So I went to Jamaica for the first time, on a special beauty editor’s trip planned by the Strength of Nature line of hair products. We had a LOT of fun, obviously (cause Jamaica), but we also learned a LOT. Hairstylist geniuses Felicia Leatherwood and Pamela Hogan were on hand to give a really informative hair demonstration and Q&A where every question was answered and there was even a laying of hands. It was so informative and fun!
Strength of Nature’s Global Marketing Director, Charlene Bastien-Dance was there to bring us up to speed on all things brand related. And there was a LOT to be brought up to speed on. Let me clue you in! Here are 6 tips to better hair care that I learned on the Strength of Nature trip to Jamaica!
1 – Many of us THINK we know the signs of damaged hair, even while we’re walking around with those signs of damage. It’s easy to cackle at an internet meme or giggle at that lady on the bus with a busted weave. But what if that person is YOU? Can you spot the signs of hair damage? If you’ve got dry, brittle, frizzy hair, that’s a sign of damage. If you’ve got split ends or breakage, your hair could well be damaged. If your hair is generally dull and lifeless, it can be an indicator of damage. If your ends are straight or frizzy, it could be a sign of heat damage. If you have a really itchy scalp, could be damage. If you have little bumps around your braids or your hairline is showing signs of breakage or break outs, that could be damage. It could be the beginning of traction alopecia. It’s smartest to go to a knowledgeable, well reviewed stylist or trichologist for a diagnosis of your issue.
2 – Moisture is key for natural hair. Hot weather, cold weather, forced air in the winter, spending lots of time outdoors in the summer, there are SO many reasons your hair is thirsty. Natural hair needs moisture all the time, pretty much. Moisture begins with water, obviously. But you’ve gotta seal that water moisture in with products. Speaking of those…
3 – When doing twists or shingling or just applying product in general, “don’t go hard in the paint with products!” That’s a direct quote from Felicia Leatherwood, who says don’t use too much product for your twists and twist outs especially. A fingertip will do, dab it along the length of your twist, dab it underneath and pull it through. Don’t apply too much.
4 – Natural hair needs and loves oil, but use sparingly. For example, if doing twists like Felicia did during her hair demo, use two to three drops of oil per twist. Use oil to lock in the moisture, for coconut oil you need a moisturizer before and then use oil. Felicia’s top oils – olive, argan, castor.
5 – There truly is a natural hair product at every price point, in most major retailers at this stage of the game. The Strength of Nature portfolio of brands includes a range of brands and their intent is to reach every woman at every stage of her hair needs, at an affordable price point. Mega Growth, African Pride, Elasta QP, Beautiful Textures – and now legacy brands Soft and Beautiful, TCB and Proline for men. I realize I’ve used a Strength of Nature brand at every stage of my hair journey. African Pride is 25 years old, and I distinctly remember using it as a kid with relaxed hair in Trinidad. My natural hair today loves Beautiful Textures and Elasta QP products. And I’m super excited about the new Soft and Beautiful Botanical line, which includes some amazing looking hair oils I’m excited to try.
BET’s B-Real was on hand to capture the great hair demo we experienced in JA. Check out their awesome video! You’ll see some of your fave bloggers in the audience!
Last but not least, #6 – you gotta learn to love YOUR hair, no matter WHAT.
This was more of a personal takeaway than a hair tip like the ones above. Felicia Leatherwood truly demonstrated why she’s called the “natural hair whisperer.” A journalist present raised her hair during the Q&A and began to complain about her “dry, tough hair.” “I can’t do anything with it.” “It’s coarse.” “It’s unmanageable.” All of the negative things we say about our hair, she was saying. Felicia managed to get her to say gentler things about her hair. That it’s beautiful because it’s the hair we were born to have. She said that it’s her favorite kind of hair to touch and to work with, as a stylist. She called her up on stage and while the demos and Q&A session continued, I noticed Felicia occasionally whispering in this lady’s ear. Her real hair was pinned up under a curly wig. Felicia got her to take the wig off. She moisturized her hair and detangled it gently. She braided it so that the wig she came wearing would fit more easily and comfortably. By the end of the session, this lady vowed to take better care of her hair. Her whole attitude changed and softened. She learned lessons she had been seeking and gotten an affirmation of her beauty.
It made me think about our community and the popularity of curly weaves and wigs. So many ladies talk about protective styles, but they aren’t taking care of their natural hair well, so it just leads from “protective style” to “protective style” without any actual protection. It’s about more than just putting on a wig over your natural hair and ignoring it. If you truly want to protect your hair, you need to learn what it needs and take care of it, even if you do choose to switch up your style with braids, a curly sew-in, or a wig.
Thanks again to Strength of Nature and the Jamaican Tourism Board for an incredible and informative experience! After all that hair info, it was time to have FUN. Here I am on the beach with Charlene, Felicia and Pam!
Which hair tip speaks to you the most? I know I’m not the only one who was going hard in the paint when it comes to applying product!