Style your Crown: Hair care + Self care Workshop - Review

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Embrace your crown, then watch your royalty unveil.
— -Sierra C Johnson

After having Jackson, I quickly realized the importance of taking care of myself & in turn, properly taking care of my son. That saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is so valid & real. You’re not only a caregiver of your children or whoever. You’re an individual that deserves & requires the same amount of love & appreciation you give out. Being a Mom, Jackson is always watching me. What I do & expose him to is literally all he knows. If he sees me stressed & at my wit’s end all the time, that’s what he’ll become. Hence my focus on my self-care.

Also, dealing with PP hair loss made me want to focus on restoring my hair – Momma needed that hair to grow back. At the same time, I started learning more about my own hair – what works with it, what doesn’t, hairstyles, treatments & really embracing my natural state.

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to virtually attend a Style Your Crownworkshop titled Hair Care + Self Care put on by Sierra Johnson featuring Erika Layne & Courtney  Grayton in Washington DC. The purpose of the workshop: to create a space for women of color to bring insight & inspire each other about the importance of taking care of yourself as well as your natural hair. Pretty much EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! Obviously, there was no way for me to physically get to D.C. so I was extremely fortunate that they live streamed the 3-hour conference over IG live.


A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON THE LADIES (contact links below)

SIERRA – mompreneur, athlete (jumper) & founded StyleYourCrown Natural Hair Workshop in 2013. I can’t even begin to describe the texture & look of her hair – I envy her!

ERIKA – noted photographer in MD who makes shaving different designs in her head a game with her daughter. So inspirational & I want her “haircut”.

COURTNEY – owner of Froetry, is a walking advertisement for her brand & I would LOVE for her to wrap my hair. As simple as that statement is, you don’t even understand.

During the workshop, Sierra took questions from the ladies that attended – discussing their hair types, how times they’ve done the big cut (chopped all hair off to get rid of damage & start fresh) & a fun fact of each person. The main portion I was looking forward to was the deep conditioning & wrapping tutorial. As someone who is just discovering deep conditioning (late to the party), I felt this part would be the most beneficial to me. Also, I know hair hydration is one of the most, if not the most, the important part of understanding your hair.


A FEW DEEP CONDITIONING DO’S & DON’TS

DO deep condition wet hair – My hair is pretty soaked when I apply. It’s pointless to apply on dry hair or wash hair after. Simply rinse it out.
DO apply attention to your ends – Focus on your to make sure they aren’t getting neglected since they are the furthest from the roots.
DON’T break the bank – Not all deep conditioners work the same for everyone so borrow from friends or try Ipsy bags when trying to find THE ONE. Once you find yours, you shouldn’t burn through it either because you’ll only be using once, maybe twice a week (depending on how much damage you have).
DON’T leave it on for 8 hours – Containers may say leave on for 5-10 min but I leave mine on for an hour. You hear of people deep conditioning overnight & I learned that a no-no. It damages your hair even more than what you’re trying to fix. One of the contributing factors being the constant moisture for such a long period of time leads to weak protein bonds which are meant to strengthen. 

However, while the actual hair care was crucial & of great importance, I received more wisdom about self-care than anything. Toward the end of the workshop, ladies began to voice their employment experiences that had to do with their natural hair & I have to say, I was both in shock but not surprised. They said they had been treated differently because when they would wear their hair naturally, their coworkers (specifically white coworkers) would approach them asking if they did their hair that day or immediately reach out to touch their hair O_O SAY WHAT!? [Note to those of my friends that have done this to Jackson or myself, please stop. Literally, ask for permission or let me say it’s ok to touch. NEVER RUB!] After a few discussions, it was noted that we were still in a world where straight hair was the most acceptable look – well kept if you will. The perming generation is still an influence on ours & that just isn’t applicable anymore. 

After a few discussions, it was noted that we were still in a world where straight hair was the most acceptable look – well kept if you will. The perming generation is still an influence on ours & that just isn’t applicable anymore. For example, when we go into an interview, how many of us have straightened our hair to get their foot in the door & “fit in” rather than show the natural hair from the get? GUILTY AS CHARGED. 


MY HAIR JOURNEY

For the longest time, I thought I was prettiest when my hair was straight. Both my high school & college were predominately white so all I really saw was stick straight hair you could run your fingers through or those effortless-looking beach waves that gave off that carefree look. For years, I tried to duplicate those looks & honestly thought I could because the texture of my hair wasn’t “real black girl hair.” I SAID THAT FOR YEARS & I’M ASHAMED. To correct myself, I don’t have the kinky texture. I have the coily texture, closer to the ringlets.

Senior year of high school: hair stayed straight. never natural.

Senior year of high school: hair stayed straight. never natural.

Junior in college, constantly trimming my hair to my ears & using God knows what products my white friends were using & I thought I could use too. WRONG!

Junior in college, constantly trimming my hair to my ears & using God knows what products my white friends were using & I thought I could use too. WRONG!

It was the in the middle of my College years that I started to embrace my natural curls. Not completely because I still straightened & wanted to ‘fit in’with my white friends & run my fingers through MY hair like them but I started to wear my curls more frequently.

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Moving to Charleston where the humidity is ALARMING, straightening (& attempting to keep straight) was nearly impossible so the curls became my normal. I feel like I made a huge step in accepting my curls as ME when Matt & I moved to Washington, we had our first professional photo session & I willingly wore my curls. Sounds stupid, I know, but it was a big deal. I even used one of the pictures as my online portfolio image so my curls were part of my initial image. When people saw Jessica Lipscomb, they would see my curls. HOWEVER, I was still unsure in person  For my bank interview, hair was straight & looked awesome but smelled terribly burnt & I knew my ends were fried.

Online portfolio image embracing the curls to the world.

Online portfolio image embracing the curls to the world.

The very last time my hair was straight – Matt’s Christmas party. Also gave birth to Jackson 3 days later O_o

The very last time my hair was straight – Matt’s Christmas party. Also gave birth to Jackson 3 days later O_o

Now, I’ve been natural – no heat since December 2016 & my hair has never been healthier! I’m still learning the in’s & outs of my hair but it’s a process!

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What we, as women of color, can do is retrain people to see what is ‘acceptable’ – which is being whatever you feel fits you best. & I do use the phrase ‘retrain’ because that’s exactly what it is. Some people see our curls in wonder because they are in awe. Some see them & want to touch them because they’re honestly ignorant of the time & effort put in to achieve what they see. Not everyone is rude but we are responsible for educating. Retraining. I shouldn’t have to wonder how people look at my hair & interpret if I’m fitting for a job based on how ‘frizzy’ my hair is.


“I love being a black girl because I can be versatile”


Back to the workshop…

These are some notes I managed to frantically take down as I balanced walking around the house with my headphones on listening in, doing laundry, making food & catering to Jackson. I hope some of these stick with you because they’re personally exactly what I needed to hear & almost re-realize myself.

You are fearfully & wonderfully made.
Self-care can be selfish but it’s 100% needed.
Self-care is difficult! You need those friends that remind you of it because it’s so easy to forget.
Kids naturally take of themselves & find things that bring them joy. We need to get back to that as adults.
You’re not doing anything wrong. In order to have great self-care, you need to be aware you aren’t perfect & really be ok with it.
Sometimes, self-care is saying NO.
Self-care is taking steps today to prepare for tomorrow.
Protect your energy. Protect your peace.
Feel yourself – when you look good, you feel good!
Exfoliate your body.
Appreciate the sour to know the sweet because you cannot grow until you’ve confronted the bad.

WHAT DID I LEARN?

There is no justification for not taking care of myself. None. If anything, there’s more of a reason with Jackson. It’s also not a checkbox action that can be done every day & promise the same result. Every day is different so self-care changes with the sun. One day, it could be as simple as a quick morning scalp massage or a full hour of hardcore lifting the in the garage. Just have to take it day by day.

I’m eternally grateful to Sierra, Erika & Courtney for holding this workshop & so glad I could attend. I needed this reminder to always keep my cup full & I LOVED  ‘virtually’ meeting all those other queens! I look forward to attending more of these workshops & taking even better care of myself