Thursday, 1 September 2016

Pretoria Girls High Natural Hair Saga: My 2c unminced



This week the young women from Pretoria Girls High school rose to protest against discrimination. Soon after several other schools joined the havoc to weigh in on their own experiences. News flashes of racism at schools trended media platforms this week. Unfortunately, these protests have been met with a significant dissonance. 

Below, I discuss school rules related to the idea of neatness. Many other issues have been alleged by learners that goes well beyond the discussion on hair. Some of these allegations were shocking and was met with justified outrage. However, this article is limited to the natural hair debate related to school learners. 

The Opposition: 
Made the reductionist argument that this issue mars in comparison to the very many bigger more important issues facing South Africa. They state it to be a non-issue being raised by some ‘privileged’ children causing unnecessary noise. 

Protest against institutions has once more become popular. In settings where the populace feel unheard and disregarded protest is a popular response. Discriminatory practice often ends in protest. The point of the comparison here is not to draw similarities between this and other recent protest actions. It is simply to highlight that protest creates the potential for national social discourse. It is through these broader discussions that we are able to reflect and redirect when necessary. 

The Protesters:
Have stated that they feel discriminated against by school policy. They claim that they are being requested and or coerced into chemically treating their otherwise volumes of hair. They feel school rules are discriminatory and does not account for their identity and reality. 

What has gone wrong here and what can be done to get back to stability? Lets look at the various stakeholder positions. lets unpack the idea of neatness. And finally see where we go to from here. 

The Role of the School in the Hair Debate:
The South African school system is founded on uniformity. We have varying but standardised school uniform and hair rules to ensure this goal. This is standard and expected by every single household with school children. Unlike the standardised clothes other aspects of the uniform such as hair, make-up and nails often creates opportunity for either adherence, dissonance or discipline. 

If we are to evaluate school regulation and discipline, then a few conditions have to be filled. Is the order uniform? Does it apply to everyone? Is it fair? Can it accommodate special circumstances? How is it understood and implemented by those in power as well as those on the receiving end?

The Challenges: 
Neatness is a school rule that all learners are rightfully expected to adhere to. However, the making of neatness related to hair is not clear. All hair can be worn in a neat state and an untidy  one. Generally school rules state that when hair touches the collar of a uniform it should be tied back. This is a fair and just rule if it is applied to all children equally. Let us now look at the practicality of this rule. If a learner has caucasian hair just above the collar, then their hair would lie down and still be well within the neat category if not tied up or braided. However, a learner with natural hair with the same length hair will look different. An afro does not lie down. It stands up. This rule becomes impractical when we consider the reality. 

The vague definition of ‘neat’ creates potential for revolt. A simple one word: ‘neat’ requires further teasing out based on reality. Also, neat does not necessarily equate to appropriate. Take Bantu knots for instance. It is very neat, but is it appropriate for school? Where is the line between an acceptable school hairstyle and a fashion show? 

Braids:
Braids are an interesting conundrum. On the one end it is a time saving tool. It can be done once per month and save many hours of hair styling. It can be a practical go to hairdo for school. A straight back and a thin singles, either twisted or three strand braid set should be acceptable. The challenge to this situation is when braids become elaborate. Braid hairstyles are so varied and braid fibres come in a huge variety of colours and textures. Take for instance the example of box braids. Now imagine box braids at lower back length. Take for instance Marley hair made into dreads or red braids or blonde braids. At the point at which these variations come into play we are no longer talking about a hairstyle suitable for a school learner. They are hairstyles meant for exhibit and school is not a place to go show off the latest look. 

Weaves:
Should girls be allowed to wear weaves? If they are then should there be restrictions on the kinds of weaves they are allowed to wear? Should they be allowed to wear weaves of a different colour to their own hair? 

Wigs: 
While it may be more clear cut to say no wigs allowed there are very valid situations where learners may want to wear a wig. For certain cultural and medical reasons a learner should be allowed to wear wig. If a girl lost her hair due to illness she should have this option. 

Hair Dye: 
This is an issue for all learners in school. Very often black learners complain that the dye rule is unequally applied at schools. White learners often get away with dyes and highlights without being cited for this action. In part this is because the colours they choose may actually blend easily with their own hair. So a girl with light brown hair may decide to get blonde highlights. The teachers often overlook this even when they are aware of it. However, black girls, due to the fact that their hair is mostly dark brown to black, are regularly in trouble when they do dye their hair. If a school has a no dye rule then the rule has to be equally applied to all students without exception. 

Natural Hair:
School learners should never have to wonder whether or not being natural is an option. Healthy natural hair should be the norm not the exception. Learners should never be asked to process their hair to change the texture to fit into any standard outside of their own natural beauty. Schools are a place for uniformity but it is also where young people find their feet and individuality. 

I have two beautiful daughters with very long naturally curly hair. Every week their hair is braided by hand or tied into a neat pony with a braid. Every week they ask me, “Mommy, when can we have loose hair?” My reply is always the same: “On civvies, during holidays and at university.” At age 7 and 9, they already have a desire to show off. School is not the place you go to be pretty. It is where you go to learn. I am unapologetic about this position.  

Does having a boring set of natural hairdo infringe on the development of a child? No. Can a natural girl child still express her individuality and creativity outside of school? Yes. Is the requirement of the idea of ‘neat’ unacceptable? No. 

The Real Problem:
The school, in this instance, was caught with their pants down. School policy is completely out of touch with reality. The screwed up implementation of policies around school rules has led to this chaos. When faced with a ‘black issue,’ often school management have no idea how to tackle it and so it is left to fester. When there is an attempt to tackle these ‘black issues,’ it is done without any consultation and stocktake by the relevant stakeholders. Policy requires buy-in and adherence from a the associated group it seeks to govern. Without buy in from the entire body of an institution regulation becomes a nightmare. Also, the manner of the administration of discipline has to be clear. In schools attitudes of authority figures often complicate discipline. Leading to a pushback. 
The governing body, teachers, parents and students should have all been a part of resolving these issues before it became a PR frenzy. 

Next Steps: 
School around the country need to look at their policies and where they are found to be out of line with reality they have to be adjusted accordingly. There is a need to discuss in detail what constitutes the idea of neatness. Rules need to be written to accommodate the learners that they serve. Teachers and other authority figures have to approach the implementation of rules with more regard for the young leaders they are leading. Parents have to be part of the conversations to inform on their expectations and experiences. Parents are ultimately the first and final point of reference for the appearance of their children. All stakeholders have to be aligned and in accord with the final outcomes of these discussions. 

Children today live in an age of ultra connectivity. It is to be expected for them to push the boundary. Their expectations have shifted, their voices are stronger and they want to be heard. Never before has respect for children been this high. That is as it should be. However, first, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children accept fair and just authority. Second, to ensure that they are able to speak up when necessary. Finally, that we restore the integrity of their selves as worthy and loved. 





Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Beat Dry and Damaged Skin with Dermastine


Dermastine Products


If you don’t know it yet; you should. If you have not tried it yet, you must do yourself this one service. Are you pregnant? Breastfeeding? Trying to lose weight? Trying to tighten your skin? Struggling to prevent or treat dry skin on your face? Dermastine creams are the answer to these skin concerns. 

It is a rich formula of Vitamin A, E, and Pure Elastin to prevent stretch marks, nourish dry skin and tighten skin. Dermastine cream is the best product on the market for stretch mark and dry skin prevention. This incredible range is available at Dischem Pharmacies countrywide. 

Dry Skin

I discovered Dermastine during pregnancy nine years ago. The product was recommended by my gynaecologist. I already had the regular arsenal of stretch mark prevention treatments and this particular product seemed expensive in comparison. I reluctantly bought it and hoped for the best. 

As I ballooned from 45kgs to just under 78kgs I was sure that my skin would never be able to return to its pre-pregnancy state. After my first child, I expected all the baby fat to melt away like ice on a hot day. Fast forward two years. Add in a better diet and regular exercise I was back in my size 28 jeans. 


Stretch Marks
I am grateful that I discovered Dermastine.  It prevented stretch marks in all my rapidly expanded areas. Stretch marks are a result of the skin being pulled beyond its elastic capacity and literally tearing leaving linear indentations. These lines start off dark red that eventually fade to silver stripes. Once skin has stretched there are no non-invasive and or painless ways to remove stretch marks. The best treatment for it is prevention. The best way to do that is to use Dermastine.

Dermastine body cream has two variants. One for ‘during pregnancy’,  the other pre- or post-pregnancy: ‘with Vitamin A’. During pregnancy one should avoid Vitamin A. The during pregnancy cream contains 3% pure elastin and Vitamin E. The pre and post pregnancy cream contains 3% elastin, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A. These key ingredients allows the skin maximum elasticity to stretch and return without tearing.

One of my friends on her second pregnancy heard me rave about this amazing product and tried it. After her pregnancy, she said: “I got stretch marks in my first pregnancy and not a single one in my second while I was using Dermastine. If only I had known about it sooner.” 

Dermastine with Vit A has been my all over body cream of choice for many years. Particularly because I exercise a great deal. Some months I may up my workout routines and then slow down again. As my body changes during these times, my skin stays intact. 

Dermastine also has a face cream range with three variants of 1%, 2% and 3% elastin, Vitamin A, and E. I have dry and sensitive skin on my face. When I apply makeup and powder it tends to dehydrate my skin. I love the matte look and so I do use powder. What that means is that I need a very nourishing base cream under my foundation. These Dermastine base creams are phenomenal. I prefer the 3% because my skin is very dry. So, if your skin is normal to oily perhaps try one of the other two. 

Dermastine Products

The latest addition to Dermastine face is the Hydration cream free from Vit A. This is a non-greasy formula specifically developed for users of oral acne treatment. Oral acne treatments such as Roaccutane have an extremely drying effect on the skin. This cream will help with those kinds of excessive drying. I use it when I exfoliate my skin and it is absolutely amazing at moisturising my skin when I do an extreme scrub. 


My final thumbs up for this brand is the fact that it is made locally. It is easily accessible and available at Dischem. The prices range for the R150ML product is R299,99. The face range products are R199,95. 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My First Love: Perfume



perfume ( pronounced) |ˈpəːfjuːm|
noun [ mass noun ]
a fragrant liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to give a pleasant smell to one's body(Oxford Dictionary).

Perfume was a major part of my right of passage from moth to butterfly. Perfume, make-up, lingerie and heels were high up on the list in transit from adolescence to woman. Perfume to me is the quintessential mark of femininity. It is a means of self-expression and silent communication. It says: I am this kind of woman. 

My fascination with perfume started in my early teens when I discovered promotional scents placed in magazines. I would cut the folded edges and place it in my drawers and in inside books. As a teen body spray and communal lotion was the limit of my reality. That small problem, however, did not stop my wild imagination and the picture of my adult self-spritzing perfume from fancy containers; en-route to my dream date. Cue music, tv commercial director, lights, camera a call to action. Followed by me stepping out of a stretch Limo doing a beauty queen wave. 

Fast forward to the present and I have a significant perfume collection, save tv ad and minus a few lights. When I enjoy something such as perfume, makeup, nail polish, clothes, and music; I collect it. It brings me joy so I collect it in various forms. What one of my friends call: “your problems”. The perfume is, however, is a problem I do not at all mind having. 

Bath and body products, naturally, are some of my favourite things. When I find one that I love it is quickly added to my favourites list. When I was offered the new range of Lux products that contain actual perfume I was curious. I was given two of the ranges to try and I Loved both. Usually, I try and stick to unscented body washes because I find the fragrances to be less balanced and at times not at all pleasant. They tend to lean toward air freshener instead of perfume. What I love about Lux products is that the perfumes smell like perfume

Perfume, to me, is 'silent speech'. It is an extension of myself sort of like a circle beyond my body. This extended space is the point fo first contact. So, in silence, I give the first indication about me. Using fragrance I say something specific about me. Often the message I try to send is gendered and says: I am a woman. So, it becomes a defining factor in my feminity. Since I enjoy stating the fact that I am a woman I enjoy doing it with fragrance.  

When I smell great people actually notice and comment that I smell great. They often will ask which perfume I am wearing. It certainly is a positive nudge for me to feel great. It is a confidence booster. 

I am curious as to how other women experience fragrances? What does perfume mean to you? How often do you use it? How do you feel when you use perfume? Does it make a difference in your life? 

Love Naturally 

SHL

Monday, 18 April 2016

Be A: She Who Dares with LUX

Link to the movie: Watch it here
She Who Dares

Scene 1: A handsome hunk’s focus is shifted by the scent of a woman. His genuine and honest voice leads a beautiful story of love at first sight. He stumbles over words and phrases struggling to make sense of his awe and familiarity with the beautiful stranger in his gaze. The female actress in the background is a young, fearless beauty. The admiring hunk opens with: “It was your fragrance, that's what hit me first…you know, how when you look at the moon and there’s a glowing ring around it. An aura of purple and gold. Your fragrance (inhales and exhales deeply) was like that somehow, but because of it…it made you stand out to me…it made you an interesting someone…”


His voice continues to describe the girl as:

“…a she who dares to jump from things and into things and live wildly like a messy force of nature. Listening to no one and spinning and pushing and pulling like a fast moon around a sleeping planet. I don’t know what I’m saying, you know. I don’t know where I’m going with this. But. Last night you were like a moon with a glowing neon ring around it. And when you gave me your number…”

My heart melted at “an aura of purple and gold”. 

Scene 2: In the final few seconds of the movie the girl giggles and says: “I’m glad you called”. 

You then realise that this was a retrospective take on the first night of magic. A memory told in a phone conversation between these young lovers. The images in scene one are first of the meeting and then the time spent after this call. The male voice is soft and genuine filled with admiration, gratitude even. The scenes are real, depicting how a typical couple would meet in a bar with friends giving noticing glances and whispers. This love at first sight story inspired by Perfume as the catalyst feels real and true. 

What I loved about the story is that the girl is in control and indeed brings into motion what follows. She is bold and unafraid to give her number. Her dauntless nature is what makes this movie special. It is the story about a “She Who Dares…” It is a movie that depicts reality. It is on point in every single way. 

What is even more special about this short film is the background development. This production is a product of the collaboration between Unilever South Africa and Mo Films. These two brands created a developmental platform to train young upcoming directors and writers. One of these young stars, Jonathan Sidego, created this Lux film: She Who Dares. A love ignited by perfume. 

The Story: 
A free-spirited, hip and happening young black woman appears and commands the attention of a guy who is in awe of her entire being. Her Lux perfume draws him and he is totally taken by her.  She is refreshing, funny, free and wild. This story is beautifully told and skilfully crafted to bring together the elements of how when one feels beautiful, one can be a “She Who Dares”.

When you look and smell great your outlook is more positive. When you bounce positive signals they are more likely to find other positive connections. How you feel about yourself is part of your aura. Adding perfume to your daily routine is now easier than ever. Lux perfumes help simplify your beauty routine by adding perfume to your bath. 

The amount of effort I invest in my daily routine depends on my mood and what is lined up on any given day. Here’s what never changes: how I smell. Perfume for me is a powerful tool in a woman’s arsenal. For many people the olfactory sense decides who and what we like, just as our minds subconsciously analyses and make decisions. Often in crowds and in confined spaces the thing we do notice about people is how they smell. You can pass a stranger on the street and never notice what they are wearing but you will experience how they smell and that is what you will remember. It is the first impression you make and it stays where you were for a few hours after you have left and eventually forever etched into the memories of other people. Make positive memories by spreading a scent that is true to you. A scent that will leave positive memories when you have gone. Be a LUX woman: A “She Who Dares” to live life without fear. Melt someone’s heart when you pass by. 

Overall: 
I love everything about this movie. I love the way it was made and I LOVE the fact that the content is real, it is current and that it is local. I love the fact that these brands are investing in local talent instead of just importing unrealistic images. I LOVE the fact that the script was done by this young director and the fresh nature it ended up being. The content is clear, crisp, current and relevant. I love how the ‘voice’ of the young man comes through. This really is a very cool piece of art. I am usually very critical about how Global brands use a one size for all formula. It is crazy cool that big brands are thinking and doing 'local'. What's more is that when this local content is done to such a high standard it is cause for celebration. 

Love Naturally to Unilever, Mo Films, and J Sidego. 
Silk Helmet Lady



Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Garnier Pure Active

Deep Pore unclogging wash, Micellar Cleansing Water, Toner and 3-in-1 wash, scrub and mask


I am pleased to announce that I am now a Garnier Pure Active ambassador. 

What this means is that I get to indulge and share my love for this brand and specifically the Pure Active range. I do not have perfect skin. However, since I have only one skin, the best way to ensure it remains in good health is a great skin regime. Clean skin is what ensures my skin stays clear and my insurance comes from using Garnier. 

I obsess about clean skin. I am the crazy person who tries everything to get every speck of grime off my face. I have sensitive and dry skin thus I am mindful of the cleansers I use on my face. I want products that can deep clean without being abrasive. 

I don't have constant acne but I do have periodic breakouts when my hormones fluctuate. One minute I can have clear skin and the next I could have hills. Again, clean skin is my best defense against breakouts potentially getting out of control. 

I have huge pores that love collecting dirt that can lead to blackheads. Regular, thorough cleansing is my solution. I am also prone to sunburn and skin blemishes so my skin regime can be extensive. I love make-up, but after each application, I have to ensure that I clean all product residue to restore an optimum skin balance. So, limiting  potential inflammatory bacteria that can cause breakouts. 

My biggest challenge with all skin regimes is adherence. Often, I have the best intentions, all the right products, but I end up not using them. The products work too slowly and the process takes too long. I end up just watching the products evaporate leading to significant waste. 

What I love about the Garnier skin regime is that it is simple, quick and easy to use. Some of the products such as the 3-in-1 cleanser, scrub and mask give me three different products in one single application. The Micellar Cleansing Water is amazing; a quick wipe and my make-up is removed, especially after a long night when I am just too tired for any rigmarole. The cleansing wipes give a swift and easy clean. I will share all the products, in turn, to demonstrate how user-friendly this skin regime is. In five minutes, morning and night, I can go from clogged to spotless. The products are reasonably priced and widely available. I am in love with my Garnier skin regime. 

What this means for you, the readers, is that first I will give you the full run down on the what, how and when of each product. I will also be sharing some love by sending some of you the products to test and share your views. If you have any of the issues I listed above, you will love this range. For those of you with more acne related skin concerns, there is a specific Intensive range that is suitable for oily skin. 

Pure Active Intensive Range


So look out for what will follow on this exciting journey with Garnier Pure Active



Lots of Love Naturally


Silk Helmet Lady

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Cocktails and Curls - Event in Cape Town

The details for this wonderful event can be found in the Events section on this page.

If you would like to enter into this month's lucky draw to win these tickets please comment below with your name, location and what you love about your natural hair.



Love Naturally
Silk Helmet Lady

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Big Chop to Bra Strap

My Blonde Moment

Four years ago I had beautiful blonde hair that was so dry and brittle that I dreaded wash days. I loved the colour but the maintenance on blonde hair left my strands brittle and dry. I tried all sorts of expensive products to rehabilitate my dull dry hair. Constant tangles, split ends and lifeless hair eventually led me to a scissor. It was time to go back to the beginning. My colour experiment had failed. I thought that with great care I could stay ahead of the lifeless hair curve. I was wrong. Bleach takes no prisoners. Everything eventually drops dead. 





It was time to cut my losses and move on. So on I went and I realised that the reason I coloured int eh first place was the fact that I was unhappy with my natural hair. I did not know how to detangle it. How to keep it moisturised. How to style it. When it was short I made every hair mistake in the manual of what not to do with natural hair. This is what the blonde ended up looking like. 

Regret came too late


So, It was time of the Big chop again and I hated it. I did not want to cut my hair. But the state it was in was just awful. The strands were weak and thin. They were porous and full of frizz. I realised that even though i had been natural for almost five years I still knew very little about caring for my hair. I took a scissor and cut it into a pixie. The minute the hair was off I was sad but relieved. 

Regaining myself
                                                                     
And time to re-learn what I thought I knew about growing healthy hair. Lesson 107 on natural hair I did not have to learn is that when you know a thing is bad, the thing is bad. Lesson 108 is that when you know a thing is bad the things you may try and do to contain the bad may not work. 109 a risk is called a risk because it is a risk. 

Finally, sometimes the best thing to do to get out of a bad situation is to just walk away and make a new start. Just start again. This is true for many things in life. Some things are just not worth trying to fix. New start. 

Ignorance was bliss

My natural hair in full halo. I loved it but I still had no idea how to get it to do what I wanted. For those of you who see my hair now and think- she got that good hair- think again. She learnt how to get that good hair. And so can you. For the first time in my life my hair is predictable. I know how to manage it without ever to think about it. I never have a bad hair day because in just five minutes I can rock a style even from a failed hairdo. Taking better care of my hair helped it to grow so much. I can make it look short. I can make it look long. I can do just about anything with my hair. 

                 
My Crown 
Bra Strap Baby
Smiling from ear to ear

Whatever you decide to do with your hair. Do love it. Do love yourself. Do whatever the hell makes you happy. 
LOVE Naturally 
Silk Helmet Lady 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Are you considering the Big Chop?

If you are considering the Big Chop and have questions and concerns then this is the article for you. Do you want a real view of what it means to go natural? The emotions, the reality and next steps. 

Get the full 411 in the series of transitioning hair here: Introduction

Love Naturally
SHL