Okay, yes, we might have been a little lazy with our hair in 2009. But this year, we intend to take major mane chances, a’la Keri Hilson (who, within ten months, went from a shoulder length cut to a shag/rat-tail to a curly short style and back to a bob). If we have an urge to chop off our waist-length locks or add a weave to our cropped cut—well, we’re just going to go there. You watch.
It’s a sad truth that most black women don’t really brush their hair (we finger-style and comb, but many of us skip brushing for fear of frizzing out our hair). The truth is, hair needs to be brushed daily to distribute scalp oils evenly. Stylists tell us that regular brushing will make our hair shinier, healthier, and stronger. Try a boar bristle brush like Denman Large Grooming Brush ($19.99).
We were obsessed with Caruso SalonPro Molecular Steam Hairsetter ($30) in high school and college, when big hair was the thing—but we hadn’t seen them in years. During one Essence.com staffer’s recent trip to a fancy Manhattan salon, though, a wildly sought-after celeb stylist actually began setting her hair with these rollers. She was shocked, but the stylist assured her that steam rollers were the healthiest way to get a great curl (unlike curling irons and traditional hot rollers, they use totally un-damaging steam heat)—and that, to get a looser bend, all she had to do was leave them in for less time. The Essence.com staffer left the salon with shiny, bouncy curls to rival Jennifer Beals.’ Caruso in 2010!
Why is it that we have a harder time breaking up with our hairstylist than our boyfriend? This makes no sense—if you’re not happy with your stylist’s work, then you need to pull the “it’s not you, it’s me” thing and find one that better suits your needs. You don’t get a medal for sticking with a sub-par stylist. In fact, all you get is a bad haircut.
BTW, how great is this photograph? It’s called ‘African-American women cutting another woman’s hair,’ circa 1920.
African American hair is naturally dry, and it can definitely take a beating from relaxers, heat-styling and color. In 2010, we’re all about nourishing our damaged hair with twice-a-month, leave-in deep conditioning treatments (we’re huge fans of Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense Highly Concentrated Nourishing Treatment, $48). After shampooing, massage the mask into hair and let it sit for twenty minutes. Too busy to sit still that long? Simply slick wet hair back into a low bun like Nia Long’s, and run out the door. The longer you leave in the mask, the better.
Life is hard. Times are tough. Why shouldn’t we occasionally indulge in some pointless whimsy, like wearing hair perfume? Narciso Rodriguez For Her Hair Mist ($33) is beyond fabulous—it smells just like the fragrance (a subtle, sexy, floral-musk), but lighter. Yum.
Most salons offer chemical-free gloss treatments that leave a mirror-like glaze over your hair, brightening the color and getting rid of dullness (basically, you hair will look as shiny as Tia Mowry’s). These treatments are both fabulous and quite expensive, so we’ve decided that this year, we’re going to get glossy at home, with Clairol Herbal Essence All That Shine Clear Color Booster ($15.65). The process is totally easy—just a wash-in, rinse-out—and the results are life-changing.
And finally, in 2010, we will not let bad hair days get us down. Instead, when our hair is looking less-than-stellar, we will close our eyes for two seconds, call ourselves by some diva-esque alter ego name (“Tia Fierce,” for example) and pretend that wherever we go that day, we’ll be met with a wind machine fluffing up our perfect hair and thousands of fans screaming our name. A little superstar fantasy moment never hurt anyone.