Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Madness

You better not wet my hair!
I once came across a summer quote: "An ocean breeze puts the mind at ease." Well, it sounds pleasant, nice and relaxing, but whoever came up with that phrase was certainly unaware of just how many people are hesitant about savoring the rays of the summer sun and taking a dip in the ocean or pool all because of their hair!

Nat King Cole crooned it best in his song, “
Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer,” a time when people look forward to doing everything or nothing, all in the name of fun and relaxation. For many, it is a time to travel. It is also a good time to finally finish that book you have been reading, catch up on old movies, visit family, work on other projects or sit on the porch with a tall glass of lemonade or sweet tea as you curse winter. Summer usually find us throwing caution to the wind, going for some spice in our life or simply chillin’. I always say, people who take after the legendary hip hop artists, MC Lyte, Milk Dee and Giz like to chill! 

Yes, summertime is good and the living is easy, but not if you have to continuously stress about your hair. When people who are hair obsessed realize summer is fast approaching, they begin to make all kinds of commitments and plans on how this summer will be different. They come up with new rituals for their summer hair care routine. Of course, they want to have all the summer fun they can squeeze in, but fritting and fretting about their hair always seems to be a heavy cost they have to pay. Between the heat and the thought of having to go near water, people (especially women) are consumed with outright fear. For them, the very thought of having their hair in the summer heat or even in water will have them turning into Gizmo from the 1984 fantasy horror movie, Gremlins.

What is it about the summer heat and the water that scares these "Gizmo Scared Haired" people? Well, whether you recall the movie Gremlins or not, here is a little trivia. In the movie, the Gremlins were all very nice and sweet. But, there are three key things you can never do to a Gremlin. One: They cannot be in sunlight or hot lights. Two: Water for Gremlins is absolutely, positively out of the question and Three: Gremlins can have no food after midnight. Hmm, sound, familiar? Minus the no feeding after midnight part, the "Gizmo Scared Haired" people have numbers one and two in common with the Gremlins. Two out of three is not bad. So…I affectionately name people who are afraid of the sun and water during the dog days of summer after the main Gremlin character: Gizmo.

Listen up my "Gizmo Scared Haired" people! There is no need to fear the heat of the sun, or any light for that matter, when it comes to your hair. The sun is actually extremely good for hair. YES, I said that! Of course, basking in the sun does come with precautions.

Now, what are a few ways you can turn your hair into "sun friendly hair?”  Easy. The first thing is to know your hair. Then, know you, know your time, know your budget and know what makes you feel confident. 

For many, the sun poses a threat because the heat that emanates from the sun can wreak havoc on
hair, its color, style, texture and scalp. The easy resolve to contend with sun on your hair is to:
▪           Use a small amount of sunscreen on your hair and scalp.
▪           Wear a hat to protect your scalp and hair color.
▪           When wearing your wash-n-wear style, ditch the diffuser and allow the sun to dry your
curls, kinks, waves or Afro naturally. When prepped right, your hair will glisten. 
▪           For wash-n-wear hair styles, use an ample amount of your favorite styling agent to help form texture and hold the style.
▪           Leave-In Conditioners infused with proteins made of keratin, soy, wheat or quinoa ensures your hair texture will remain intact.
▪           Be sure to use the right comb. The wider the teeth on the comb, the more microscopic tears you will have in the individual strands of your hair, thus making your hair more susceptible to sun damage.

Next up for the "Gizmo Hair Scared" people is water. The first thing I want to do is assure you that you will not turn into Gizmo or a Gremlin if you get your hair wet. I also want to say for those of you who travel abroad to exotic waters, oceans, seas, lakes, private beaches and what not…please get your hair wet. You should not deny the dominant connection of your hair, scalp, body and spirit to its home—Mother Earth/Nature.

Here are the reasons why:

▪           Water from the ocean/sea is very purifying for hair and skin. 
▪           Water from the ocean/sea detoxes hair and skin.
▪           Water from the ocean/sea is rich in vitamins and minerals.
▪           Regular shampoo easily washes away the salt and residue from hair.
▪           A vinegar and water mix neutralizes mineral (salt) deposits left behind in minutes.
▪           Dipping your hair into the water feels amazing.

If you are concerned about the manageability of your hair upon getting it wet, here a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of tangled "Gizmo Scary Hair."

▪           Braid your hair to keep it from matting.
▪           Wet your hair with tap water FIRST before getting into any body of water. Hair can only 
absorb one chemical at a time. Since tap water also has minerals, it will deposit those minerals into the hair thus reducing the likelihood of absorbing even more minerals from the ocean/sea water.
▪           Using a leave in conditioner with the right comb ensures "ouch-free" combing for Gizmo people.

Milk to the left and Giz to the right
"Top Billin'"
As you can see, the summer madness in hair care is fueled by lack of preparation and anxiety. Don't let the summer drive you mad about your hair. Like the Gremlins, all you have to do is take a few precautions before getting into the sunlight and water. If you proceed with caution, there is nothing to fear. Be wise when it comes to your hair. Be prepared. Have your hair necessities with you wherever you go. Remember: No one has hair like you. Your hair is like your fingerprint: no one else can match it. When you accept your hair’s unique fabric and do what the fabric calls for, you will be happy like the other Giz....chillin' and top billin'!  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Momma Said...

The interesting thing about being a hairstylist is the number of questions I get asked on a daily basis about how I chose cosmetology as a profession. The other questions I get asked a lot, is how did I learn to do hair and who influenced me? 

Choosing cosmetology as a profession was influenced by a career in social work. How did I learn to do hair? My sister made sure I learned how to do hair by refusing to ever to do my hair again! Yes, that is funny to me too.Why did my sister stopped stopped doing my hair? My sister always did my hair. I never did my hair. One day when I was 17 years old, I asked my sister to do my hair as we were getting ready for school. She replied, "No. If you think that I am going to do your hair for the rest of your life, you are mistaken!" I was verklempt. I actually clutched my imaginary pearls. Whatever was I to do? Burn my hair out. My sister looked at me, shook her head and walked out the bathroom laughing! That day began the long burning grind of learning how to do my own hair. Bah humbug was my sentiment.

Who influenced me? My mama! The 70's R&B group, The Intruders sang it best, "I'll always love my mama. She's my favorite girl. I'll always love my mama she brought me in this world."

My mother was a practical mother. Considering May is the month we honor mothers, I thought this post in my blog would be befittingly appropriate. You see my mother was of the mindset of no excuses. She had no filter on doing what needed to be done. She believed, do what needs to be done, and do it with passion. Her favorite saying was, "If you're going to do something. Do it right or got dammit don't do it at all." She was very serious about putting your best foot forward. She felt that foot should stick out in style and that you should smile as you hold your head high. No Debbie Downers in our home. As the official inventor of reality therapy, my mother proudly takes credit for promoting and trailblazing what it means to live life on the terms you create. She would say, "Ladosha, don't write no check yo behind can't cash. Everyone knows the value of phony people with their phony ways." So be a woman of your words and be sure you look the part. Yes, that mother of mine is what I would call a pistol. I do wish physically she was here. But, that is okay. Her energy is eternal and I feel it daily.

So, in the spirit of my mother's bold statement on reality and the consequences that go with those choices we make in reality, I write this blog in her honor on the things she told me about hair and caring for it. Enjoy.

Drum roll, please...

1. The image is everything. Keep your hair combed and don't share your comb. 
2. If your hair is dirty, you know what else is dirty? Keep your hair clean. 
3. Wearing your hair natural does not translate into unkempt hair.
4. Your hair is a unique fabric, the cut compliments the fabric.
5. Stop putting all that crap in your hair. 
6. You have hair like your father. Keep it combed!
7. In our family, we don't answer the door with uncombed hair. Honor our ways.
8. Your hair should not compete with your clothes, shoes and nails. These things must flow.
9. It is not about how much hair you have, it is about caring for the hair that you have.
10. Your hair is your crown and glory.

Can you dig it? Those are the things I remember most from my mother about hair. Those are her opinions. Many of them influence how I do hair, whose hair I do hair and why. Many of them also explain why I do hair with love and compassion. Her mother wit, is what fuels my desire to teach everyone how to do their own hair. I agree, that people should put their best foot forward in their own unique style.

As a cosmetologist, I do not want to limit my service to a hairstyle for the moment. Oh no, I want to impact, influence and help each customer who will allow me to far beyond that chair! My job is not to "do hair." My job is to serve people who have hair or no hair. In serving those people, I want them to love themselves unconditionally. Taking care of self is an important display of self love. Caring for and styling your hair is one of many ways to do this.

Hair care is as private as all other hygiene routines. It is not about what people think of you and your hair. The will talk anyway. It is about your willingness to open your mind to the alternatives that promote the health and beauty of your hair and image. Your hair is one aspect of your physical appearance. It is not a cure all to the image. It is also a part of the mental, spiritual, cultural you.

Make the time to take the time to get to know you and your hair. 

If you are inspired by the passion fueled by mom's thoughts on hair and you live in the greater Cleveland area, then I invite you, your family, your friends and your children to my very first book signing of my children's book titled "Curly Hair Adventures." I will be at the downtown main branch of the Cleveland Public Library between 2-4 pm on Saturday May 27th, 2017. This event is free to the public. I hope to see you there. Yes children and all are welcomed.

In conclusion, when it comes to you and your hair, mom always said, "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best."

"Mmm, talkin' bout Momma. I'll always love my momma...." (in my Intruders singing voice).