The Marriage Ref

On August 16, 2011, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Really? An interracial couple couldn’t agree on what to do with their daughter’s hair, so they went on national television to have entertainers tell them who is right and who is wrong. I’ve watched The Marriage Ref once or twice, and I don’t find it all that funny or enlightening. In this episode, which aired Monday, Aug. 14, the white father  wants his little girl to express herself, while the black mom wants her to look presentable.

If I had to take the matter seriously, I’d side with the mother. There’s nothing wrong with a child expressing herself, as long as that’s something she wants to do. Nothing in the clip leaves that impression. All the viewer learns is that the father simply doesn’t want to do hair, and that’s too bad.

Here’s the thing. These people aren’t serious. There is way too much acting and exaggerating in the clip, and the viewer later learns the father wants his daughter to be “discovered.” I think he and his wife are using the show to get their daughter on television. They got the exposure they wanted. I just wish it had not been at the expense of a child and her beautiful, natural hair.



Darcy’s Botanicals

On September 22, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

I have stocked up on Darcy’s Botanicals Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme to help prepare for the cool weather heading our way. I will use it as a butter to seal in moisture for Simone and me. It provides much-needed oils without the oily feel, including organic palm, castor and jojoba oils. Nadia’s fine strands will not require anything quite as heavy. A leave-in conditioner will help protect her hair from the cold dry air.

I’ve been thinking about all of the new products, Web sites and communities created for curly hair. I love that curlies like me finally have more choices and support for our hair. Still, I strive for simplicity.

Author Teri LaFlesh told me to braid my hair at night, and it has made a big difference. The single strand knots are gone, and my hair has inched past my shoulders. It was such a simple change and didn’t require me to buy anything. That is just one of the reasons why I love Teri’s method.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. When I was a kid I didn’t sleep on satin pillowcases or wear a sleep cap. My mother kept my hair in braids, except for special occasions, and I slept with it like that. My hair thrived then and it’s thriving now.

Taking care of curly hair is not rocket science. Consider the messenger and what he is trying to sell when hair care advice is offered. Keep the regimen simple and enjoy your curls.

What’s your simple curl regimen?

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Two Reading Giveaways

On September 15, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Check out these two great reading giveaways. One is for three signed copies of I LOVE My Cotton Candy Hair! (Note to self: I need to find this book and review it on Honeysmoke.) The other is a giveaway for Give All For Love, with a twist. The winner receives one Give All For Love product and Happy Girl Hair and Give All For Love will together donate $50 to Ethiopia Reads in the winner’s honor. Enjoy!
I LOVE My Cotton Candy Hair

Beads Braids Beyond — I LOVE My Cotton Candy Hair!

Happy Girl Hair — Give All For Love

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Don’t Touch The Hair

On September 2, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke
Here’s a first. NFL football player Troy Polamalu‘s hair is worth $1 million. He is Samoan and has not cut his hair since 2000 as a tribute to his ancestors. He also endorses Head and Shoulders shampoo. His hair is gorgeous, but I find it hard to believe he’s washing it with Head and Shoulders, whose parent company insured his curly mane. I want someone to find out what his curly regimen is so that women around the world can replicate it and stop lusting after his locks.
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Teri Says

On September 1, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Teri's picture taken by Cathy Metschar of

© 2010 Teri LaFlesh

The best thing to do at night to prevent tangling is to never ever brush, comb, or finger comb your child’s hair when it’s dry. When you are between washings, simply put her hair (when it’s long enough), in several braids or twists to protect it at night. In the morning you can undo her braids (or twists), and again don’t brush, comb, or finger comb her hair (that just creates huge frizz and matting). Instead, wet your hands, put a bit of a good, slippery conditioner on them, rub your hands together, and smooth your hands over your child’s curls. Repeat as necessary until the flattened and fuzzy spots are gone. Her curls will spring back to life as her hair dries.

Teri LaFlesh is the author of Curly Like Me: How to Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long, and Strong.

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Teri Says

On August 4, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Teri's picture taken by Cathy Metschar of

Teri Says is a new monthly feature about taking care of curly hair. Enjoy.

© 2010 Teri LaFlesh

There is no such thing as being tender headed. If a child has functioning nerve endings, tugging on curly hair really really hurts. The good news is that combing absolutely doesn’t have to hurt. Make sure to comb your child’s hair when it’s wet, and with a good, slippery conditioner in it. Use a Denman type brush, or a wide tooth comb. Start at the bottom of the hair and work in sections. Most importantly, when you hold her hair to comb it, pinch the hair firmly in your fingers between her scalp and the spot you’re combing. This will help very much to keep it from hurting.

Teri LaFlesh is the author of Curly Like Me: How to Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long, and Strong.

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Natural Hair

On May 11, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

My hair has been giving me a tough time, and I am going back to what works. I also revisited a piece I wrote a year ago that features advice from natural hair care experts. Enjoy.

For those of us sporting anything from a teeny-weeny Afro to hair so long it would make a horse jealous here are some tips for caring for natural hair on a budget. These eight ingredients are probably already in your kitchen, and they can help promote beautiful hair.

1. Baking Soda—Cleanses the scalp with a natural base. Put a pinch of powder in the palm of your hand, and mix with a dollop of luscious shampoo. Place a tablespoon in a cup of water and use it as a rinse. “It helps open the cuticle and clean it out,” said Shelley Davis, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based Kinky-Curly Hair Products, LLC.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar—Clarifies the scalp with a natural acid. Be sure to do this after a baking soda rinse to close down the cuticle. Pour a capful to a cup of water for a delightful rinse. The scent washes away in the shower. “It gets rid of scalp buildup,” said Anita Grant, who mixes and sells her own potions at her London-based Web site. “The skin regenerates itself, and the sebum, the natural oil, needs to slough off.”

3. Aloe Vera Gel, Juice or Plant Leaves—Nourishes the scalp. Smooth onto scalp with your index finger, or add it to water in a small bottle and spritz on the hair. “The more natural, the better,” said Michelle Breyer, co-founder of Naturally Curly. “You can get it in a number of different forms at pretty much any price point, including the plant itself.”

4. Butter, Shea Nut—Seals in moisture. Emulsify between fingers, lock in moisture and pamper ends. “It’s a very rich butter that will protect your hair from weather damage, dryness and brittleness,” said Nikki Walton, creator and editor of Curly Nikki. “Naturals and relaxed heads can apply it to hair ends to prevent splits.”

5. Olive Oil—Treats the scalp and hair. Slather on hair before shampooing or rub it on your scalp. “It can be used to add shine and smooth dry hair,” said Marsha Coulton, product developer and owner of the Brooklyn-based Curl Junkie Hair Products, LLC. “Add it to dry hair as a pre-shampoo treatment, or add to your regular conditioner to boost softness.”

6. Jojoba Oil—Locks in moisture and is very lightweight. “One of the primary concerns we have is dryness,” Davis said, “and I think we’re just going about it the wrong way by slapping a lot of petroleum-based products on our hair. Spray the hair with water and then seal it in.”

7. Honey—Acts as a natural humectant. Use sparingly with other products. A little goes a long way. “This is great ingredient in that it can be added to your conditioners to give them an extra boost of moisture and added to styling products to add extra hold and shine,” Coulton said.

8. Herbs—Stimulate the hair and scalp with an herbal rinse. “Make sure it’s fresh rosemary out of the garden,” Grant said. “Add the rosemary to boiling water and let cool. Use the water as an herbal rinse for the hair. You can also use organic roses, nettle or horsetail.”

A version of this essay first appeared on The Root.

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On April 22, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

The good thing about having three curlies under one roof is we can switch up products. What doesn’t work for one, may work for the other.

Jane Carter Solution, Miss Jessie’s, Curls for Target and SheaMoisture are now available at some Target stores. It was big news for curlies, especially those of us who don’t like to pay for shipping. After stalking the hair care aisles for a few days, the store I frequent finally received the products.

I immediately picked up two Curls for Target products: Creamy Curl Cleanser and Coconut Curlada. The cleanser is mild and smells delicious. The conditioner is creamy and smells delicious. Trouble is, they don’t do much for my hair.

Before I had the girls, I would finish a hair product or mix it with something else. Now I just try it on Simone and Nadia’s hair. Eureka! The Coconut Curlada helps smooth their hair and makes it so easy to detangle. This frees me from the guilt of trying new products and allows me to try something else. Next on my to-try list:  Shea Moisure. The shampoo and conditioner with shea butter are calling my name. If it’s not meant to be, I’ve always got two more curlies who don’t mind testing smell goods.

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Disappointed Curly

On March 30, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

A host of curly hair products were stocked at Targets across the country, and I rushed to my local store to see what I’d like to try. Jane Carter Solution, Miss Jessie’s, Curls for Target and SheaMoisture are now available at some Target stores. This is huge for curlies, especially those of us who don’t want to pay shipping and handling for quality products. Alas, I couldn’t find any of the new products even though the store in my area was listed as one that would carry some of the new items. Frustrated, I called the store. Apparently, other curlies also had called. Employees had checked the shelves and found nothing. I’ll continue to check. Has anyone else had any luck?

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Curlformers Giveaway

On March 24, 2010, in Biracial, by Honeysmoke

Speaking of hair, head over to Beads, Braids & Beyond and enter the Curlformers Giveaway. Tell them Honeysmoke sent you.

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