Change — even the subtlest kind — is welcomed now more than ever these days in my life. Enter hair shadowing, a technique that is exactly what it sounds like: Changing your hair color using (powder or cream!) eyeshadow. It's the cheap, quick, non-committal, and non-damaging way to switch things up with your tresses at your whims. The technique was popularized by the Queen of Temp Hair Colors herself, Naturally Tash, a natural hair enthusiast who was on Instagram influencing long before being an influencer was really even a term.
I'd see her post a different hair color on Instagram so frequently that I thought, "Surely, sis ain't dying her hair like that every other week.What in the brittleness and breakage risk is going on here?" After further investigation, and talking to her myself several years ago, I was put on to "shadowing" (also known as hair chalking or temp coloring). It's as simple as finding a single eyeshadow pot chilling in your makeup bag (or picking up one at the drugstore for mad cheap) and sliding it down your tresses until the color pops — before or after the style. You can literally take your hair from just black to black with pops of blue, pink, or whatever other color splashes on your heart at the time. And it all comes right back out with a single shampoo. Skeptical?
Behold, Natural Tash. The Rainbow-Brite of natural hair.
She now pulls her looks off with her own line of hair shadow products, called Crown Paint Colors. But before launching the brand, she was using regular-degular eyeshadow pots by different drugstore brands. I don't always have her Crown Paint Colors on hand, but I do always have something in my overflowing basket of beauty products at home. When I feel bored with my color and want something different for the day (or the week), I pull one out.
Now, unlike Naturally Tash, I'm not quite a rainbow gal. That said, I have been feeling the urge to try other natural hair colors because I've been mourning the in-person hair appointments with my favorite natural hair stylist and honestly. Plus, I've just been in a funk about my hair in general because that's just how it is sometimes. Sometimes, my lil' puff listens to me. Some days, I gets tired of fussing with it and just want to cut it off. Whenever I'm that over it, I remember my long-term growth goals and try to treat myself to a brief change with hair shadowing.
First, I pull whatever I have in my bathroom at the time. This creamy one looks like a reddish-pink shade but given my super dark hair color, I was already prepared for it to appear more like a rinse on my head, which I was fine with.
I usually apply it to twists or braids in my hair because it's easier for me to spread the color that way.
And when I've spread the paint on each twist and then taken down my twist-out like usual, here's the result:
It's super subtle and the best part is that you can go as loud or as muted as you want with your colors. The other day, I shadowed parts of my hair for a slightly brighter red look in different spots.
For me, the lower-key shades work. For Naturally Tash, it's the Roy G. Biv. And when either of us get tired of it, we can send the colors right down the drain and start over with a new color — sans the fear of breakage or a texture change due to moody chemicals typically found in some boxes of dye.
This is my small way to switch up my look. Yes, even if I ain't heading anywhere but the grocery store and the mailbox. When I shadow my kinky 'fro, it's about more than just testing new hair colors. For me, it's all about doing one small thing to adorn and celebrate my natural 4C hair even on the days when it's ticking me off the most. Even when my twist-outs fail (as, honestly, they frequently do). Even when shrinkage has gotten in the way of the style I was going for on a particular day. I can always let my kinks and curls fall where they may and spread some color over all of it just to cheer things up and create some temporary change.
So would you try hair shadowing? Or have you already been using the method to color your crown? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image by Shutterstock
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7 Black Women Bookstagrammers To Follow And The Reads By Black Authors That Empower Us
I've always been a stan for reading, and I've been a so-called book geek since kindergarten. My mom would always reward good grades and behavior with a trip to the local library, something my siblings loved more than any new toys or free time to play outside. We would spend hours at the tall stone building in the downtown area of the small town I spent my childhood in, first in the downstairs "Children's Room" (which only had books for readers 5-13). I later graduated to going (i.e., snuck) upstairs to find all the juicy celebrity autobiographies, travel books, and classics like Sula, Moby Dick, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
So today, when I see so many Black women part of #bookstagram, I feel seen because many of us love not only to read but to drown in books by Black authors, poets, historians, and researchers who continue to add to the narrative and reflection of what it truly means to be a Black person---a Black woman---in America.
Check out (and follow) a few of my favorite Black women bookstagrammers and the books that empower us:
Zora Neale Hurston is clearly an icon, and she's one of my favorite authors, thought leaders, and scholars, so this is an obvious choice for me. What I love, specifically, about this bookstagrammer's page is that it lacks pretension, is super-relatable, and includes a nice mix of nonfiction books, something I'm trying to boost in my collection.
2.Kayla Starr @blackgirlbookadventures
Another classic, Beloved was a book I unsuccessfully tried to read as a 12-year-old, tried again in my 20s (and failed), saw the film, and then fell back in love with again reading in my 30s. Black Girl Book Adventures is a page that just screams brightness, positivity, and a love for books that draws you near.
3.Black Girl With Books @blackgirlwithbooks
This book had a profound effect on me, as it connected the dots between Ghana (a place that has held a special place in my heart since my 2016 visit) and Black America in a way that blew my mind. It also helps that the storytelling and timelines are captivating and thoughtful in a way that any editor who just loves good writing--in an online content environment that seems to reward robotic, vapid, Grammarly-informed, copycat writing---would appreciate.) The founder of this page also offers info on bookstores and other interesting updates for bibliophile baes.
4.Shani Akilah @_shaniakilah
A love of travel and books? Yes, please! Shani's page is refreshing and welcoming, inviting you in on her global adventures along with her journeys through her latest reads. I'm a huge fan of books that feature Black women protagonists in Caribbean or African settings who are able to come into a higher sense of themselves through challenge or hardship. For some reason, I'm always drawn to those books, which is why this one is a top pick for me.
5.Boipelo Lecha @boipelo.reads.books
I'm not big on romance novels (after having grown out of an early obsession with Danielle Steele). At one point, I'd been yearning for a book that offered an elevated sense of the Black love experience (beyond the esteemed OGs like Terry McMillan, Eric Jerome Dickey, and Zane) and stumbled upon Love In Color. It was just what I needed because it's a collection of classic love stories retold through the lens of the author, and the tales centrally feature women.
Biopelo is an up-and-comer in the #bookstagrammer space.
I've been consumed by Black historical fiction, and this is a good one for the collection. It tells the story of a Black southern family through generations in a way that doesn't feel like a book you were forced to read for a college project. It screams, "Turn me into a six-part Netflix saga," and was a surprise hit for me because I made some very ignorant assumptions about a poet being able to write such a story. (Ah, like Maya Angelou isn't literally a queen in my head.)
Virginia-based Semiyah is literally like my reading tastes twin, down to the mix of types of books she showcases on her page, from romance fiction to new YA titles.
Lex serves up book events and information about new releases to boot, and her page doesn't scream, "Hey, I'm going to just promo books sent to me for free by publishers." On top of that, I support any and everything with the name Tiffany D. Jackson stamped on it. She's a graduate of the other HU (heeeey all my Hampton *cough*, I mean, Howard folk), and the way she puts her special stank on YA will have you wanting to actually relive your own teenage years.
Dare I say, reading her work is like the first time I read Judy Blume, Sister Souljah, and Candy Dawson Boyd---all pioneers in what is now known as young adult fiction. It's authentic, truthful, kind, real, and has a living soul, all elements I yearned for back in the late '80s and '90s as a confused, geeky, Black girl at the library and that I still yearn for as an award-winning editor, editorial manager, and self-employed woman at my big age.
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