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I Tried A Black-Owned Hair Kit To Maintain My Protective Styles

The products surprised me.

I Tried It

Since my "big chop" in early 2018, I've fully committed to wearing natural hairstyles as a way to maintain healthy hair. As a self-proclaimed naturalista, wearing protective styles have been a great alternative to my wash and go routine, allowing my hair to remain tucked away while minimizing manipulation and breakage. Rotating hairstyles such as braids, wigs, and twists gives my hair a break from nasty seasonal weather conditions while also allowing me to save so much time from not styling each and every morning. Although my intentions of wearing protective styles to save my hair from damage are effective, wearing these styles alone aren't enough to ensure that I'm reaping 100 percent of the benefits.

As a Black woman with tight coils, I was never taught how to take care of my natural hair, let alone how to keep my scalp happy while living an active lifestyle. Now that I am older and have more responsibilities, including a weekly workout routine, it's even more important to have the right products that are assisting in the protection of my hair and scalp while not solely relying on protective styles to give me the healthy hair results that I desire.

Shahirah Ahmed for xoNecole

As an active naturalista, it's even more vital that I protect my strands, cleansing my hair of sweat that damages my scalp especially with gyms closures and working out regularly outdoors. To combat the damage from outdoor elements, I took it upon myself to find the best products that will not only nurture my strands but created by women that know and understand the natural hair struggle. While it's easy to protect our hair in the spirit of hair growth, according to Natalya Moosa of Afrocenchix, "Prepping your hair in anticipation of wearing a protective style is key in your hair routine. This starts with ensuring the hair is clean and free of any prior product buildup which otherwise could lead to breakage."

As a general rule, we should begin any and every protective hairstyle with freshly cleansed and moisturized hair but it's maintaining that clean and healthy hair underneath that adds to the benefit of each style, meaning daily and weekly care is still required especially when working out.

Shahirah Ahmed for xoNecole

While there are so many products in the "Ethnic Hair Care" section at my local Target claiming to relieve that annoyingly severe dry itchy scalp when my hair is in braids, I've never stumbled upon products that are effective, lasting throughout the day. To combat my post-gym hair and calm my itchy scalp, I decided to try Sunday II Sunday's Moisture Balance Kit for the first time and what a great decision it was. Known as the athleisure of haircare, this black-owned company has created a wide range of products to benefit the active woman by removing excess sweat and restoring the moisture our hair so desperately needs.

The Moisture Balance Kit is the ultimate collection created to protect hair against unwanted moisture such as sweat while relieving uncomfortable itch, transforming the scalp within minutes. The kit attests to a fully transformed scalp guaranteed within 28 days of use for all hair types. Even for those less active, this is a great kit for all of us struggling to control irritating scalp itch that is so common when wearing protective hairstyles.

Sunday II Sunday - The Moisture Balance Kit Review

Shahirah Ahmed for xoNecole

Sunday II Sunday Root Refresh Micellar Rinse Review

I've never experienced instant long-lasting relief until using the ROOT REFRESH Micellar Rinse infused with apple cider vinegar and micellar water. The dry shampoo replacement is a lightweight cleansing breakthrough product that revives, renews, and refreshes your hair and scalp. It's perfect in between wash days with no shower required. I love using this spray after a workout as well as a cleansing spray every other day to refresh my scalp. With an amazing smell described as "fresh crisp apples", my review of the Root Refresh Micellar Rinse is that the apple cider vinegar is not overpowering and offers a perfect balance to cleanse while providing a fresh scent, removing unwanted odors from outside elements.

Sunday II Sunday Revive Me Daily Moisturizing Spray

Along with the Root Refresh Rinse, the addition of the Revive Me Daily Moisturizing Spray is absolutely necessary to combating dry itchy scalp. This award-winning lightweight moisturizing mist calmed my hair and revived my scalp adding shine and nourishment. I instantly felt relief using this product directly after the Root Refresh Rinse. I use this spray once a day in the morning after showering or at night throughout the week. This product can also be used to refresh curls and is a universal moisturizing spray perfect for any natural hairstyle.

Courtesy of Sunday II Sunday

Sunday II Sunday Soothe Me Daily Scalp Serum Review

One-fourth of the moisturizing kit, Soothe Me Daily Scalp Serum is everything I've ever needed in my life when it comes to scalp relief. I'm convinced the addition of this serum is what locks in the moisturizer needed to cool and soothe my inflamed scalp. As a wig-wearer, the itch can feel uncontrollable however this extremely lightweight yet effective cooling serum is infused with peppermint oil relieving my dry scalp within minutes when paired with the Revive Me spray and Root Refresh. Used in the morning or at night, pre- or post-workout, as a daily refresher or to calm dry scalp due to protective styles, this is a must-have serum for women looking for a product that actually works to relieve itch all day long.

Shahirah Ahmed for xoNecole

Sunday II Sunday Edge Flourish Daily Nourishing Serum

Last but certainly not least, EDGE FLOURISH Daily Nourishing Serum, is the perfect serum to bring my edges back to life. With sensitive skin, I'm always skeptical of products that are for my edges because it's used so close to my face and I fear breakouts but this edge serum is lightweight with the perfect consistency that doesn't feel too heavy or clogs the pores. With natural ingredients and a silicone-free formula, this serum consists of biotin, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, and safflower seed oil to deliver healthier and stronger edges.

It's suggested to apply directly to your edges and nape, gently massaging the serum into your edges with your fingertips to nourish and protect before and after styling. When in need of a serum to repair damaged edges that are sometimes caused by our protective hairstyles, my review of this product is that the formula completely nourishes, moisturizes, refreshes and renews to help keep your edges fully intact.

Overall, the Sunday II Sunday Moisturizing Kit is complete with everything you need for daily haircare.

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Featured image by Shahirah Ahmed for xoNecole

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
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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