Yesterday, my harassment persistent correspondence with Macy Gray's “people” finally paid off. Nearly two years after my first request, she's finally On the Couch. Score one!
This Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter and actress represents the natural hair vanguard. Rocking her natural coif from day one, she's appeared in a number of movies including “Training Day,” “Spider-Man,” “Scary Movie 3,” “Lackawanna Blues,” “Idlewild” and “For Colored Girls.” Read on to learn about her hair care routine, favorite products and thoughts on the natural hair movement.
What's your hair story?
I've had it relaxed. I've had a weave and all that, but I always come back to my natural hair because it's my hair and I like it. I like the way it feels, especially when I don't have a bunch of stuff in it. I'm not a “get up two hours early to do my hair” kind of girl. So it just works for my lifestyle. I have really, really thick hair, and it can be a lot of work, but I wear it.
You seem very comfortable with your hair. What about the industry?
Ever since I got popular, a lot of people have told me to change my hair up, straighten it out, or suggested that I change my look. I've tried it, but I always go back to my afro. Sometimes, I feel like I'm not keeping up with myself [laughter], like, maybe I should do something different now, but I always feel funny in something like a press and curl.
I got a weave for the first time back in 2007 for my big album release. It was for the red carpet. I had it done on a weekend, and it took eight hours. It was out before the end of the week. No lie. I just hated it. Every time I touched my head I felt like crying. I guess I just didn't like touching my head and feeling hair that wasn't mine. During that time I tried press and curls and wigs as well, but I always went back to my afro. I don't mind wigs, I think wigs are fun, but I don't wear them that often.
That's probably the last time I'll do something to my hair.
What's your current styling routine and favorite products?
Redken is great. They have heavy cream called Smooth Down Butter Treat. It's really good for Black hair. I'll condition it in that for about 10 minutes. Then I might use American Crew Citrus Mint Gel. I love it because it's not flaky and doesn't contain alcohol. So I'll use that and I'll do medium sized voodoo knots, about 15, and let it dry, and it'll be very curly. If you let it air dry it can take all day, so sometimes I sit under the dryer for an hour and a half. It comes out great and it stays for a few days. Braiding it is a lot quicker though — cornrows. The curls are a lot different, and I like that look too.
For wash and wear, I use Paul Mitchell Instant Moisturizer. It puts a really nice sheen on my hair. I also love Doogro because it doesn't smell and it doesn't make my hair greasy. I only use it on my scalp and a little on my ends.
I don't do anything at night, I just sleep on it.
Do you color?
I color my hair a lot. It's colored right now. I get it done professionally and I don't even know what they use.
Notice any differences in your color treated hair?
It's a lot dryer. You have to really keep it moisturized when you put color in it, but I think that's anybody's hair. It comes with the territory.
The best thing about being natural?
It's beautiful. It's you. You're cool with what you got. When I see people that have natural hair, that's what I think of them.
As women, we're so socialized. We have to look a certain way and do all these things to ourselves. So I think you have to have very big balls to just be yourself. Black hair is very beautiful — it's incredible. No one else has it but us. What's more amazing than that?
What do you think about this natural hair revolution? Lots of people are going natural and staying that way!
I think it's awesome and speaks to the fact that we're all evolving, which is a big deal for a woman. We have so many rules from birth; keep your legs closed, don't fart in public — guys do all of that. So I think when you get to the point where you're okay with what you have and you follow your own rules, I think that's an enormous step just for yourself, personally.
What are you working on?