By . - Thursday, February 03, 2011

I read this article on and I thought I would share. Enjoy!

Hair in Our Own Hands

there's an online revolution underway

By Christelyn D. Karazin
I’m not sure when we washed our hands of our own hair care and relied on hairdressers (perhaps we can thank Madame C. J. Walker), but it happened for me when I was about twelve years old.  Armed with a bottle of Milk & Honey shampoo and VO5 conditioner, I decided to go for the gusto and create a fabulous style, the envy of all the girls in seventh grade.  What I got was a hot mess in a pink wool bow that drew the ridicule of the straight-haired girls in my mostly-White neighborhood.  That was it for me.  The end. And then the beginning of my reliance on hairdressers.
And as ritual mandates, I embraced the dogma: We can’t do our own hair. Only the hairdresser can keep hair from breaking off.  Black hair can’t grow long.  I’ll admit it—I was a believer.  I didn’t care how long I had to wait.  One hairdresser had me so sprung I ran her errands and got her food and never asked her to reimburse me for the money I spent.
It wasn’t until my husband and I were faced with some serious financial belt-tightening when I (oh gawd) decided to give up my $100-a-month hair budget and do it myself.  I was scared at first—who wants crispy forehead burns and ends split clear to the roots? I searched the Internet for as much information about black hair care as I could find. What I found surprised me.  Thousands of women, fed up with beauty salon drama, have created a web of networks online to teach, share product reviews and support each other in their DIY hair journeys.  Here’s your guide to a few:
Who it’s for:
Women who want to wear their hair in all its kinky, coily, and yes, nappy glory.
Why I like it:
There was a time when I thought wearing a natural meant the mandatory purchase of an Afro-pik.  If I didn’t straighten my hair, I was lost with what else to do with it.  Nappurality is packed with photos that show the versatility and creative freedom natural heads have rocking the hair God gave them.  The site has a cool feature too—the “Napp Map”—that shows thumbnail member photos from all across the country. 
Nappurality is for purists; topics often hit on the political aspects of wearing natural hair.  Be ready for deep discussion about what it truly means to be nappy in a European society.  That aside, Nappurality is the reining go-to-guide for thousands, including Tiffany Gill, Ph.D, a professor at the University of Texas, Austin, who examines the historical role of African American beauticians and beauty salons in the 20th century.  She speculates that the increase of sites like this is an extension of the historical bonding and sisterhood black women seek from the traditional, brick-and-mortar salon experience.  In other words, with the Internet, you get the bonding without all the drama.  “The sisterhood has gone global—the physical meeting has been replaced by the Web,” Gill says.
Gill, who sports twists, says Nappurality gave her a new education about her hair care regimen, and now people stop her in the street to ask where she gets her hair done.

Who it’s for:
Mostly geared to relaxed heads seeking to reduce breakage from over-processing.
Why I like it:
There’s a new discussion topic everyday with useful tips and product news.  The site is organized and easy to navigate.
Gennifer Miller, founder of Healthy Textures, reveals the secret to her near waist-length, 4b-textured hair is “stretching,” a technique used to delay relaxer touch-ups (usually done every 4-6 weeks) for as long as possible to prevent over-processing and retain the length gained between visits.
Miller, an MBA graduate, produces online seminars, gives product reviews, and produces how-to video tutorials and DVD’s on everything from how to wrap your hair to roller setting.  Miller’s social network boasts over 5,000 members and is growing at about 120 new members per day.  Members can also upload their own hair how-to videos.

Who it’s for:
Remember the Cher with Long Hair doll?  Ever dream of having hair so long you could trip over it?  It’s kind of like that.  Relaxed and natural heads intermix.  Get ready for some straight talk—these gals don’t mince words.  Feel free to lurk, but if you want to contribute to the conversation, be prepared to fork over a $6.50 membership fee.
Why I like it: 
The site is totally addictive. Stories of hair growth drama abound, and postings are vigorous. You’ll see lots of before-and-after pictures of members who have successfully grown their hair long.
This site is dedicated to debunking the myth that black women with “kinky” hair can’t grow long hair.  Ladies on this board share hair growth advice from the mundane to the large (some posters on the forum swear dramatic growth from using minoxidil, an ingredient found in creams to treat yeast infections and athlete’s foot).  Members encourage accountability through hair growth challenges, e.g. the No Heat Challenge, the Deep Condition Challenge, and hands down the most popular, Ovation/Mega Tek Challenge.
Who It’s For:
Why I Like It:
You Tube is chock full of tutorials for DIY Hair Care. 
Take a virtual tour through these resources, and you’re on your way to setting free your time, your money, and your phobia about playin’ what God gave you.

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