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Is Your Hair “Spring Ready”? If Not, Follow These Tips.

Time to let your crown bloom, sis.

Hair

Every time that a new season rolls around, something I try and do is provide hair tips to help to prepare for it. Well, now that spring is officially here and I'm pretty sure that you're beyond ready to get out of your house a little bit more, I wanted to make sure that your hair is at its best, whenever you do. So below, you'll find 12 tips that can help your hair to look and feel its best; especially if you're looking to gain a few extra inches come Labor Day.

1. Get a Microfiber Towel

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If you don't treat your hair to anything else this spring season, make sure to cop yourself a microfiber towel. It's dope because, not only does the material help to prevent snagging, it also absorbs water without drying out your tresses, doesn't leave any lint in your hair (a big plus) and it significantly reduces your chances of frizzing.

Since it's getting warmer outside and you probably wanna rock more wash 'n go looks more often, all of this is really good to know. Home improvement stores and places like Target and Walmart carry them for a pretty reasonable price.

2. Exfoliate Your Scalp with Coffee Beans

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As I'm in the midst of my own hair journey, something that I have learned on a very personal level is, the more I take care of my scalp, the more my hair is able to flourish. That's why I'm all about scalp exfoliation (check out "Treat Your Scalp To A Little Bit Of Detoxing This Weekend"). It removes dead skin cells. It helps to balance your scalp's pH levels. It unclogs hair follicles. It soothes the scalp (so that you can keep your hands out of your hair more). And, if you decide to exfoliate with coffee beans, it can actually stimulate hair growth. One reason why is because it's able to increase blood circulation to your scalp. Another reason is it contains antioxidants that are able to block DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) which is a hormone that sometimes cause hair loss.

If you'd like to pamper your scalp a bit by exfoliating it, simply combine three tablespoons of fresh coffee grounds with one tablespoon of brown sugar (it's a humectant; more on that in a sec), two teaspoons of olive oil (olive oil is also high in antioxidants) and a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil (it increases blood circulation, moisturizes and invigorates your scalp). Mix everything together and apply to your damp hair and scalp before shampooing or conditioning your hair. Gently massage your scalp for about five minutes, let the exfoliant sit for five more, rinse your hair with warm water and go on with your wash routine as usual.

Your scalp will feel amazing!

3. Wash with Shampoo Bars

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It has taken me a hot minute to find the best shampoo for my hair. I've shared before that, for me, shampoo bars are the lick. The ones that I've purchased on Etsy are all-natural and sulfate-free. Also, since they are a bar, I can basically massage my head while applying the shampoo. Shampoo bars are super concentrated with whatever ingredients that they contain. They're good for the environment (because there's nothing to throw away). And they get your hair really clean without totally drying them out. You can find them more and more at local beauty supply stores. Like I said, though, Etsy is the lick. Just go to the site, put "shampoo bar" in the search field and you'll be able to read up on all kinds so that you can figure out which one works best for your personal hair needs.

4. Condition with Coconut Milk

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I don't care how well you take care of your hair, if you're not conditioning it properly, it's never gonna thrive in the way that you truly want it to. Not only does conditioning your locks help to put moisture into them, it also gives it extra sheen, increases its elasticity (so that it doesn't break as much when you're styling it), can reduce the trauma that color-treating your hair can cause and it can decrease the chances of hair damage too. If you'd prefer to go with an all-natural conditioner (so that you can keep a lot of unnecessary chemicals out of your hair), a must-add ingredient is coconut milk.

When it comes to our hair, specifically, coconut milk is high in lauric acid (which helps to strengthen your hair's cuticles). Our hair is made of protein (keratin) and coconut milk is high in it. Vitamins B, C and E are all up in coconut milk. Some of the properties in coconut milk can actually help to slow down hair loss. The anti-inflammatory properties in coconut milk can soothe scalp irritation and dandruff. And the fatty acids in coconut milk can deeply condition your hair too.

Coconut milk also smells pretty nice in your hair, so if you want to try it as a deep conditioner for your hair, click here to check out a video on how to make it and here for instructions on how to DIY a leave-in option.

5. Use Some Humectants

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One of the reasons why our hair can sometimes get really dry is our curls happen to be tighter than other ethnicities typically are. As a result, the natural sebum that our hair follicles produce is unable to easily flow down the entire strand of our hair. This is why it's so important to deep condition your hair on every wash day. You also should look into adding some humectants to your hair as well. Basically, humectants are products that help to pull moisture out from their air and into your hair (and skin). Honey is a humectant. Aloe Vera is a humectant. Vegetable glycerin is a humectant. Off of the top of my head, these are three ingredients that you can add to your shampoo, conditioner or put into a water bottle and lightly spray your hair with that can help to bring moisture to your hair, so that it doesn't feel dry and brittle.

6. Go Lighter

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Something that I'm a huge fan of is sealing my ends (check out "Top To Bottom: 10 Tips To Strengthen Your Hair Follicles & Protect Your Ends"). It's basically when you apply some type of hair cream or butter (shea butter is bomb) to your ends, after applying some oil to your hair, in order to seal in moisture on your wash day so that your ends break less. While sealing is something that you should do, no matter what time of year it may be, if you've been applying butters and creams to your hair over the fall and winter seasons in order to give your hair more moisture, you might wanna let up on them, just a bit, during the spring and summertime. The warmer times of the month are usually when we want our hair to have a bit more movement. Besides, butters and creams can wear your hair down. That's why you might wanna try a light oil instead. Sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba, avocado, pomegranate and argan are all potent moisturizers that don't leave a lot of residue behind.

7. Wet ‘n Define

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Now that it's getting warmer outside, you might want to wear a wash 'n go or twist out more often. If you want either look to last for more than a couple of days, the key is definition. When it comes to wearing a blowout, it's best if you allow your hair to dry about 60 percent before applying the heat of your blow dryer to it so that you don't end up frying your locks (don't forget to put some thermal heat protectant on your hair, by the way). On the other hand, if you want your curls to look as defined as possible, you're going to need to do the complete opposite—your hair needs to be wet, then apply your product and then allow your hair to air dry.

I already know. This sometimes can take several hours, if not even a couple of days, based on how thick your hair is or how long it may be. Still, it really is the most effective way to get the look that you're after. And just what are some of the best products on the market to achieve the most optimal results? Naturally Curly has a list of 10 defining products that you can check out here. Caring for Natural Hair's site has some good tips for how to have a bangin' wash 'n go. You can check it out here.

8. DIY Your Own Mousse

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When it comes to what can give your curls the kind of definition that you're after, it's important that you avoid hair products that contain alcohol. That's because alcohol can dry your hair out and ultimately lead to breakage. So, what should you do? Well, a healthy alternative is to make your own hair mousse. Mousse is great because it is able to protect your strands while reducing frizz and giving them a good amount of definition in the process. If this is something that you want to try, again, check out Naturally Curly's "3 All-Natural (Firm Hold) Curl Styler Recipes". It's got a recipe that's easy to make and makes your hair look and feel pretty amazing.

9. Keep a Rosewater Hair Spritz on Tap

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If you're someone who lets your soul glow by wearing an Afro most of the time, something that you might want to keep close by is some rosewater spritz. Personally, I'm such a fan of it that I actually shouted it out in an article on how to heal dry skin too (you can check it out here). Off top, you can probably guess that rosewater is an ultimate moisturizer/conditioner. And indeed it is.

Rosewater is also really good for your hair because 1) it helps to keep calcium build-up in tap water from damaging your hair; 2) it can help to remove dandruff flakes; 3) it soothes your scalp if it is irritated or inflamed; 4) it reduces frizzing and 5) it adds shine. Something else that's great about rosewater is if you use it as a spritz in your hair, the scent of it can actually help to decrease symptoms that are related to headaches and migraines (how cool is that?).

If you want to make some of your own from the comfort and convenience of your own home, check out this video and this video for step-by-step tutorials.

10. Pull Out the Hair Accessories

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Hair has décor trends, just like anything else does. So, why not get into some of the hair accessories that have already proven to be really popular this year? Some of them include super-wide, braided and beaded headbands; vintage scarves (like literally tying them underneath your chin); hats with wide brims; either really small or super large hair clips; pearly hair claws; putting multiple hair pins in your hair at one time (like on the back when you're rocking a low ponytail); black ribbons and, of course, flowers.

11. Get on Top of the 2021 Hair Trends

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When it's cold outside, we're oftentimes rocking hats and wrapping our hair up in scarves in order to protect it from the harsh winds and bitter chilly temps. Now that the weather is milder, it's time to put our hair up into some trends, don't you think?

Some popular ones for 2021 include Bantu knots, long braids and twists, layered textured bobs, bangs and "messy hair" (which is basically just adding a little bit of product to whatever your natural texture is and letting your hair do whatever it wants to do).

For the most part, what it basically boils down to is "less is more". Just make sure that if you go with a protective style that you read "This Is How To Know Your Protective Style Ain't Workin'" beforehand. There's no point in rockin' one if it's ultimately gonna damage your natural hair in the process.

12. Enjoy Wearing Your Hair Out More

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A woman by the name of Jessica Harrelson once said, "Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is." I definitely believe that there is a lot of truth to this. So, let this be the season when you fully embrace your hair's texture and, even if it's just on the weekends, that you enjoy wearing it out more. After all, your hair is your crown, right? Let the sun kiss it. Take some pictures outdoors. Let everyone see how gorgeous your curls truly are. Allow your tresses to…fully bloom!

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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