by Stefanie Powers
The Sky’s the Limit
During the recent Summer Olympics, some Black female athletes wowed us not only with their physical prowess, but surprised us by their unique hairstyles, as well. The current trend in Black hair is to be creative.
Local businesswoman Tasha Guidry was born in Brooklyn, New York, but came to Lake Charles with her family in 1979, at the age of 10. She remembers being surprised at the hairstyles on the women of color in this area.
“In New York in the 1970s, Black women had gone back to natural hair,” she explains. “My mother and her friends had afros. When we came down here, we saw that most of the women were still pressing their hair. It was a big difference. It takes a while for trends to reach Lake Charles.”
Guidry wore her hair in braids as a child and recalls getting her first process when she was in the eighth grade. She no longer straightens her hair. “I need low maintenance!” she says. “I do braids, twists and weaves. Plus, processing damages and weakens hair and causes breakage. So if you want to go natural, it’s going to take a while for the good hair to grow in.”
Band teacher Tiffany Jones Guillory of Lake Charles says she loves having a braid this time of year. “It’s super easy for the summer months,” she says. “In the fall and winter, instead of wigs, I get tracks sewn in. Some people like clip-in extensions, but I enjoy not having to remove them for a few months.” It’s been seven years since she last chemically straightened her hair and is happy that she let it go natural.
Guidry thinks Black women are now choosing hair styles that make them feel good. “Before, everyone had to look the same. Everyone had to fit in,” she recalls. “All that has changed.”
The sky is really the limit, from short, sassy straight cuts with side bangs, to tight afros of varying colors, to wigs in every length and style.
Box braids consist of square-shaped hair divisions. There’s a size for every preference, and there’s so much you can do with them. Twist them into an oversized high bun, double buns, or pull them up into a half bun, leaving the ends of the braids out for a cascading face frame. Try layered braids in purple or blue. Add beads or other jewelry. Combine different lengths. The possibilities are endless.
Cornrows are a traditional style of braids in which the hair is braided very close to the scalp. As with braids, you can invent a variety of unique looks. For example, combine both cornrows and braids and design bold braid patterns. For side cornrows, instead of braiding them straight back, you can mix up typical cornrows by braiding them toward either side. For a dramatic look, try braiding just the front and leave the rest of your hair natural.
Want to go completely natural?
Let your natural texture shine.
For ultra-defined ringlets, use a gel for curly hair as soon as you get out of the shower. If you want to wash and go, use your blow dryer’s diffuser attachment to gently dry your curls without blasting them with heat. To enhance volume, apply a leave-in curl-booster before drying.
Of course, humidity does a job on Black hair, literally acting as a steamer, curling up the roots of straight hair and expanding defined curls. Going natural in the long, sweltering Southwest Louisiana summers can be a chore. Be careful with the flat iron. The extra heat you use to combat frizz on a regular basis will cause your strands to weaken and eventually break.
Finding good hair products is key to maintaining your style(s) and are a worthwhile investment. Take care of your crowning glory!