July Curlie Feature of the Month: Daveaylda Dwyer
Being that I am a woman of a particular age one can only imagine how far back my hair story goes. Back in the day straight hair was the only way to go, so if you were unfortunate enough to not have a “good grade of hair” than you straightened it. So many years after the fact, the picture of my Mother heating that old, well-used, heavy black comb on the stove is still a vivid picture in my mind. I remember getting burned by that straightening comb as a child, I can recall my hair reverting back when it was humid, and I would never be able to go outside when it looked like rain. I even remember the smell of the hair almost frying with all that grease, usually Dixie Peach or Royal Crown. I got my hair straightened every other week like clockwork and in between I’d have the prettiest braids for my protective style. I can still remember my before and after looks; sitting down with super textured hair (back then we called it nappy) and getting out of that kitchen chair parked next to the stove with straight hair that moved, had shine, and length for days. The years will make you forget so much, but even now I can think back on my Mother getting the hair on the back of my neck, with threats of “You better be still or you’ll get burned, got to get that kitchen”.
Fast forward some years to when I started doing my own hair and that’s when the fun started. My hair evolution is as follows: from braids, to the dreaded burn-your-head straightening comb, to hot curlers. From there I got adventurous in the 1950’s and got a process (no not a relaxer). The “Process” contained lye and unfortunately the process took out my hair, I still remember the scalp burns. Thanks to Diana Ross and the Supremes I began my wig journey. To this day I still love my wigs, they allow you to change your look at the drop off a dime, just look at Wendy Williams. After a time I got a relaxer and felt I had arrived. Straight, silky, soft, movable hair; the upkeep was costly but worth every penny to me. From there I dabbled in wigs again until the Jheri Curl came on the scene. I loved my unnatural curls but after a while all that oil (Jheri Juice) really put a damper on just what clothes I could wear. I now recall the nickname of Jheri Curl was Greasy Curl. So now back to my transitional wigs to grow out the curl. I also did an ongoing stint as a “Kitchen Beautician” relaxing and dying my own hair here and there. From there I did braids, weaves, a texturized short cut, back to braids, wigs again, and Finally to what you see today; shortly cropped bleached blond hair. I’m tired just writing about my hair journey, but the notion that straight is better is an issue that hopefully is forever put to rest.
I feel I have now arrived at “The Style”! The ease is incredible and I am no longer a victim of the weather report; I can even go swimming now if I want. Aside from the minor maintenance of bleaching it and going to the hair stylist every six weeks for a trim I’m good to go and I love it. After years of fighting with my hair I’ve made peace and I now know that “Good hair is whatever you were born with”!
***Photography by Locs www.metamorphosiz.net
July Loc Feature of the Month: Anita Gray
As a little girl I grew up wearing my natural hair, but I wanted to try perms, weaves, braids etc. When I became a young woman and got married my husband told me about sisterlocks. I got tired of wearing fake hair and perms. I wanted to wear my own natural hair, so I research sisterlocks and watched plenty of loc journey’s to educate myself. After two years of thinking about getting sisterlocks, I decided to make the commitment to get my sisterlocks. After my locks were installed I felt great. It was like I wasted two years trying to decide whether or not I was ready to give up the versatility of wearing my natural hair in twist outs, weaves and perms. I have been sisterlocked for one year and three months now and loving it. It is the easiest hairstyle I ever had, low maintenance, versatile and liberating. I encourage anyone who is entertaining the thought of getting locs to go for it.
***Photography by Locs www.metamorphosiz.net
June Curlie & Loc Feature of Month: Lady Blue
Like many of us the journey of hair is long road traveled, and I must say I have the photos to share the story. Let me begin by sharing that I’ve had my share of hair styles braids, presses, perms, weaves, wigs, short and long. Back in 2005 I began my loc journey it was a very spiritual transition in my life and in 2014 I was lead to part with my locs an take it back to my short natural.
To give a little history when I was a young girl about 9 years old, I remember being in the bathroom and combing out my super thick long puffy hair and balling in tears saying to my mom “I want to cut it all off”. My arms were tired and I was tired of combing too, she made it very clear from this point that I was on my own. But of course my whining about the thickness lead to the perms and that lasted until I was about 19 and by this time I was tired of spending so much money to get my hair done buying all these hair products, I became fed up with it all and was led to do a big chop. Long story short, I cut all my hair off and thought back on how my mom would come home and have hardly any hair and when I would ask her where’s your hair she would say ” It’s’ nothing but hair baby it will grow back.” For me it was very liberating to be a young women and not look at myself as only beautiful with long hair but to embrace I am not my hair in my early 20’s and rock it confidently.
In closing over the years I’ve been inspired by women and I’ve inspired women to be who they are not what your family, friends or society tells you or broadcasts for us to be. Rock your hair how you feel comfortable and celebrate the essence of your beauty uniquely and confidently. I’ve chosen natural and short for now and whenever I decide to do something different that’s what it will be. OOOh yes an one other thing, healthy hair comes from a healthy life style lots of fruits, veggies an tons of water.
“Be Beautiful Be Natural Be Bold & Be Liberated”
My love affair with my afro began at the age of 13. I was getting braids every two weeks for a year when I returned to my hometown, Chicago, to live with my father. Beforehand, I was getting perms on a regular basis like many African American girls and was struggling for a ponytail with more hair in the front than in the back. Because I kept my hair in braids for over a year, my perm naturally grew out and I began to have edges, hair in the back, and ponytails that were not struggling for existence! One day while taking my braids out, I found my afro. I loved her! I went from getting braids every two weeks to washing, blow drying, and picking my fro with an afro pick. I loved the big hair, but I hated the paper balls tossed in my hair from boys in class, or people telling me that I needed to comb my hair all the time. Luckily, I loved my afro more than the criticism. My afro gave me this sense of confidence and self assurance like no other.
As my 8th grade year started, my stepmother took me to get a perm in order to obtain a well kept look. After my first visit to the hair salon to get a perm, my hair was absolutely gorgeous! It was blowing in the wind, bouncing, and the longest I’ve ever seen it! My love for straight hair outlasted my love for my afro. I continued to get perms every few months for the next eight years of my long life. The good hair days, breakage, occasional bald stops in the middle of my head, wrapping, flat irons, and scalp burns from perms became apart of the regular routine. The sight of my new growth was always a sign that my hair grew a little (whether I retained the length or not), and it was time for a perm. It was almost as if my natural roots were a sight for sore eyes, and the idea that beauty is pain, is one that I accepted with grace. My idea of a beautiful black woman was one with straightened hair whether it’s by perm, flat iron, or both.
During my senior year of college, I came across a video on YouTube called “You Can Touch My Hair.” It blew my mind, challenged my ideas of what I considered social norms for black women, and taught me so much about the historical context associated with black hair. This led me to continue to do research on black hair. I learned about European standards of beauty, which simply means that the closer to “white” you are, the more beautiful you are in terms of fair skin complexions, long straight hair, and small facial features such as smaller lips and noses. During slavery, Black women were also held to these standards of beauty in which it was impossible to reach such standards because we’re not white. Yet in America, because this standard still exists and has always existed, black women subconsciously or consciously try to meet this standard especially in regards to hair whether that means to chemically alter their hair or cover it with another woman’s hair or hair that has no resemblance of our natural texture. I also learned a lot about perms and the negative impacts of it’s chemicals on our bodies such as reproductive harm, scalp burns, and lung problems. Because I learned a lot about the politics, history, physical, and emotional surrounded my black hair, I decided to change my thoughts about my hair.
I graduated from college May 2014 and decided to return to my natural hair. It was the best decision I have ever made! My hair grows with no problem when I’m loving it by taking care of it and nurturing it. I grew my short tapered hair cut out for eight months until I chopped off the rest of my straight ends. It was a great but scary feeling to finally chop off what I considered to be beautiful for so long. It was hard but refreshing to let it go. It hasn’t always been an easy journey because I don’t know what to do with my own hair sometimes, and I get frustrated and want to get a perm at times, but I talk with other Black women with natural hair who continue to encourage me. I’m happy to fall in love with my first love again, my afro!
The natural hair movement is allowing black women to create a new standard of beauty! Black women can join groups, go on blogs, look at videos, and get information on how to take care of our natural hair! Most women in the world wear their natural hair except for us. We should join that movement and try our best to end this hierarchy of beautiful hair. We all have different variations of hair whether it’s Indian, Brazilian, or African. I no longer believe that anyone else’s hair is better or more beautiful than my own, and I hope you don’t either! Celebrate and get to know your roots!
I started my natural hair journey in 1993/1994. I was into African consciousness and decided to do “the big chop”. I got a nice shape up and rocked an afro for a few years. I had wanted locs as a teenager, but knew that it was a special kind of commitment; it wasn’t a fad or style for me. It was a life and spiritual commitment for me. So, in 1999 I decided to make the change and loc. I started my locs with two-strand twists and haven’t looked back! I have the fortune of having a loctician style my locs for the past 4 years. She knows how to style this crown and maintain my locs’ health. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. As they grow, so do I.
Growing up as a child the women in my life would always instill in my that a woman’s hair is her crown & glory.For years I,like so many other black woman would keep my hair permed & constantly chemically & heat treated in order to maintain the “European standard” of what our crown & glory was supposed to look like.The older I became the more I realized just how much I did not want to conform my idea of beauty to the masses standards. I was ready for a change! I was ready to embrace the beauty that was already there!..I decided to grow out all the perm in my hair & while doing so,I discovered that I had a texture of hair that I never knew existed!As I began to rock my natutal textured curls, I did my research on what products to use to keep my hair healthy & growing and there are definitely some awesome hair lines out there that have been an asset to the healthy condition of my hair,but if I had to pick one particular line I would have to say The Shea Moisture line is my favorite! I highly recommend it to all.Since converting to rocking my hair naturally,I can honestly say it’s the most healthiest my hair has been & indeed the most beautifully I have felt! #luvACE #myhairjourney #mystory
***photography and makeup provided by LOCS
As an adult, I had seen pictures of myself as a child with my hair in french braids. I only saw ponytails with bows or knocker balls when photos were professionally done. I inquired the reason so I asked my mother. She told me because my hair was so thick, that french braids were quick and last a long time. I remember as I was approaching my teenage years I wanted to do my own hair because of the french braid styles made me feel young.
As a teenager, I loved my curly thick hair. I would wear a high curly ponytail with my hoop ear rings. Sometimes, I would wear my sock bun or slick back ponytail bun. After I got my first job, I went to the hair salon. I never felt so beautiful. I was so proud of the look that I had. Long, silky, shiny flowing hair.
As I was approaching my adult years, I would get a “blowout” or “press”. I would get my hair done but sweat it out very quickly because I never got a perm. I was told if I ever get a perm my hair would fall out. I was tired of wasting my money, so I started to damage my own hair. As my Dad would smell the burning of hair in the house from me trying to keep up with this long, silky, shiny flowing hair. I was told by my Dad at this point to loc my hair. I told him maybe when I was older. I was in my late teens, so I didn’t have to actually take my parents advice.
As an adult, I went through the many ways to make doing my hair easy and less time consuming. I went to sew-in weaves, caps, and braids. I would try short and long styles with sew-in weaves. I tried many glue cap styles. My hair endured singles and french braids with fake hair, of course. Though I can keep all those styles in for weeks at a time, it wasn’t worth it. My hair was beginning to thin out and I didn’t like it.
I made up my mind. After thinking about what I told my Dad, I believe I was old enough. After having my son at 20 years old, I begin to see locs in a different way. I see the many styles and types of locs on beautiful woman and I knew it was something I can do. I made up my mind that I wanted to save money and look great. I didn’t want to take much time out of my already busy schedule for my hair. As a single mother, full time student, part time supervisor, and full time responsibilities personally I had no time to waste.
Now at 27 years old, I started my locs about 3 years ago. My hair was locs after washing them out only once. I was afraid of the short length they would be, so the first time I decide to wash and blow dry my hair and then twist. Epic FAIL! I then got the courage to just wash and twist. I wore hats for a while with just a few locs in the front peeking out. After people started inquiring I took off the hats. I then went to the bantu knots. I then would have a monthly routine for about a year. For two weeks knots and then curly locs for another two weeks, until I can leave them straight down and go.
I now love my locs and don’t do much to them besides let them be. I think the look of locs is so unique. Locs don’t need much maintenance once they are locs. I pull them back quick and let my smile last long. Thanks for reading and go locs or go home.
***photography and makeup provided by LOCS
March CURLIE Feature of the Month: Ariel Jackson
As I young girl growing up I remember not being a big fan of my thick, coily crown. My mother would consistently straighten my hair using the hot comb each week in order to help manage my hair easier, but her hard work would usually go to waste after the slightest bit of moisture in the air would cause my hair to “puff up” or become “nappy”. I grew up fearful of getting my hair wet in public because I didn’t understand my hair’s shrinkage and I would also dread the process of having my mother wash and “press” my hair. At the age of 14 while at the beauty salon my mother finally made the decision to have me try my first relaxer: “Just For Me.” I was overjoyed by the fact that I didn’t have to fight with my mother and the agonizing torture device I knew then as the pressing comb. All I ever wanted was to be able to wear my hair down without it becoming puffy or afro-like. After maintaining my relaxer for several years I slowly began to see the damage it was having on my hair. My hair seemed to hit a plateau in growth and my ends became dry and brittle. After graduating college in 2010 I started to fall out of love with my hair and knew that it was time to take better care of it after all these years of having it chemically straightened. After maintaining sew-in ‘s and braids for some time I made the decision to get my last relaxer in the year of 2012. I slowly began my transition by learning twist-outs and bantu knot methods on YouTube. As my natural hair began to sprout I trimmed the relaxed ends off until I was completely back to my hair’s natural texture. As I learned more about natural hair care it became easier to adjust to my new look knowing that it was best for me. I never thought that I would be “happy to be nappy”; showcasing my curls and being comfortable with the curls growing out my head. It took time for some friends and family to adjust but it certainly did not discourage me on my new journey. I no longer felt like I had to hide from who I naturally was nor did I have to pretend to be something I was not. Returning natural was the best decision I have ever made! I have a bigger appreciation for my coils, true knowledge of self and natural confidence in the skin that I am in! Returning natural has taught me the importance of having self-love and self-worth in a society that would usually teach us to not to love our natural image. Today I enjoy switching my styles often with bantu knots, braid outs, and occasional protective styles. My hair has much more versatility and I feel myself growing more in love with it every day!
***photography provided by LOCS
I have always admired locs. If properly taken care of, locs are beautiful! I see them as a representation of our culture. I have never had a weave, nor was I a fan. That being said transitioning to locs didn’t require much thought. March 2015 marks the 10th year that I have been loc’d. And I must say, it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. For me, the wearing of locs is a bold acceptance of who I am and my awareness of self. It was a conscious decision then, and is still a conscious decision today. I absolutely love my locs. I am Loc’d for Life!
***photography provided by www.metamorphosiz.net ***
February CURLIE Feature of the Month: Viola Lott
Viola’s hair story via video, can be found here
February LOC Feature of the Month: Sequoia Symone Clark
As a little girl my hair was very long and took my mother forever to style it so one day I cut it off. Since my mom was use to styling long hair the short curly hair was frightening to her so I got my first “Just for Me” perm at age 5. I continued to perm my hair as an adult since it was all I knew to do. I tried short hair cuts, ponytails, weaves, lace front wigs and braids. I even became a licensed Cosmetologist. Once I began to see the cycle of damage I was repeating I decided I would embrace being natural so I did my big chop in 2013. “Being natural” lasted only a few months before I hide my afro with a wig and then weaves again. Until July 2014 I decided to loc. My first set were done at home huge mistake (Lol). After two months of enjoying the freedom and the new me, I went to a professional. I began this loc Journey September 29, 2014 and I’m proud to say I LOVE my locs. I love the person I am becoming and each day I feel I am growing in a greater light as is my crown. I have returned to school and started my full body waxing business Smoove. I am so in touch with me now that I’m not trying to fit in with everyone else. I am excited and look forward to my growth spiritually and my locs growth as well. Peace to all Kings and Queens. Loc on with love!
-Sequoia Symone Clark
photography provided by Locs, www.metamorphosiz.net
January CURLIE Feature of the Month: Marionne
Growing up I use to hate my hair, I’d look to everyone else with press and curls and braids with pretty beads and I wished I could have it. I grew up in a conservative family, so I wasn’t allowed to straighten, perm, pretty much do anything manipulative to my hair. At the same time I went to a catholic school out of town that was also conservative, we were prohibited from hair beads, hair barrettes, anything colorful that would “distract” from our uniform. Even as a kid, I’ve always been big on self-expression so I felt plain and stuck with my hair and that made me really sad especially seeing all my friends in my neighborhood with the styles that I wanted. By second grade I had the nickname Simba that everyone affectionately called me for my curly red fro and I hated it. I’d get made fun of and taunted for my natural hair by adults and kids alike. I remember a particular time I was over a friend’s house and hearing her mom tell my friend to keep a distance from me because my hair was so big and all over the place she didn’t know what could be crawling in it, and that killed my self-esteem. Her mom and her hair was permed and pretty and silky and I equated it as being better than my own. Instances like that happened pretty frequently in my childhood up until I got into the ninth grade when my parents decided to let me express myself with my hair. I did it all: pixie cuts, bobs, dyes, relaxers, anything that was different was better to me so I tried it all despite my hair being weak and growing damaged. There was even a point where my hair was so damaged I couldn’t get it to grow and I used the pixie cuts as a security blanket. During my senior year of high school I decided to embrace myself and my curls so I big chopped and let my hair grow out naturally with minimal heat treating. It was really hard and easy at the same time, it was sort of like getting re-acquainted with an old friend you didn’t end on the best terms with and relearning their habits and what they like and don’t like. It felt right and needed, and for the first time I felt I was getting that closure about my curls from my childhood that I needed, and I loved it. Fast forwarding two years, I just got done experimenting with blonde for a few months which was really fun, I love versatility. I kept my hair protected the whole time under a full weave. It was a love hate experience, during the time I realized I was starting to neglect my natural hair underneath and I started missing my curls. But I did it again and developed a new security blanket with the Blonde hair, in that short amount of time I identified myself as a look that wasn’t naturally mine so it was a scary thought doing something different even if it felt right to me. Though I love my hair, I still get nervous on how others will perceive it based on the negative responses I remember as a child. So, with the help of some lovely new people in my life I decided to take all the weave hair out, get a cut that I’m comfortable with and get re-re acquainted with my natural hair hopefully for the last time. And, so far it’s been great 🙂
January LOC Feature of the Month: Khalilah Isoke
I’ve always been a natural girl. Lots of braids, puffs and curls. I ended 2006 and began 2007 with many different hair styles. Something was definitely changing. I was in massage school and my vibration was shifting. I used my work time wisely, researching all I could about Dread Locs. I was not a rasta gyal but their meaning resonated well with me. I got my last press & curl in June 2007 for my birthday. A week later I decided to start fresh so I went back to the shop for the big Chop! I enjoyed rocking my mini Afro for three months. I contacted my African sistah to twist me up and I haven’t turned back since. Weeks later my sister and my friend decided to join the loc crew. The loc crew expanded with my father, my daughter, my auntie, my mother and many others that see and feel the connection to universal energy.
However I must say the first 6 months were rough! Because I chose to start with very short hair my look was not mainstream to say the least. I was challenged at work, with family, at the club… every where. But I remained tough and stayed the course. I believe I developed into a different woman and that hard time gave me strength to take on my present goals: to be an awesome mother of 4, a dynamic vocalist and musician, and creator at Isoke Custom Designs! I love my Transformative Beautiful Locs!
Peace & Light,
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