Natural Socialite

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

“Dark Girls” Documentary Preview | Exploring complexion biases & attitudes

In Art & Beauty, Education, Self Help Series, YouTube Videos on May 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Check out the preview of this very interesting documentary which explores the complexion biases within the black community. Skin tone bias is a form of group privilege of some sort, in which people from the same race use factors such as skin tone, physical features, class, and communication to create social caste systems and  hierarchies within their own cultures.  The idea that there is some sort of “privilege” that still exists these days deeply disturbs me. The problem with this idea of group privilege is that is serves as a source of anguish and controversy because it grants unearned privilege to those with these particular characteristics, perpetuating discrimination and power disparities in all aspects of our lives. I think that one of the most disturbing examples in this preview is the young child who clearly identifies “light-skinned” people with being beautiful and “dark-skinned” individuals with being ugly.

Can any of you identify with some of the feelings that these women share?  What about the guys?  Do you find black women of a particular complexion more attractive?  Parents…. What are doing to prepare your children in terms of self-acceptance?  Do you think white people are as concerned about our complexions as we are?  Take a look at this video & please share your thoughts.

 

 

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Summertime Hair Styling for Naturals & Transitioners | The Twist & Curl

In Natural Hair, Products, Seasonal Hair Care, Style Guide, Transition tips, YouTube Videos on May 23, 2011 at 10:06 am

I’ve received a few questions about summertime styling options from both naturals & transitioners alike. My hands-down favorite go to style while I was transitioning was the twist & curl. This style gave me the “natural look” while also allowing me to blend the two vastly different textures I was working with.  Instead of doing a video myself on this style & its variations, I though that I would just share with you some of the videos that personally helped me along the way.

Starting with freshly cleaned & conditioned hair, the twist & curl method consists of starting the two strand twist style with the styling products of your choice.  My favorite products for this style are the Cantu Shea Butter leave in on top of the Cantu Shea Butter Hair & Scalp oil. Using a combination of these two products kept me from seeing white flakes from the Cantu leave in.  After twisting small to medium sections of hair, roll the ends of the hair with perm rods & allow hair to completely dry.  I recommend a cool hooded dryer if you don’t have the entire weekend to let your hair air dry.

 

Twist & Curl on Natural Nair

ItsMsHeatherNicole

 

This was my SIGNATURE STYLE while transitioning! I literally watched this video every other day! Lol!

shuantae1

 

This style can be done on various lengths of hair!

 

Twist & Curl on Long term Transitioner with Long hair

 

Have you ever tried the twist & curl style?!? What were your results?

Peet Peeve Alert! Please stop saying “Dreadlocks”!!!

In Education, Natural Hair, Socialite Says on May 19, 2011 at 8:48 am
bob_marley_01

Bob Marley

Ok. This post stems from a conversation my husband & I had at lunch yesterday about this lady walking up to me and asking if I was “gonna let my hair dread”.  Now my husband KNOWS how much I 1) Hate the term “Dreadlocks” 2) Hate people assuming that since I’m natural, that it must be because I plan on locking my hair, so he immediately looked down at my face in anticipation of my “WTF” look.  Yeah, she got hit with the “WTF” face.

My WTF face

Let me start off by saying that yes, I know that most people are not really “into” natural hair the way I am.  Yeah, I understand that my fascination with natural hair is borderline obsessive.  I get that. But dang!  I can’t help but to get annoyed when people make generalizations and assumptions just because someone has natural hair.  And not to mention the term “dreadlocks”. To me, that’s the same as someone using a word to describe something and they have no idea what the word means.

Ok. Now I cannot sit here and rant about how this term sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me without explaining why this term is inappropriate offensive  to me.

Locs are not just related to the Rastafari movement, but are historically connected to a spiritual journey or relationship of the person wearing their hair in this manner. The term “dreadlocks” is a synthesis of the words dread & locks and was historically used to signify the “dread” in those who wore their hair like this. The Rastafari religion was once seen as a threat to Christianity and came under attack by the authorities that tried to suppress the ‘Rasta’ movement. Their dreadlocks were thought to be disgusting and frightening, hence the term ‘dread’ . It was also said that the wearer lived a “dread” life or a life in which he feared God, which gave birth to the modern name ‘dreadlocks’ in relation to this ancient style.

The term dreadlocks has a negative connotation attached to it, which is why people who are aware of the history behind this term prefer the use of “locks (locs)” or “African locks (locs)”.  Today, locks signify spiritual intent, natural and supernatural powers, and are a statement of non-violent non-conformity, communalism and socialistic values, and solidarity with less fortunate or oppressed minorities.

I understand that while many people wear locs as an expression of ethnicity and as an expression of their religious convictions, that some people wear them as a fashion preference. That’s fine with me.  I can be cool with that.  My only hope is that people will look deeper into the history behind the things that they do in search for a better (or any for that matter) understanding. Even though you may have decided to wear your hair in a loc style as a fashion statement, just try to be aware that it can be so much more than that for some people and that this term that you are comfortable throwing around can & may come across just as offensive as someone calling you a NI%$@.

Melanie LaRocque “ShayGon” Custom Artwork Giveaway!!| Enter to Win! *open*

In Art & Beauty, Contests & Giveaways, Natural Hair, Socialite Says on May 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

I am super-duper excited to announce this HUGE giveaway, hosted by the lovely Melanie “ShayGon” LaRocque! When I first contacted Melanie regarding my desire to interview her, she was so very gracious to offer to provide readers of the Natural Socialite blog an opportunity to win a customized piece of art from her collection (pictured above).

Here are some of my favorite pieces from her collection:

Mother Father & Child

Surrender

Canboulay

 The lucky winner of this piece of art will receive a truly Bespoke painting, because Melanie has agreed to reproduce a similar artwork in a colour scheme of the winners choice.

If you read my interview with Melanie, then you know that she creates art that starts with a feeling that is triggered by an experience, and this piece is no different.  In her own words:

The painting is called “Erykah” and it was inspired by Erykah Badu who was (and still is) one of my musicians of choice.  At the time when I painted it, I had been made redundant and I was desperately trying to find work.  I had bills to pay and I was in such a turmoil about what I was going to do with my life.  The day I painted it, I vowed that I must never be in that position again where I’m begging people for a job in order to survive.  I was intelligent, highly creative, hard-working and there was no reason why I shouldn’t be successful.  So I picked up a paintbrush and a new canvas that I had stored in the back of my cupboard for years and began to paint.  Erykah was on rotation in my cd player and I began to “release” all the negative feelings and visualise where I wanted to be.  The result was this painting – a confident woman who is exposed to the cycles of life (hence the naked vulnerable body), but still remains poised, confident and determined to be the regal person God had intended me to be.
 
I have never sold that painting and it remains in my private collection.  I have also never painted another version of it, so it would be an honour to do so for this competition.  The size of the painting is 420 x 510mm. 

Here’s how you can win:

1. You must “like” the Natural Socialite Page on Facebook & comment that you entered the ShayGon giveaway. 

2. “Like” the ShayGon Page on Facebook & comment on her wall that Natural Socialite sent you.

3. Comment on this post with your name & email address & tell me what inspires you. If you participate in any of the 3 additional entry opportunities, please let me know here as well.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE DONE ALL THREE IN ORDER TO BE ENTERED!

**OPTIONAL**EARN UP TO 3 ADDITIONAL ENTRIES!

**option 1**Post the link to this contest on your Facebook wall to share with your family & friends! 

**option 2** Follow me on Twitter! Just email me at contest@naturalsocialite.com with your twitter name & say “I followed Natural Socialite on twitter”

**option 3** Subscribe to the Natural Socialite channel on YouTube!

That’s it!  The winner will be chosen by random selection using random.org.

This contest will end on Friday May 27th, 2011 at 11:59pm CST. The winner will be announced on Monday May 30th!

Dont forget!!! Melanie has  set up a coupon code for my readers that will entitle you to a 20% discount on all purchases until November 30th, 2011.  Just enter the coupon code SOCIALITE in her ETSY online shop  www.shaygon.etsy.com

You can also use this coupon more than once, so don’t miss out on your chance to own a piece of her beautiful artwork!

Interview w/ Artist & Designer Melanie LaRocque

In Art & Beauty, Interviews, Natural Hair, Socialite Says on May 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to find & meet Melanie LaRocque online after falling in love with photos of her work on the internet.  Melanie was so gracious to allow me to interview her and get a sneak peek into the mind of an artist.  I was floored by her down to earth personality and her willingness to speak to me; someone who was merely a fan. I am very honored to share my interview with the one and only ShayGon…

 

Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started in this field?

My name is Melanie LaRocque and I am a self-taught  Artist-Designer-Maker.  I use the name “Shay” for my creative work which is a Melanie-revised- shortened-version of my Yoruba name: Olusegun (pronounced “O-lu-see-gon) .  It loosely means “God will help me to Conquer”.  I am a proud London-born, Trini-bred citizen who splits her life between the UK and the Caribbean.  Before becoming a full-time Artist, I studied law and worked in IP and Anti-Piracy within the Pharmaceutical, Creative & Technology Industries. However, I always harbored a dream of owning a shop or studio someday where I could create, design and teach something artist all day long because Art was my release.  I am always drawing something.  I doodle when I’m really concentrating and I always put a creative slant on anything I do.  Then in 2008 I discovered Etsy, which is an online marketplace.   I instantly knew that a change was coming.   I set up my online shop “ShayGon” and began the long walk towards my dream. 

When did you first discover your creative talents?

I didn’t.  Creating was simply a part of me -as common as eating, drinking and sleeping.  I thought everybody needed to create and that it was a natural part of life.  But my earliest memories start with my mum who used to set me homework from the moment I could hold a pencil.  My siblings used to come home from school with their work and I wanted to do some too.  So my mum would give me a piece of paper and a pen or pencil and say: Draw me a story.  So I did.  When I finished, I would sit down and “read” it to her.  I drew her so many stories and she kept them. I never stopped drawing stories until I started my degree.    

Could you tell us about some of your work?

Hmmm, I normally start with a feeling which was triggered by an experience.  I try to capture it whilst leaving room for questions . I think that it’s important that my paintings can be interpreted.  Someone, somewhere must be able to “get it”.  Otherwise, what’s the point? 

I usually draw people – especially women – black women to be precise – because I am one and I have been raised, taught, encouraged, cut-down, motivated up and laughed with them all my life.  So I simply paint what I know and I know what I feel..

 How will you describe your style?

Eclectic.  –which is code for “never-would-have-thought-of –putting –those-two-things-together” lol.   I don’t know if I have a particular artistic style – I’ve never had my worked assessed by an art critic – but I know that I am influenced by sights, sounds, smells and my heart.  So I take these treasures and mash them all together in a way that somehow works.  I also refer to my style as urbanite because I’m a cosmopolitan city girl who has old-fashioned values and ethical principles.

 Do you have a favorite artist? Or artists that inspire you?

I don’t have a favorite artist just like how I don’t have a favorite color.  I love anything that moves me whether it’s art, music, a bag, a shoe, a dinner set lol. I’m open to anything creative. But if I had to drop a few names of established people whose work I admire, I would say Matisse, Picasso, Rembrandt, Alvin Kofi, Kehindi Wiley, Chidi Okoye, Chris Ofili, Boscoe Holder, Jacob & Gwen Knight Lawrence, Kadir Nelson… the list goes on. 

Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.

The funniest thing that’s append recently is my 1 year old daughter shouting “ahhh-MENNN” at the end of Pastoral prayer the other day.  And when people turned around and looked at her laughing, she just said it again with a look on her face that said “Say it like you mean it!”

 

Describe yourself in 5 words.

Oooo!  That’s a hard one.  I had to go away and drink some tea before answering this one lol.  But think this best describes me:

Sometimes falls but always rises…

 

Any words of advice for aspiring designers/artists?

Keep it real.  Express your heart and don’t overthink things.  Be open and flexible to possibilities. See difficult situations as opportunities to polish and perfect your work.   That’s the difference between manufactured and organic work. 

This path is not easy so be prepared to work hard, encounter disappointments and feelings of failure.  The key is to not to give up.  Take a break, hit the pause button, but don’t chuck in the towel.

People talk about being discovered, but the real discovery is the one they made when they recognized their talent and nurtured it. 

Remember that life is more than you…

Lastly, how can we reach you in order to purchase your beautiful artwork?

So many ways to hook up with me:

Online Shop: www.shaygon.etsy.com

Blog: www.cariblime.blogspot.com

I also have a Facebook Page (search “ShayGon”) and I am on Flickr.

Of course, you can always contact me by email: shay_gon@yahoo.co.uk

Thank you for your time Melanie. Peace & Love.

Melanie has been so gracious to set up a coupon code for my readers that will entitle you to a 20% discount on all purchases until November 30th, 2011.  Just enter the coupon code SOCIALITE in her ETSY online shop  www.shaygon.etsy.com

You can also use this coupon more than once, so don’t miss out on your chance to own a piece of her beautiful artwork!

AWESOME Natural Hair Engagement Photos!

In Natural Hair, Style Guide on May 3, 2011 at 10:40 am

What an AMAZING looking couple!  Their natural hair is literally intoxicating! I am truly inspired by their obvious love for one another.  And her ring…… Aahhhh! Check out the other photos from their shoot by the amazing Ashley Rose Photography.  Congrats to the happy couple!

comic

SabrinaRodneyBlog35web

superheros

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SabrinaRodneyBlog81web

Big Chop Socialite | Meet Destinee!

In Hair, Socialite Chop Series on May 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

Meet Destinee!  Destinee is an old college buddy of mine & I selected her to be Natural Socialite’s first Big Chop Socialite feature because she has embraced her Big Chop like nothing I have ever seen! Her confidence is amazing, and I am sure than she will be an inspiration to many readers who are considering taking the plunge!

NS: Why did you decide to go natural?

Destinee: I’ve always wanted to go natural, but was always to afraid. However, I witnessed plenty of ladies take the plunge and decided to JUST DO IT! LOLOL! I developed the mentality that it’s just hair and that it would grow back….so it couldn’t be that bad! I started to transition and VIOLA!

NS: When you first Big Chopped, what was your initial reaction?  How do you feel now?

Destinee: When I first BC’d it didn’t come hard at all…I mean I transitioned for about 2 months…and I was actually ready to get the BC out of the way! Lol! I’ve always had short hair and I wasn’t afraid at all! I was soooo hyped on the way to the barbershop! I didn’t feel like dealing with two textures…so I was GAME!

NS: What kind of feedback did you get from co-workers, friends, and family?

Destinee:  I actually received NOTHING but POSITIVE compliments about my hair! I was very happy about the feedback I received! Everyone told me how bold and courageous I was for cutting my hair off like a boy! Lololol! I even inspired a couple of my friends to go natural! 🙂

 

NS: What are your personal goals for your hair?

Destinee: My personal hair goals are to allow my hair to just do it’s own thing, but most importantly GROWTH! I plan to let my hair grow as long as it will get…hopefully to my waist! Hahahaha! Overall, I plan to take care of my hair to the best of my ability in order to ensure a successful NATURAL hair journey!

 

NS: How do you glam up your look since you’ve big chopped?

Destinee: I usually glam up my look by trying all kinds of things. Cute headbands, hairpins, different lipsticks, eyeshadows, hats, scarfs, and most IMPORTANTLY EARRINGS! Lots and lots of earrings! Sometimes when I’m having a bad hair day HATS (cute ones) and EARRINGS (big ones) usually help me get by! Lol!

NS: What products and techniques do you use to care for your hair post BC? Have you developed your own hair care regimen? 

Destinee: First let me start by saying that I’m NOT a product junkie at all! Lol! I’m currently six months natual and my products are very very small. I currently use Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Conditioner *my fav*, I usually don’t use too much shampoo, because of the sulfates which tend to strip your hair of its original nutrients and also dries your hair out….so I may use shampoo once every 2 mos.  I also use ECO STYLER GEL OLIVE OIL *my absolute favorite gel* I’m never caught without it! Lol! I just recently incorporated Shea Moisture products into my regimen. Also, I have started to use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to wash my hair and I really love how it defines my curls! I also use Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in conditioner as my leave in. Other than those products I dont have any others yet….and I must say that I’m really proud of my hair and its overall health! 🙂

 

NS: What advice can you offer to someone considering a big chop?

Destinee:  I would tell anyone who’s considering the BC…to JUST DO IT! You must first love the inside of yourself, so that you can EMBRACE the outer beauty! It’s not the end of the world and you would be surprised at how BEAUTIFUL you look in the eyes of others! However, if you aren’t comfy with the infamous BIG CHOP….take your time and do what’s best for you on YOUR journey. Either way NATURAL is beautiful long term or short term.  🙂 HAPPY GROWING!

Thanks Destinee!  If you would like to share your Big Chop experience, email me at info@naturalsocialite.com with the subject “Share my Big Chop”.  I will reach out to you with questions for an upcoming feature.  As always, don’t forget to check out the Natural Socialite on Facebook!

Keys for a Sucessful Transition to Natural Hair | The Natural Socialite

In Hair, Transition Tips on May 2, 2011 at 8:56 am

Tranistioning to natural hair is not an easy decision, and the actual transition is not easy as well. While the benefits of unlocking your inner beauty can be quite liberating and rewarding, no one said that this journey was easy.  My personal transition was very difficult for me, as I did not have (or was not aware of) all of the resources that are currently available to educate myself on proper transitioning methods & techniques. I hope to be this for you, which is why I have compiled this information to be used as a resource. Transitioning requires a lot of love and tons of patience.  Keep these tips in mind, and no perm formed against you shall prosper.

Let me start by saying that these tips are in no way “all-inclusive”.  This information is solely based on my research and more importantly, my experience.  If you speak with 100 naturals, you will honestly get 10,000 different suggestions.   Dont be afraid to try new things.  There is no one sized fits all answer to what will work.  You will ultimately have to find what works for you, and once you do….. please share it with someone else. Let’s get started.

Most people find that they have been unsuccessful in their transition because they have not educated themselves on how to properly care for their delicate hair.  While transitioning you are dealing with two types of hair, and you must learn to care for them both. The biggest piece of advice I can give (if I could only give one) would be to make sure you keep your hair properly moisturized.  Maintaining proper moisture will keep your hair manageable & help to prevent breakage at the line of demarcation, which is the weakest part of transitioning hair. 

What is the line of demarcation?

The demarcation line is the point where your new growth (natural hair) and relaxed hair meet. This is where you will 9 times out of 10 find that breakage occurs, and is also the reason many people opt to just do a big chop instead.  Managing two textures can be brutal.  After my 10-month long transition, I could not take it any more and opted to chop for this very reason. Treat this area with delicate hands, and handle with special care

What styling options work best for transitioning hair?

Just because you are going through a transition, that doesn’t mean you don’t have any styling possibilities.  It is much easier and alot healthier to allow your hair to dry naturally while transitioning, but I understand that this is not always an option.  My favorite style while transitionig consisted of two strand twists, set with perm rods on the ends.  This style allowed me to blend the two textures of my hair beautifully, and also provided me ways to keep combs, brushes, and my hands out of my hair. There is a great Youtube video (here)  that provides a great tutorial on how to do this style.  I used the exact same products that she mentions in this video, and they worked very well for me.  This hair tutorial ended up being my saving grace. 

I also highly recommend that you experiment with roller-sets, bunning, two strand twists, bantu knot-outs, flat twists and braid-outs.  If you prefer not to self style, braids can be a good option as well, but I would only use human hair (synthetic fibers are very drying, and causes friction that can lead to breakage). The main point to remember is that you should look for styles that require very little to no daily manipulation. If you choose to wear styles that use hair extensions, make sure you continue to properly moisturize and care for your own hair during the protective process.  Black hair is fragile and needs to be treated with the gentlest of care in order for it to flourish. Wide tooth combs, natural ingredients and your own fingers are the best tools and products for natural hair.

How often should I trim my relaxed ends?

This is completely up to you.  I trimmed my hair every 6-8 weeks in order to make sure I was able to retain some length to my hair. Hair grows on average 1/2 inch per month, so use this as a guide when deciding how often you would like to trim.

What advice can you give for proper moisturization?

As I have previously stated, moisturization is the key to avoiding breakage.  Make sure you use a wide tooth comb when detangling, conditionin the hair regularly, and give your hair frequesnt hot-oil deep conditioning treatments. This is essential to restore moisture and balance.  Deep condition your hair once each week if time permits.

What is co-washing?

Learning about co-washing was essential for me.  Many shampoos contain sulfates, which can be very drying for natural hair.  Sufates cause your hair to lose moisture, dry out, and break like there is no tomorrow. About half way through my transition, I began doing conditioner only washes and only used sulfate free shampoos once or twice (if I had heavy product buildup) each month. Conditioner only washing eliminated the possibility of over drying my hair, and repleneshed my hairs much needed moisture.  For extra deep conditioning and optimal moisture, add a few drops of jojoba oil to your conditioner & leave it in for at least 30 minutes before rinsing your hair with cold water.

Can I just flat iron my hair to blend the two textures?

It’s very common for you to want to flat iron and use heat styling tools to blend your kinky and straight textures, but understand that this comes with consequences.  Unfortunately, there is no way to tell how your hair will respond to direct heat until you use it.  Since natural and transitioning hair is weak and susceptible to breakage during the transition period, the use of heat styling tools (pressing combs, flat irons, curling irons, hand dryers) are not recommended at all.  Heat further weakens the hair shaft, and if not done properly could permanently alter the natural curl pattern of your hair (heat damage). If you must use any of these tools, try to limit the heat styling to only once per month and make sure you properly condition & use a heat protectant as well.

What about trying a texturizer on my natural hair?

If you are texturizing your hair, your hair is not natural.  Texturizers are chemicals that relax the curl pattern of the hair, and the results are permanent.  I do not recommend texturizers, as the results are unpredictable.  I have heard many horror stories of womeon with natural hair getting texturizers, and end up completely losing their curl pattern.

What products to you recommend for transitioning?

I really fell in love with the Cantu Shea Butter line of products.   My signature products from this line were the No Drip Hair & Scalp Oil and the Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream. I used the scalp oil to moisturize my entire hair shaft and as a base for the repair cream, which was used to set my twist outs before rolling.  I also recommend their Rinse Out Conditioner for co-washes, but I fell in love with Aussie Moist Conditioner and Herbal Essence Hello-Hydration conditioner which are very popular in the natural hair community as well.

What’s the hype with natural oils?

Oily hair is public enemy number one for women with relaxed hair.  Petroleum and mineral oil make up a large percentage of black hair products and all they do is clog your scalp and attract dirt to your hair. You do not have to “grease” your scalp for it to be healthy. The best approach is to apply natural oils directly to your hair, paying special attention to the ends, which tend to be dry. Natural hair loves oils, because they are a great way to make sure your hair is properly hydrated.  Coconut oil, jojoba oil and grapeseed oil are all good oils to start with.

What is the best way to detangle my hair & how do I care for it at night?

Detangling your hair is very important!! Failing to detangle properly will lead to hair breakage and failing to detangle at all will cause the hair to matte. First you will want to start from the ends of the hair while you have conditioner on your hair. Separate the hair into 4-6 manageable sections depending on the length and thickness of your hair. The next step is to lubricate the hair with conditioner to allow your fingers to get rid of the larger tangles and gently pull apart the hair that has clumped together.  Again, it’s not a bad idea to add a little jojoba or coconut oils to your conditioner for additional moisture & slip. After finger detangling, use your wide tooth comb starting from the ends of your hair as well.

Proper night time care is essential as well.  Make sure you are sleeping on a silk pillowcase or using a sating cap or scarf. Cotton scarves and pillowcases will only add to your breakage or tearing and both are very drying for your hair.

Don’t get discouraged!  No one said that this transition would be easy!  Set goals for yourself and look at pictures of  women with natural hair as inspiration. Natural hair is liberating and beautiful, but you will only get out of it what you put into it.

Feel free to email your transitioning & natural hair questions to AskCharlotte@NaturalSocialite.com and your question may be featured on this site! Check out the Natural Socialite Facebook page for inspirational photos and to network with other naturals around the world.