Why My Natural Hair IS A Political Statement

I never considered my natural hair a political statement, until it was one.

After cutting off relaxed my hair in 2011 strange things started to happen. People started to ask me if I was fighting the power. Black men started calling me sista. People thought I was earthy. It was weird. I mean I love me some Erykah Badu (not that recent Twitter ridiculousness that she decided to bless us with last week) but I'm not that girl. Correction, I am that girl and I tuck it in because most people ain't ready. But still, I was a little confused as to why people were assuming that my hairstyle was some sort of revolt against society.

Around the same time, friends and acquaintances of the caucasian persuasion started to give me hair advice. They would see a happy, curly, whirly chica on TV and say "Oh you should wear your hair like that!" and I would have to explain to them that while I am happy my hair is neither whirly or curly so that would be a NO. They would try to hide their disappointment  and we would quickly change the subject.

These interactions sparked an interesting conversation within myself about what my natural hair meant to me AND to others. I started to realize that my hairstyle choices have an affect to those around me.  While I don't want to over emphasize the "importance" of my presence, I realize that it is crazy to see a black woman embracing her beauty and walking in confidence. So many black children have been conditioned to apologize for their looks: "Oh don't worry about this, my hair appointment is tomorrow" or "I can't go, my hair isn't done". Seeing so many black people enjoying and embracing their God given beauty is fairly new. When my (well meaning) white friends felt entitled to tell me how I should wear MY hair (that's a different conversation), they were unknowingly telling me that I was making them uncomfortable. They were quietly screaming, "Hey! Come back over to something we understand!" Which is crazy to me because "it's just hair".

Long story short, when I went natural it was not some political statement. My intent was never to join a revolution. But I did.

Natural Hair | Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

You finally took the leap and cut your hair.... But you've lost your confidence. Now What?

First of all, Congratulations! Whether you went straight for the big chop or were a long term transition, going completely natural can be tough. All of a sudden you have this new hair that you may have never seen before and it might not look like what you imagined. What's a new naturalists to do? Here are some tips for feeling confident with your new natural hair.

Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

Finding Confidence After the Big Chop

 

1. Accessories are a must. An easy way to amp up your natural hair look is to dress it up with fun, colorful, and bold accessories. This tip is especially great for those with short hair. A pair of long dangly earrings or a bold statement necklace add a gorgeous feminine touch to your new look.

2. Experiment With Bold Makeup. If you have a new short look this is the perfect time to play with makeup. Because your face is now str the forefront of your style you can really play with colors or techniques that you've never tried before. Try playing up your eyes or a bold red lip which makes every look glamorous.

3. Protective Style until you are more comfortable. If all else fails try some different styles until you feel more comfortable with your natural hair. Short haircuts can be intimidating and lack variety until they grow out. Protective styling is a great option for those who aren't completely comfortable with their natural hair. Braids and Twists are an awesome low maintenance style for those with little time to worry about styling everyday. If you are looking for a sleeker look, wigs and weaves are a great choice. If you are looking to protective style for a longer period of time, be sure to care for your hair while in the style.

How did you style your big chop?

Kisses,

Joelle

 

Cool Weather Natural Hair Do's and Dont's

Prevent severe hair damage in cooler weather months.

Cool weather brings many beauty challenges: dry skin and brittle hair are definitely not the least among them. Managing natural hair in cooler months can definitely be challenging especially for those of us focusing on retaining length and maintaining health. Here are some simple dos and don'ts for those of us who would like  to maintain the health of their hair.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

Keep your natural hair healthy and strong this winter.

 

DO practice protective styling.

I know that we've heard this time and time again but protective styles are the most effective way to retain length because it shields the hair from harsh elements AND extreme manipulation. Protective styling is not limited to braids, weaves, and wigs. Easy and low manipulation protective styles include twists, mini twists, simple braids, and updos.

Don't Neglect your hair during protective styles.

One of the biggest mistakes naturals make in regards to wearing protective styles (especially wigs weaves etc.) is to completely neglect their natural hair. Lack of washing, moisture, and a dirty scalp can lead to major setbacks in your natural hair and are counter productive. Make sure that you continue you to give your hair love and attention. Leave Protective styles in for six weeks at the most and give your hair time to breathe in between.

Do keep your hair conditioned and moisturized.

Condition. Condition. Condition! I cannot say it enough. This is the number one rule of natural hair and it is especially important during the winter  months. The cold air can suck the moisture out of your hair faster than you can say "it's freezing". For this reason, it's important to stock up on and invest in great leave in conditioners and moisturizing products (I prefer cream based products).

Don't skip protein treatments

Many naturals talk about moisture and conditioning  and say nothing about creating a moisture/protein balance. It is possible to to over condition your hair which makes hair soft, mushy, and weak. Protein treatments help strengthen hair and can help fill gaps in the hair shaft.

Do Take this time to straighten your hair.

Cold weather months are the best time to straighten your natural hair; the low temperatures help preserve your straight styles and will prevent you from having to touch your style up with a flat iron. If you need a step by step guide on straightening your natural hair there are many tutorials on Youtube.

Don't use excessive heat.

Any go ahead to use heat should also come wit a warning and I would be remiss if I did not urge you to use caution. Not only can extremely high temperatures cause permanent damage that can only be "repaired" by cutting it away but using heat repeatedly can also cause damage. If you choose to heat style your natural hair this fall or winter be aware of these risks and only straighten your hair two to three times during this time. 

These are my tips for maintaining natural hair. What are yours?

Joelle

A Few of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

I never thought I'd be posting a makeup "favorites".

I was never a makeup girl. I was literally the worst female child any mother hoping for a dress up doll could possibly have. I preferred playing in the mud and competitive sports to getting my hair done and playing dress up. 

So I find it absolutely HILARIOUS that I love playing in in makeup as an adult. It started with a little bit of ill applied foundation and one color eyeshadow and now I'm addicted to a full face. It's been a bit of trial and error but I think I've found some things that I absolutely live for and I want to share them with you!

Foundation | Oily Girls rejoice! I have wasted so much money on high end foundations searching for full coverage. At the end of a full day my nose would look like an oil slick. Enter in the amazing Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless. It works wonders and the toffee shade matches my complexion perfectly!

Concealer | I don't know why I need this specific concealer but I DO. It makes no sense but it is the best concealer that I've used for my highlighting. It blends so smoothly and looks beautifully natural. For the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer I use the shade biscuit.

Highlight | For the days that I want a youthful glow, I use the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in the shade of Rose Gold. It reflects just the right amount of light off of your face and is basically undetectable up close.

Lips | I am a full fledged lipstick fiend. It's a serious problem and I can't even tell you guys what my favorite is. I love low end and high end and I LIVE for a matte lip. My newest love are the matte lipsticks by Smashbox Cosmetics. They are absolutely everything: they stay put all day through eating and drinking AND the color stays as vibrant as when you first apply it.

Eyes | I'm fully upset that no one told me about the Lorac Pro Palette! When I say you get what you pay for... A full set of matte and glitter shadows is perfect for everyday and it may be the only full palette the average girl needs.

Bronzer | For days when I want a summery glow, I use my Iman Bronzer. Aside from the fact that this company was created by the beautiful and wonderful Iman, the products are QUALITY. This bronzer is perfection and I use it every time I do a "full face".

Until Next Time....

Beijos,

Joelle

Modern Vintage?

Dress | Goodwill Coat | Asos Shoes | Target

I honestly hate oxymorons like Modern Vintage. Like what does that even mean? Vintage is vintage and modern is modern. I guess that's just the designer in me.

I'm in love with this dress. It makes me feel like a 70s cocktail waitress or an extra in Forrest Gump. The thin polyester fabric isn't really ideal for the frozen tundra that I call home but I think I can work it out; I've decided that I'm going to dress like it's spring time until mother nature inclines to my demands.

a.inline-read-more { display: inline-block; width: auto; height: auto; padding: 1em 2.5em; color: #FFF; background-color: #272727; border-width: 0; font-family: "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-transform: uppercase !important; letter-spacing: 0px; text-align: center; text-decoration: none; cursor: pointer; outline: none; -webkit-appearance: none; -moz-appearance: none; appearance: none; font-size: 14px; text-transform: none; } a.inline-read-more:hover { background-color: #C0A127; }

The coat was another steal from ASOS and I'm already thinking of ways to pair it with other items in my closet. The faux fur collar is detachable which adds to the versatility.


Until Next Time...

Kisses,

 

Joelle

How to Look Better Part Two

Smiling is a foolproof way to look and feel better

Let's chat some ore about how to look and feel better in 2015! I know that so many of us are looking for the next product or makeup technique to help us be the fairest of them all, but we all know that true beauty starts from within. At least that's what Disney taught me.

My first tip for looking better in 2015 is to LOG OFF. I wish I could say it one thousand times but I still don't think it would be enough. So many of us are obsessed with our social media platforms that we never fully take our attention off of them. Every meal, thought, picture, or memory is somehow shared with the entire world. I implore you to STOP. Even if it's for a few hours, enjoy a phone free meal or have a conversation while riding in the car. I promise you'll enjoy yourself.

My second piece of advice is going to sound odd but it is so necessary and simple: Be selfish! I know someone just clutched their pearls but let me convince you that this isn't a terrible idea. No body (and I do mean nobody) can look after you like you do. You truly have your own best interests at heart while others (who may have good intentions) will have their own interests at the forefront of their mind. Don't feel bad for doing something completely for yourself or saying no to something when it does not fulfill any of your wants and needs.

This last little nugget is going to be the toughest for most women as we are our own biggest critics. Four simple words will change your life: be nice to yourself. Does that sound crazy? it shouldn't! I find it funny that a woman would look in the mirror and tell herself that she's fat or ugly or just not ENOUGH period when she would never even dream of saying that to another woman's face. Ridiculous! We have to stop searching for our shortcomings and weaknesses and start celebrating our strengths. Imagine a young girl could hear everything terrible you thought about yourself. Would you want her to repeat it? I didn't think so. 

How will you all achieve looking better in 2015? Let me know in the comments!

Until Next Time.

Kisses


Joelle

Chic Holiday Cocktails + Winter Crop Tops

Now is the winter of our discontent. -William Shakespeare

It's that time of year again! Time for all sorts of boozy get togethers and cookie exchanges are happening and I'm so excited. I know that the winter season can bring on some trying times but I try to see the beauty in the season: I love seeing snow and decorative lights lining the streets and just the buzzing excitement is so refreshing to see.

Crop tops were kind of THE THING of summer 2014 and they were everywhere. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't comfortable enough in my body to rock them in public. I'm now at a place where I want to wear them and I've basically decided that midriff baring tops are appropriate for every season. So here I am in sub freezing weather rocking my crop top like I'm not cold. Luckily I'll do almost anything for style so it wasn't unbearable.

I love this look because it's festive yet casual. The full midi skirt keep the look from v peering into street walker/Kardashian territory and the sheer panel gives it just a tad bit of edge. This is definitely for cocktails on girl's night as only other females can truly appreciate our crazy fashion whims and this look is probably an official man repeller. It practically screams I watch Sex and the City marathons and I'm TOTES a Samantha (everyone thinks they're Samantha).

No matter which Sex and the City character you truly embody, I encourage everyone to try something that makes them just a little uncomfortable before the close of 2014. For me it was crop tops. I definitely have a few more things to cross of the list but we're taking baby steps here.

So tell me what's the one thing you want to do in the month of December?

Until Next Time...

Kisses,

Joelle