In 2009, the entertainment world was shocked when Solange Knowles cut her hair into a short cut. Now, four years later, Solange's hair has had plenty of time to grow, and she has been praised for her dedication to her natural style hair with her luscious, edgy, afro styles, and bold, colorful, patterned frocks. In the June 2012 issue of ESSENCE, she is deemed a natural hair icon. In my fashion, free hair says a free spirit. Solange says, "I honestly was just tired of the energy surrounding my hair," she explains. "So when I cut it, I didn't think about what anyone else would think." She is evidence of the transformative powers of a haircut, and by committing herself to caring for her hair without manipulating it with chemicals, many girls look to her now a days to find out how they can do the same (including me). Below I share her responses to ESSENCE Magazine where she talks about the importance of hair to black women, and what it takes to care for African-American hair. I thought these tips would be inspirational to anyone who is considering the journey of natural hair care. While the journey may be like traveling in uncharted territory, in my fashion, it is a journey that brings one a greater sense of pride and achievement.
ESSENCE: Are you surprised so many people are inspired by you?
SOLANGE KNOWLES: I am! I wasn't expecting that. I get women all the time on Twitter and face-to-face saying, "I did this [haircut] because you did." That's really, really humbling, and I think it's amazing.
ESSENCE: Is there any style that stands out as a favorite?
KNOWLES: I actually love my natural hair when it's in a twist out and it's been slept on for five days and revived by the steam of the shower. A lot of people say, "It's so beautiful. Why don't you wear it like that all the time?" Well, I'm in all these different places and working with different hairstylists, so it's important for me to wear it in a protective style.
ESSENCE: How do you feel about your hair now?
KNOWLES: I think many people, especially from other cultures, just don't understand the role hair plays in Black women's lives. I can now transform the energy surrounding my hair into something way more productive. Now that [my hair is] growing back, I'm kind of in that in-between stage. Previously, I would have said, "I'm straightening it again; it's just becoming too much work." But I think the key is to find styles that give me flexibility.
ESSENCE: What advice would you give someone who wants to go natural?
KNOWLES: I would say it's going to be a journey and you have to be 100 percent ready. I think many people are coming into it thinking it's going to be easy and it's going to be healthier. Just because you're natural doesn't mean you'll be able to wash, shake and go. It's a lot of work. If it's something you truly feel strongly about and it's going to represent you in lifestyle, hair care and health, then it's a worthwhile journey to take. I stand for people who are firm in their journey.
Perhaps her hair tips below will work for you as you try to find what routine works for you. While these tips may work for her, in my experience, as I said in my last READing Your Style post, Buff Around the Edges, managing your hair is about experimenting and learning what is simple and manageable for you.
1. Don't Let Your Hair Control Your Life
“[Before going natural], I was working out, swimming and going on vacations with my son, and I always felt as if my hair held me back. Cutting it off was a pivotal moment. I enjoy not having to worry about it,” says Knowles.
2. Moisturize Daily
“I put shea butter in my hair every day. I also use Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey. It’s like an oil, but it’s not,” says Knowles.
3. Dedicate Some Time for TLC
“I have a ritual at the salon where I have oils put in my hair and I sit under the dryer for an hour and a half,” says Knowles.
4. Have a Go-To Product
“Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisturizing Hair Smoothie is definitely my fave,” says Knowles. “I was a Carol’s Daughter advocate way before I became a part of the brand. The newer products are great, but I swear by Black Vanilla.”