The Beatdown

11 Ways To Make Your Rizos Grow In The New Year

Now that the holidays are in full swing and we inch closer to the New Year, we can’t help but think of January as a chance at a fresh start. And like every other year before this one, we know we’re going to look back at the past year and roll our eyes the bad decisions we made. And we’ll be the first to admit–some of the worst decisions we’ve made in the past year have definitely been hair-related. To over-heating, over-coloring, and falling back into bad habits (some shampoos with sulfates smell so good!), we definitely acknowledge that our hair care routine has some room for improvement.

So in 2019, commit to treating your hair with the kindness that it deserves! In order to help with that commitment, we’ve provided a list of 11 better ways to treat your hair in the New Year. Check them out below!

1. Commit to Less Heat

We know you’re tired of hearing it, but this age-old piece of advice is worth repeating: cut back on heat styling. It’s the number one step you can take if you really want to improve the appearance and overall health of your hair. Now we know cutting out heat styling altogether is unrealistic for many, so instead, pledge to at least cut back in the New Year. Create a plan to wash your hair on the weekend so you don’t have to explain your blow dryer ban on weekday mornings. You can also opt to style your hair in ways that look just as great with wet hair, like braids, buns, and twist-outs. Heat-styling may be a tough habit to break, but we promise, your hair will thank you in 2019.

2. Trim every 6-8 weeks

If you’re Afro-Latina, it’s possible that you grew up being fed the idea that cutting your hair was a big no-no. I remember my mother forbidding me to get haircuts throughout elementary school, as she was afraid it “wouldn’t grow”. We now know that this old wives’ tale couldn’t be more wrong! In fact, when you trim your ends, you preemptively remove the most delicate part of your strands (the ends), and leave in its place the newer, stronger part of the strand. By cutting away your brittle ends, you can prevent your ends from splitting further up the shaft. And contrary to popular belief, end breakage is actually the primary culprit behind your lagging length gains.

3. Protect Your Hair While You Sleep

It may seem like overkill, but there’s a reason that sleeping on satin, whether it be hair bonnets or pillowcases, has suddenly become all the rage. The reason behind this is that traditional cotton pillowcases cause friction between the hair shaft and the pillow. And repeated friction = breakage. Satin pillowcases and bonnets are a great alternative because, unlike cotton pillowcases, satin texture isn’t as rough and isn’t as absorbent. That means satin sucks less moisture from your hair during sleep. If, like me, you can’t stand snoozing with anything other than your own hair on your head, go with a satin pillowcase. It’s less annoying and just as effective!

4. Use Leave-In Conditioner Every Day

That’s right: Every. Day. Many women of color–and Afro-Latinas especially–struggle with retaining moisture at their ends due to the curlier pattern of their hair texture. And although weekly deep-conditioning is a great way to give your hair a one-time mega-dose of moisture, it’s the daily upkeep that will keep it consistently hydrated. A daily leave-in conditioner can be exactly the extra step you need to keep your hair soft and strong. Remember when using a leave-in conditioner to pay special attention to the very ends of your strands, as they’re the part of your hair that’s most in need of moisture.

5. Use At-Home Hair Masks

Yes, they’re fun to whip up in the cocina, but DIY hair masks also work! Raid your kitchen cabinet for everything from avocado to coconut oil to offer your hair a little extra love before wash day. Not only are homemade hair masks effective, but they’re usually inexpensive, making it easier for you to commit to a New Year’s resolution of pampering your strands. Look to the internet (or your madre) for the perfect recipe for your hair pattern and texture.

6. Experiment with Protective Styling

Although we live for wash ‘n go’s and the occasional silk press, we know that once in a while, our hair needs an extended rest from the daily wear and tear. In the past, we’ve avoided protective styles because they can sometimes be pricey, and all too often, they’re too time-consuming for our busy schedules. But in 2019, we vow to let our hair get some much-need R&R under Senegalese twists, box braids, micro-braids, and faux locs once every few months.

7. Deep-Condition Every Wash

As young Latina women, our schedules are packed and sometimes it seems that deep-conditioning our hair is just one more thing we need to worry about in an already busy day. Yes, it’s more time-consuming than a quick wash-and-rinse with shampoo and conditioner, but it really makes a difference. Unlike regular conditioners, a proper deep conditioner attaches itself to the hair fiber to provide longer-lasting moisture. And not only does deep-conditioning replenish the lost moisture, but it works to prevent future damage too. And since hydrated hair is equal to healthy hair, it’s essential that you use any chance you get to replenish its moisture.

8. Use Protein Treatments

If your bathroom counter looks like a graveyard for split ends, it may be time to start incorporating protein treatments into your hair care routine. Protein treatments are different from regular deep conditioning because they contain essential amino acids that bind to the hair shaft, making it stronger and less prone to breakage. These treatments are especially effective for Latinas with high-porous strands (i.e. heat and color-damaged). Opt for a protein treatment once a month, but be careful of over-treating. Too many protein treatments can make hair brittle!

9. De-tangle with Care

How many of us have memories of standing in front of the mirror before school while our mothers roughly dragged a hairbrush through our tender little heads? Well, turns out, that method of detangling is a big no-no. Not only can it cause breakage to your ends, but it can pull out perfectly healthy strands from the root. The best way to detangle is to use a wide-tooth comb and either hair oil or a leave-in conditioner. In the shower after shampooing, saturate your hair with conditioner and detangle again with a wide-toothed comb. After you shower, apply a leave-in conditioner first and wait until your hair is semi-dry before detangling again. This method ensures that your hair is always lubricated when you detangle, thus preventing breakage.

10. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo

When the natural hair movement really took off a few years ago, the number one advice the natural hair community was touting on the internet was this: stay away from sulfate-filled shampoos. There’s a reason for that–sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent that works to strip the hair completely of its natural oils. And while this may be nice for that squeaky-clean feeling after you shower, over time it zaps all moisture out of your hair, leaving dry and frazzled strands. Stick to sulfate-free shampoos most of the time. But, if your hair is feeling cakey and volume-less, go ahead and opt for a shampoo with sulfates once a month as a clarifying treatment.

11. Pamper Your Scalp

If you’re properly moisturizing and hydrating your hair, chances are, you’re going to experience heavy strands sometime in the near future. Moisturizing products can coat the hair and leave stubborn residue. This residue can build up in the scalp, clogging hair follicles and pores and preventing speedy hair growth. You can combat build up by treating yourself to an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. Known for its clarifying properties, ACV also acts as a mild exfoliant and pH balancer. And if you want to spoil your scalp further, treat yourself to daily scalp massages. Scalp massages increase blood flow and aid in lymphatic drainage, both of which promote hair growth.

Read: Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

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The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education Fired An Educator For Speaking Positively About Black Hair


The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education Fired An Educator For Speaking Positively About Black Hair

On Tuesday, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education released a campaign video directed at youth that shattered harmful attitudes surrounding “pelo bueno, pelo malo” — the idea that thin, straight hair is beautiful and afro-textured coils aren’t.

“In the Ministry of Education, no little girl, little boy or grown adult should be discriminated because of their physical appearance. We are committed to guaranteeing the equality in identity,” Marianela Pinales, then director of Gender Equality and Development at the Ministry of Education on the island, said in the video, as young Black and brown boys and girls send similar messages about loving their hair as it is.

The 52-second PSA is long-overdue in the Dominican Republic, one of many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that has held tightly to the white supremacist belief that skin and hair texture that aligns closer to European standards of beauty are both more attractive and deserving of better treatment than those with hues and locks that are darker and thicker.

For that, many on the island and diaspora celebrated the video, including Edith Febles, a respected journalist and natural hair advocate, who aired it on her show, La cosa como es. However, just after the video debut, Febles said Pinales was discharged.

While the Ministry of Education said that Pinales was fired because she missed several recent events — a claim the educator denies — and not because of the video, which some have considered controversial, many find the timing around her termination questionable.

“The timing is very *very* suspicious to say the least,” Amanda Alcántara, the digital media editor at Futuro Media Group, wrote in an article for Latino Rebels.  “Much like the roots of anti-blackness in the country itself, the people in power seem to stop at no cost to maintain white supremacy. This confirms that even as consciousness grows, the problem is systemic.”

On social media, many others have shared similar sentiments.

The campaign, however, is reaching audiences in and outside of the Dominican Republic, where it has the power to challenge beauty ideals and young people’s relationships with their hair.

Read: 6 Afro-Latinas Open Up About What Headwraps Mean To Them

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9 Ways To Winter-Proof Your Curly Hair And Make Sure It Retains Moisture

The Beatdown

9 Ways To Winter-Proof Your Curly Hair And Make Sure It Retains Moisture

Winter, with its windchill and dry air, can be a particularly brutal time on sensitive strands–especially for Afro-Latinas. Hair with a curlier pattern is more prone to breakage, as it is more difficult for the natural lubrication of the scalp to travel down the hair shaft and moisturize hair ends.

So although we love the winter months for all the festivities and the rare time we get to spend with our families, a part of us also dreads it. Or more accurately, our hair dreads it. With our (often) ethnically mixed heritage, our hair patterns can run the gamut–from poker-straight to kinky-coily. And because of this, we have to pay special attention to the way our hair reacts to the winter elements. Because what works for our primas doesn’t necessarily work for us. In light of this, we’ve compiled a list of ways to winter-proof our hair this season. Check it out below!

1. Trim Your Ends

Instagram @curlelia

At some point, as grown women, we have to come to terms with the fact that we need to trim our hair every 6-8 weeks. It may be hard to part with the puny amount of growth we seem to accumulate over the previous months, but it’s also universally acknowledged at this point, that trimming your hair is one of the best ways to keep your hair healthier and achieve more progress in your length journey. So, go make that appointment with your stylist ASAP!

2. Cover Your Head

Instagram @tgknowscurls

To prevent your hair from receiving the full brunt of the winter elements during the colder months, try physically covering it. Scarves and hats physically shield your hair from wind, dryness, and precipitation–elements that are known to damage sensitive hair. However, it’s important to pay attention to the fabric you use, as some of the coziest fabrics out there have a rough reputation. By that, we mean that warm fabrics such as wool an cotton cause the highest amounts of friction against hair strands, making it break easier. If you truly want to baby your strands, buy a silk scarf or a silk-lined hat. You won’t regret it.

3. Don’t Leave the House With Wet Hair

Instagram @afrolatinas_

This piece of advice may seem like an old wives’ tale that your madre has repeated one hundred times. But in this case, it’s true! Leaving the house with wet hair isn’t just damaging to your health, it’s damaging to your hair. We all know that our hair takes longer to dry in the cold weather, but we sometimes conveniently ignore the fact that our hair also freezes when it’s wet. And when you have frozen hair, you risk breakage. So, plan your schedule accordingly and make sure your hair is 100% dry when you leave the house (preferably air-dried).

4. Stick to Rinsing in Cool or Warm Water

Instagram @afrolatinas_

We have to admit that there’s almost nothing as satisfying as stepping into a hot bath or a hot shower after freezing our butts off in the winter cold. Unfortunately, this practice can be damaging to delicate strands. When you wash your hair in hot water, the water opens “elevates” the cuticle of the hair making it porous. Porous hair is more vulnerable to the elements and more prone to breakage. If you must take a hot shower, make sure you tie up your hair or cover it in a shower cap.

5. Use an Oil-Based Moisturizer

Instagram @afrolatinas_

The best route to the healthiest, happiest hair? Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Hydrated hair is hair that is stronger and less prone to splitting and fraying. And because oil doesn’t evaporate as quickly as water-based moisturizers, oil-based moisturizers are the perfect tool to lock-in hydration this winter. Look into argan oil, jojoba oil, and avocado oil for maximum moisturization and protection.

6. Deep Condition

Instagram @afrolatinas_

There isn’t a time of the year when your hair needs moisture more than it does in the winter. Because of the winter months’ reputation from dryness and wind chill, your hair is more likely than ever to become a frizzy, brittle mess. Deep conditioners help to penetrate the hair shaft and nourish it with fatty acids, proteins, and nutrients that strengthen and protect that strand from the inside out. To get more mileage from your deep-conditioner, pop under a hair dryer for a few minutes to enable maximum penetration.

7. Cut Back on Heat Styling

Instagram @afrolatinas_

The winter months are usually chock-full of opportunities to become extra-dependent on your trusty blow dryer and curling iron. After all, everyone wants to look their best during gatherings where there are sure to be tons of photo ops. But curling irons and straighteners weaken our strands by damaging the cuticle. Additionally, blow-drying our hair creates a “flash drying” effect that robs the hair of its moisture and natural oils. Although it’s okay to use heat once in a while, work on limiting your dependency–especially during the winter months,

8. Buy a Humidifier

Instagram @afrolatinas_

You can slather on as many oils and moisturizers as you can get your hands on, but if you live in a dry-air climate, you’re fighting a losing battle. That is unless you buy a humidifier. Humidifiers are a great way to add moisture to your strands in dry climates where moisture is hard to come by. This one almost seems obvious upon further reflection, but it’s something that doesn’t even cross people’s minds. The equation is simple: a humidifier = moisturized hair. Moisturized hair = healthy hair. Case closed!

9. Utilize Protective Styling

Instagram @annakiyaderesende

If all of the options above still fall short of preventing breakage and dryness in your hair, opt for protective styles. Twists, braids, and weaves protect your hair from rough elements and the day-to-day unnecessary friction.’ It’s no wonder that some women report incredible length gains after protective styling for a few months. So if you’re tired of using hats, humidifiers, and deep conditioners take a break from the hair-mania and put your hair away for a while.

Read: You Can Help Give the Children in Immigration Detention Centers a Gift This Holiday Season

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