apiece. The best part? You could even get your own doll designed! What's more special than that?

It’s so important for little girls to know that their hair IS pretty, her dark (or honey, or light) skin is beautiful, and that she CAN have a doll that looks like her, just like other little girls. So pick one of these gorgeous dolls up for your little one. You’ll be paying a small price for a pretty big payoff. ;-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kinky, Curly Kim

Actress and comedienne Kim Coles

A little while ago I had the privilege of interviewing actress and comedian Kim Coles. She was a pleasure to talk to, insightful, wise, and hilarious (of course!).  More importantly, interviewing Kim gave us a peek into Hollywood’s view of natural hair and possible reasons why we don’t see more of it.

We remember Kim Coles as Sinclair on the hit TV show Living Single, rocking her micro braids, goddess braids, and cornrows that always seemed to match her quirky and vivacious personality. Kim tells us that she wore her hair in those braids for over ten years, even keeping her hair a certain length at all times so that it wouldn’t get too long for her micros. Kim states that she liked the way that she looked, but she hadn’t seen all of her natural hair at once in years.

Now that Kim is natural, she says that is adjusting! “I’m at the exploration stage. I’ve found a couple little tricks that work for me. For example, I have to double-strand twist my hair at night. It’s so interesting to me how a style will change from day to day. The way it looks when you first wash it maybe different from how it looks on the third or fourth day. I am still learning my hair.”

As is the story with many other newly natural girls, Kim is learning her texture, as well as her friends and family. “My white friends will ask to touch my hair sometimes.” She notes with a giggle, “I’m amazed with it myself!”  And it’s pretty amazing! According to Kim, even her mother was amazed with her kinky curls, though it brought Kim to a shocking realization, “I realized that my own mother had forgotten how my hair looked. That’s how long it had been since she had actually seen it.”

Though Kim is a celebrity and in the spotlight a lot, her choice to go natural was not a political one. She does, however, understand how it can be taken that way. “Our natural hair, whether you want it to be political or not…I’ve said many times that this is not a political choice. But, I am aware that when casting directors go ‘Oh, your hair is cute!’ what they’re really saying is ‘Wow, you’re a Black girl, huh?’ So whether or not you are trying to be political, there is a statement that you’re making, saying, ‘This is my natural kinky-curly hair, (if that is indeed your texture, mine is kinky-curly) and I am rocking it like this.’”

So what was Kim’s motivation to finally go natural and forgo her signature braided look? Well according to her, it was just that. “I needed a change! I decided that I wanted to look in the mirror and see the REAL, authentic me without all the extra hair. There was nothing wrong with (my braids). I was simply long overdue for a change!” And what a beautiful, empowering change it was! Since going natural, Kim has been very involved in the natural hair community; attending events, participating in promotions, and being an inspiration for Black women all over the country. The message that Kim is inspiring with? Embrace yourself. And we are happy to pass it along.

Beautifully and uniquely fabulous!