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Everything You Need To Know About Perfecting An At-Home Blowout

Who said a DIY blowout on 4C hair couldn't be mastered outside of the salon?

Hair

4C hair is magical. Despite what society, the beauty industry, advertising, or even people close to us say — our kinky coils are beautiful and versatile. Since I've been natural, I've tried so many different styles with my hair —from rolling it on rods (which I gave up because I was doing it to make my hair "acceptable"), wearing braids, twisting it out, slicking it back, wash and go's (which is currently my go-to), and the blowout.

I initially stayed away from blowing out my hair because I was afraid of heat damage. But now I've found the right tools and products that can be purchased at any drugstore to keep my hair healthy when I want to go for a full-on 70s vibe.

Here are the drugstore products and my process for getting the blowout look without damaging my hair:

Step 1: Wash hair

My stylist always said great hair starts in the shower. I think she was right. Having clean hair and a healthy scalp makes styling and maintaining 4C hair easier to manage. I always start with a shampoo like Eden BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo that washes away build-up without stripping my hair.

Step 2: Co-wash

I then follow up with Shea Moisture's High PorosityMoisture-Seal Co-Wash. I've been trying a few different co-washing options, but I'm enjoying this one now since it makes it easy for me to detangle during my wash and leaves my hair baby soft.

Step 3: Deep condition

Deep conditioning each week with Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque is a weekly staple. I buy this in bulk because it truly keeps my hair moisturized and my scalp healthy. After I use my fingers to detangle my hair and smooth the conditioner through my coils, I cover it in a shower cap and wrap a hot towel around my head. I would typically use a hooded dryer, but I haven't replaced the one that broke a couple of months ago.

I leave it on for thirty minutes to an hour, depending on how much time I have and then rinse with cold water. On weeks that my hair needs a little extra TLC, I follow up my deep conditioner with ApHogee's Intensive 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor.

Step 4: Air dry and hydrate

After I use my AQUIS Lisse Luxe Desert Rose Hair Turban (which has become my new favorite thing) to get the excess moisture out of my hair, I part my hair into eight sections and secure them with alligator hair clips. Then, I spray each section with African Pride's Coconut Milk & Honey Hydrate & Shine Leave-In Conditioner. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this leave-in, but it makes my hair feel moisturized without weighing it down — and the price tag isn't bad either.

Step 5: Lock in moisture

Lastly, I lock everything in with Cantu's Shea Butter Super Shine Hair Silk. I typically try to stick with pure argan oil, but I bought this on a whim, and it has been a staple for me ever since. Some might think 4C hair can't be light and bouncy, but it can, and this product helps make the possible while protecting my hair from the heat of the blow dryer.

Step 6: Brush and blow dry hair

Then I blow dry each section on medium heat with my Denman Brush using the tension method. One thing I've learned along the way is that investing in the original Denman is the way to go. I've bought knock-offs and have had to stop in the middle of stretching my hair to put the brush back together. Using medium heat does make my process a little longer since each section dries slower than if I were using the highest level of heat, but I want the look without damaging my hair in the process.

Step 7: Wrap hair

Once each section is dry, I twist my hair Susie Carmichael style and wrap it up with a silk scarf although I need something that won't slip off my head at night like Grace Eleyae's silk-lined caps. I've woken up in the morning with my scarf covering on one side of my head, which makes me question what kind of sleeping I'm doing.

There are also no-heat ways to give your hair a similar look, but I personally enjoy having different options of stretching my hair. There is no one size fits all, and I'm no expert, but I think it is okay to use heat on your hair from time to time.

Happy Wash Day!

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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

Featured image by Shutterstock

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