Black History& Beauty

womens_history_madame_cj_walker When we celebrate Black History we must include Madame C.J. Walker.  She was a pioneer in developing techniques for black women to address their hair problems. Below are some of her accomplishments.

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Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919), known as Madam C.J.Walker, was an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, regarded as the first female self made millionaire in America. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a successful line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded, Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.

Like many women of her era, Sarah experienced hair loss.

♦ Sarah experimented with home remedies and products already on the market until she finally developed her own shampoo and an ointment that contained sulfur to make her scalp healthier for hair growth.

♦ … settled in Pittsburgh in 1908 and opened Lelia College to train “hair culturists.” In 1910 Walker moved to Indianapolis, Indiana where she established her headquarters and built a factory.

♦ She began to teach and train other black women in order to help them build their own businesses. She also gave other lectures on political, economic and social issues at conventions sponsored by powerful black institutions.

♦ After the East St. Louis Race Riot, she joined leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in their efforts to support legislation to make lynching a federal crime.

♦ In 1918 at the biennial convention of the National Association Of Colored Woman (NACW) she was acknowledged for making the largest contribution to save the Anacostia (Washington, DC) house of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. She continued to donate money throughout her career the NAACP, the YMCA, and to black schools, organizations, individuals, orphanages, and retirement homes.

♦ Madam C.J. Walker died at Villa Lewaro on Sunday, May 25, 1919 from complications of hypertension. She was 51. At her death she was considered to be the wealthiest African-American woman in America and known to be the first self-made female American millionaire. Her daughter, A’Lelia Walker, became the president of the Madam C.J Walker Manufacturing Company.

♦ Madam Walker was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in 1992, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, in Seneca Falls, New York, the National Cosmetology Hall of Fame and the National Direct Sales Hall of Fame. On January 28, 1998, the USPS, as part of its Black Heritage Series, issued the Madam C.J. Walker Commemorative stamp.

♦ On March 16, 2010, Congressman Charles Rangel introduced HJ81, a Congressional House Joint Resolution, honoring Madam C. J. Walker.

♦ In December 2010, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill designating the block of 136th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox Avenue) and Seventh Avenue as Madam Walker and A’Lelia Walker Place.

via Madam C. J. Walker – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Are You Tattoo Savvy?

tatoosSome of us may think that Tattoos are the latest fashion craze, but it turns out that in fact, Tattoos were around almost 5000 years ago!  Other research suggest that the word tattoo comes from the Tahitian “tatu” which means “to mark something.” It is arguably claimed that tattooing has existed since 12,000 years BC. The purpose of tattooing has varies from culture to culture and its place on the time line.http://www.powerverbs.com/tattooyou/history.htm

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Needless to say, there is plenty of information about tattoos, however for this post we will focus mostly on some of the do’s and don’t when considering whether you want to ‘beautify’ your body with one of these picture expressions. As always you can click the links provided to read the details. 🙂

The word “tattoo” was brought to Europe by the explorer James Cook, when he returned in 1771 from his first voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand. In his narrative of the voyage, he refers to an operation called “tattaw”. Before this it had been described as scarring, painting, or staining.via Tattoo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

shutterstock tatoo

So what are some of the things you should consider before tattooing?
What are the Risks?
1)
Infection – Dirty needles can pass infections, like hepatitis and HIV, from one person to another.
2) Allergies – Allergies to various ink pigments in both permanent and temporary tattoos have been reported and can cause problems.
3) Scarring – Unwanted scar tissue may form when getting or removing a tattoo.
4) Granulomas – These small knots or bumps may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment.
5) MRI complications – People may have swelling or burning in the tattoo when they have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This happens rarely and does not last long. http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm048919.htm

Making Sure Your Tattoo Parlor Is Safe

Follow these safety checks from Tanzi
1) Treat a tattoo as you would any other medical procedure. “You want a tattoo parlor to be at least as clean as a dentist
or dermatologist’s office,” Tanzi says.
2) Ask to see the tools the artist will use. The needles should be new, sterilized, and wrapped — no exceptions. The ink should be in small pots meant for single-use and anything that touches your skin should not be reused. And the artist should wear gloves.
3) Make sure the work area is free of any possible contamination from items like purses and cell phones. via Tattoos: Are They Safe?.
tattoo_#3

Tattoos & Corporate Jobs Advice

A study by Careerbuilders shows the perils of tattoos for aspiring professionals, and confirms the conventional wisdom that tattoos are a bad choice for anyone who hopes to work in a corporate position:

  • Over 42 percent of managers said their opinion of  someone would be lowered by that person’s visible body art.
  • Three out of four respondents believe that visible tattoos are unprofessional

First Amendment Freedom of Expresson and Tattoo laws

This article titled “Body art in the workplace” confirms that companies have a constitutional right to ban employees with tattoos:

Companies can limit employees’ personal expression on the job as long as they do not impinge on their civil liberties. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers are allowed to impose dress codes and appearance policies as long as they do not discriminate or hinder a person’s race, color, religion, age, national origin, or gender.

There is a strong legal basis for discriminating against the tattooed, especially if the employer fears that having tattooed employees might hurt their professional image. http://www.dba-oracle.com/dress_code_tattoos.htm

tattoo_pinkWhat About Temporary Tattoos ?

A temporary tattoo is a non-permanent image on the skin resembling a real tattoo. Temporary tattoos can be drawn, painted, or airbrushed, as a form of body painting, but most of the time these tattoos are transferred to the skin. via Temporary tattoo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Types of Temporary Tattoos: Know Them for Safety Reasons

Temporary tattoos are offered in several varieties. Decals (press-on) are the most common and the most easily applied. Airbrush-style tattoos are generally applied by a tattoo artist. Henna tattoos are painted on the skin. via Are Temporary Tattoos Safe? What Consumers Need to Know – Tattoo Manufacturing.

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You can visit the FDA’s page about temporary tattoos to learn more about their oversight of these products.

I hope this is helpful 🙂

Gel Manicured Nails… Dos & Don’ts

nails_blackhands The last time I had a manicure, the manicurist shared with me that her customers who were having Gel manicures without using the UV lamp appeared to have more problems with weaker and chipping issues.  In fact, she suggested that her customers who had Gel/UV lamp manicures had stronger ‘natural nails’.  Then I heard that UV lamp manicures could be dangerous because of the ultra violet light, since this light was similar to the ultra violet light used in tanning salons, and could cause serious problems, for example nerve damage!  Needless to say this caused me some concern, and I decided to some research on my own.  My findings are summarized below.  As always, you can click on the links provided to read more details.

Gelish versus Shellac Manicures

Formulation:Gelish is a mixture of gel and pigment. Shellac is a mixture of gel and polish. Both products offer a minimum of 2 weeks of chip free nails and no dulling of the shiny finish.

Application: Buffing the natural nail is the main difference between Gelish and Shellac nail polish for fingers. With Shellac, the natural nail is not buffed at all. With Gelish, the natural nail is buffed before applying the first product in the Gelish process.

Removal:

 Before removing Gelish the “surface” must be broken by buffing.

With Shellac there is no buffing involved, though the soak off procedure is similar.

 Gelish takes an extra five minutes to soak off, which means an extra five minutes with the finger exposed to acetone. via Gelish versus Shellac

What is the Danger of UV Light Used on Nails? nail_shock

The following is a summary of  findings that were written by, Doug Schoon, the Chief Scientific Advisor of Creative Nail Design, and Jim McConnell, Chemist Light Elegance Nails:

 UV (ultraviolet) light has been widely used for curing artificial nail products over the past 25 years. UV nail lamps should really be called UVA nail lamps, because they are designed to produce UVA light, the safer form of UV light.

 Undercured UV gel nails will be prone to staining, discoloration, lifting, breakage and increased risk for clients to develop product-related allergies.

The exposure time of your hands to UV light during the service will range from 10 minutes to maybe 15 minutes (one hand at a time).

 Here are the facts, fluorescent lights office lights put out a tiny amount of UV light. [During] UV nail related salon services, … clients will be exposed to more UV light from fluorescent bulbs in an office setting than during the salon service.

UV nail lamps are not significant source of UV exposure.via Are UV Lamps Safe for nail services?.

sunblock_nails Suggestions for a safer Gel/UV manicure are:

A nail-industry sponsored study conducted at the Lighting Sciences Inc., an independent lab in Scottsdale, Ariz., found that getting a gel manicure every two weeks is equivalent to spending an extra two minutes in the sun every day.

Just as dermatologists have long advocated wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, they now also recommend wearing sunscreen on your hands when you go for a gel manicure. via 10 Tips to Keep Your Gel Manicure Safe – ABC News.

LED lights are believed to be safer for the skin than UV nail lamps (though some do have UV bulbs) because they cure the polish much faster–meaning less time under the light. In some of the devices, like the Red Carpet Pro Light, the entire hand is not placed completely inside. via Tips for a Safe Gel Manicure.

I hope this is helpful !

helpful sun

Celebrating Native American Beauty Tips at Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the beauty contributions of the First Nations people.  As I explored the web to learn about what Native American women used to secure their beauty throughout their lives, I was interested and  astounded by the many remedies, which were ‘natural’ products.  Aloe Vera, which I have used to soothe my skin after experiencing  a terrible sunburn, is but one example. After spreading this gel-like solution from a plant, which looks like a cactus, but in  fact is a member of the  Lily family, my skin was instantly relieved from the irritation.  You can grow this plant in your home as long as you don’t expose it to frost.

What are some of the other ‘natural’ beauty remedies used by Native Americans?   The list is extensive.

Bearberry for itchy scalp, Juniper for shiny hair, Blue Corn to purify skin, Fireweek to protect skin from the cold.

The First Nations people had myriad ways to help them remain beautiful. Get a detailed description at this link: http://multiculturalbeauty.about.com/od/Natural/tp/Native-American-Beauty-Secrets.htm

For an added treat,  click this link to see the Native American Beauty Pinterest collection.
http://pinterest.com/klayhe/native-american-beauty/

 See you at the next post! 🙂

A Beauty Discussion

Helpful Beauty Ideas & More…

In the past HairBlues has focused mainly on hair loss and hair care suggestions. However, in the future this blog will focus on various types of beauty issues; nails, hair color processes that promote articles about beauty, and what others define as beauty.

 Are tattoos taboo, or beautiful? To whom? What is “body art”?

What is the false hair and human hair industry doing for and to women? Which women primarily? What is ethical human hair?

Is it important that you have a particular hair salon and hair beauty specialist attend to your hair?

 Does it make a difference if you pay $100 or $50 to have your hair done? What do hair specialist do, that you can not get done by doing it yourself?

Can women get a good haircut at a barbershop?

Are some beauty salons community hotspots where discussions of various topics, and seeing friends take place?

Do nail gels ruin your nails? What do some people say about ultra violet nail drying machines?

HairBlues looks forward to the coming conversations, and exchanges. We hope that you will join in. The calendar format will change to a monthly update rather, than a post every other week. We welcome your continued interest and ask that you make sure to continue to follow us, as well as hearing your ideas of topics you would like to view and learn about.

Stay beautiful !

Tips for Chemically Relaxed Hair Beauty

AaaH ..best hair relaxer ever!

Many women prefer the convenience of chemically relaxed hair.   What can we do when those chemicals cause other types of scalp problems? How do we avoid suffering from hair loss caused by chemicals in the future?  Here’s good piece of advice that I found searching the Internet.

It’s best to consult with a professional to determine what your particular needs are when it comes to relaxers. And no, you cannot apply a lye relaxer over hair that’s been processed with a no-lye relaxer (and vice versa)! However, you can apply a different relaxer to new growth if your current straightener isn’t giving you the results you want. It’s not recommended to constantly switch relaxer types or brands. Once you find the relaxer that works for you, it’s best to stick with it until or unless it stops. via Lye and No-Lye Hair Relaxers.

It turns out that many hair care blogs have articles commenting on just this topic.  I searched for some of the key points  highlighted, which may help to reduce any problems that you are  having due to chemically induced dry scalp with your relaxed hair.  Read on and don’t forget to click the link at the end for a more detailed discussion about these topics.

After your hair has been chemically straightened, wait 48 hours before you wash your hair. The chemicals need time to set.

Once a week for the first month, apply a deep conditioning mask and cover your head with a shower cap to lock in heat.

When you sleep, use a satin pillow case, this will help protect your hair by preventing it from tangling.

 When it comes to styling your hair, avoid using high heat blow dryers or curling irons. If you must use them then reduce the heat.

Try to avoid using hair spray or gel as they can dry out your hair.

If you want to colour chemically straightened hair, then wait 14 days before you do.  via How to Take Care of Chemically Straightened Hair.

 Daily application of a moisturizing cream also helps. Avoid products that contain petroleum and silicones as these are often too heavy for relaxed hair. Instead, look for products that use oils like aloe vera, jojoba, olive oil and other natural oils. These are much lighter than the petroleums and silicones, and they moisturize your hair without weighing it down. via How to Take Care of Relaxed Hair | eHow.com.

HairBlues Recommendation: Check out the Just Natural website to find products for relaxed hair that will help you to moisturize your hair and scalp with organic natural products.  Click the link below.

http://www.justnaturalskincare.com/hair-black/relaxed/-ALL-relaxed-black-african-american-hair-products.html

I hope this is helpful 🙂

Can Black (Kinky) Hair Be Beautiful?

Sometimes at HairBlues I like to take a “time-out” to focus on a particular topic: today’s pause is to consider (again) “what is considered Beauty”?  In other posts I have discussed “Bald” as a beauty statement, and “how to deal with making your hair loss beautiful”.  We’ve focused on weaves and wigs as beauty statements. In this post the focus is  on African-American (Kinky Hair), and where we are as women who wear this hairstyle as a fashion and beauty statement.

Everywhere I go these days I see beautiful  natural (kinky) hairstyles worn by both  young and mature black women.  As a baby boomer, I am only a little jealous that many of those styles had not been thought of when I first strutted my Afro hairstyle :).  But, after more than 40 years since black women freed themselves from the stigma of having “bad” hair, and James Brown (the Godfather of soul) made it clear that being Black was something to be proud of (which included natural, unprocessed or straightened hair worn by black women) this discussion is still going on – that is to say – black hair not traditionally combed is not necessarily considered a thing of beauty on black women.

What a wonderful thing that black women have progressed even further to feeling comfortable with “wash & wearing” their hair without combing it out.  I remember when I first did that over 30 years ago how mortified my Mom (rest her soul) was that I was going outside without “picking” my hair out.

Nowadays it warms my heart every time I see a young woman who has the freedom and courage to wear her “natural” hair.  But, is there a price she is going to pay for doing that? Apparently, the answer is YES – for some black women. However, an article by Demetria L. Lucas, “Why Does My Natural Hair Get No Love”, published on The Root (http://www.theroot.com),  suggests that oftentimes our conclusions about “not getting any love for natural hair” may need self-reflection, as well as self-reliance.

At Hairblues we agree:  Beauty after all is not only in the eye of the beholder, but in the heart and mind of the “Beheld”.

See you at the next post!

Chemotherapy Hair: Caring for & Repairing

This post is in response to an inquiry about how to care for “natural (kinky)  hair” after chemotherapy treatment… After searching for “chemo hair remedies’ on the Internet, there did not seem to be a website, which had ‘distinguished‘ natural (kinky) hair from any other types of hair after chemotherapy.  As I thought about Chemotherapy, and why people must go through this formidable health challenge, I concluded that Cancer does not  ‘distinguish‘ whose body it chooses to visit.  It is an unexpected, intense, and distressing experience that has a sudden and powerful effect on somebody’s emotions and physical well-being. Having said that,  I want to share with you “natural” remedies for your new growth.  I urge those of you out there who have had chemotherapy to share your ideas by making comments at the end of this post.

Getting your hair ready for Chemotherapy is probably one of the most difficult challenges a person can be confronted with.  I have heard that spiritual guidance and sheer will are some of the options those who have to deal with this test choose to help them.  Of course,  family and friends are some of the other support systems one relies on. But how do you get your hair ready for this ordeal?  The Mayo Clinic website had suggestings for pre/after-treatments, which are listed below. Don’t forget to click the link provided at the end for more details.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, specializing in treating difficult cases (tertiary care). Patients are referred to Mayo Clinic from across the U.S. and the world, and it is known for innovative and effective treatments.via Mayo Clinic – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Before (Chemotherapy) treatment
Be gentle to your hair. Get in the habit of being kind to your hair. Don’t bleach, color or perm your hair — this can weaken it. Air-dry your hair as much as possible and avoid heating devices such as curling irons and hot rollers. Strengthening your hair now might make it more likely to stay in your head a little longer during treatment.

During treatment
Baby your remaining hair. Continue your gentle hair strategies throughout your chemotherapy treatment. Use a soft brush. Wash your hair only as often as necessary. Consider using a gentle shampoo.

After treatment
Continue gentle hair care. Your new hair growth will be especially fragile and vulnerable to the damage caused by styling products and heating devices. Hold off on coloring or bleaching your new hair until it grows stronger. Processing could damage your new hair and irritate your sensitive scalp.
Be patient. It’s likely that your hair will come back slowly and that it might not look normal right away. But growth takes time, and it also takes time to repair the damage caused by your cancer treatment.  via Chemotherapy and hair loss: What to expect during treatment

Maintaining a routine for your hair after chemotherapy:

Step 1Wash hair gently. The AHLC advises restricting shampooing to twice a week. Use a shampoo formulated for damaged or dry hair, followed up with a conditioner formulated for thin or fine hair. Massage your scalp gently while you’re in the shower to loosen up dead skin cells.

Step 2 – Avoid towel drying your hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, vigorous rubbing can damage healthy hair, as the hair is more vulnerable when it’s wet. Simply wrap a towel around your hair and let it absorb the water.

Step 3 – Let your hair air dry. The heat from a blow dryer can damage new hair growth, says the AHLC–and it can damage healthy hair as well. The AAD advises limiting use of blow dyers and other heated styling tools in general. If you eventually start to use a blow dryer again, wait until your hair is barely damp to use it. via How To Grow Hair Back After Chemotherapy | LIVESTRONG.COM.

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Gentle Products – The two websites listed below have natural products that might be gentle for your scalp and hair type after chemotherapy. Just click the link provided.

http://www.justnaturalskincare.com/hair-black/-ALL-black-hair.html

http://www.wenhaircare.com/whyitsunique.php

Glossary:
AHLC – American Hair Loss Council
AAD – American Academy of Dermatology

I hope this is helpful 🙂

What’s wrong with tight braids?

For generations African-American girls have had their hair braided because it is a traditional belief that it would help their hair to grow.

Nowadays, there is talk about braids “causing” hair loss. At HairBlues we think it is important enough to investigate what some of the causes of hair loss and braids may be.  Below are tips we found online that may help to ease this problem, which appears to happen more often these days.  Don’t forget to click on the link provided at the end of the highlighted tips to get  detailed information.

Beauty should not hurt! If your head hurts, it’s because your hair is braided too tightly, or you have too much extension hair added. In either situation, this doesn’t bode well for the future of your hairline. Some braiders may tell you to take an aspirin and the pain should be gone by morning, but any pain is an indicator that something is wrong.

Use warm water to loosen them: Take a shower and let the water cascade over your hair. You may need to gently rub your scalp to loosen the braids a little. This is not the time to worry about how much money you just spent and how much time it took to style these braids, so don’t think about that! Concern yourself with loosening up this tight style and saving your hairline.

Remove them: Yes, remove any braids that are causing little bumps to pop up on your scalp. This is not normal and can lead to hair loss down the road, especially if you make a habit of wearing tight braid styles.

Do yourself a favor and see how your head feels when you’re still in the stylist’s chair. Does it hurt while she’s braiding? That’s the time to ask her to ease up on your hair.

 Do not return to tight braiders: Some braiders are notoriously hard on hair. Once should be enough to tell you that this is someone who doesn’t care about the health of your scalp. via What Can I Do about Tight Braids.

FYI –Traction Alopecia:By Del Sandeen

Definition: A condition where constant pulling and tension on an area of the hair results in thinning, breakage and/or hair loss. This is commonly seen in women and children who braid the hair too tightly particularly at the hairline or wear the same style over extended periods of time, not allowing the scalp and hair follicles to “rest.”via Traction Alopecia.

 I hope this is helpful !

Tips for blow drying your hair

Ladies – are you blow drying your hair too much? Do you know how much is “too much”? Well neither do we.  However,  have you thought about air drying your hair occasionally, or not washing your hair so often? Below are some tips and great suggestions we found online about what you can do to avoid hair loss by damaging your hair when using a blow dryer.  Don’t forget to click on the links provided to get further details.

As far as blow dryer heat goes don’t use the high heat setting except in the beginning when hair is still very wet, once hair starts to feel mostly dry it’s time to turn down the heat.

 If you start to smell hairs burning it’s time to use the cold shot if you have one to cool it. Once hair is damaged from burning or any other way it is permanent.

The only way to really get rid of damaged hair is to cut it off, which you will in time.

 If you curl your hair with hot rollers or curling irons you can go old school every now and then and use regular rollers and rags like they used to before all of these hairstyling tools were invented.

 One last way to help prevent blow dryer damage is to use hair protectants. There are many on the market these days designed specifically to apply to hair before blow drying for this purpose.
via http://www.infobarrel.com/Does_a_Blow_Dryer_Damage_Hair#ixzz1rEEMzJ00

Read more:  http://www.thehairstyler.com/features/articles/hairstyles/blow-drying-hair-tips-how-to-get-a-style-that-lasts

I hope this is helpful

Cathy Skipper

Herbalist, gardener and teacher.

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