Articles By Tracey Wallace

Hair politics exist. It's just a fact. But for those lucky enough to rarely have to experience it (read: those with naturally straight hair), this truth is nearly missed. With new candidate for Texas Governor Wendy Davis, all things hair and political get intertwined.

A little over a month after her notorious and highly publicized filibuster in the Texas senate, Vogue ran a story on Davis that struck a chord. In the article, Davis' daughters chat the reporter up about their mother's naturally curly hair and the vast amount of products she uses to "tame it" (their words, not mine). Davis, overhearing them, agrees, telling Vogue:
“I have super-super curly hair, and it’s a constant struggle,” Davis acknowledges. “Pull out that picture of me from Patti’s son’s bar mitzvah.”
The reporter goes on to explain that in the photo, Davis' hair was indeed quite frizzy, to which Davis responds,“That was bad. That was so bad."

Enter the Wendy Davis "Truthers." The Truthers started an anonymous blog, rallying around what they call Davis' anti-feminist actions, as reported by Salon. They criticize Davis for straightening her hair, dying it blonde and they make some pretty low blows at her natural beauty, saying, "If she has not found the Fountain of Youth, at minimum she has found very talented plastic surgeons and image consultants who have readied her for her closeup."

But let's get back to this curly hair issue, the one reported in Vogue, the one that was supposed to make Davis seem relatable rather than beauty-obsessed. These Truthers, and anyone who uses her hair as a reason to hate her, are not and have never been, in our shoes.
Naturally curly hair, as you well know, is not prominent among successful women in the spotlight. It is unfortunate, but it is the truth, and perhaps it's because there aren't many successful women in the spotlight to begin with.

As of 2013, women hold 98, or 18.3%, of the 535 seats in the 113th US Congress, 78 in the House and 20 in the Senate. Of those 98 women working on capital hill, 11 of them wear their hair curly, only 10 of them in natural styles and, of those natural styles, 7 have a TWA.

Now, considering that 60 percent of women have curly hair, those numbers should skew a bit differently. Not only is curly hair not a commonality in politics, but should you choose to wear your hair curly, you may be made fun of for it. Look up Debbie Wasserman and all the jokes that have been aimed at her curly hair (you will be appalled, we guarantee it).

Ok, ok. So Wendy Davis straightens her hair. That is her prerogative. That is any woman's prerogative. It is your natural hair best friend's prerogative if she wants to suddenly look like Beyonce. For that matter, it is even Beyonce prerogative, though we don't like to admit it.
Straightening your curly hair doesn't make you anti-feminist, it makes you human. It means a myriad of things, but most likely one of two reasons:
  1. You like the way your hair looks straight. Might that be influenced by the media? Sure. Might that be some type of straight-hair supremacy bouncing around in your eyeballs that tells you you look better with straight hair. I mean, probably. But let a women's rights champion straighten her hair if she so feels like it!
  2. You don't know how to take care of curly hair. Maybe your friends and family didn't encourage it, or maybe it's because prior to 1998, no one was teaching anyone how to care for curls! So wearing it straight is easier. That's fine. Sounds like you're pretty busy. Let's meet up on a weekend and I'll show you how to make your curls look beautiful in under 24 hours (because we all know there is a steep learning curve when it comes to caring for curls). 

The point is, when it comes to the way that women look, how much makeup they wear, which designers they like and how they get their hair in whatever 'do they choose, none of that is important in light of getting women into powerful positions so that they can speak for other women. That is the goal. That is what is important. Let the curly hair and the makeup-free days come as they please, and I promise you, with more women up there, they will. 
In the meantime, buckle down for one heck of a ride. Because Wendy Davis is no where near finished.
Women in politics with curly hair:


Whether you’re new to the curly scene or a faithful veteran, the terms “hair porosity” and “hair density” have most likely been brought to your attention. If not, then add both of them to your vocabulary, because hair porosity and hair density are equally important in determining the best care for your curls.

Determining Hair Porosity

In the naturally curly world, hair porosity simply refers to the hair’s ability to absorb moisture. Depending on the condition of your hair, your cuticle layers could be very open allowing a lot of moisture to enter. On the opposite side of the spectrum, your hair’s cuticle layers could be very tight and preventing moisture to penetrate it. High porosity means your hair is very porous and allows a lot of moisture in. Low porosity means that your hair is less porous and is resistant to moisture.

How can you determine whether or not your hair is highly porous? There are many ways to test this, but the easiest is to conduct a “floating hair test.”

  1. Take a couple of strands of your hair and drop them into a bowl of water.
  2. Let them sit in the bowel for about two to four minutes.
  3. Observe your hair. If you hair is floating in the water, you have low porosity. If your hair is sinking, you have high porosity.

Hair Porosity Care

If your hair strands stayed afloat, this means that you have low porosity. Your hair is typically resistant to moisture. This does not mean that your hair is unhealthy; it simply means that you need to help your hair retain moisture. Try using lighter hair products with humectants, and utilize heat! Heat can be your best friend if you have low porosity. Wash and condition your hair with warm water, and deep condition under a hooded dryer (or hold a hair dryer over your head).

If you hair strands sunk in the bowl of water, your hair is highly porous. It easily absorbs moisture and therefore is mostly likely prone to frizz. Highly porous hair requires a little more effort to maintain, but it’s nothing a well planned hair regimen can’t handle! Try adding some protein rich products to your hair regimen, such as an avocado deep conditioner. Porous hair needs protein to fill in the gaps, so look for hair products with proteins such as aloe and wheat protein.

Determining Hair Density

It’s important to make a distinction between “hair density” and “hair strand thickness.” Hair strand thickness is self explanatory, but hair density refers to how many strands of hair you have on one square inch of your head. The average person has 2,200 strands of hair per square inch. Of course hair density differs greatly from person to person, and if you’re a curly girl, it's even more difficult to determine. Hair density can be classified into three levels: low, medium and high.

If you have thick hair strands, you will more than likely have high hair density, but this is not always the case.  Hair density is often diagnosed by a professional who will either conduct a strand count or take a “phototrichogram.” A phototrichogram is a close up photo of individual hair strands, which professionals use to count hair strands and determine hair density. But if you want to conduct a density test at home, try conducting the “pony tail test.”

  1. Smooth out your hair as much as possible with a comb or your fingers, and then gather and tie it into a ponytail.
  2. Measure the circumference of your ponytail. Low density hair will be less than two inches, medium density hair will be two to three inches and thick hair will be four or more inches.

Why is Hair Density Important?

Hair density is an important factor to consider when planning your hair regimen and hairstyle. If you have low density hair, consider using light products that won’t weigh down your hair. Use a mousse with a volumizing agent to give the appearance of thicker hair, and consider leave-in conditioners that contain thickening agents. When deciding on your next hairstyle, look for styles that are simple or rounded. You curls will naturally fall into place and give the appearance of more volume.

If your hair density is high, you want to stick to heavier products that will help hold your thick curls together. Lucky for you, there is an abundance of curly hair products for styling, including gels, creams, butters, etc. Utilize these to help your curls stay in place. If you’re thinking about your next hairstyle, consider layers, as these are best supported by thick hair.

Want More?

There are tons of different ways to determine hair porosity and density at home. Find the one that works best for you!

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve determined your hair porosity and hair density, you can make wiser decisions as to how to care for your curls. Have fun planning your next hair regimen!

Did you do the porosity test? What are your results? Do you know of any other tests for hair density and porosity? We would love to hear about them!

It's true: right now we're having a major short hair obsession. First Beyonce's hair got a massive chop (AKA she took it off), then Rihanna's was short for all of a few minutes, Karlie Kloss, the current It Model, has enviously adorable short chops that she kept showing off at NYFW, and the list can go on. For the natural hair community, short hair is by no means a new thing. In fact, it's a part of the journey, the initiation, if you will. 

But, as with most things in pop culture, this shorter 'do fad is just that: a very fleeting trend. How do we know, you ask? Well, because at NYFW extensions and wigs were all the rage. In fact, there was very little real hair to be seen on the runways of Mara Hoffman, Rodarte, Anna Sui and so many more. What does that mean? Well, it means that come spring, we're all going to be super long hair obsessed...we're talking floor length here. 

The great thing about a trend that make it obvious you are wearing extensions is that everyone can do it (if you have at least 3 inches of hair) and that there will be little confusion as to the "realness" of it. In the end, it'll just be another trend that comes and goes and that we all remember five years from now and laugh about.

Well, that is if you don't seriously damage your hair in the process.

Hair Health

Extensions aren't known for necessarily being hair health friendly. Seriously, just Google extensions and health and you'll see a whole range of titles from the extreme story about a woman who suffered neurological conditions to the less-serious but just as frustrating cases of hair loss, breakage, and more. 

And while these stories should certainly be taken into consideration, are extensions really that bad? After all, many women looking to move to a natural hair lifestyle transition with extensions and though conventional wisdom says this is absurd, it turns out that it might not be so bad after all.

Extensions can provide a protective layer for new growth helping to keep your natural hair as healthy as possible and away from external elements. Plus, if done correctly, extensions can help to promote growth and thickness of your natural hair given that you aren't apply product or over-manipulating, which can lead to breakage, split ends and thinning. 

But for extensions to be good for your hair, you have to toe a very delicate line. One mistake, one misstep, any amount of improper braiding or maintenance, and you are edging in very dangerous anti-hair health territory. Here is what you need to get right.

  1. Start Loose

    Make sure that your stylist is not braiding your hair too tight when prepping your hair for a full sew-in. Tight braids do not mean that the sew-in will last longer. Read that again: tight braids do not mean that the sew-in will last longer. Very tight braids will be painful, cause the hair to break and can actually lead to some of that neurological stuff that the extension horror stories are made of.

  2. Moisturize

    Healthy natural hair is moisturized natural hair and even women who are full-blown natural and community experts can sometimes have problems keeping their textured hair hydrated. So for those of you transitioning with extensions, be sure to moisturize often (that means more than once a day!). Apply it to your hair using an eye dropper so that the oil can penetrate the hair underneath. Stylist Chandler Rollins recommends that you include "oils that both coat the hair shaft like Argan Oil, Moroccan Oil and Macadamia Oil and penetrate the hair shaft like Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Avocado Oil."

  3. Per usual, stay away from sulfates

    This is a natural hair know-all and you'll be living by this rule once you go natural anyway, so you might as well start now. Sulfates remove the oils that your scalp naturally produces. Those oils are the absolute best for your hair to keep it motorized. You want them. Don't shampoo them away.

  4. Take Your Vitamins

    Load up on biotin, vitamin A, folic acid and vitamin E. This will help your hair to grow healthy from the inside out and with nothing on the outside to stunt it, you'll remove those extensions to beautiful grow out.

Yep, you read that right! Fan favorite Taystee from "Orange is the New Black" isn't just a season regular over in the prison yards, she is now going to play a guest role on Girl - and be the first black woman on the show to do so.

This is crazy, insane, over-the-top great news, especially since Girls has received a lot of critical backlash about being so one-raced, to put it gently. But it isn't only Brooks' first-of-its-kind appearance that will be so cool, it's the fact that he personality is perfect for the role: up-beat, smart, silly, real and sexy. Of course sexy! 

Now, there's no news on if the appearance will drag he now famous curls into the mix, but put Brooklyn on TV and have a girl like Danielle Brooks come on with straight hair and you are totally misrepresenting the borough. Lena Dunham is a smart girl and she knows Brooklyn better than most Brooklynites, so it is probably safe to say that Brooks' curls will be along for the prime time TV ride.

The news hit the interwebs via an Ebony interview in which Brooks said, I just shot an episode of ‘Girls’ for HBO. I will be the first Black woman to be on ‘Girls,’ so that’s exciting for me."

Um, yes, for you, fans of Girls, people who love Taystee, the curly hair community, on and on and on. Yes, Danielle, this will be so exciting for us all!

We'll keep you posted on the when the show is supposed to air!

Photo Courtesy of Ebony


Curly haired women are consistently told that straightening for work is a good move. In some professions, even, curly hair is seen as unkempt and unprofessional. Fortunately, though, instead of straightening, you can stay true to your natural ways by trying out these top 10 curly professional hairstyles. You never know, you may be only the beginning of a workplace-wide natural transitioning movement! Do you have a professional hairstyle that's tried and true? Let us know in the comments!

Natural hair has made it to the digital pages of VOGUE, and no, not just in a photo shoot depicting the wild. This time, singer/DJ Kilo Kish was asked to describe her natural hair routine to the VOGUE audience, and she nailed it.

In the interview, Kish describes her decision to go natural when she first moved to New York City when she was 18, saying that she just wanted free. No word on a big chop, but with the singer being 23-years-old today, that marks five since she first joined #teamnatural.

Of course, when the interviewer asks her how she gets her hair to look like it does, she has to simply explain that "it is basically just my natural hair." If she wanted to drop some natural community lingo, she could have told VOGUE that it is a wash-and-go, but it's OK. The audience will figure it out.

Aubrey Organics gets a shout out in the interview as does argan oil and the process of sectioning off.

This marks the first natural hair care promotion from a big brand, especially one like VOGUE, via video, where we know that curly hair care experts and gurus reign. Take a look at the video, ladies. It looks like natural hair is starting to rule the airwaves.

Watch the Video


No-poo has officially gone international. Japan is the newest country to pick up on the no shampoo trend as companies advertise the hair care method as helping to prevent hair thinning and loss.

The idea caught hold on Japanese content site Naver Matome, a platform that boasts over 41 million users and 1.2 billion page views per month. It was on this platform that a user posted about water-shampooing hair to alleviate itching and dandruff, and to prevent hair thinning, loss and overall balding.  

The post itself, though, has attracted many skeptics and isn't necessarily on par with the U.S. version of no-poo, claiming that just a water wash is good enough to clean the hair and scalp, with no mention of a cleansing conditioner.

"Baldies are gullible," one response reads. Though others are more supportive of the claim saying that it "seems like if you just wash your hair with warm water you won't remove any of the oil at the roots," which will in turn not rid the hair of the oils it needs to stay healthy.

Japan might not be far from producing the country's own cleansing conditioners, or coming up with an alternative to the U.S. solution for cleaning hair sans shampoo. And the latter seems more plausible, given that Japanese hair texture differs from the wavy, curly and coily textures that spurred the no-poo movement in the States.


Comedienne Sheryl Underwood made some pretty nasty comments about natural hair on Aug. 30 on her CBS show, The Talk, in response to hearing that Heidi Klum saves her children's hair after it has been cut. Klum's children with ex-husband Seal have "huge afros," according to Klum, and it was this particular aspect of her children's hair that Underwood commented on.

"Why would you save Afro hair," Underwood asked, going on to state that no one ever walks into a salon and asks for that "curly, nappy, beady" hair.

When co-host Sarah Gilbert said that she also saves her children's hair, Underwood concluded that it must be because Gilbert's children's hair is "some beautiful, long, silky stuff."

The implication here is, obviously, that Afro hair is not beautiful, which we wholeheartedly refute. As usual, the Twitterverse generally agrees, calling out those who have misspoken and putting them on blast.

Nurse Jackie-O @LehsyaR - .@sherylunderwood would you love your NATURAL self if you had been 'blessed' with silky, straight, 'good' hair? Smh. You need to wake up.
@kokupuff @sherylunderwood @aishatyler @THEsaragilbert black babies!!! These are children she's picking on. — 1001001 (@songbrdscientst)September 1, 2013

For her words, Underwood underwent intense scrutiny for what many are considering to be a type of bullying toward black children.

On Aug. 30, Underwood made zero attempt to apologize, but as of Sept. 4, her attitude changed. On The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Underwood addressed her statements, beginning with an apology. All in all, it seems to be a very genuine, heartfelt apology, stating that her attempt at a joke was misdirected and ended up "hitting my people right in the face."

She continues:

"To all of you, I am very deeply sorry for my failed attempt at humor about something that is very sensitive to us: our hair. I could use this time to explain the intent of what I said, but misunderstanding aside, the way that the joke came out offended by people and my community."


Again, the natural hair community, which grows stronger and stronger by the day, has won a battle in the war that for so long suppressed the beauty of natural hair. See, ignorance isn't the problem, it is not addressing it when you are shown the truth that is the real issue. By apologizing, in a real, human and honest way, Underwood has proven that she is indeed the woman we all believed her to be.

What do you think about the issue? Sound off in the comments below!

Natural hair isn't a fad or trend, says photographer Glenford Nunez when commenting on his ongoing "Coiffure Project," which features portraits of women modeling their natural hair. After fifteen years of we tend to agree with Nunez.

The 25-year-old founder of TYP Photography Studio in Baltimore has been snapping shots of natural hair for years, first inspired by his natural-haired assistant long before he even knew that there was such a thing as a natural hair movement. 

"I had no idea until I started putting the photos together," Nunez told The Huffington Post. "People have thanked me for what I'm doing for natural hair and black women, but I genuinely had no idea." Nunez's photos manage to capture so much more than hair. The photos reveal underlying messages of beauty and identity for each woman.

The accidental project has gone from celebrated website to a now nearly 100-page photography tome worthy of prime coffee table placement for $130. But, if you want to peruse the book sans a certain “je ne sais quoi” of quality, "The Coiffure Project" is available in a paperback version, too, at only $22.

"My main goal was not to make a profit off the book, it was just so that the book could be in the world -- so it could exist, so people could have access to it," Nunez told The Huffington Post.

To lower costs, Nunez self-published the book using money earned form his photography career and researched distributors to insure quality and affordability. And now that the book is published, Nunez is looking to continue his passion of photographing natural hair women by taking it international. That, and hosting art exhibits to showcase his work. 

"It's always been a goal of mine to have a show with my work and I'm hoping 'The Coiffure Project' is my ticket," he said.

The best part of his project, though, is that it reinforces what we already know: that the natural hair movement is taking the world by storm. Though the photography stems from an accidental discovery of a movement, Nunez explained that his choice to photograph natural hair was an attempt to document the beauty that surrounded him in his own life - and natural hair just happened to be a part of it.

"This is how people wear their hair -- and it's a part of my life and I'm just documenting my life, whether it be natural hair or anything."


Something smells fishy about Andre Walker's new natural hair product line. If you are unaware, Andre Walker is Oprah Winfrey's hair guru. He's the man who tracked down that 3.5 pound wig for her September 2013 cover, as well as the man who in 2011 told ELLE magazine that he always recommends women embrace their natural texture, except, of course, if you have kinky hair. For Type 4 he told ELLE, "Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type I suggest altering with professional relaxing.”

In 2011, this comment threw the natural hair community into a frenzy. After all, a professional stylist recommending relaxers for women with kinky hair and obviously drawing a line between workable textures and those that just aren't is all too familiar territory for those of us who have had stylists recommend damaging treatments according to their personal bias.

It looks like for Walker, though, it has been a long two years since his comment was first came out and now, in 2013, he is releasing a natural hair product line. The line will include a sulfate free shampoo, conditioner, styling gel, styling creme and additional products that will help to smooth out and straighten your curls and coils.

Andre Walker's Gold System products for kinky, curly and textured hair

While the products that encourage wearing your hair natural seem to have the ingredient list rights (no-sulfates, no parabens, low on silicones), the real question is will the natural hair community bite?

His producing a natural hair care line is much like Patti Stanger suddenly deciding to promote curls - but only on the heels of an announcement that she found a boyfriend who loves her hair curly only. Walker's line is launching as L'Oreal and other major brands hop on the lucrative natural hair bandwagon. The announcement also coincided with the preparations for Oprah's big hair cover. 

According to Juicy Magazine, "The Andre Walker Hair line, created for women who are looking to transition and become natural, promises to treat, condition and style African-American, ethnic and textured hair types without the use of chemical relaxers and straighteners."

Despite the PR, we suspect this line may serve more as a reflection of the profitability of the natural hair industry than a shift in Andre's personal opinion. And that makes us wonder: will you buy it?

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