African American Hair
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Does anyone have a recommendation for a good hair person for
natural African-American hair?
I used to wear my hair down and curly before the baby (with the
help of Curly Pudding and about an hour a week spent applying and
drying) and now wear it back all the time. My hair is somewhere
between chin and shoulder length--depending on the product and
the shrinkage and I haven't chemically processed it or even
flat-ironed it in recent memory. My hair is straighter (now can
see a pen-spring size curl) than it was pre-pregnancy, but I
don't know what to do with it.
I went to a salon recommended for curly hair and was told
point-blank that they don't do ''my kind of hair.'' Okily
dokily, but who does do my kind of hair and can do it without a
lot of heavy products?
Any recommendations appreciated!
In Need of Hairapy
Not sure where you are located or if you are willing to
travel, but I have a fantastic stylist who does (my) kinky
African American hair. His name is Willie Goodwin, and he
works at Mane Attraction
in San Francisco. 103 Cole Street,
415.753.5500. He works weekday afternoon and evenings. Like
you, I haven't straightened my hair in many years, and he's
kept it looking good at lots of different lengths, in
different styles. Good luck!!
Love my nappy hair
If you're willing to come to El Sobrante, I'd recommend
Ramona at Cross Cuts on Appian Way near San Pablo Dam Rd.
She's African American, so I'm assuming she'd know what she's
doing with black hair. I'm white and I love how she does my
hair. My whole family goes to her. The phone number is
222-7725. Plus, she's totally reasonably priced.
I suggest you try a salon called Nappy or Not in Oakland
near Lake Merrit. It's at 411 E. 18th St. and the phone
number is 510/835-7838; you should ask for the proprietor --
Rhonda Glenn -- to do your hair. I have been going to Nappy
or Not for about 6 years now. I don't wear my hair natural
-- I have a light relaxer and get it flat ironed -- but many
(perhaps most) folks who go to ''Nappy or Not'' have natural
hair (thus the name). I'm confident that Rhonda will do a
great job for you. That being said, please be prepared to
wait about a half-hour for your appointment -- things do get
backed up as with many ethnic salons where various processes
and styles can take longer than expected.
On another note,
I'm so sorry for your somewhat bad experience at a salon
that didn't do your/our type of hair; you really do have to
stick to ethnic salons (black, latina, Middle East) when it
comes to getting good results because they really seem to be
the only folks who recognize and can work with the huge variety of textures in
''black'' hair -- from almost bone straight to waves, spiral
curls, bushy curls, curly 'fros, etc. Moreover, many
non-ethnic salons *think* they can work with ''black'' hair
-- and are anxious to capitalize on the money to be made in
this area -- but have no idea what they are doing: You could
leave one of these places with seriously damaged hair; let
them try and hone their skills on someone else's head. Good
My biracial children have very fine, dry, loose, long hair. My
sister loves to come over with spray detanglers and coconut
butter and rub it through their hair. The butter is horrible,
cheap stuff and so hard to get out. I love that she gives the
girls so much attention, but if anyone knows of a product I
could have on hand which is not so heavy and greasy, I'd love to
know of it.
Try www.curls.biz. I have only used their Curly Q's Moist
Curls Moisturizer, but I was just reminding myself to go online
to check out more products. My daughter is 2-1/2, so she's
used baby shampoo up until now. This moisturizer you leave in
after their bath. I also put it in the next day to keep her
hair soft. In any case, the owner is Creole and the company is
based out of Sacramento. They're designed specifically for
My children are not biracial but my daughter has long, dry,
curly hair that I wouldn't necessarily call fine, but soft and
much thinner than my hair. I used to love spray detanglers for
her until I realized that most of them contain alcohol so it was
exasperating the dry problem. I found a product at Walgreens:
African Pride Shea Butter Detangling Lotion that I love. It
smells really good and is very light. Her hair absorbs it and
it doesn't leave a residue. That said, it doesn't do anything
at all for my son's hair - whose hair texture is more course and
significantly drier. You might also want to try Pink Hair
Lotion. It doesn't work for us but I've heard lots of people
swear by it. Also check out a website: www.carolsdaughter.com.
They have lots of natural hair care products that you might
like. But be warned, those products are very fragrant.
Lastly, you might try Infusium leave-in conditioner in lieu of
the detangler spray. You could mix some with water and add it to
a spray bottle to make your own detangler sans the alcohol. Good
Mixed Chicks conditioner is good. You can buy it at Snippity
Crickets in Berkeley, or Head Designs in Berkeley. You can see
their website at mixedchicks.net (.net is important - the .com
of that domain is a porn site!)
The key to managing your bi-racial children's hair is
moisturizing. This is often mistaken as applying heavy greasy
products, but they don't actually moisturize the hair or manage
it for that matter, as you've found out. So first I would
recommend starting with a good conditioning shampoo and
conditioner. I recommend aveda products; specifically the deep
penetrating hair revitalizer. You want to detangle the hair in
the shower/tub with plenty of the hair revitalizer and a wide-
tooth comb. When you are done detangling, donmt rinse out all
of the hair revitalizer, but leave just a bit in the hair.
Your second problem I am certain is the ensuing frizz. I am
sorry to say that there is no permanent solution to this. It
can be managed with John Freida frizz-ease products. I
especially like the Corrective Styling gel with encapsulated
silicone (4.99 at Walgreens) or the frizz-ease serum when Imm
straightening my hair. If you have a lspecialn occasion and
need to control the flyawayms use American crew forming crKme
or aveda brilliant anti-humectants pomade.
When you get to the straightening use aveda hang straight
straightening lotion and sparingly the brilliant universal
styling crKme and/or damage control. A wet-set under the dryer
is always preferable to blow drying as it is less drying and/or
damaging to the hair follicle (and most people over-dry the
hair trying to get it lstraightn). I donmt normally need the
additional step of a flat-iron, but when you get to the teenage
years, you undoubtedly might have to add this step for the bone
straight look. Mild relaxers are always a possibility when she
reaches 16, but generally unadvisable. You never regain your
In general, if at all possible avoid brushing your childrenms
hair. This only serves to further separate the curls and add
air and static to hair. Try to style with a wide tooth comb
when hair is slightly damp. Braids and pony-tails are a girls
best friend. I always wanted the hair that I could wear ldownn
to school, but believe me after sitting with my mom being
detangled for 45 min at night- I outgrew it and cute hair
accessories took the place of tossing my locks!
I use Bumble & Bumble Leave In Conditioner on my 17 mo. old daughter who has
fine, very curly and lots of it, hair. I put it on after washing her hair and comb
through while she is still playing in the bath. It is wonderful, non-greasy and makes
her hair easy to comb through and work with until the next washing. The product is
on the expensive side but it is worth it.
I am an African-American with Biracial children (girl and a boy).
Do you have any African-American or Latino Beauty Salons near
you? If you take them to one of the shops, they can tell and sell
you appropriate products to use on their hair.
I have learned not to use heavy products on my kids' hair. For my
daughter, I wash, condition and put a light oil (Olive Oil) on
her hair. It does not need much. I have had to experiment with
a lot of products. I have learned that more is not better--less
is with hair--any type of hair.
Remember, the hair will change over the years--what may work now
may not work for the hair in six-eight months. Find a good
beautician and they can make some great reccomendations.
Try Kiehl's silk groom. It is a non-greasy creme that I
started using after I read Halle Berry and Isaac Mirazi
You might want to check out Carol's Daughter. I know that it is
sold at Sephora. Carol's Daughter has a line just for kids.
Everything from shampoo to leave-in conditioners. You can also
take a look at their web site: Carolsdaughter.comm. I hope this
For my fine curly euro-ethnicity long hair I use a salon product
for curly hair. It is far less heavy that some of the kids
spray on de-tangler (that the next day makes hair even more
tangley). I use the shampoo, conditioner and a bit of spray all
called ''curl up'' by KMS or something like that. It is in orange
containers. I find with somewhat curly hair, the best thing to
do is wash it, comb it out wet and let it dry on its own - I
don't ever use a blow dryer! and when I brush it out, I get the
brush wet and let my heair bounce back again. As each kid's
hair is different, you might try bringing you girls into a store
with salon products and getting a few small bottles of stuff
made for fine curly hair (you can ask a clerk, especially if
their hair looks like your kid's). Make it an adventure and
have fun. You'll find something that works for now.
Mom with hair
My children are also multiethnic and I use Giovanni's leave in
conditioner (sold at Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods and other natural
foods stores) and a spray bottle with water in it. People always
comment on how nice my daughter's hair looks. If you don't like
the coconut butter, try a little almond oil on the ends. A few
things that I've learned along the way:
- Don't over-wash hair. 1-2 times per week is sufficient. I
wash once a week and rinse once a week. I also leave in a small
amount of regular conditioner after washing or rinsing. Cover
with a generous amount, then squeeze out most of it (rinse w/a
small amount of water if necessary). Comb out once or twice a
week as well.
- Make sure you're using the right kind of brush- a wide brush
with lots of short, soft bristles in it that are close together
(not the kind with widely spaced, long bristles).
- I've found w/my daughter's hair that I can leave it out for a
couple days and refresh each day with the leave in conditioner
and spray bottle. But, it will need to be combed out and ''done''
in either twists, braids, or pony tails after a few days.
- If it's getting too frizzy or dry, cut down on the washing.
Braiding after washing also helps control the frizz.
My black girlfriends were a great resource to me when I was
learning how to do my daughter's hair. Don't be afraid to seek
out tips from them. Good lu
My 9 year old daughter has very frizzy/thick african hair. She is
also allergic to almost all hair products, and her neck gets
red, raw and itchy when used. She hates her hair and worries
constantly about it, but is also terrified of having it braided,
twisted, etc. because it hurts her so much.
Any ideas of how to overcome the pain fear factor to get her
feeling better about her hair/self? She sometimes sees kids with
tight dangling twists and likes that alot. Any recommendations of
a sensitive hair braider?
-A mom in need of advice/help
Is your daughter of African descent or African-American? I get
the feeling that she may be and you may be of another racial
background. If she is, I think it is very important that you
take steps immediately to make her love her hair instead of
hating it. There are many issues in the African-American
community regarding women and their hair. It may be that many
of the people around her have hair quite different from hers and
that she has come to think this is more beautiful than hers
because she is the only one different. There are books that you
can find on this subject (just do a search online) that can help
you understand the reasons behind it and also you can find books
for children that can help them love their different but special
and beautiful hair type. I am an African American woman and for
YEARS I had my hair chemically straightened. For the past 2+
years I wear it in it's natural state (super curly/frizzy) and I
love it. I think it's more versatile and natural. Usually with
this type of hair you have to use some product that contains
oil. I personally use Kemi Oil (located at beauty supply stores
and possibly Sally's Beauty Supply) which is made of essential
oils. I shampoo and condition my hair, comb it out then do not
touch it once I'm out of the shower except to put the oil in my
hands and pat it through my hair. This leaves the curls intact
without frizz. There are also some other options but I don't
know how allergic she is. Maybe you can use natural shea butter
(Berkeley flea market at Bart Station). As far as braiding is
concerned, if she's allergic those braids and twists involve
adding either human or synthetic hair that can cause allergic
reactions. If her hair is long enough you can find someone to
twist her natural hair into many small twists all over her head
which looks cute and is a natural style.
Email me if I can be more help, but even if you don't please,
please get help so she can love herself including her hair.
Can anyone out there recommend a good colorist that works on
african american hair? Location is not an issue.
For the last 5 or so years, I have been getting my hair cut,
colored, texturized and occasionally highlighted by Stacy Curns
at The Right Angle salon in Oakland. I think it's on Forest
Ave., at the intersection with College. The number is (510) 420-
8447. There are two Stacys at the salon; follow the voicemail
prompt to get Stacy Curns' voicemail. Stacy is excellent! She
is on time, your appointment time is yours alone, and you don't
have to spend the whole day in the salon. She's probably not
the least expensive, but she's worth it! Tell her Noel sent you.
Ron Pernell Hair Studios
Ron is the best. He is a good person with a fun Studio.
He may be a little pricey but, he is worth it.
this page was last updated: Feb 8, 2009
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