Post by Thandie
This literally home-grown brand has been on the scene for EVAH. After working with sweet Will Smith on ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, he and Jada sent me a basket of Carol’s Daughter products as a birthday gift. I still remember opening the box, and swooning at the release of rich, deep, sweet smells.
Now, years later I’m reminded of Carol’s Daughter as Westworld’s (the HBO drama I’m currently filming) hair chief Joy Zapata sent me home with the Hair Milk plus a pot of the Marula Oil mask.
A combination of still nursing my 2 year old, and a lot of shooting, has left my hair in a sorry state. So, Carol’s Daughter (aka founder Lisa Price) has come to the rescue. And I’m loving it.
Marula, known as ‘Africa’s Beauty Secret’ is found in Southern Africa and Madagascar – and the exotic fruit’s seeds provide the oil used in the line. 4 times more vitamin C than oranges, and with a sweet, nutty aroma, it’s been harvested and used in beauty concoctions for 12 thousand years.
C.D.’s cleansing and moisturising hair milk is a new kind of shampoo experience.
(that’s the chemical that makes the bubbles) instead this hair milk literally cleanses the hair in the same way a milky face cleanser removes dirt and impurities. The result is hair that is CLEAN without being stripped of all its moisture and suppleness.
But, bubbles are not the reason for cleanliness, in fact they have nothing to do with it at all.
In some cultures water isn’t even used to get clean! Oil, dust, even sweat can remove dirt. You just need a substance that can lift the dirt from your body, and carry it away. In fact, our bodies naturally clean themselves – with the substances that it produces. I remember being at school and some girls deciding to stop washing their hair – and for those who did it long enough their hair settled into being extremely healthy looking (after months of greasy, smelly protest from heads that were addicted to daily washing and application of product!). What I’m getting at is that we can be more gentle with our cleaning habits – it’s about working in harmony with natural substances.
So, without sulfates, parabens, petroleum or mineral oil Carol’s Daughter is a mainstream brand that works with nature to provide care for our hair. Our kinky, textured, beautiful hair!
I read recently that the brand had been acquired by L’Oreal. That was a number of years ago, and it looks like Lisa Price is still at the helm, and the brand is stronger than ever.
When Kay told me she was going to interview the wonderful Irene Shelley of Black Beauty & Hair Magazine, I remembered my first correspondence with them 20+ years ago. I was 15, and my Mum had a copy of the magazine. I saw that they were running a competition for wannabe models. It seemed easy – just fill out the personal details and send a photo. My Dad took a few pictures of me in our back garden (bless!) and I sent it off. A few weeks later I got a letter back telling me I’d got through to the final round! I had to go and meet them in their London office. The only hitch, was that I’d been a little loose with my personal details – I’d said I was 5 ft 8 inches. The following week I walked my 5ft 4 inches into their offices, and, well, that’s where the story ends. I was too shrimpy for their modelling needs. Heh Heh.
I like that this time Black Beauty are on our ThandieKay pages – and that Black Beauty is still going strong! x Thandie
I never set out to have a career in journalism. I enjoyed English and Art at school. Then, from my mid-teens I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. I did my BA at Ravensbourne College of Art and them my MA at St Martin’s School of Art. When I graduated I worked as a designer for a while and then eventually got a job as a fashion editor with Root Magazine – the UK’s first black lifestyle magazine. A couple of years later, I found myself at the helm of Black Beauty & Hair magazine. I had the [usual] struggle of convincing my parents that I wanted to be a fashion designer. My dad had wanted me to be a doctor, but I eventually convinced him that I was more creative!
I’ve always loved the transformative qualities of fashion and I guess, being a shy person, I’ve always allowed my clothes to speak for me. When I was little I used to make paper dolls and make them different outfits – the fun was creating the outfits rather than playing with the dolls. I was good at drawing and started churning out fashion illustrations and found I was developing a style.
I started reading about designers like Ninivah Khomo who went to St Martin’s and designed beautiful leopard print clothes and also the American designer Norma Kamali, who was creating the kind of easy, playful clothes that I liked. And then came punk, which seemed to shake up everything.
Then, you had certain people who were arbiters of fashion who established what was ‘in’. They were usually well connected – models, actresses, royalty etc. Now you have regular girls who have become style influencers – bloggers like Leandra Medine from ManRepeller who are having fun with fashion. Fashion is meant to be fun.
I’m Nigerian. Nigerians love dressing up – give them any excuse – a party, birthday celebration or a wedding.
People are always buying fabrics and getting matching outfits made especially for that event. It’s a way of showing how wealthy you are and also how much effort you’ve put in to looking fly at someone else’s party.
With Black Beauty & Hair online we can talk about more socially relevant topics in real time rather than wait two months to put it on the magazine.
There is so much content that provokes debate. For instance, many black women use skin ‘brighteners’ to improve their complexion, so we’ll talk about how to get a blemish-free complexion without using damaging and dangerous products. Then there is the other extreme when women don’t like their complexions and actually want to be lighter. We’ll discuss that too and get the readers thinking about issues about self worth.
We want women to love themselves wherever they are in their journey.
We don’t just push one look (say natural hair for instance), as black women don’t fit into one box. ‘Weave divas’ and ‘naturalistas’ can co-exist on the same page. I love how we [black women] can pull off different looks just by changing our hair.
Adornment has always played an important part in black culture. We’ve got amazing hairstylists in the UK who are in business to make women look wonderful. So whether they’re using weaves, extensions or natural hair – it’s all good.
The most obvious change over the years has been the hairstyling trends, which can have an impact on editorial and advertising. When I first arrived, curly perms were the major trend and women went to the salon for their treatments and services so it was very salon-focused. That meant that the haircare companies needed a platform to talk about their product and aftercare, which the magazine provided. Now haircare is less about the salon experience and women feel empowered to find solutions for their own haircare needs.
Recent times have been a challenge for the afro hairdressing industry as a whole. The advent of the natural hair movement has meant that black women are re-discovering their natural hair and are proud to wear their natural textures. They are giving up their relaxers and their reliance on their hairdressers and are going DIY. They get their information from YouTube, natural hair bloggers and forums.
The specially formulated ranges that sell specifically to WOC, like Fashion Fair, BlackUp, Iman, Doris Michaels and Sleek Cosmetics, cover a range of budgets and are doing a great job in keeping us looking beautiful.
I also applaud cosmetic companies like MAC, Bobbi Brown and Lancôme, who have foundation ranges that suit different skin tones.
Necessity is always the mother of invention, and the lack of colour cosmetic products has given opportunities to savvy entrepreneurs who are making their own cosmetics ranges and marketing them through social media channels and that’s an exciting development.
However, I still think some of the major beauty brands haven’t made much progression in addressing the needs of women of colour. Their colour cosmetics ranges are still far too pale for WOC. And the day I attend a press launch where the foundation colours doesn’t stop at deep tan, will be when progress has been made.
I remember asking for black models at my graduation fashion show at Ravensbourne even though my collection didn’t have a particularly black theme, and we finally got two black girls to walk for us! So I’ve always been aware of the struggle to get black models represented on the catwalks. It’s a subject that’s always rearing its head on social media platforms or during Fashion Week.
For instance there was that MAC Instagram post of a black model’s lips during Fashion Week A/W16. People went online to say that they would stop buying MAC, because they were appalled that MAC would use a model with those lips.
It doesn’t seem to have improved since the Eighties, as the MAC post proved as there’s still an ‘other-ness’ to black women’s beauty that the mainstream has trouble relating to.
Even top models like Naomi Campbell, Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman have spoken out about how racist the fashion industry is.
I love the energy and vision that manicurist Sharmadean Reid brings to her company WAH Nails. I’m inspired by fellow editors Carine Roitfeld , ex-editor of French Vogue, for proving that being sexy and chic doesn’t have an age limit, and Vogue’s Anna Wintour for being in her job for nearly as long as I have.
I have waist length locs, so I make sure I moisten and condition them on a regular basis. I add peppermint and rosemary essential oils to my water spray and spritz my hair, then I lock in the moisture with argan [or some other lovely] oil.
The beauty and hair brands I really rate for WoC include Mizani, a great brand and I’m loving Charlotte Mensah’s new Manketti Oil collection – it not only looks fab on my dressing table, it makes your hair smell and feel fab too! For beauty it’s MAC, Bobbi Brown, BlackUp and Sleek Cosmetics who all have something great in their locker.
I used to be acne-prone so I still tend to use some sort of medicated face wash to keep my skin clear and then I use a dark spot removing serum because of hyper-pigmentation. And I finish off with an SPF moisturiser.
Out of work, I love hot yoga and try to do that once a week, I’d love to do it more often but I don’t have the time. We’ve recently had a kitchen extension built, and had a great time pinning everything we wanted to buy for the build on Pinterest. I now pin everything.
Magazine: Black Beauty & Hair
Posted by Kay
Singer TK Wonder has recently been featured in Vogue US, The Gap Holiday plus &Other Stories campaigns along with her identical twin sister, Cipriana Quann (co-founder of Urban Bush Babes).
She is currently working on her debut solo EP as well as fulfilling her role as executive contributor for Urban Bush Babes.
I’m sure you’ve heard this point of view before. In our all-too polarized media it ranges from “People are too sensitive” to “Oh no playing the race card again,” and in response to the recent Fashion Police faux-pas, “Patchouli oil and weed is in reference to hippies, not black people!”
Another side of the argument is laced with cultural misappropriation: ‘racially insensitive is a nice way of saying racist’ and ‘If she isn’t then why did Giuliana Rancic say Kylie Jenner’s faux locs were edgy but Zendaya Coleman‘s smelled of weed?’
Whichever perspective appeals to you, I think the majority of us should recognize that these remarks were made out of simple ignorance.
This does not in any way excuse the words or inappropriate ‘jokes’ from The Fashion Police but it does it touch upon the wide spread lack of knowledge regarding ‘natural hair’, which Giuliana has actually joked about before on this show.
I am an expert on this topic. I speak from experience. A ton of it.
In fact any black woman with natural hair is an expert on this matter, fielding a colossal amount of questions regarding the state of their hair on a daily basis.
Giuliana mentioned in her apology that she didn’t want to be a part of “perpetuating stereotypes.” Derived from ignorance, stereotyping is most certainly perpetuated by mainstream media. So much so that women in Middle America probably think that Madea is a representation of black women everywhere, that a black woman with big or long hair must be wearing a weave or extensions. The belief of a Chupacabra’s existence has a better chance than the belief that a black woman can grow long hair without such assistance.
Let’s face the facts. People stereotype. Hollywood is notorious for it, media coverage is often subliminally cloaked in it, and even the law that protects and serves has proved that they do too. Stereotyping is the popular girl and some people, a lot of people, hover around her either consciously or subconsciously.
Wikipedia the word ‘locs’ and read about multiple cultures that have donned them centuries ago. For some it is a religion and others a fashion statement.
Then, somewhere along the lines Bob Marley became the archetype for locs, and to Americans and various countries synonymous with Jamaica, the culture of reggae music and weed. His influence procreated generations that believe that this are what locs truly represent: reggae music and weed.
You see it on t-shirts and artwork-depicting Bob inundated in a cloud of perfectly coiled smoke. I am not in any way holding Bob Marley culpable. The incredible talent and global popularity of one man and his lifestyle cannot be held accountable for stereotypes that exist today however music is a very strong elixir, and I still taste the remnants.
In the past I’ve had a man remark how much he loved my locs (which I do not have but often mistaken for locs) and in the same breath ask if ‘I had any weed or knew of anyone selling’.
These queries, actions and words are assumptions based on a total lack of understanding.
Remarks that seem completely ignorant and asinine to some do not faze others, especially if they themselves harbor the same stereotypes and find validity in such remarks.
So no I won’t blame it on Bob, but the Bob Marley effect is still very much prevalent in today’s society.
I’ll close my piece with this. Do I believe these remarks were made from the heart of a racist? No I do not.
Do I believe this is a racial problem? Yes and it inflicts millions of people.
If ignorance is lack of knowledge, then acknowledging that Giuliana apologized twice and expecting everyone offended to simply ‘move on already’ is not solving the issue or making anyone more knowledgeable and aware.
At this stage, ‘Moving On’ would be to ignore the problem. These attitudes and assumptions are alive, thriving, have a potency that continues to marginalize and in recent cases, producing volatile results.
We can’t keep stitching up wounds that do not have time to heal because the stitches are incessantly being ripped off before they have the chance to do so.
So whatever your stance, I hope we can all try to understand that lack of awareness is at the root of it, and that it will continue to fester and burgeon without limitations unless we address it head on.
Keep the door open to discuss and leave that painful wound open to have a chance to properly heal. It will take it’s own time but that is the only way one wholly and truly moves on.
By Bwalya Newton
Black hair is political.
From Angela Davis’ ‘fro to Rastafarian dreadlocks; black hairstyles are weighted with the cultural histories and struggles of the liberation of black people.
As a black woman, I’ve come to learn that our hair will often be a bone of contention; something to ogle at and discuss at great length.
Whether braided or wearing a twist-out, my hair is one of the ways in which I can convey my wonderful complexities and pride. It’s also sometimes not that serious.
Commentators asserted to millions of viewers that they thought she probably “smelt of weed.”
This kind of negative has been laboured on to my hair too many times to mention!
In contrast, I often receive warm murmurs of “yes sistrin” or appreciative nods of solidarity at the sight of my natural hair.
Black women have yet to earn the privilege to wear their hair without the need to defend it.
As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie succinctly puts it; “If Michelle Obama had natural hair, Barack Obama would not have won.”
The black community itself has struggled with its own characterisation of what it deems to be “Good Hair,” as Chris Rock’s movie of the same title explores.
Movements like #teamnatural, bloggers like Natural Belle and websites like Thandie and Kay’s now contain feeds dedicated to the communal celebration and education of a myriad of curl patterns, ethnicities and shades that make up the black community.
Furthermore, black female run businesses have sprung up offering pomades, oils, wigs and weaves; all of them in some way taking ownership of their identities.
The media too is embracing a more authentic depiction of black womanhood. A recent example of this can be found in Shonda Rhimes’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, in which we see Viola Davis’ character remove her wig and make-up on screen.
It is imperative that this irreverent playfulness, often overlooked in discussions of black hair, is highlighted.
We have been afforded the wonderful gift of playing with hair in an almost sculptural format and soon the discussions surrounding it will become more abstract and fantastically normal.
Bwalya Newton is a Freelance Writer and DJ currently working on a project exploring the arts and culture of her native Zambia.
Follow her excellent Tumblr’ The Miseducation of Bwalya
Bwalya also narrated a piece that she wrote on Afrofuterism for us.