Daily Archives: January 17, 2012

What’s in YOUR Cabinets? Confessions of a PJ


So, if you remember my PJ Stash posts (Part I and II), you may recall that I suggested that, “What’s in YOUR Cabinets?” might become a feature. I figured it might be fun for us to share our stashes. And, you know, admitting you have a problem is the first step. So, that being said, here’s a glimpse into M’s stash!


by M of Hair and Other Stuff

I confess, I’m a PJ (Product junkie)! Most of my girlfriends and ALL of mycurlfriends know this. It’s a shame. I’m actually doing a lot better than I was, but it still flares up from time to time. Right now, I’m having a mild flare up. Here are some products that are on my list for purchasing soon:

I’m sure I’m forgetting something. My list is never this small! I’ve spent a small fortune on hair products. 😕

A small sample of products from my product swap. SMH!

Products I’m using and loving right now:

Products that will be back in rotation, once I restock:

  • Oyin Shine and Define
  • Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner
  • Curls Souffle

The jury is still out on my Terresentials Mud Wash. I REALLY want to love this! In part, because it works so well for Naptural 85 (I heart Whitney! :-)) and partly because it’s organic with all good ingredients. I have to figure out why it’s not working for me :-(.

What are your faves? Are there any you would suggest I put in my rotation? 🙂

In 2012, I want to drastically cut the money I spend on hair products. I’m on the prowl for the least expensive, most natural products that work … wish me luck!

… SN – Can we talk about what is going on with my hair for a minute? Ummmm, yeah … no words, side eye …



Natural in France: Kenoa’s HairStory


I'm not a fan of taking pictures of me!

Who am I?
I’m Kenoa, from the French hair blog www.kinkyfrizzycurly.blogspot.com. I was born and raised in France, in what people called the most romantic city in the world 
 Paris. Paris is like a big open museum. The center of Paris has great architecture and every spot is a reminder of the French History: Notre-Dame, SacrĂ©-Coeur, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe.

However, what I like the most about France is the food! Croissant, baguette and little “patisseries” are what I miss the most when I’m abroad.

I’m from the French Caribbean. Most of us are of African descent, mixed with French Whites, who came to the island between the XVIth and XIXth century to make a fortune by making deported African slaves work for free in their agricultural plantations

 That’s it for the historical flashback; let’s go back to my story now

I loved my hair ! As a kid, I was constantly told by my very-proud-to-be-Black family that my hair was beautiful. My mother would style my hair every morning and every evening with great pleasure, so much so that you could see sparkles of admiration in her eyes when she was combing it (maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but that was the impression I had back then!!). So, I was really happy with my hair. Everything was perfect!!

Teen years:
I didn’t accept myself and started to relax my hair. As I grew up and had to go to school, I had to evolve outside of my “black community.” Things began to become tough when my classmates would make fun of my hair and make jokes about Black people. You have to know that in France, we don’t have strong anti-racism laws like yours in the US; everyone can just come and say almost whatever they want about your race and not be punished. Racist jokes are considered just that 

All of this started to really bother me at high school, since I was the only Black person in my entire class. I found it hard to accept myself. My “White” friends circle was clearly not accepting me the way I was!

As I was searching for acceptance I began to “crave” for a relaxer. My mum was of course fiercely against it. To reach an agreement, she brought me with her to the hairstylist to have my hair pressed. That first experience at the hairstylist was not pleasant at all! The lady was manipulating my hair like it was some old dirty clothes. I could see in her eyes that she was totally in despair. She was smiling, but her eyes were saying “Oh how will I be able to manage this?!?” Today, I think it was a funny situation, but at that time it was really embarrassing. Later, when I was 17, my mum gave up. I finally had what I wanted: A RELAXER!

When I entered the corporate world, I relaxed my hair every 2 months. As you can guess, my hair started to break off, became very dry, thin, dull, with tons of split ends.

When I realized how damaged and ugly my hair was, I decided to learn how to take care of my relaxed hair properly. I discovered blogs like this one, read books and research papers about hair. But I had no intention of quitting relaxing. Not at all!

How my husband helped me with my transition:
Then came the moment when I had to relax my roots again. This time, my husband would not let me do it. He was talking about how it was a denial of myself, a denial of my origins and that I was much more beautiful with my natural hair. At the beginning, I was like, “Is he serious, it’s just hair?!” We really had many discussions about it, until I came to agree with him. Then, I made up my mind to transition to natural hair at the end of 2010.

I know making your partner accept your natural hair can be a problem for some girls. But a lot of men prefer natural hair by far. And if your lover really loves you, he should be able to accept the natural you!

Transitioning : A change of mindset?
At work, most of my colleagues are White and the days I was relaxing my hair, I always received lots of compliments. Relaxing my hair was more “socially” acceptable for them.

As soon as I realized I was rejecting myself by relaxing my hair, I was convinced that I would stay natural all my life. I don’t want to ever go back to relaxers again. I think that if we don’t stand up and prove that our hair is great and beautiful, nobody will do it for us. I want people like my co-workers to think differently. It’s our responsibility to make them know that thinking of kinky hair as less beautiful than straight hair is wrong. But, in order to be able to embrace that responsibility, we have to believe in the beauty of our hair.

I’m not an anti-relaxer/pro-natural activist though 
 don’t misjudge me .. I think everybody should accept themselves the way they are, without being afraid of what others think.

How is it like to grow natural hair in Paris?
Paris is a multicultural city. Paris is crowded! We don’t have as many options as Blacks in the US, but we can easily find products for Black hair, Black beauty shops and hair salons for Blacks. It’s not as easy for people living outside of Paris.

I would say the social life in Paris is less “community-centered” than in the US (I lived in the US for a year, and it seemed difficult to have friends outside your own community, much more than in Paris). However, Blacks are not well represented in politics, media and in the corporate world in France 
 much less than Black Americans are in their country.

Having heard of naturals and transitioners journies from both locations, it seems that we are facing the same issues: bad experience with hairstylists, low self-acceptance of kinky hair, difficulties being taken seriously with kinky hair, little knowledge of how to properly take care of our own hair, tendency to copy Caucasian standards of beauty 

What is particular in my journey is that, at the beginning, I liked my hair, like everyone should. Plus, my mother took good care of my hair. She was doing the right stuff: moisturizing my hair every day, washing it every week, cutting my ends from time to time, low-manipulation hairstyles, praising the natural beauty of my hair 
 And still, I had to struggle with the same issues as anyone who wouldn’t have had all that!

It only reveals that society has a big influence, especially on young adults. Despite my family support, I couldn’t resist the pressure from my classmates and co-workers. It’s important that we tell our children that they have beautiful hair, like my mum did. But it is also necessary that society changes its view on kinky hair. And this will come, I think, with more and more “kinky hair” people wearing their hair with pride.



Qui suis-je ?
Je suis Kenoa, auteur du site pour cheveux crĂ©pus www.kinkyfrizzycurly.blogspot.com. Je suis nĂ©e en France et j’ai grandi dans la ville que tout le monde qualifie de « ville la plus romantique du monde »  Paris. Paris est comme un grand musĂ©e Ă  ciel ouvert. Le centre de Paris possĂšde une architecture magnifique et chaque endroit est un rappel de l’histoire française : Notre-Dame, SacrĂ©-Coeur, la Tour Eiffel, l’Arc de Triomphe

Pourtant ce que j’aime le plus en France, c’est la nourriture ! Les croissants, la baguette et les petites pĂątisseries sont les choses qui me manquent le plus quand je suis Ă  l’étranger.

Je viens des Antilles françaises. Nous sommes de descendance africaine, mĂ©langĂ©s Ă  des blancs, venus dans l’üle entre le XVIĂšme et le XIXĂšme siĂšcle pour faire fortune en faisant travailler gratuitement des esclaves africains dĂ©portĂ©s sur leurs plantations.

 c’est tout pour le flashback historique, retournons à mon histoire maintenant

La petite enfance :
J’aimais mes cheveux ! Enfant, ma famille, trĂšs fiĂšre d’ĂȘtre noire, me rĂ©pĂ©tait constamment que mes cheveux Ă©taient beaux.

Ma mĂšre les coiffaient tous les matin et tous les soirs avec grand plaisir, Ă  tel point que je pouvais voir des Ă©toiles d’admiration dans ses yeux quand elle les peignait (j’exagĂšre peut-ĂȘtre un peu, mais c’est l’impression que j’avais Ă  l’époque !). J’étais donc ravie de mes cheveux. Tout Ă©tait parfait !!

L’adolescence :
J’avais du mal Ă  m’accepter et j’ai commencĂ© Ă  dĂ©friser mes cheveux. En grandissant j’ai du aller Ă  l’école et apprendre Ă  Ă©voluer en dehors de ma communautĂ© noire. Les choses ont commencĂ©es Ă  devenir difficiles quand mes camarades de classe se moquaient de mes cheveux et faisaient des blagues sur les noirs. En France, il n’existe pas de lois anti-racistes fortes comme les vĂŽtres aux US. Les gens peuvent dire ce qu’ils veulent sur votre race et ne pas ĂȘtre inquiĂ©tĂ©s. Les blagues racistes sont considĂ©rĂ©es comme des blagues normales.

Tout ça a commencĂ© Ă  vraiment me dĂ©ranger au lycĂ©e, surtout que j’étais la seule noire de ma classe. J’ai alors eu du mal Ă  m’accepter. Mon cercle d’amis blancs ne m’acceptait pas comme j’étais de toute façon !

En quĂȘte d’acceptation, j’ai commencĂ© Ă  « rĂȘver » de dĂ©frisage. Ma mĂšre Ă©tait bien-sur contre. Le compromis que nous avons trouvĂ© toutes les deux Ă©tait de m’emmener chez le coiffeur pour me lisser les cheveux. Cette premiĂšre expĂ©rience chez le coiffeur n’a pas Ă©tĂ© des plus agrĂ©ables. La femme manipulait mes cheveux comme s’il Ă©tait de vieux vĂȘtements sales. Elle souriait mais je pouvais lire dans ses yeux le dĂ©sespoir « comment vais-je faire pour m’occuper de tout ça ! ». Aujourd’hui je trouve ça marrant. Mais Ă  l’époque c’était franchement embarrassant. Plus tard, Ă  17 ans, ma mĂšre a lĂąchĂ© prise. J’ai eu enfin ce que je voulais : un DÉFRISAGE !

Une fois dans le monde du travail, je dĂ©frisais tous les 2 mois. Comme vous pouvez l’imaginer, mes cheveux sont devenus cassant, trĂšs secs, fins, mous et pleins de fourches.

Quand je me suis aperçue Ă  quel point mes cheveux Ă©taient abimĂ©s et moches, j’ai dĂ©cidĂ© d’en prendre soin correctement. J’ai dĂ©couvert pleins de blogs comme celui-ci, lu des livres et des articles de recherche sur les cheveux. Mais, je n’avais pas du tout l’intention d’arrĂȘter le dĂ©frisage !

Comment mon mari m’a aidĂ© Ă  transitionner :
Puis un jour, au moment de dĂ©friser mes racines, mon mari a insistĂ© que je ne dĂ©frise plus mes cheveux. Il parlait de rejet de moi-mĂȘme, de mes origines et du fait que j’étais beaucoup plus belle avec mes cheveux naturels.

Au dĂ©but, j’ai pensĂ© « il est sĂ©rieux là ? Ce ne sont que des cheveux ! ». On a eu de nombreuses discussions sur le sujet, et petit Ă  petit je me suis mise Ă  partager son avis. J’ai alors dĂ©cidĂ© de transitionner fin 2010.

Je sais que faire accepter Ă  son partenaire ses cheveux naturels peut ĂȘtre un problĂšme pour certaines femmes. Mais, beaucoup d’hommes prĂ©fĂšrent de loin les cheveux naturels. Et si votre amoureux vous aime vraiment, il devrait pouvoir accepter votre vraie nature.

La transition : un changement d’état d’esprit ?
Au travail, la plupart de mes collĂšgues sont blancs. Les jours oĂč je me dĂ©frisais les cheveux, je recevais pleins de compliments de leur part. Pour eux, le dĂ©frisage me rendait plus acceptable socialement parlant.

DĂšs que j’ai compris que je me rejetais moi-mĂȘme en dĂ©frisant mes cheveux, J’ai Ă©tĂ© convaincue que je resterais naturelle toute ma vie. Je ne veux plus jamais retourner au dĂ©frisage. Je pense que si nous ne montrons pas que nos cheveux sont magnifiques et beaux, personnes ne le fera Ă  notre place. Je veux que des personnes comme mes collĂšgues pensent diffĂ©remment. C’est de notre responsabilitĂ© de leur faire savoir que les cheveux crĂ©pus ne sont moins beaux que des cheveux raides. Mais pour ce faire, encore faut-il croire en la beautĂ© de nos cheveux.

Je ne suis pas une militante pro-naturel / anti-dĂ©frisage. Je pense que chacun devrait pouvoir s’accepter comme il est, en dĂ©pit du regard des autres.

C’est comment de vivre avec des cheveux naturels à Paris ?
Paris est une ville multiculturelle. Paris est blindĂ© de monde ! Nous n’avons pas autant d’options que vous les noires aux US, mais on peut facilement trouver des produits pour nous, des enseignes de beautĂ© noire et des salons de coiffure spĂ©cialisĂ©s. Ce n’est cependant pas aussi facile pour celles qui vivent en province.

La vie social Ă  Paris est moins centrĂ©e sur les « communautĂ©s » qu’aux US (J’ai vĂ©cu aux US un an et il m’a semblĂ© difficile de se faire des amis en dehors de sa communautĂ©, plus qu’à Paris). Par contre, les noirs sont moins bien reprĂ©sentĂ©s dans sur les scĂšnes mĂ©diatiques, politiques et dans les entreprises que les afro-amĂ©ricains le sont dans leur pays.

Ayant lu les aventures capillaires de personnes des deux pays, la France et les US, il apparait que nous avons les mĂȘmes problĂšmes : mauvaises expĂ©riences avec les coiffeurs, faible acceptation des cheveux crĂ©pus, difficultĂ©s Ă  ĂȘtre pris au sĂ©rieux, peu de connaissance sur la maniĂšre correcte de prendre soin de nos cheveux, tendance Ă  copier les standards de beautĂ© caucasiens

En effet, ce qui est particulier dans mon histoire, c’est que j’aimais mes cheveux au dĂ©but, comme tout le monde devrait. De plus, ma mĂšre a bien pris soin d’eux. Elle faisait tout correctement : hydrater mes cheveux tous les jours, les laver toute les semaines, tailler mes pointes de temps en temps, coiffures Ă  faire manipulation, faire l’éloge de la beautĂ© de mes cheveux

Et pourtant, j’ai du faire face aux mĂȘmes difficultĂ©s que quelqu’un qui n’aurait pas eu tout ce que j’ai eu !

Pour moi, c’est rĂ©vĂ©lateur de l’énorme influence qu’à la sociĂ©tĂ©, surtout sur les jeunes adultes. En dĂ©pit du soutien de ma famille, je n’ai pas rĂ©sistĂ© Ă  la pression de mes camarades de classes et de mes collĂšgues. 
Il est donc important, non seulement de dire Ă  nos enfants que leurs cheveux sont beaux, comme ma mĂšre l’a fait. Mais, c’est aussi nĂ©cessaire que la sociĂ©tĂ© change sa perception des cheveux crĂ©pus. Et je pense que cela viendra quand de plus en plus de personnes porteront fiĂšrement leurs cheveux crĂ©pus !