Image: @darknslay

Loving your natural hair is a learning experience.

Your entire life you are exposed to images of hair that shape and transform your perspective of the person you see when you look in the mirror.
That person – you should be happy with her.
You should love her fully, from her crown to her heels.
But sometimes it is hard to do so.
Because a voice in your head constantly reminds you that your hair does not look like the girl on TV. Your curls will never be as defined. As loose. As beautiful.

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With the expansion of media, especially social media, where companies – like Shea Moisture and Carol's Daughter - can now reach a broader audience, compromises are being made out of respect for marketing strategies. For brands like this, losing focus on its core consumers has now resulted in an emotional gamble as members in the natural hair community have had to reevaluate staples in their hair care regimen.

Texture discrimination, or the unjustified exclusion of certain hair types from the forefront of branding, encompasses a myriad of questions concerning natural hair. It is rooted in a fusion of issues, such as colorism, racism, self-comparison, and media-induced insecurities. Although there are layers to be peeled back when taking a stance on how the media reinforces the exclusion of particular hair types, it is always up to us as a community to stick together.

Division Within Our Community

In June, a woman by the name of Tiffany Buttafly posted this message on facebook, which has since been deleted, accompanied by a picture of two lighter skinned girls with long, defined, voluminous, curly locks:


More black women are creating platforms through which they can share their own natural hair journey while also being constantly exposed to the journey of others. Given this, we are now more aware of all hair types – not just our own. And we can now put two and two together between hair types that are more socially accepted and how this discrimination is reflected through media, thus resulting in feelings of exclusion harbored by women who are not being represented at all.

Anytime a system of classification is used to recognize and understand the difference between various hair types, self-comparison will always lurk within our community. Not only do we classify hair types, but we associate a level of struggle, and sometimes Blackness, with them. The closer someone is to type 4 hair, the more struggle they face with their hair while the farther away someone is to this hair type, the less struggle they face. So why are women who struggle less being chosen to speak for the women who struggle the most? Especially when women with kinkier hair textures were the pioneers of the natural hair movement in more ways than none.

This is a gist of what Buttafly was attempting to convey in her message, however, the message was lost in her anger. She instead reinforced a divide between herself and the sisters that aren’t dark enough, aren’t kinky enough, aren’t Black, or African, enough. Buttafly’s message is a clear indication of the internalized prejudices we sometimes enact against ourselves, but deflect as problems created by other people, because the media has made it difficult to pinpoint where our insecurities come from.

We should always remain alert as to where we stand on the line. We must remind ourselves that we walk the line together.

Loving Ourselves So We Can Love Each Other

The way we address texture discrimination through our platforms should be intentional instead of accusatory. A YouTube based organization called LAMBB, or Look At My Black Beauty, is a good example of how we can use our platforms “for black girls to commune and feel safe away from a society that constantly condemns us.” Earlier this month, LAMBB published a documentary on texture discrimination in which they showcase women with a variety of kinky hair types who share their thoughts on issues like: the over-representation of racially ambiguous women within marketing; the comparison of Blue Ivy’s hair to that of North West; the effectiveness of products that are usually advertised for looser hair types; and the importance of hair typing.



This documentary is one of the few videos to discuss texture discrimination without condemning other women for their apparent or perceived privileges. It sheds light on the nuances intertwined across black women’s individual hair journeys and how good hair is a socially constructed ideal that should be replaced with the concept of healthy hair.

Taking Steps Toward Conscious Discourse

How we talk to and about one another on natural hair sets the stage for how future generations will engage with other women and men on hair, how they will come to love their hair. The marketing industry will continue to use our insecurities as a basis for its commercials, billboards, and magazines. When companies like Shea Moisture choose to exclude us from the forefront for the sake of money (expansion), we must come together - not divide ourselves - and use our voice.

Below are a few steps we can take to approach the topic of texture discrimination from a stance of love rather than a stance of anger, hate, or envy. These steps will allow us to dig deeper into our understanding of natural hair and what it means to the ENTIRE black community without overshadowing the truths of prejudices or privileges many black women face.

Always come from a place of love. Love for ourselves and love for our sisters, regardless of how easy or hard we think their natural hair journey has been.
Do your best to avoid making assumptions. Obviously that are some things about natural hair that cannot be denied, like the level of challenge many of us will face in finding a regimen that brings our hair to life. Still, learning to love our hair is more emotional than it is physical; how that process plays out for one woman will never be equal in difficulty for another.
Ask questions. No matter how much you think you know about another person's hair, you will never be them - so how can you actually know? Inquire about another woman’s hair journey, or struggle, before you assume that because her hair is kinkier, she must have been teased growing up. Or because her hair is looser, she must have been praised in her home.
Put yourself at the center of your argument. Believe it or not, not every black woman feels the same as you do on texture discrimination while others will have no stance on the topic at all. So in some cases, saying “I” instead of “we” holds you accountable for how YOU feel rather than how you think WE all feel.
Remember why you started your natural hair journey. Your journey is YOUR journey - never forget that.

What you see on social media, in magazines, on television, is a compelling distortion of reality. Real life experiences cannot be replicated in true form. Social media has become both a way for black women to find each other as well as for companies to find more consumers. Yes, the brands that have served us since the early 1900’s are expected to remain loyal to its core buyers. But no, this does not mean that they always will.

It is up to us as a community to use our resources, whether it be money, YouTube, Instagram, or education to make our voices louder than the brands who seem to hide our truths. And in the process of doing so, we cannot let their misrepresentation of us drive us apart.

Have you experienced texture discrimination? Share in the comments?
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Ariel is a writer, lover, and certified personal trainer. With a passion for helping others improve their quality of life, she uses her knowledge and writing to connect with other women (and men) looking to change their lives. If you're in need of inspiration on love, strength, or confidence, check out her blog, The Freewoman Diaries or her YouTube Channel here. For personal training inquiries or life advice, send her an email: freewomandiaries AT gmail DOT com.

You’ve asked and it shall be received! Back in 2016, Aaliyah fans petitioned M.A.C. Cosmetics to create an inspired collection on her behalf. This campaign spearheaded immediately after M.A.C. announced its Selena-inspired collection was coming soon.

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The petition read, “We want M.A.C. to be the first brand to reintroduce Aaliyah’s legacy to the world in a format that it has never been given before. Aaliyah’s brother Rashad Haughton says that Aaliyah was a big fan of M.A.C.” He also goes on to say, that he “approves of the idea for a limited edition collection by M.A.C for her.”

After years of tweeting #AaliyahforMAC, yesterday fans were ecstatic to learn M.A.C. announced the late icon’s inspired beauty collection, set for summer 2018 release. After only 6 hours of the post debuting on Instagram, it was viewed by almost 300,000 people.

This one in a million songstress’ campaign was also supported by Aaliyah LLC, and her close friend Missy Elliott. Fans and beauty lovers all around are looking forward to seeing the collection. The campaign mentioned they hoped to see “eyeshadows, lipsticks, lipliners, lip glosses, contour & highlight, beauty powder, false lashes, eyebrow pencils.”


Will you be trying the Aaliyah collection? Share your thoughts below.
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Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.

You’ve asked and it shall be received! Back in 2016, Aaliyah fans petitioned M.A.C. Cosmetics to create an inspired collection on her behalf. This campaign spearheaded immediately after M.A.C. announced its Selena-inspired collection was coming soon.

Continue Reading


The petition read, “We want M.A.C. to be the first brand to reintroduce Aaliyah’s legacy to the world in a format that it has never been given before. Aaliyah’s brother Rashad Haughton says that Aaliyah was a big fan of M.A.C.” He also goes on to say, that he “approves of the idea for a limited edition collection by M.A.C for her.”

After years of tweeting #AaliyahforMAC, yesterday fans were ecstatic to learn M.A.C. announced the late icon’s inspired beauty collection, set for summer 2018 release. After only 6 hours of the post debuting on Instagram, it was viewed by almost 300,000 people.

This one in a million songstress’ campaign was also supported by Aaliyah LLC, and her close friend Missy Elliott. Fans and beauty lovers all around are looking forward to seeing the collection. The campaign mentioned they hoped to see “eyeshadows, lipsticks, lipliners, lip glosses, contour & highlight, beauty powder, false lashes, eyebrow pencils.”


Will you be trying the Aaliyah collection? Share your thoughts below.
*****************************
Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.
Pictured: South African model, Thando Hopa
Black Girl Magic is dominating Instagram. Models are taking advantage of this social media platform to showcase their beauty and diversity. Of course these are not regular bathroom selfies, their photos  are worthy of any magazine cover.

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Whether they are simply smiling for the camera, striking a pose or gracing the camera during a photo shoot, these black models are striking, fierce and confident in their skin, while motivating women of color to embrace their own beauty. Don’t believe me; take a look at 10 models worth following today.

Herieth Paul

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This stunning Tanzanian born (Canadian decent), print and runway fashion model has appeared in editorials worldwide such as Elle Canada, Vogue Japan and Italy, and Harper's Bazaar UK. She has walked for top designers including Cavalli and Diane von Fürstenber and become known as the face of Maybelline as their New York brand ambassador. Follow here Instagram here.

Thando Hopa

This Albanian South African beauty is a model, actress, lawyer, writer and activist. She was scouted by a South African designer, Gert-Johan Coetzee at the age of 23 and “uses modeling as a means of challenging normative representations of beauty. Thando hopes to broaden human perception and increase social awareness when it comes to diversity.”

Khoudia Diop
A post shared by Khoudia Diop (@melaniin.goddess) on

This Melanin Goddness, from Senegal, with deep ebony blue skin is redefining beauty standards. She’s a Paris/NYC fashion model and a social media sensation whose Instagram page encourages girls to have confidence in their dark skin – “Different is Beautiful”. Follow her Instagram here.

Nyakim Gatwech


This South Sudanese, dubbed the Queen of Darkness, also encourages black women to love the skin. Her Instagram account showcases motivating captions, pose versatility, and advocacy for diversity. Follow her Instagram here.

Dora Owsusu

A post shared by Dora Owusu🇬🇭 (@doraowusu) on


This first-generation Ghanaian beauty was born and raised in California. Her main goal as a model is to remind young girls they are beautiful and to help boost confidence. Dora has worked with brands like Hexorn Jewelry, Beats by Dre, and Anastasia Beverly Hills. Follow her Instagram here.

Chasity Samone

A post shared by Chasity Samone (@chasitysamone) on

This gorgeous model, singer, actor from Dallas, TX, has recently signed with Ross Models NYC. She is currently building her portfolio with high fashion editorials. Follow her Instagram here.

Madisin Rian

A post shared by MADI (@madisinrian) on


This exquisite model was discovered by Kimora Lee Simmons in 2008. She has appeared in pages of Cosmopolitan, GQ, Essence, ELLE, Dark & Lovely and Black Opal. Follow here Instagram here.

Adut Akech Bior

A post shared by Adut Akech Bior (@adutakechofficial) on


This 18-year-old Australian high school student supernova, originally from South Sudan, was the breakout face of Paris Fashion week. She is signed to several agencies including Elite Milan & Paris and is a Saint Laurent exclusive for runway. Follow her Instagram here.

Milan Dixon

A post shared by Milan Dixon 🌺 (@modelomilano) on


This beauty, from Henderson, NV, has appeared in several magazines including, Ebony, ELLE and Marie Claire South Africa magazines and has modeled for Maybelline New York. You can follow here Instagram here.

Maria Borges

A post shared by MARIA BORGES (@iammariaborges) on

This Angolan beauty is a Global Brand Ambassador for L’Oréal Paris. Maria was the first model to ever rock an Afro on Victoria Secrets catwalk in 2015. Her future goals include charity work in Africa and grace the cover of Vogue magazine. You can follow her Instagram here

What do you think about these stunning models? Is there anything that stands out most to you about their style?
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Monica is a Milwaukee native, wife, mother of two, step mother of one and working professional.  In her spare time she enjoys reading,  shopping and following the current trends of natural hair, beauty and health, all while pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Leadership. You can follow her on Instagram@allbeautyandhair and Twitter @allbeautynhair.

If you follow me on social, you may have seen that I recently headed to London for a lovely breakfast with one of my favourite skincare brands Aveeno®. The event was hosted at the super cute 26 Grains on Neal's Yard - a part of London I've never visited before but one well worth checking out as it's super pretty with colourful buildings on every corner. We were greeted by the lovely Aveeno® team and Alex Hely Hutchinson, founder of 26 Grains. Alex created two healthy but delicious recipes to go alongside Aveeno's new products with the main ingredient being oats, as 26 Grains is famous for their range of oat/grain based dishes. Oats are also an ingredient in Aveeno’s skincare due to their many benefits for the skin including soothing sensitivity, restoring moisture, cleansing and protecting. With this being said, it makes perfect sense for Alex to partner with Aveeno® on this launch.



You may have read a post I wrote in collaboration with Aveeno® last year called ‘Inside & oat’(read it here if you missed it) which was all about the belief that healthy, beautiful skin is a reflection of your overall health and wellbeing and a big part of that is what we put inside our body, as well as the products we put on it. After all, great skin starts from the inside and what you eat plays a huge part in that. I know that if I eat too many pizzas or drink too much wine, my skin starts to pay for it. However, with a combination of healthy eating and Aveeno's daily skincare products that contain natural and skin beneficial ingredients, you can nourish your skin from the inside and out and be well on your way to a beautiful glowing complexion. 


With this being said, we were offered a choice of two breakfasts to enjoy at the event - both of which were healthy yet delicious, showing there's no excuse to not eat foods that are good for our general wellbeing and of course, our skin! There was a yoghurt, oat, honey and apricot cake or oats with pepper, parmesan and olive oil to choose from and they were both fabulous. I usually go for savoury over sweet but the cake was too beautiful to ignore. As you can see from the photos, it looked amazing and it tasted even better. I can't believe it was healthy - I definitely need to recreate this at home.





As I mentioned, the event was to launch some new additions to the Aveeno® range and oh my gosh, they have to be my favourite yet. I'm a big fan of all the products and have never tried one I haven't liked but these are definitely my favourite so far. Aveeno® is all about creating products with ingredients that are proven to be beneficial for the skin and this new range is based around yogurt concentrate - an ingredient known to keep the skin nourished and hydrated and one that is perfect paired with oats - makes sense to mix them together right? I wasn’t aware of the benefits of yogurt in skincare before attending the event but Dr Shefali Rajopat, a consultant dermatologist, says “Yogurt contains a rich mix of powerful nutrients such as vitamin B12 and riboflavin, protein, calcium and Vitamin D.” Interesting, right?





I was kindly gifted some of the products to take home with me and I’ve been using them ever since. I’ve been trying the new Aveeno® Daily Moisturising Body Yogurt, Yogurt Body Wash and the Aveeno® Daily Moisturising After-Shower Mist and as I said, I’m in love. The yogurt-like texture of the products is perfect - it’s thick and creamy but also really light at the same time and sinks into the skin almost immediately. What I find with Aveeno® is that the products do exactly what they say on the bottle - they’re simple and straight to the point, and I like that. I’m not one for an overly complicated skincare routine and I know I can rely on these products to do exactly what you’d expect from them - moisturise my skin, leave it feeling soft and supple and provide a radiant healthy glow. I’ve been especially impressed by their new after-shower mist as I find this so easy to use after showering and it’s given me the push I need to moisturise my full body more regularly.





As well as having the same amazing ingredients as Aveeno’s other ranges and the addition of yogurt concentrate, these new products also have divine new scents - Apricot & Honey and Vanilla & Oats. I’m a big fan of sweet scents so both of these are right up my street and seriously, they smell good enough to eat. Thank goodness I had the cake to keep me going at the event or I might have been half tempted to dive right into them, haha. I also think they’re the perfect scents for Summer as they’re sweet but also really fresh and uplifting - perfect for an early morning boost.


I’m such a big fan of these new Aveeno® products and I know they’re going to be a staple in my daily routine for the foreseeable future. Are you a fan of Aveeno®? Do you like the sound of these new products? For more information visit aveeno.co.uk

PS - watch the video below for that delicious cake recipe.


*Sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own.