Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - Nisus

Shea Debacle - Why it Hurts

I think I'm finally all caught up on the debacle surrounding the latest Shea Moisture advertising campaign.  Basically, they filmed a series of commercial spots around the "inclusive" theme of "Hair Hate" and they have released them all willy nilly - exposing an overall lack of sensitivity to the needs of their own primary market.  Many current and prospective customers are very upset and hurt while dealing with feelings of betrayal and abandonment. Scathing comments and testimonies are going up on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, prompting a series of apologies and explanations from the company, which are then inciting further sentiments of disappointment and "You. should. have. known. better" scolding.

Personally, I am numb. I was admittedly a product junkie who ran to scoop up Shea Moisture Products (SMP) when they were released or when there was a BYGO sale at Walgreens. However, like many of my fellow highly textured tress possessors, I would have flocked to any product line that was available on the ground, ingredient centered, and offered any promise of efficacy on my coils. Before Shea Moisture it was KCCC at Whole Foods, preceded Carols Daughter at Macy's. Black owned, targeted product lines with formulas heavy enough to coat and protect my hair from breakage and dryness were worth spending my hard earned money on, worth blogging about, worth posting about on social and worth the space in my bathroom.

Why? This consumerist behavior feeds into the the entire concept and pathology behind "Hair Hate". I won't preach to the choir but when a woman gets self confident enough to try to embrace her natural hair texture when NO ONE has ever done so, any glimmer of caring or empathy becomes an oasis in a dessert. Or in this case, a mirage. Relinquishing unhealthy self image beliefs and behaviors is HARD, and some vestiges of it remain in the quest to tame, smooth and detangle the number and letter ranked micro curls and zig zags many naturals find them self faced with yet unprepared for. We're thus constantly on a quest to re-educate ourselves and personalize our hair care depending on what we discover at our roots. We build communities to shore up support, we rally to banish preferences for looser curls, we uplift and we create sisterhoods like only we can. Like everything we do, those sisterhoods are coveted by others who have no such defining feature or experience to share, so we defend our spaces.

And we end up here. We've painstakingly embarked to redefine our beauty standards and routines. We're in the middle of a battle with ourselves and the dominant culture. We're building businesses and centering ourselves. It's delicate work and betrayal can not be tolerated. Not by our men, not by our elders, and not by those who have pledged to serve us. The outrage caused by a "natural hair company" creating a mere snippet of media that equates our plight of acceptance and journey to re-educate ourselves with the plight of any woman deciding on a mere hairstyle is palpable. We are battling powers that go beyond style down to challenge our mere existence as humans worthy of love and respect. We have to ground our feet against an omnipresent current insisting that we CHANGE or hide who we are. That is not the same as being insecure or having trouble accepting "imperfections". This is known. Let me add my "They should have known better". Yet still I am numb.

We've been at this for decades now, some of us. Before there were products available on the ground, they were on the internet. I think any one of us who has been natural for over 2-3 years (15 for me), even amidst the plethora of new product options, has debated coming up with our own product. And again; why? Because nothing truely works for long. SMP were great, until I remembered that shea butter accumulates residue on my hair, thus the loss of efficacy, so now I need the clarifying shampoo (OOOoooo JBCO Shampoo), and now I need a deep conditioner (OOoooo Superfruit purple bottle something), and now I need to fight the frizz, (gel...flake free non-drying gel anyone?) The cycle goes on and on as does the search for the holy grail product after the one you thought you loved stops working or has a disastrous formula change (is my face breaking out?). So I have been off Shea moisture for a while, though Nubian heritage does have a scent I love. Whatever. What even is the goal? Is it to come up with a signature style? Something easy and pretty and reliably duplicable? Or are we growing it long? Longer? Longest. Too long, big chop time. No, the goal is to be comfortable and confident in our own bodies. The goal is to become familiar with our hair's natural proclivities and predict and create desirable results. The goal is to accept and love what God gave us by the act of working WITH it and not against it. So the whole Hair Hate vs Hair Love is really at the root of this whole war. Those are representative trigger words at the deepest level. This is complicated.

What I already know, what we all already know, is that they still can not center US at the core of "Hair Love" and have the message translate to the very people who hate us. The very people who make us hate ourselves. The concept of acceptance that we thought SMP was riding with us on, had to be simplified and diluted down to a conversation about hair styles to be synthesized into a 2 minute spot suitable for mass media. Which is just sad. It just pokes the sadness that rears its head after every survived micro aggression or pang of wistfulness followed by guilt when admiring some flowy bundles. Or the sadness that may result from failing execution of a coveted style that's not right for ones actual hair texture (wash and no? defined twist doubt?). Acceptance is an ongoing process in the face of external AND internal adversity and it often hurts without any extra poking. They poked a Tyrannosaurus.

I was excited for their brand, albeit one I was a bit distanced from, because I saw the baby line come out, then saw body care and "lighter formulas" start popping up in various aisles throughout the local drug stores. I thought to myself, now that Black business is going somewhere! Hair dye? Makeup?! Go head!! I was routing for you - we were all routing for you! If anyone had the knowledge of our plight coupled with the brand power to center us in a conversation about beauty we thought it could possibly be SMP!! I was ready to see African women with brown skin and naturally straight hair smile from my TV to discuss the "Light" formula line for straight or fine hair. Or the Latina touting the new wavy hair formula. AKA "This brand knows moisture because they were birthed by and for those who needed it most, and now they can expertly extrapolate their foundation goals to the greater market."

We've seen the reverse all our lives - "This brand knows how to make your hair oil free and shiny, they can expertly extrapolate their foundation to the alternative market and...remove...less oil...? And replace it with poison-oil...wait...we mean cocoarganshea extract..."

I, personally, was hoping we were finally seen by a brand as "beautiful enough" to be given a chance at the center. But this disappointment is not new. I'm hurt and disappointed because I now have to abandon my hope for what they could have done, who they could have been in the name of true love... I'm VERY well well acquainted with who they are. They are still a black owned business, they are still available on the ground, and their ingredients still aren't total trash. And I'm just sad.

Friday, April 15, 2016 - Nisus

Lately I've had the Strangest Feeling

I need a hair cut for shape and manageability! I want (NEED) my wash and goes back for the summer.  I'm nursing my postpartum hairline (and my daughter! 10 months down!!) Plus working full time and juggling a household.

My hair is long enough to just pull into a bun, but I'm totally over that look, plus my hairline is suffering!  Anyone know of a good salon in the DC area where I can get a DIVA cut or similar on my very long layers??

And my #littlebug says hi :)

Monday, November 23, 2015 - Nisus

HELLOOoo. Hello. hello. h. e. l. l. o?

Is anybody out there? Can you still hear me? lol.

Sooooo, right.  I've been away. For a long time.
And in that time I got married. Then months later I had a baby girl.

Everything is awesome.

I've been a completely different person, literally. I've been a wife and mother - suddenly and at the same time.  This past year has been a whirlwind of change and adjustments. The growth and maturing that has occurred over the past 6 months has rivaled all that occurred in my 20s.

We got engaged in late June of 2014. We thoroughly enjoyed the rest of that summer, going on a few vacations and celebrating our engagement at cookouts with friends and family.  But... apparently we were enjoying it a little too much. No sooner had we settled on a wedding date, planned our official engagement party, and taken photos for the invitations did we find out that I was 5 weeks pregnant! So sometime in September our little wedding crasher, as I affectionately called her, hitched a ride.

We went ahead with the party, at which I was 6 weeks pregnant, bloated, and suspiciously unable to celebrate with a drink lol. I ended up telling my parents and bridesmaids so that I could have some cover with everyone else. We hadn't decided yet what to do about the wedding date, which we'd set for March 21st. My math was still fuzzy, but I knew I'd be big and pregnant by then. Do I, or don't I walk down the isle with child?

We decided to go for it!  We're in our 30's, stable, in love and we were happy to share the day with who would be the first child for both of us. I had to scrap all the vision boards for my dress, the plans for my bachelorette party, and I even scrapped my bridal shower knowing I'd be having a baby shower mere weeks after the wedding. I was about 31 weeks pregnant at the wedding, and I went on one last vacation with my girls at 27 weeks.

Now, would I recommend this? NO.
I was robbed of brain cells by my progressing pregnancy, which made it hard to keep figures and dates straight. The financial strain was stressful, and the sacrifices I made are forever. That being said, it was the right decision for us! We got to wrap everything together, and focus only on what was important to both of us. We kept everything manageable and did not incur any debt! Our venue was beautiful, the food was delicious, our vows were special and our guests had a blast.

After the wedding we doubled down our focus on becoming parents. I was 39 weeks, 5 days when I heard and felt a "pop". I'll save my birth story for another day, but the only intervention I got was an epidural 12 hours after my water broke. She made her debut at 21in and 7lbs, 14oz. Daddy got to cut the cord and hold her, and she latched on right away. That was 6 months ago!

I have plenty to say about adjusting my lifestyle, including my hair care, to suit my new life.  I have also gained and lost weight, grown and lost a lot of hair, and bought and stored a lot of clothes.

As I continue to gain clarity and focus on blogging again I will come back to keep you in the loop!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - Nisus

Products I Love Right Now

I started writing this post a while ago- and I may as well put it out there. I was waiting to have time to go back and rotate the pictures, crop them just so… but whatever. here! lol

Here is a short list of all the products that are currently in heavy rotation. 
You can Google them to find the best deals, but I assume Target or Amazon will be the best bet.

First we have the shadow-primers that came out a while ago and seem to have disappeared. Only to be replaced by little tubes that are much harder to use, with less color options. I've been ordering these on Amazon so that I don't run out, but these are pictures I took of my own products at home. What I love about these is the fact that they basically function as a very long lasting eye shadow, with a light shimmer suitable for mature skin :-p

These also work well under or even on top of eyeliner to help set that, or even replace it with a deft hand along the lash line. 

The Almay formula is my second choice, but I love their hazel color. It's a great every day, natural-looking compliment to my eye color. I usually just wear this alone when I want to brighten my eyes.

The brown bling color by Covergirl is dope though. It is not even really brown.  It's almost grey and has a metallic, cool undertone.  Maybe a brown with a silver shimmer best describes it.  It far from an ordinary brown. This color is the one I use to set almost all of my mac eyeshdows or various eyeliners but I wear it alone and line my bottom lashes with the wand as well. 
The other color I have worth mentioning is the pink color.  It is light and shimmery, but not white or cool, so it gives a nice light pop to the lash line or just below the brow without being too obvious. 

Next we have the Revlon Jut bitten BALM STAIN. I've mentioned these on the blog before and I am still in lust with them. I stress BALM STAIN because the matte crap and the regular sheen balm that looks similar are both whack. lol.

However, this stain is perfect.  It is chapstick. It is stain. It is lipstick. And the colors are flattering and even transform a bit on different lip colors. The colors Honey and Precious (Which seems to have been replaced by said Honey) are my favorite nudes. Then Crush and Adore are my favorite reds. I mean I really have all of them and I use them all! They seem to transform because the stain that lingers is a bit sheer, so it provides a lasting tint rather than a plastic-like coating. Precious resolves a nice, cool nude/pink on me. It lives in my purse.

Then we have L'oreal's All-over glow mineral powder.  It is like a highlight powder but it is not glittery. I hate that.  I hate glitter.  I don't know why highlight must mean glitter. I have never worn highlight products much because they are all either a glittery powder or a greasy cream (exception below) that irritates my skin. Well this powder is perfectly shimmery with no obvious glitterness.  The "nude glow" is not pink either.  I have yellow undertones so when I want a nice highlight on my upper cheeks I don't wan't it looking like blush. I also love this packaging. powder, brush cap. all together. clean and simple. 

And here is the exception to the cream illuminator. Mode's illuminator in Halo is also perfect. No skin breakouts somehow, yet smooth creamy coverage that is super high impact. I literally just need to touch my finger pad to the cream and that is enough for both cheeks. One more touch and I have below my brows and inner eye too. It is subtle enough for the day and it really helps make under-eye circles less noticeable. That nice awake pop. 

This is my forever mascara. I'm not a makeup girl in the sense that I need department store brands or magic, but this is a little magical for me. L'oreal Telescopic Mascara in "Carbon Black" is as black as I can find at a drugstore, and the thin wand is my favorite. It carrys a lot of mascara with each dip and the stiff bristles and small applicator make it easy to see WHILE applying the stuff to your actual eyelashes and not your eyelids lol. I stray and come back. I''m just going to stay.

And for a refresher hair mist I finally had to splurge and re-up on my old favorite Deva Curl Set it Free.  It just works for me.  Its thick, moisturizing, smells good. In fact it is so thick that I dilute by about 50% and it is still thick and effective.  None of my home concoctions work the same.  Aloe vera juice with water, glycerin, oils… And certainly no other spray I've bought. I think it's because they have managed to suspend beeswax into the liquid. I dunno. I love it. My hair loves it.

And here I am with my regular "every day face" on using the shadow primers and illuminator. 
(hair in a twist out) 

Wearing "Precious" below. It's makeup, but it's not made up.

I'm Getting Married :)

It's been months!

Life is just a whirlwind and I have not even worked on a new blog, at. all.

But please follow me on Instagram @justhairblog to see what's been going on and catch some hair ideas.

The biggest news I can share is the fact that I got engaged just before the 4th of July :)
We are still narrowing down a date, but if I do get a new blog up and running I will post some of the details of the wedding and reception planning. It will not be typical ;-) #blackdiamond

I also became an aunt just this past week.  My younger brother just had his first child, and my mom is now a grand mom!

I am still fighting with my teeth/orthodontist. I got my braces off over a year ago last July and one of my front teeth is still not stable. A space opens up every day as the hours pass, and then closes at night with my retainer. The top and bottom teeth don't fit together at that point, so that tooth just can't be happy. Grrr. I've been back 3 times in the past 2 months and I'll go again in a few more weeks, hopefully for a permanent resolution that does not involve shaving any more of the back of my tooth down :(
Should I get a second opinion on this whole thing?

A few weeks ago I also cut a bang back into my hair.  I just can't get through the grow out stage. I've been wearing my bun and buff over and over again.  It's just so easy and quick.

I am gardening this year, but it's been so dry and I've been so busy! I have also not counter-attacked the squirrels so they've made off with all my tomatoes grrr.
But I have had some success regardless.

I've tried a few new products including Superwet gel (yes), the As I Am line (yes!) and I revisited Curls Arc-Angel (NO).  I also tried some small company products that as of yet, are nothing to write about. But of coarse I will mix and re-mix until I exhaust all the options. I've learned not to discredit things so fast (as I did with the now altered-beyond-recognition Kiss My Face gel that I grew to LOVE and have now had to replace.) 

Since I've had this ring on my finger I've also been plain with nail polish a lot more than I used to.  L'Oréal and Essie have some amazing polish out.
And that's it for now.  Follow me on Instagram and I will sort my online presence out soon. Nice to see you! 

Amazon Store