Our lives are overloaded, mine included. We are in multiple places doing multiple things on any given day. Through the hustle and bustle of life, how do we hold it all together?
By Chioma Nkwodimmah Valcourt
How we feel on the inside and how we look on the outside are really important to our physical, spiritual and mental health. 20+ years in the hair and beauty industry has confirmed for me that inner and outer beauty are connected. Women and men sit in my chair and share their lives, emotions, life choices, relationships – it goes on and on. As a trusted shoulder to bounce things off of and a constant ear to listen, I welcome all with hair issues to “lay on my couch” for some soul searching counsel on “hair happiness”. Hair happiness is the emotion of loving your hair from its root and loving the hair decisions you make during your lifetime.
Let’s take a peak at some hair issues we have on our schedule today:
#1 NY Mommy on a Mission
Here’s my issue, HAIR is the cause of many fights I am having with my 8 – year old daughter. She’s a swimmer and soccer player and very active. Her hair is long, coarse, and has a very tight curl. It’s difficult to keep up the maintenance on her hair. I am contemplating cutting or perming my daughter’s hair and have been criticized for wanting to take these measures. What should I do?
Hi NY Mommy on a Mission. I always start any session off with sharing my hair philosophy and then giving some options that may work for your situation. First things first. I recommend never making a hair decision while you are in a state of frustration. That’s when many mistakes and regretful decisions are made. So let’s clear your mind and focus on how beautiful your daughter is.
Be Positively Hair Positive: The first experiences with hair will stand out for a child and remain with them into adulthood. Take a listen to “I am Not My Hair” by India Arie and you will see that she remembers her first perm, jheri curl, relaxer, locks, hair cut and so on. The artist rejects her hair being aligned with her identity. I recommend that you speak positivity to your daughter’s hair texture. It’s never too early to start this type of positive interaction. Don’t make the hair issue such a big deal. Your daughter doesn’t have to associate her hair with negative feelings and/or emotions. The messaging that you relay to your daughter is going to be the most important part of the experience in getting her hair done. Look forward to creating positive childhood memories around hair.
Hair Time: Washing and styling your daughter’s hair can be a time for connection, a time to show love, a time to build self-esteem. I created hair rituals with my daughters ages 7 and 9. We discuss what we’re going to do, allocate enough time and they get involved by choosing some styles and preferences. This is good training because eventually our little girls will become teens managing their own hair. I also recommend treating your daughter to a salon experience once a month. During that time, learn some techniques and ask about products that are best for your daughter’s hair. It will be a treat for her and a treat for you!
#2 – Naturally DC
I love my job but I work in a super conservative environment. I am a natural girl to the core. I straighten my hair to be more comfortable in the work environment. Problem is my boyfriend hates it. He prefers the tight coils and thinks they look better on me. Now it seems like I spend more time trying to please my boss and co-workers than I do the man I love. Help me!
Hi Naturally DC. This looks like a classic “hair happiness” issue. Before I jump into questions and advice around your workplace or your boyfriend’s preferences, I want to first know, How do you feel?
What do you want?
Hair Power: Your hair is an expression of individuality, but it can also symbolize power and control. When you look good, you feel good, and therefore you do very very well. So yes, it is important in the workplace. Change the messaging. If YOU are comfortable with the way you wear your hair to work, treat it like the power suit, pumps and handbag you carefully put together for work. You have the power to change the message that your hair conveys in your personal, social, and professional life. It is so important to “feel good” about “looking good”.
You Can Have It All: There are many styles the natural woman can accomplish in the workplace without going fully straight. Don’t be afraid to switch it up. Updos are great for the conservative work environment and a style that can easily transition back to sassy curls. There’s nothing wrong with rocking the straight look from Monday to Friday. I have so many clients who enjoy going back and forth from curly to straight and straight to curly depending on how they feel.
#3 Atlanta Newcomer
I recently moved to Atlanta and I have been wearing the same color, cut and style for 5 years. I feel like a “plain Jane” among all of this creativity! I feel comfortable with my look. It suits my conservative personality, but I want to do something different. I’m inspired but don’t want to lose who I am. Help! Guide me into a new style!
Hi Atlanta Newcomer. A hairstyle can be a statement that carries its own implied meanings and perceptions. Who says you have to be the trend! Let the trends inspire you, and allow an excellent stylist to guide you to your best look.
Gifted Stylists: My artistry and expertise is taking one stylish fad and making it work with your features. The same trend doesn’t look the same on everyone but it can look good if the stylist has the gift of customization. A Mohawk can be bold and edgy, or soft and sophisticated. There is something to be said about stylists being able to listen to the information about “feelings” coming from the client. I am excited that you are pushing your limitations and expressing yourself through your hair. Keep rocking it in Atlanta and definitely keep your eyes out for all of that amazing innovation.
Thank you for joining me at my Hair Happiness
sessions. Live Beautifully: Inside and Out.
Chioma Nkwodimmah Valcourt, a master stylist and founder of Next Vanity, brings the strength of her culture, family and creativity to her work as an innovative hair stylist. Born of Nigerian descent, Chioma which means “Gift from God”, brings her business savvy and global perspective to the profession. Her client base is loyal and strong because clients know that they are getting her best every time they sit in her chair. Chioma has established herself as a premiere hair stylist for celebrities and A-list clients. Her focus on healthy hair and weaving techniques continues to keep her in demand.