Li­brar­i­ans teach how to style, stretch nat­u­ral hair

Li­brar­i­ans teach how to style, stretch nat­u­ral hair

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIFFANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

The nat­u­ral hair move­ment is be­com­ing more than a trend — it’s tak­ing over the hair care in­dus­try. Ac­cord­ing to Min­tel (Mar­ket In­tel­li­gence), the move to go nat­u­ral has neg­a­tively af­fected sales of re­lax­ers, which dropped 18.6 per­cent from 2013-2015.

The term “nat­u­ral hair” is de­fined as hair whose tex­ture hasn’t been al­tered by chem­i­cal straight­en­ers, in­clud­ing re­lax­ers, perms and tex­tur­iz­ers. Nat­u­ral hair is when hair is in the state that one was born with — the same nat­u­ral hair tex­ture with its nat­u­ral hair color.

On Oct. 12, P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary in Wal­dorf hosted a nat­u­ral hair fo­rum pre­sented by Candice Washington, cir­cu­la­tion as­sis­tant, and Dau-Veen Walker, ref­er­ence su­per­vi­sor. The event in­vited all age groups to learn how to take care of their nat­u­ral curls, main­tain healthy hair, learn about the dif­fer­ent stages of growth, re­pair dam­aged hair, style nat­u­ral hair and grow long, healthy hair.

Par­tic­i­pants walked away with plenty of nat­u­ral hair prod­uct sam­ples that can be used for their par­tic­u­lar hair tex­ture, along with a list of read­ing ma­te­ri­als that have ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about tran­si­tion­ing to nat­u­ral hair. All of the read­ing ma­te­ri­als can be found at the P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary or on­line through the li­brary sys­tem.

Walker said two years ago Washington held this same fo­rum, and be­cause it was so suc­cess­ful, they de­cided to bring it back to the li­brary.

“We’ve made some changes from the last event in­clud­ing ac­tu­ally show­ing how to do dif­fer­ent nat­u­ral hair styles,” Walker said. “We dis­cuss weaves, Mar­ley twists, pro­tec­tive styling, prod­ucts, be­cause we all use the Shea Mois­ture line, but now we’re branch­ing out. I think events like this con­nect us with the cus­tomers more as we ex­change sto­ries. Some may stop their nat­u­ral hair jour­ney, get dis­cour­aged and need the mo­ti­va­tion to keep go­ing.”

Washington and Walker said peo­ple need to learn to love their nat­u­ral hair and that there is a lack of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for nat­u­ral, curly hair.

“My ini­tial goal was to get peo­ple talk­ing about curly hair, ap­pre­ci­at­ing it, build­ing con­nec­tions and dis­cussing hair tips and tricks,” Washington said. “Ba­si­cally open­ing up the nat­u­ral hair com­mu­nity in per­son for peo­ple in Charles County. A ma­jor­ity of our staff and com­mu­nity has nat­u­ral hair. I felt like it was so im­por­tant to have pro­grams that are aimed to­wards our de­mo­graphic within the county.”

Dif­fer­ent peo­ple from many back­grounds at­tended the pub­lic fo­rum to learn about the nat­u­ral hair move­ment and how they can im­prove their hair care rou­tine to make bet­ter progress.

Clin­ton res­i­dents La Don­nyas Wat­son and her son, Wil­liam Wat­son, said the fo­rum re­ally helped them em­brace their nat­u­ral hair. Wil­liam said he gained more in­for­ma­tion about “co-wash­ing, con­di­tioner-only wash­ing,” that he was un­aware of, while his mom gained more of an un­der­stand­ing of her own hair tex­ture.

“I have been on this nat­u­ral hair jour­ney for a year now and I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out what prod­ucts to use,” Wil­liam said. “It’s been dif­fi­cult be­cause through­out the day my hair dries out and I just want to cut it all off.”

“I was nat­u­ral for years but I kept my hair styles sim­ple, pulled back in a pony­tail or flat iron­ing it,” La Don­nyas said. “It was dif­fi­cult to find the right look or the right style. Af­ter this fo­rum, now I can un­der­stand why only cer­tain prod­ucts work for my hair type. I found this class very help­ful and now I know I can also find books about my nat­u­ral hair and check them out at our lo­cal li­brary.”

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Sheila Jack­son said she wants her hair to grow and look healthy, but she was con­fused about in­gre­di­ents men­tioned on the nat­u­ral hair prod­uct la­bels. She also ex­pressed how dif­fi­cult her jour­ney has been.

“When I went nat­u­ral, I would wear my hair in its nat­u­ral state and peo­ple were re­pulsed,” Jack­son said. “But now those same peo­ple who crit­i­cized me are wear­ing their hair nat­u­ral. I love my nat­u­ral hair and like me, so many peo­ple are go­ing nat­u­ral now to stop their hair from [dam­age].”

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Terri Wil­liamson said she has not had a re­laxer in over 20 years and is doubt­ful she will ever go back.

“When I look around me I see peo­ple em­brac­ing their nat­u­ral hair more and we have some­thing in com­mon,” Wil­liamson said. “I am thank­ful for this pro­gram be­ing at the li­brary and I think they need to do this again be­cause it would help a lot of peo­ple.”

Bev­erly Gunn of Wal­dorf said al­though she wished Washington and Walker had gone into more depth about put­ting pro­tein in nat­u­ral hair, she be­lieves the women re­ally did their home­work and cov­ered just about ev­ery nat­u­ral hair topic.

“Some girls and guys who are nat­u­ral don’t know where to start or are afraid to do it,” Gunn said. “I have 4c hair which is very coarse hair so many con­sider it to be knappy. Back in 2009 when I fi­nally wore my hair nat­u­ral to work, peo­ple looked at me and stereo­typed me. Now ev­ery­where you look, ev­ery­one is nat­u­ral. I de­cided this is what grows out of my head and I like it.”

Washington and Walker said they look for­ward to po­ten­tially mak­ing the pub­lic fo­rum a monthly event to in­volve more of the com­mu­nity. Washington said there is so much in­for­ma­tion about nat­u­ral hair, and all are wel­come to learn more at the lo­cal li­brary.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY TIFFANY WAT­SON

Wal­dorf res­i­dent Bev­erly Gunn demon­strates how to stretch nat­u­ral hair for spe­cific hair­styles on Wal­dorf res­i­dent Lon­den Jor­dan’s hair dur­ing the nat­u­ral hair pub­lic fo­rum at P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary.

Candice Washington, cir­cu­la­tion as­sis­tant at P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary, demon­strates pro­tec­tive hair­styles on DauVeen Walker, ref­er­ence su­per­vi­sor at the li­brary.

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