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Jan 2 2014

Why I Refuse to Straighten My Hair

By at 4:04 pm

girl

Xiomara and Isleidy wiped tears from their eyes, Stacy’s sniffles quickly deteriorated into sobs, and even the boys tried valiantly not to cry. My tough inner city sophomores were viscerally affected by Elie Wiesel’s heartbreaking Holocaust memoir, Night, which we just finished reading. I was about to become a waterfall myself when Stacy blurted out, “Miss, when you gonna blow your hair out?” causing everyone to laugh and lifting the somber mood.

The subject of my hair was a recurring one in class; the girls desperately wanted my wild curls tamed into smooth tresses. They repeatedly offered hairdressers’ numbers, then frustrated by my inaction, took matters into their own hands. One morning, at 7:30 a.m., Xiomara, Isleidy, and Stacy marched into my class while I was getting ready for the day and ambushed me with a flat iron. I almost gave in, since the attack was so well orchestrated, but ultimately hid in the closet until they put the weapon away. When asked why I resisted, I responded with girl power clichés like “Be yourself!” and “Rock what you’ve got,” but because I never meaningfully addressed the issue, the nagging continued.

But now, inspired by my students’ connection to Night, I was ready to dive into history, identity, and why I refuse to straighten my hair. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 6 2012

My Daughter’s Black/Jewish Hair

By at 10:47 am
little girl getting haircut

Who's excited for a haircut?

From the instant the sonogram technician said, “It’s a girl,” (and, for the record, after two sons, I didn’t believe it; I waited till the doctor came in to confirm), my mantra had been, “Hope she likes boys’ clothes, and short hairstyles, ‘cause that’s all I’ve got.”

Well, she’s almost 5 years old now. And guess what? She likes neither.

My daughter will give in to wearing her brothers’ hand-me-downs once in a while, jeans and sweaters with rocket-ships on them—because rocket-ships are cool. But, most of the time, it’s pink, pink, and more pink. Pink dresses, pink coats, pink underwear, and pink tights. (Luckily, she has a cousin with similar tastes, who’s six months older–and two sizes larger.)

Then there’s the hair.

My daughter has one Jewish parent and one Black parent. Ergo, my daughter has Black/Jewish hair.

Yay.

For the first year of their respective lives, all three of my children had unbelievably straight, ebony hair. (In fact, when we sent out a photo of my newborn middle son, a friend responded, “What an adorable Asian baby you’ve got there.”)

And then, right as the first candle got blown out on the birthday cake, a single curl sprung up over one ear. Then over the other ear. The two tufts stuck straight out, devil-horn style, until they got too long and wavy and proceeded to droop downward. At that point, all three of my kids had themselves a nice set of payes. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 30 2011

Bad (Jewish) Hair Day

By at 2:25 pm

I have not met a woman that doesn’t have a bad hair day. There are different hair types that have degrees of bad hair day, and those who are born with the traditional Jewish curly hair are some of those who have the hardest time keeping their tresses in order.

“Jewish” hair is usually dark kinky hair that can be frizzy. It takes a lot of product and finesse to get it to look and feel the way the person would like.

Here are some tips on what to do those days where spending time on your hair is not going to happen:

It perplexes me why more women don’t know the value and greatness of a single braid down the back, but get to know it. It can look so chic, yet simple. Step it up with beautiful fun bobby pins, like the Happy-Go-Lucky Bobby Set. For a more sporty look put on a great non-slip headband like the Woven Pink Argyle. Use them to hold back loose hairs, or just to dress up your hair.

For those of you looking for something to cover a little more, try a headbandana. What’s a headbandana, you ask? It’s like a scarf you tie behind your hair, but it’s already made into a headband so you don’t have to tie it at all. My mother would call this a schmata (Urban Dictionary: noun – unfashionable piece of clothing; something you should not be caught dead wearing), but if she does, I’d say it’s a chic one. My favorite ones are the Cappuccino by Danielle Loporto.

There are times when you just need to get your hair out of your face and away with a bun or chignon. I have tried these fantastic Goody Spin Pins. Two of them keeps your bun staying up all day long. For those of you who are skeptical, so was I, but they actually do work! Mix it up and use these with pretty bobby pins, and again you’re accessorizing your plain bun.

Something I tried recently that surprised me is dry shampoo. It certainly doesn’t clean your hair, but it does remove the oil if you need. I like the Suave Dry Shampoo because it works and it’s under $4. Win-win!

Who said a bad hair day had to look bad?

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