What is Weave Hair, and Will it look Nice on me?

Every-time time you think about a new look you experience the whole gamut of emotions. You are considering hair extensions, but you’re unsure about the terms. Is it hair weave or weave hair, or hair extension? This is your first time, so you want to understand what you’ll be getting when you go to buy your hair extension. Fret no more, you are in the right place.

So what exactly is a hair weave?

A weave is another word for hair extensions. Hair extensions are frequently used by women, especially black women the world over. They’re often installed by weaving them into the hair or gluing them to the hair from the track. When a weave is installed correctly, it looks beautiful and very natural.

How did hair weaving begin?

Even though it’s has been around for centuries, hair weaving as we know it today has come a long way. Hair extensions originated around 5000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt. At the time it was a status symbol, today, and women used to weave their hair to give it volume and thickness. Today, it’s a fashion symbol.

Why Do Women Wear Hair Extensions?

Every women will have a different reason for this hair styling choice. Here are a few that we know about:

  • Saves time – Hair extensions makes it easy to style hair quickly and save time.
  • The length – Greater hair length can be achieved with extensions than would normally not be possible with natural hair.
  • To cover up hair loss – Sometimes a weave is worn to cover up bald patches, or even hair loss due to health reasons.
  • Protection – Hair extensions protect the hair and help it grow and gain thickness.
  • To give the hair a break – It’s a good idea to give your real hair a break from relaxing and braiding. Hair extensions provide that opportunity.
  • Hair in transition – When transitioning from relaxed to natural hair, many women start by getting a weave, then allow their natural hair to start growing out.
  • Social acceptance – Society often portrays a beautiful black woman with long, voluminous hair. Since many female celebrities wear weaves, this only reinforces society’s standard, and many conform in order to be accepted.

Types of Hair Extensions

There are so many types of weave to choose from. But it’s easy to feel a little lost if you don’t know which is which. Hair extensions can either be Remy (virgin) hair or non-Remy. They come in different varieties, lengths, styles and textures.

Some Definitions:

Virgin hair – human hair that has not been chemically processed. This hair is harvested from a single donor.

Remy hair – This is 100% human hair that is harvested from the head of several donors, but in a way that maintains the alignment of the hair cuticles, in relation to other neighboring hair strands.

Non-Remy hair – The roots and tips are mixed. This means that not all the hairs lay in the same direction. Note that non-remy hair has been chemically processed.

Here are some popular choices for hair extensions.

Virgin Remy Hair – Curly Hair Weaves

Brazilian Hair Weave With Closure – Virgin Hair Deep Wave 3 Bundles With 1 Closure – Natural Color Kinky


Indian Virgin Hair – Natural Hair 6A Indian Virgin Hair Loose Wave Bundles


7A Malaysian Virgin Hair 4 Bundles


Peruvian Virgin Hair Bundles – Curly


There are also other types of hair extensions that are available in Remy and non-remy form. These also come in different lengths, colors, and textures. Here are some more varieties.

Wavy, Kinky, Curly, Or Straight, here are some hair extension hairstyle ideas.

Wavy Hair Weave


Crochet hair weave


Human hair weave – Indian Remy – Straight


Brazilian – Body Wave – Budget Hair Weave


Natural hair weave – Kinky Textured Wefted Hair (No Clips)


Remy Hair Weave – Body Wave


Straight Hair Weave – Sew In


Curly Weave Human Hair – Curly Braids

Things to consider when choosing a hair extension

The beauty of a hair weave/extension is that with a few touches of the comb, you can easily transform your look as often as you want.

So, when choosing a weave, first decide on the the style you want – i.e., curly, straight, wavy, or kinky?

  • Curly – For a curly style, go for textured hair.
  • Straight – For a straight look, choose the silky straight. Think the Yaki straight hair, or Remy hair.
  • Wavy – For wavy hair style, opt for hair that’s versatile and has body, like Malaysian virgin remy.
  • Kinky – For kinky hair look, choose an afro-textured weave, and try to match it as closely as possible to your own natural hair.

Other things to consider:

Quality – Hair extensions can be a bit pricey, depending on what you’re looking for. The best type of hair extensions are 100% Remy Human Hair . They are the highest quality that you will find on the market and yield the best results in terms of durability and their ability to look the most natural.

Budget – Even if you have budget constraints, there are affordable options. This is because Remy hair comes in two versions – Remy, and non-Remy. There’s a wide variety to choose from, including synthetic hair, which will be less expensive.

Matching Hair Color – Finding your color match is not just important, it’s critical, if you’re going to avoid that fake or wig look that literally cancels out all the efforts and money that you’ve put into your hair.

Hair Texture – This is very important, particularly when it comes to Remy, virgin hair. The most popular virgin hair extensions on the market are Brazilian, Peruvian hair, Malaysian hair, Indian, and Eurasian hair.

Due to the texture and hair type, each kind of hair extension works better with certain ethnicities than it does with others. Alternatively, there are some types that work well with just about any type of hair texture, and therefore ethnicity. Remember that if the hair extension doesn’t match your hair in texture and color, it will not look natural.

Origin – Since the hair does comes from a human head, some women want to know where the hair comes from for cultural or even religious reasons and also how it’s harvested. If this is important to you, do your research and let the results guide you on your choice of one weave, over another.

Versatility – For some, the ability to weave (no pun intended) from one look or style to another in minutes or even seconds, is the greatest advantage of wearing a hair weave. sheer practicality of it often overrides all other options for styling hair.

Hair Weave Q & A

I’ve just had a hair extension put in. Is it Ok to dye my real hair?

It depends on the kind of extensions. Most human hair extensions can be colored to match and blend better with the natural color of your hair. On the other hand, synthetic hair extensions should not be colored, for safety reasons.

I want to apply my hair extensions myself. Do you have any DIY tips?

Installing a weave is a process that’s better left to a professional.If it’s not done properly, it can cause hair breakage due to the tension resulting from hair being pulled from the scalp.

If I wear a synthetic hair extension that’s braided, will it help it grow? I want to know if it’s only remy virgin hair that makes hair grow?

The answer is no. Normally, the decision to use virgin hair or synthetic hair is mostly a question of finances or choice. What is important with any type of braids is to avoid any kind of excessive tension, as this can lead to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia.

How long does it take to install hair extension?

Your hair stylist will be able to give you a definitive answer. It really depends on how the weave is installed. If it’s the glue method, which is the quickest, it can can be completed in 45-60 minutes. There’s also the track and sew method which involves portions of hair being braided into a track. The hair wefts are then sewn into place. The fusion method takes the longest, and can sometimes be done over several sessions.

I’m thinking of getting a weave but I have short hair. How long does my hair have to be?

It depends on the type of hair extension and the stylist installing the weave. For natural hair, this can be anything from one or two inches, up to as much as 5 inches. Some methods require longer hair. What you want to remember is that the length of your hair in the beginning can affect the results you get. If your hair is quite short, then you will most likely need to have your hair blended with layers before installing the extensions, so that it doesn’t show too much.

These demo videos show you the process of installing a hair weave.

The Sew-In Method – Brazilian Straight

The Glue -In Method

The Fusion Method – Using Silicone-Based Micro Links & Malaysian Hair

The Clip-in Method

These are also known as clip-in wefts. They’re available in long or short lengths and have clips that are sewn into the strand. The extension is clipped onto the hair with a snap shut method. This makes it easy and quick to put in and remove.

To Weave or not to Weave?

There’s no debate. Hair weaves are in! From the stay-at-home mom to celebrities and socialites, hair extensions are in demand. But use your judgement and weigh the pros and cons, then discuss them with your stylist before you make a decision on which type of installation method to use .

Here’s an infographic to give you a broader picture of what weave type works best with what method.


Here’s what’s great about hair weaves

Installing can be quick & easy – Depending on the type , a weave can be installed in a few hours. Changing looks is a breeze, so a hair weave is perfect for women who love versatility.
The Length – Women with shorter hair can have long hair within just a couple of hours. It’s difficult for black hair to achieve the lengths that are possible with a hair extension. A hair weave can measure up to 30 inches long.
Protection – Wearing a hair weave helps protect the hair. This is good news for weak, damaged hair

Here are some things you need to know before your decide to weave

Cost – It’s possible to find a hair weave for almost every budget, but remember to factor in the cost of having the weave installed. If you’re on a tight budget then you might need to consider a cheaper way of adding length to your hair, like clip-ins.

Pain & Discomfort – If the hair is braided first, the tracks of hair will be sewn into the braids. The pain and discomfort occur because of the pulling that often occurs during braiding. If you have a sensitive scalp, or low tolerance for pain, consider using bonded hair extensions.

Quality – The good thing is that you can choose to pay more, or less for your hair weave. The downside is that you get what you pay for in terms of the results. Expect to pay a lot more for virgin remy hair than you would for synthetic hair.

Weave Care Tips That Help Your Hair & Scalp

Don’t neglect your own hair while wearing a weave. A good hair care routine will ensure that your hair stays healthy. Here are some things you can do.

Prep Your Hair – It’s a good practice to wash and condition your hair before putting in a wave. Use a shampoo that contains selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione, if your scalp is dry and flaky.

Be Prudent – Even though a hair weave is durable, they shouldn’t be left in the hair for too long. Six weeks is long enough. Remove your weave within a reasonable time, and thoroughly clean and deep condition your hair.

Oil Your Scalp – Apply good quality natural oils to your scalp and massage thoroughly. If the hair is synthetic, there’s no need to add oil to the hair.

Avoid Wearing Extensions That Are Too Tight

When extensions are applied too tightly, it puts pressure on the hair follicles. This can cause the hair to fall out, and if care is not taken, it can lead to permanent hair loss.

Take A Break – It’s good to give your natural hair a break from time to time. Use this as an opportunity to check the overall condition of your hair and moisturize or deep condition, and trim the ends as needed. Try to explore other ways to groom and style your hair. Either way, the effort and time spent are a win-win for your hair.

Was this article useful? Did you learn anything that has motivated you to take action.

Leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.

Whether this is your first time, or you’re a faithful reader, expect tons of up-to-date tips and advice on hair, style, and grooming every week. From serious hairtalk, to updates on celebrities, or even something as simple as which salon to go to, we’ve got you covered.

What are Brazilian Hair Extensions?

Your hair is rebelling and crying out for help. Ok, maybe this isn’t you, but you have over-permed and under-maintained your hair, to the point the tell-tale signs are showing – dullness, lackluster, brittle texture, and tangled, split ends. It might also just be that it’s time for change but you’re not ready yet for anything radical.

Your best friend suggested you try a Brazilian hair weave. Girlfriend did her best to try to explain, but not a whole lot made sense.

So, here’s what it’s about. Hair extensions are artificial hair integrations that add length and fullness to human hair using different methods: tape in, clip in/on, fusion, weaving.

Virgin Brazilian hair is free from perms, dyes, bleaching and coloring and has all the cuticles intact. It’s the best type of hair to use for weave extensions because of its:

Versatility – can be styled in different ways. It’s thickness fuses seamlessly with your natural hair.

Volume – Brazilian hair has a natural bounce and fullness; makes your hair extensions look and feel like your natural hair.

Durability – When cared for properly, Brazilian human hair can last up to six months. It’s naturally strong and damage-resistant because it’s free of harsh chemicals.

Versatile, voluminous, durable – Brazilian hair bundles are the extensions of choice for most women

There are historians on every topic. Hair is no exception. The first hair weave was a combination of human hair mixed with dyed wool. The Egyptians in those days installed the extensions using beeswax, resin, and braids.

We learned from hair historians Lori L. Tharps and Ayana D. Byrd that the weave was invented and patented in the 1950s by an African-American hairdresser named Cristina Jenkins.

In 1980, Cristina Jenkins made a significant change to her weaving technique by creating hair with more “flow” – a major improvement on the stiff, static hair used in her initial technique.

Hair varieties abound, so it’s important to know the kind of Brazilian human hair that you’re buying.

Brazilian straight hair – gives a sleek, luxurious look that requires minimum effort.

Brazilian body wave hair – very soft and luscious; able to go from straight to wavy and back again, with chameleon ease.

Brazilian loose wave hair – gives beautiful curls; the perfect back-drop for that carefree and flirty, girly-girl, notice-me look.

Brazilian deep wave hair – extremely versatile; soft and spiraling hair that’s visually attractive; full of body and bounce that’s unique to Brazilian hair.

Brazilian curly hair – Kinky, coily, tight curls that produce a lot of volume; matches your desired look to help your personality shine through.

Mink Brazilian hair is all the rage now. The French call it la nouvelle tendance – definitely trending.

To help you take more informed decisions, it makes sense to know how the Brazilian hair extension is applied and removed. There are several DIY extension styles that you can install and remove at home by yourself:

  • Clip-In Hair Extensions
  • Tape-In Hair Extensions
  • Pre-bonded Extensions
  • Micro-Link Extensions

Common FAQs about Brazilian hair extensions

Q: With so many kinds of hair extensions available, how do I know which is good and which isn’t?
A: If the weft is very thick or very thin, that’s usually a sign that it’s not good quality hair. If you purchase 14 inches of hair, then when you stretch it out, it should be 14 inches not 12, and no jagged, ragged ends. Also, read the reviews. Quality hair speaks for itself. The reviews will definitely point you in the right direction on choosing hair extensions.

Q: What exactly is virgin hair?
A: Virgin Hair is the natural state of hair; free from chemical changes and applied color.

Q: Can I straighten or curl virgin hair extensions?
A:Yes. Treat you virgin hair extensions like your own hair. You can use thermal tools to straighten, crimp, and curl.

Q: What’s a weft?
A: A single weft is when only one line of hair is sewn to one mesh. A double weft is when two single wefts are sewn together on one mesh of hair.

Q: What’s the right way to measure Brazilian hair extensions?
A: Each texture needs to be measured differently. Measure each according to how the hair falls. Starting from 0 at the weft, measure all the way to the ends of the bundle. For the Brazilian Wavy and Brazilian Curly hair extensions, measure by pulling the hair straight.

Q: Can I color my hair?
A: Yes, but preferably by a professional. But if the hair is chemically altered, it’s easier for the cuticle to become damaged and overexposed, leading to breakage, tangling, dryness and fraying.

Q: What’s co-washing?
A: Using conditioner as a wash instead of shampoo, to keep extensions healthy and durable.

Lessons Learned – What I did wrong

Bought the wrong texture: my hair looked so fake. It was embarrassing.
I should have: chosen a texture that blended well with my natural hair.

Dyed my Brazilian hair myself: with one of those drugstore dyes, but it didn’t match my hair color.
I should have: gone to a professional to do it. Pennywise and pound foolish? Absolutely.

Neglected my natural hair when I first started wearing extensions. My hairline became extremely thin.
I should have: taken better care of my natural hair.

To get the best from your Brazilian hair extensions:


  • feel free to be creative – curl, tong, and straighten.
  • co-wash your hair extensions.
  • try a dye if it catches your fancy, but seek a professional.


  • use products that contain alcohol. They dry out hair extensions.
  • sleep with hair extensions wet. This will promote tangling and matting,
  • buy any hair extension just because your friend said so.

If you’re considering hair extensions, invest in good quality hair like virgin Brazilian hair extensions. Black Hairspot has tons of resources to help you. Understanding your hair and Elements of any good weave, are good starting points. Thoughts, comments? Your opinion is important. Voice it.

9 Essential Steps for Maintaining Braids or Twists

Picture this: You wake up, get out of bed, and head to the kitchen to make yourself some breakfast. On your way to the fridge you glance out the window and…snow. You roll your eyes in slight annoyance. Time to protective style.

Whether you are protecting your hair from the ever-changing Canadian climate, tired of your twist-outs, frustrated with transitioning, or if you just want to change it up – protective styling is a great way to protect your hair and make it lower maintenance.

The BIGGEST mistake women make when protective styling is braiding their hair up and ignoring it for two months. If your hair is in braids make sure you follow these 9 essential maintenance guidelines. You’ll thank me when you unravel your braids and your hair is healthy, strong, and long.

  1. Protect Your Hair At Night
  2. Many black women were taught since we were young that tying our hair up at night is just good practice. So we tie our hair when it is out or when we want to keep our weave looking fresh – but when we’re wearing braids we throw all of that good practice out the window. Covering your head with a satin headscarf at night not only keeps your edges looking fresh it also protects your roots from drying out when you sleep. If you find satin headscarves uncomfortable then place a satin pillowcase over your pillow for a similar type of protection. If you are really a keener – do both. Wrap your head and invest in a satin pillowcase. If your headscarf comes off in the night you still have the protection of your satin pillowcase. I had a stylist who could tell when I had skipped a few days of wearing my satin headscarf. She would take one look at my scalp and scold, “Your head is dry! What did you do?!”

  3. Keep Your Scalp Moist
  4. This is one thing I need to get better at. Sometimes I think I’m too busy to get out my spray bottle and spray my hair. That is definitely not true. Giving your roots a quick spritz should take you no longer than a few minutes – 5 minutes maximum. Our hair is no different than any other living thing. It needs moisture to survive – and the best type of moisture is water. Our roots get thirsty and they need watering. Our roots do not need heavy gels and oils – those clog our pores and make it more difficult for our roots to absorb moisture. Our roots need plain old water to thrive and survive.

  5. Apply moisturizing and sealing product to hair
  6. Make a point of applying your favorite sealing product to your roots at least once a week. I usually apply a mixture of Naptural85’s homemade shea butter and my Blended Beauty Curl Styling Butter. The shea butter mix sooths my scalp, protects from hard UV rays, and seals in moisture. The styling butter gives added moisture, controls the frizzing of my braids and nourishes my hair with essential vitamins and minerals.

    First I spray my whole head with water. Then I put a glob of both of these products into the middle of my palm and mix it around with my finger. Then I smooth it onto my roots – section by section. This process ends up taking me around 40 minutes if I am really diligent about getting at every braid.

  7. Avoid unnatural products when keeping hair moisturized
  8. Stylists warn against using anything other than naturally derived oils to keep your roots moisturized while your hair is in braids. The most important ingredients to avoid are mineral oils. Please note that these are the key ingredients in most popular braid moisturizers. Instead, opt for natural oils similar to the ones I just mentioned earlier like coconut oil and almond oil. These oils are great for soothing the scalp and retaining moisture without building up and clogging your pores like generic braid sprays often will. If you are looking for non-greasy moisture use a natural leave-in conditioner instead.

  9. Wash your braids once every two weeks (minimum)
  10. I know this sounds like a pain but buildup of sweat, dirt, and everything else that happens throughout your day can be damaging to your hair. Thankfully, you don’t need to hop in the shower and douse your braids in water if you don’t want to. You can always dry-wash your hair with a cloth, shampoo, and some water. Dampen a wash cloth with warm water and your shampoo of choice. Part you hair and wipe your scalp down in sections. That’s all! Follow this process once every two weeks to keep your scalp smelling and feeling fresh. No one likes braid stank.

  11. Avoid constant up-dos
  12. I love updos. Twisting, braiding, and tying my hair atop my head are ways for me to experiment with my look. However, constantly styling your hair into high ponytails pulls at your hairline. This constant pulling weakens the hair along your hairline and you end up looking kinda like Naomi Campbell. Be gentle with your hairline. Rock your updos – but try to limit updo styling to 3 or 4 times a week rather than every day.

  13. Don’t pull too tightly when styling
  14. For the same reason as #6. No one needs a Naomi Campbell situation happening up here in Canada.

  15. Extend your style time – Redo your edges
  16. Often, after a couple weeks your roots have grown out and it’s time to freshen up your look. Rather than rebraid your entire head – go back to your stylist and ask her to spend an hour or so re-installing the braids along your hairline. After you take out the braids along your edges, (and before you head to your stylist) take extra care to detangle and deep condition before reinstalling your braids again. Remember that your edges are already fragile, so they need a little bit of extra care and attention.

  17. Don’t leave your braids in for too long
  18. During one of our BHS Street interviews we met a woman who shared a horror story with us. On one occasion she had gotten braids and left them in for 3 years. 3 YEARS. When she removed the braids her hair came with it. She was left with bald spots all over her head. Now, I’m hoping none of you would make this devastating mistake. But sometime we get lazy and decide – hey four months in the same protective style can’t be that bad right? WRONG. Protective styling is meant to be short-term temporary. Stylists recommend protective styling for a month at a time – 2 months maximum. Any longer than that and your new growth will stretch and damage; this completely negates the point of protective styling. Protective styling is to give your fragile ends a break and focus on attaining new growth.

(Photo credit: Emily Oud Photography)


Tell us how you care for your braids or twists below!

Elements of any good weave: Hair Weave Types

With my grade nine grad around the corner, I remember begging my mother for long lush locks. My first weave was long, thick and strawberry blonde. I absolutely loved it, back then anyways. I look at the pictures of that day now and all I think is I wish I knew then what I now know about hair. At the time my knowledge about the vast variety of hair was minimal, maybe non-existent.

When I walked into Images and Shades for the first time I was slightly overwhelmed by all the hair options in front of me. I remember the teller asking me what I was looking for. My reply was long hair, blonde in colour. She continued with her questions: how many inches long are you looking for? Would you rather #22, #24, #27…? I was completely confused. She spent some time explaining the various hair lengths and guiding me through a hair colour chart. She then explained what I now believe to be the most important aspect of any good weave, the type of hair. By type I’m referring to synthetic, human or remy hair. The reality of how clueless I was set it. She quickly pointed out and explained the differences between synthetic and human hair. I opted for the synthetic only because I was on a strict budget and I wasn’t planning on doing much to my weave as far as styling was concerned. Although my weave didn’t turn out badly, it could have been better by simply improving the quality of hair.

Ladies if you’re looking to avoid a bad weave situation, you need to have a good idea of what you want to do with your weave where styling and maintenance are concerned. How good your weave looks is absolutely determined by the quality of the hair installed. As I mentioned earlier there are three basic types of hair, synthetic, human and remy. But what exactly is the difference between them? That’s what I aim to explain with this next part.

Here’s a brief description of each type and what I suggest would work best for certain looks/styles. This also applies to wigs; the hair used to make wigs is the same, they’re just an alternative installation method.

Synthetic Hair

Synthetic hair is a great choice if you’re looking for a new look to last you a short time. Synthetic hair costs anywhere between $15.00- $90.00 depending on the brand and style. Synthetic hair is the most affordable type of hair on the market — ideal for anyone who wants a change without having to break the bank. This type of hair is usually already styled at the time of purchase which eliminates the styling process, saving you money as well as time.

With that said, although synthetic hair is convenient and cost effective, it does have its limits when it comes to being versatile. Synthetic hair is made to look like human hair constructed from thin manufactured hair fibers; therefore, it is not heat resistant to the extent that human hair is. You will not have the ability to curl or straighten this type of hair nor will you be able to dye the hair. There is synthetic hair available that you can apply very minimal heat to but you still won’t get the styling results that you would with other hair types. I personally wouldn’t apply any heat to synthetic hair because of the fear I would have of burning or damaging it.

If you’re considering getting a weave for first time synthetic might be the way to go. You can figure out what you like and decide if you even like having a weave installed, before you fork out the cash for hair of a higher quality.

Human Hair

100% human hair has an elevated natural appearance to it in comparison to synthetic hair. Human hair is great because it replicates natural hair almost perfectly and can last you a few months (approx 6-8 months) with multiple installs, depending on how well you care for it. It will also offer you the versatility that synthetic hair lacks. Human hair gives you the free range to style your weave exactly the way you want. Whether it’s curled or straightened it will withstand the heat applied to it and just like natural hair you have the ability to dye it if you choose to.

However, like anything else, human hair does have its pitfalls. It is a bit more expensive than synthetic hair, running anywhere from approx $50.00-$150.00, again depending on the brand and length. But remember that you are getting higher quality hair. Human hair also has a tendency to tangle and shed; this is because the cuticles are not all facing the same way. Also, human hair is often put through some processing to improve its appearance.

Remy Hair

The hair of all hair types, remy is nothing less than amazing! Sharing similar qualities to that of human hair, remy hair is versatile and natural and undergoes minimal processing. If cared for properly remy hair will maintain its natural movement and appearance from 6 months to over a year. It is also heat resident so applying various styles and dyes will not be an issue. Remy hair comes in various styles such as straight, curly and wavy; it will also return to its natural state after having been styled and washed. You will notice that with remy hair there is virtually no tangling or shedding because the cuticles are kept intact and all face the same direction. When it comes to blending your natural hair, this process is made simpler with remy hair because there are various textures you can purchase. I won’t go into too much detail about them individually but this is where Indian, Brazilian, Malaysian and Chinese remy hair would come into play. That’s another topic for another article.

Some of you may be wondering what the difference is between remy and virgin hair is. Although they are almost identical the biggest difference is that virgin hair is completely 100% natural and unprocessed. Virgin hair has not been processed or dyed and is only available in its natural colour. Virgin hair is always remy hair; however, remy hair may not always be virgin hair.


So what’s the down fall to remy hair? All this hair goodness comes with a hefty price. Remy can start from about $150.00 per bundle to over $500.00 or more. Again this is dependent on length, brand and if its virgin hair or virgin remy hair. At times, especially if you’ve never purchased hair in the past, the task of choosing the right type of hair may seem challenging. I look at it similar to a trial and error method. It’s about progression; start with the simple and cheapest. Allow yourself time to familiarize yourself with what works and doesn’t work for you and your hair.





Sintra Lewis

Put together. Stylist. Fit. Beautiful.

Those are some of the words I would use to describe Sintra Lewis. For fourteen years, Sintra was a dedicated track and field athlete. Then one day she decided she was over the tomboy look. She started searching through various blogs online and suddenly found herself waist deep in clothes, shoes, jewelry—and a modeling contract.

“I like the way fashion makes me feel. It gives me the opportunity to be artistic. Sometimes I lie in bed and instead of sleeping I put outfits together in my head.”

Unfortunately, as I’m sure we all know, being fashionable is expensive. “Keeping up with the latest trends can be a pain,” says Sintra. But somehow, she does it. Sintra frequents fashion blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere and Atlantic Pacific for her daily inspiration.

Sintra’s hair is an integral part of her overall style. She describes her style as classic and feels that her straight hair enhances her look. “I just need it to stay in place,” she says with a chuckle. Sintra’s hair is usually relaxed with a few added weave tracks for body. She trusts her salon so much that her hairstylist is not just her stylist—she’s her friend. “Once Yvette of Yves Salon gives me a wash and blowout I have good hair days for weeks.”

Sintra is in her thirtys and was born in Grenada but grew up in Trinidad. She describes herself as Afro-Caribbean and now lives in Edmonton, AB.

Sintra says when her roots grow out her curls are between 3B and 3C. Her 5 favorite hair tools are:

Check out Sintra’s favorite hair products with her reasons why below:

  1. Redkin Smooth Down Heat Glide
    – I use this right before I flat iron my hair. It’s a leave-in serum that provides heat-safe control to take frizz.
    – A dime size is amount enough for my entire head.
  2. Big Sexy Smooth & Seal
    – This is a finishing spray to help lock out moisture and keep my hair smooth and shiny.
    – I usually spray it on my hair before applying heat.
  3. Big Sexy Spray & Play Hairspray
    – This is the most ideal hairspray!
    – Gives my hair hold and movement. It’s manageable and shiny and the next day it does not have that caked-on finish.
    – This product makes it easy to comb through my hair when I’m tired of one style and style my hair another way.

Have you used any of these products? Do they work for you?

Have you used any of these products? Do they work for you?

Krystle Dos Santos

#BHSHerStory, with Krystle Dos Santos – Krystle’s Branded Fro

The air feels electric as Krystle Dos Santos winds down from the second-last song in her set. It’s only 10.30 on a Sunday morning and a horde of blues-lovers have gathered in the streets to dance away the afternoon. They are completely taken by her music. Her groove.

“Okay we’ve got one more song for you beautiful people,” she croons into the microphone. Audible groans and protests come from the audience. The dancers deflate a little bit. None of us want her set to end.

The drummer counts four beats and Krystle’s band launches into a dynamic cover of Pharrell’s “Happy”. I throw my camera into its case and join the revived frenzy of hip-shaking and happy-making.


Krystle’s giant curly fro is a big part of her brand. “People recognize me because l have a big afro.” It isn’t just us black women that drool over her perfect coils. Krystle says when her hair was straight people told her she didn’t look like… Krystle. “When my second album came out and I had dead straight hair with straight bangs people were like ‘I don’t see you in this picture.'”

Krystle has not always had such buoyant healthy hair. “I dated a hairdresser for three years and he helped me keep my hair healthy and growing. My hair was about shoulder length while curly when one summer my mom suggested I lighten up my look a little bit.” Krystle agreed and went to a local hairdresser for the dye job. The hairdresser left bleach in her hair for one hour. Krystle’s hair went dead straight-pun intended.

After cutting all her hair off, growing it out, cutting it off again, growing it out… Krystle realized the two things she was doing wrong. Chemicals and heat.

“I treat my hair like a baby now.” Krystle’s family is from Guyana. She explains her heritage as a mix of Chinese, Portuguese, African, East Indian, European and Amerindian. Her hair type is a mixture of 3B & 3C.

Krystle’s parents were completely lost when it came to taking care of her hair. “My mom took me to black hairdressers when I was younger and we did weaves, braids, cutting it short – everything. It wasn’t until my 20s that I realized curly hair is beautiful.”

Krystle has taken her musical career to Vancouver, but finding products for her hair is no easy feat. “Everytime I come back to Edmonton Images and Shades is like a candy store. I like to experiment”

Krystle can be a bit of a hair scientist when she gets her juices flowing. “I’ll mix mayo, eggs, olive oil… vodka, beer – whatever I can find in my house to make my own hair masks.”

Krystle Dos Santos can be a bit of a hair scientist! #bhs Click To Tweet

Krystle’s giant curly fro is a big part of her brand. “People recognize me because l have a big afro.” It isn’t just us black women that drool over her perfect coils.

How To Avoid A Ratchet Weave

Have you ever wondered how some women keep their weave looking fresh for months? For those of you who are looking for weave advice, this one’s for you.

The Basics

The future of weaves start at the roots.

  1. To prevent breakage, do not allow your stylist to braid your hair too tightly. However, ensure that your hair is secure. If your braids are loose in the beginning, when you are styling, the tug of the weft and thread will loosen the braid further and your track is bound to look ratch and no one wants the tumbleweave to be theirs.
  2. A reliable way to make sure your hair is secure is to use a weave net to cover your tracks before attaching your wefts. A net protects your hair from the damage it may undergo as a result of styling. It is a permeable barrier between your hair and the plastic on the weft. It also affords you the flexibility of laying an extra track between your cornrows
  3. When sewing in your weave, make sure a knot is tied at the end of your thread. That way, there is less chance your weave will slacken. Do not purchase cotton thread to sew in weave. Cotton threads break easier and absorb some of the moisture your hair needs. Instead, use silk or polyester thread when installing your hair. Silk thread is best as it is strong and does not absorb moisture.
  4. To prevent shedding, avoid cutting the weft between tracks because when the weft is broken, the attached hair will slip out easier.

The weft of your weave is the point in which the seam of the material your hair has been sown on to meets the hair. It is where a stylist sews through when installing weave and where chips are attached because it is the most sturdy part of extensions.

Weave Maintenance

The most important tip in maintaining weave, whether synthetic or human is to reduce washing.

Newly purchased hair is coated with silicone and enriched with protein. Washing, especially with shampoo, strips hair of the manufactured processing, and even products containing silicone can never duplicate the balance of unwashed hair. When manipulating hair, it becomes dry and does not behave the same as natural hair when conditioned by bodily oils.

Therefore, as the silicone coating wears off and hair becomes dull, light oils should be used to add nutrients and life to raggedy hair. Argan, Keratin and Mango oils condition weave without adding weight to the hair while adding slip to reduce tangles. Water does not condition or add moisture to weave, it actually increases the possibility of knots and removes the silicone coating.

Do not be afraid to admit to yourself when your weave is ratchet beyond repair and needs a cut or is getting old. Weaves do not last forever as hair is considered dead as soon as it is removed from the scalp. After a month of consistent care, weaves will lose their shine and it is your choice to remove dry ends or discard the hair.

Weave Washing

Weaves should not need to be washed more than once every two weeks. However, depending on hair care, hair quality and environmental conditions, your hair might require more regular washes. When washing weaves, never use hot water, never blow dry and never immerse in water. If your hair is not very dirty, refrain from using shampoo and always detangle from root to tip.

Fill a spray bottle with a third of shampoo/conditioner and two thirds of cold water, shake and spray detangled hair until it is dripping wet. Remove excess conditioner with a wide tooth comb or finger detangle and spray hair again with cold water until the runoff is clear. Do not flip hair. Instead, spray in sections to ensure all your hair has been cleansed. Allow hair to air dry, add oil to seal in moisture while hair is damp and complete air drying process. Wrapping hair overnight and covering with a satin cap aids in maintaining moisture and helps to protect your hair from manipulation while you sleep.

These are a few tips on how to make sure your weave does not get to the ‘bruk up’ stage. If you follow these, it is less likely that you will find tumble weave anywhere other than in your bathroom and hopefully not in your man’s (or woman’s) hands. Cheers!

The future of your weaves start at the roots. #bhs #blackhairtip Click To Tweet

The Accidental yet Unapologetic Politicized Crown

“What I have learned for myself is that I don’t have to be anybody else; and that myself is good enough; and that when I am being true to that self, then I can avail myself to extraordinary things” – Lupita Nyong’o

Back in 2009, with my three high school friends, I started an organization that led to an annual exhibit called AfroChic celebrating black beauty manifested through fashion, art, hair, music, and businesses in a safe community space. AfroChic has since gone on to become what could be considered a staple in Toronto culture. Our mandate has been to provide a positive representation of the black community and culture. Our goals have helped us to foster relationships with a myriad of local based organizations and even global corporations with a similar mission.

Our emphasis on highlighting “natural hair” throughout the exhibit during the fashion show, artwork and overall promotional aesthetic has led many to deem AfroChic as a “natural hair art show”, a categorization we have not only embraced but have also used in our communications marketing strategy. We have created a brand that has thrived off of providing an outlet for women of color to see images of women of color in their natural hair state in a chic and glamorous light. We have worked with women in beauty industries and put them at the forefront of our campaigns to show that their beauty, their gifts, their light are valuable and deserve recognition in a world that may or may not provide similar opportunities.

Over the years, we have experienced some who are in support of the AfroChic mandate as well as those who believe we are divisive and dismissive towards black women by our choice to highlight natural hairstyles (locks, twists, kinks, curls and coils). Outside of these variables, we experience criticism against our personal appearances as a result of this production and its layered relationship with image and community representation. Many have questioned my appearance. People often tell me in varying ways; “If you put on a show about natural hair and all of your marketing, branding and efforts goes towards highlighting the natural hair community – why do you yourself color your hair, wear hair extensions, rock straight weaves, and flat iron your real hair?” “Aren’t you contributing to the self-hate and standardization of the Eurocentric beauty value system that you fight against?”

These are very layered and powerful, important questions that I have never truly felt the need or had the ability to address until now.

When I first “went natural” back in November 2009, and earlier before that back in summer 2004 – I made the decision to stop relaxing my hair simply for financial, health and fashion reasons. Plain and simple. I wanted to try out new hairstyles that would give me the ability to do creative things without having to put costly chemicals in my hair.

There was no real political, social or emotional agenda tied to this decision. I had a great boyfriend at the time who would listen to me talk about how burnt off my edges were and would see me sacrifice some basic necessities for my bi-monthly committed hair perm or treatment. I decided one day I was over the expensive part of permanently straightened hair, and that I would just be chopping it all off and starting fresh. I also thought to myself “damn I don’t even remember what my hair looks like without perm in it.” So I was up for the challenge.

The first day, it was all good and dandy I loved my short crop and was digging my kinky coily texture. Days, weeks and months went by and I started to feel absolutely bored and bland. I tried the Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA) twist out look, I tried putting a flower behind my ear, tried putting on a headband and rocking out but I was truly bored and feeling uncomfortable.  My good friends and boyfriend at the time would say very uplifting things to me like; “Don’t worry about it Amoye, it will grow soon, you’ll love it.” But it took forever to grow for me.

After hours and hours of constant YouTube do-it-yourself videos, articles upon articles of “This is my hair journey, it only took 3 years from my TWA to grow my hair to my waist” I started to lose patience and belief in the life-changing ability of natural hair and the internet! I thought to myself; “How long is this thing going to take?”  “Don’t I have a graduation coming up?”  “I have events to attend and life to live I can’t be so consumed with this natural hair stuff, spending money on all these products – way more money spent than when I was relaxing” “I’m taking back control of my life…” so I bought a few wigs and kept it moving.

My friends and I then formed AfroChic and as I struggled through my TWA phase, the powerful message we tried to connect to our audience started to resonate with me. Our fashion show featured beautiful women who were proud of their natural tresses at all lengths and styles. They mesmerized and wowed the crowd with their confident strides and powerful visual proclamation of self-acceptance.  After the first and second show, we had incredible feedback. There were people emailing us left, right and center, telling us that they had just done the “Big Chop” after coming to our show, or that they feel inspired and proud of what we were doing and we should also be proud of ourselves. I was proud of what we created and excited for the future, but I never really tied my personal hair journey into what we were trying to do as much as everyone had wanted. I thought to myself, “just a few more inches and then I’ll do more twist outs” or “in a year or so I’ll start locks” etc. I was never firmly committed to embodying the image I glorified through my show because I began to feel that AfroChic was a movement beyond our personal journeys. Although I was one of the founding members, I was still trying to find that “inner AfroChic” in me – I just was not “there” or “her” yet.

Time has since passed and as we have grown as an exhibit, attracting close to a thousand attendees and supporters over the years combined, I have grown and began to accept me for me. I have begun to trust my ability to express myself and fashion through my hair and styles whether I’m rocking a twist out with the hair growing out of my scalp or marley twists with hair I bought in the store, or straightened hair I bought from an online based black business woman.  I have not been as consumed with “natural hair identity” and aligning myself with the AfroChic brand because I have never stated I was here to be a brand. I was here to create an event that showed women, including myself, including my little sister, including my mother that natural hair styles and natural beauty is attainable and it exists.  Natural hair, is not some foreign look that is only sported by girls with “good hair” or those who do not have “professional jobs” or women who cannot afford to go to the salon. We highlight 4C hair, we highlight 3A hair because at times, we do not see our own selves in the systems and structures that rely on our subscriptions and our dollars for support.

The beauty and entertainment industry have recently gone crazy over Lupita Nyongo, and for understandable reasons – the woman is drop dead gorgeous.  I am absolutely certain that through her existence alone, thousands, probably even millions of little girls can confidently look into the mirror and feel they are beautiful, they are accepted and desired just as they are. And even the Melissa’s, Fatima’s, Hyancinth,’s Latoya’s of our community who do not have the perfectly smooth chocolate skin, high cheek bones, perfectly chiseled TWA’s and world-class Harvard education – I think they too feel a sense of pride when they see Lupita gracing TV screens across the globe.

And now that “society” has given her a platform and recognizes her beauty as the new standard, this creates space for more dialogue and will hopefully usher in more support for women the sexy and voluptuous size of Jill Scott or those without the commanding hips and curves of Nicki Minaj or Beyonce. Lupita has re-ignited this dialogue for an incredibly large audience and unintentionally created a new standard of beauty through her brand and identity.

As a black woman communicating in a space with other black women and sisters of color, I personally feel the need to continue dialogue around the topic of self-representation and further re-examine the ways in which our obsession with hair texture and naturally hair styling can sometime lead to oppression. When did being “natural” make you more “conscious” and more “down to earth?” When did having straight hair, or wearing a weave make you “insecure” or “weak” in the context of black beauty and identity?

Amoye Henry is a Project Manager based out of Toronto Canada. She is the co-founder of AfroChic, a cultural arts exhibit that thrived in Toronto from 2009-2014. She currently works in health care and tries to travel as much as she can. She loves hard and triumphs often.

Stopped relaxing my hair simply for financial, health and fashion reasons #bhs #naturalhair Click To Tweet

As a black woman communicating in a space with other black women and sisters of color, I personally feel the need to continue dialogue around the topic of self-representation and further re-examine the ways in which our obsession with hair texture and naturally hair styling can sometime lead to oppression.



5 Tips & Tricks for a Great Looking Weave!

Last month, as I was sitting down for my monthly weave in with my sister, who happens to be a weave expert. We started chatting about weaves, and how difficult it can be for woman of color to maintain great looking hair. Especially weaves.

Personally I love the method of weaving in extensions, I’ve tried all types of protective hair styles from braids to lace wigs and at this point in time, I’m truly enjoying rocking the weave-in style. Along with the joys of rocking a weave comes the stresses of maintaining it. So here are my 5 tips and tricks for keeping your hair looking as good as new. I’m no hair expert but I hope this helps you as much as its helped me!

  1. Cover your Hair with Silk Wraps/Caps at Night

    This is one of my favorite and easy ways to wake up looking flawless. Okay, I’m done with the Beyoncé references, promise. On a more serious note there are many benefits to wrapping your weave every night before hitting the sheets. Silk wraps or silk pillowcases help keep in moisture in. For dry hair, this is especially important. If it’s wrapped around your scalp the satin helps avoid bushy edges. So you can thank your silk wrap/cap/pillowcase when you wake up with edges that are laid out to the gods!

    Not many people know that cotton pillowcases cause friction against your hair and can lead to hair loss, which you definitely want to avoid if you want to keep your weave looking brand new. The best part about this is silk wraps/caps are dirt-cheap! I purchase mine at a local beauty shop in Edmonton AB called Images and Shades. I bought mine for around $8.00. Prices range from $5-20 dollars depending on the brand. But what a steal for something that gives us so many benefits, am I right? Silk pillowcases are a great alternative and chances are you have one right in your household.

  2. Use Hair Heat Protectant. ALWAYS!

    I cannot stress enough how important it is to use heat protector spray or serum when applying heat to your weave. I am guilty of getting lazy or forgetting to do this before straightening or curling my weave. I doubt I’m the only one. But seriously ladies, weaves can only take so much stress before they start to look worn down; even the good hair. I currently use Tresseme heat protector spray, works great and smells great too. This keeps the hair from looking dried out and keeps your extension ends looking luscious.

    Fun fact! If you practice the previous tip of using a silk wrap, you can avoid applying heat to your hair completely! Silk wraps keep hair looking as flat as you left, so straightening isn’t needed on a daily basis. Thus avoiding heat all together!

  3. A Wide-Toothed Comb is your new best friend.

    Wide-toothed combs are the best if you’re not a fan of losing hair from brushing it too often. Combing out your hair using a wide-toothed comb instead of a regular paddle brush helps prevent damage and breakage to your weave. Especially on wet hair, when it is most fragile. I’ve found through experience that I have little to no hair loss when I comb out my weave with a wide-toothed comb compared to others. Lesser hair loss = happier me! And a happier you, if you try a wider-toothed comb.

  4. Condition! Condition! Condition!

    Deep conditioning your weave will leave it looking and feeling lustrous. It’s crucial that you deep condition your weave periodically while it is installed. I was so lazy with this tactic at first, ‘cause let’s be honest, deep conditioning for black women is a whole days work. The way my mom had me mask my natural hair and tie it up for the entire day on wash day (as thankful as I am for that mom) it was exhausting. I thought I had escaped this once I got a weave. I hadn’t.

    At least with weaves, deep conditioning only requires 10 minutes tops and you already see a remarkable difference. You want to do whatever you can to avoid hair drying out, especially in the summer. Try to deep condition every couple of weeks. Since weaves don’t need to be washed very often, when you do wash it, spare 10 minutes for deep conditioning. With regards to the type of conditioner to use, I believe women should dry different conditioners until they find what works best for them. I like to use whatever my mom uses. After all mom knows best! Currently I am using a coconut milk conditioner by organix. Very affordable as well.

  5. Invest in your hair

As a college student on a budget, I definitely don’t mean break the bank when purchasing hair. But I am a firm believer in quality over quantity when it comes to extensions. This topic requires a whole article of its own, but I will do my best to summarize it. The type of hair you buy is the most important thing, and it is the most crucial step in maintaining a great looking weave. How can you maintain a weave that was never great in the first place?

When I say invest in your hair, I mean purchase hair you can re-use time and time again. This means good quality human hair. It might seem like a lot at purchase, but I have done the math and compared between a one time payment of high quality hair that will last me 6 – 8 months of reusing depending on how I treat it–to rebuying hair every time I get my weave done (which is often for me). I found it’s much smarter for gals on a budget to invest in our hair purchases.

Go Natural Or Go Home

The trend to go natural has gone viral. Women rocking natural hair feel successful; women wanting to rock natural hair feel motivated and ambitious. In hopes to find and embrace a wholesome and complete image of a black woman that does not apologize for her hair, and its defiance of gravity, we’ve made the “natural” synonymous to healthy, to success.


We’ve created a hierarchy based on how “natural” a woman’s hair seems. How many of us have seen another black woman and asked ourselves, “is that her natural hair?” If it isn’t, is that synthetic hair? Human hair? How much did she spend though? Some of us are past the roots, as in whose roots, and are comparing how natural the products we use are. The beat of tongue clicking and lip pursing that drops when the word “relaxed” comes up in a circle of curly and kinky headed black women is so responsive I’ve started to bring it up in hopes to record a dubstep remix of the sass.

I think we can all agree the “enlightened” bunch that have taken a liking to the struggles and challenges of a natural hair journey can be bitter black women; and not the scripted Tyler Perry kinda bitter, just nasty bitter. The bitterness does not help the movement it compromises it, the exclusivity and attitude is a two-ingredient recipe for disaster. As soon as we start to resent the women who aren’t going through the same struggles we are to look half as decent (said with a grain of salt) we compromise the celebration and joy that should come from that struggle.

Reversely, you’ve also got us not-so-much-bitter-as-clueless types, that practice natural hair as a default. Women who do relax, chemically straighten, are throwing the stank eye right back in the direction of our fros- and power to them, I would. In a piece I read recently by natural hair enthusiast and blogger Dara Mathis she brings up the golden argument; does rocking the fro make us more black/African? Is this what we’re thinking? Although, she does an incredible job deconstructing the stupid here, it makes me want to ask; does leaving the kink in the curl make me just a tad bit darker toned? My nose a bit wider? My lips just a bit larger? Are you feeling stereotyped yet?


My problem with this natural hair = curly fro thinking is that having black skin does not dictates the texture of my hair. When it comes to Caucasians I’ve seen it all, pin straight, kinky, wavy, and curly and yet no one bats an eye at the variety. No one is claiming to be more white- or claiming others are less white depending on how they’ve decided to wear their hair.

In a BHS focus group I asked the gals what “natural hair” meant to them. My favorite response?

“What natural means to me? If you’re wearing your hair out it is natural- it doesn’t matter if its straight, curly, heat straightened, chemically straightened it all means the same thing if I can see your real roots that is natural.”

The hand gestures she made as she pointed at different members in the room with various hair states and types were both enthusiastic and convincing. Might not be as much of a shock to you as much as it was to me but until just then I had of thought of “natural” as the state hair is after it’s been doused in a good amount of water and shampoo. I believed in her definition. I could not have agreed more.


If the sprint towards a healthier vision of black hair is competitive, aggressive, and dismissive we are only creating a trend, and trend’s pass. As someone that has unconsciously practiced natural hair “techniques” for as long as she has had hair to bicker with, I don’t desire for this trend to pass.

I was the only black and bushy haired point-guard on a team of weaves and wigs straighter than the Asian forward. I was the girl left grasping for an appropriate answer when the Asian forward asked, “Why doesn’t your hair go flat with sweat the way everyone else’s does in practice?”

My suggestion? Let’s celebrate. Not the “natural,” “unnatural,” or any labels of what hair is and isn’t. Let’s celebrate hair. If that means we run a marathon instead of a sprint then let’s, just like, do that? Marathon’s might be long but they are experiences of inclusion and community, everyone is in it – together, for the long run. (The line was asking for the cheesy pun, not sorry.) As much as I am a fan of the “if I can’t put it on my toast then I ain’t putting it in my hair” philosophy I want to share it in compassion and love, the way things of any value should be.

Go Natural Or Go Home - What does natural hair means to me? #bhs #naturalhair Click To Tweet

If anything let’s just not be colonialist about this, let’s not be “if you ain’t with us you’re against us” about the natural hair movement. What do you think?

Lily Lynch

Lily connects with her roots – through her roots.

A quick glance at Lily’s shining blue-green eyes, fair skin and light freckles does not tip you off about the shades of her history. But if you let your eyes wander to the delicate dirty blonde coils of her hair, you just might guess right.

Lily Lynch is a twenty-year-old student from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is blessed with a heritage of Mi’kmaq First Nation, African, and European. “My hair was the element that connected me and made me more aware of my African ancestry.”

Our past informs our future. In her search for discovering her heritage Lily uncovered her passion for black history. “I want to be a junior high history teacher. As I grew up, the only story I heard of black people coming to Canada was through the Underground Railroad. But that’s not the whole story.” In the summer of 2013 Lily worked at the Black Loyalist Heritage Museum and learned about the black female role in history. She studied and shared HerStory.

Lily’s hair journey started off like many black women’s: Lily, her mom, a comb, and a whole lot of imagination. “My mom used to put hats on me. Lots of hats.” Lily’s mother was an adventurer. African style hats, corduroy hats, big hats, pointy hats, braids, poofs – she tried it all. “Sometimes she would gather all my hair on top and tie it together with a ribbon. I liked that. It made me feel kind of pretty.”


At fourteen, Lily grabbed a pair of jagged arts and craft scissors and cut off her hair. “I just felt like it was time.” Lily was the only girl with short hair in high school, and she liked that. She liked being different. All the other girls had long straight hair. “People knew who I was because of my hair. I looked distinct from other people. There were other girls with mixed hair or curly hair, but other girls did the disguise.” Lily describes the disguise as when women are uncomfortable in their beauty and decide to cover it with weaves or extensions. “I feel like the disguise is making yourself into something that you might not naturally be.”


Lily admits that for a long time, she didn’t know how to take care of her hair. “I just did what other people told me to do. I learned by observation.” Lily grew up across the street from two half African half European girls her whole life and would often visit their house and experiment with their hair products. “They usually used Blue magic on my hair to try and make it look like theirs. One time they had this clear gel with sparkles and I was so excited to use it. It didn’t work at all.”

Now she does a lot of co-washing and moisturizes using oils. Lily’s top 5 products are: morrocan oil, mixed chicks leave-in conditioner, coconut oil, conditioners (any kind). And the olive oil brand . Lily’s favourite hair tool is a wide-toothed comb.

Lily admits that for a long time, she didn’t know how to take care of her hair.

Do you know how to take care of your hair?

Amorphous Salon Profile

Interview with Amorphous Salon owner, Buster Berkely

Amorphous Black Hair Salon Profile by Black Hair Spot

Why did you open your salon?

I was in transit between New York and Toronto. I was styling hair in Brooklyn & Manhattan. I wanted to displace some of my creativity, inspire others, and to have a better life. I wanted a better life emotionally, creatively, and to motivate people. I wanted to see if I could achieve some of the things I dreamt of doing. To be honest, I was never interested in owning a salon. The opportunity was given to me. I was always writing, creating and educating myself. But I was never eager to open my own salon. I was always comfortable working under someone else’s umbrella.

What keeps you motivated?

Being creative. I personally think I am one of the best haircutters you could ever come across. Within Toronto or outside of it. I’m going to honk my own horn – I think this is the time to do it. I have knowledge, training and experience. Cutting hair and coming up with new concepts motivates me. Cutting, colouring and other areas that I am strong in keeps me motivated – keeps my juices flowing. That energy never settles. My veins are always producing some type of creativity.

Who inspires you?

I have been inspired by guys like Irvine Rusk and Trevor Sovie – frick. I love Trevor. Trevor is my man. He is so humble. He’ll walk into his salon, pick a broom up, and sweep hair off the floor. Yet he is one of the most popular fashion stylists in London. Irvine Rusk is amazing as well. The man is so creative. He comes up with ideas that are out of sight. His haircutting techniques are incredible. I learnt a lot from Irvine Rusk because I used to attend his classes. Right now I’m liking Ted Gibson because he’s one of the black men in the industry. He is very inspiring. Ted takes a different approach to hairdressing. He is forward, in your face, and creative. Ted is all about social media and PR. He is THE modern hairdresser in the industry. Not only that, he charges over $1000 for a haircut. That’s my man.

Describe your staff

I have six employees. I am very appreciative of them. They are hard working and help me get things done in a timely manner. Salons cannot keep people waiting. You just cannot do it. You have to get people in and out. Over the years I have learned how to service clients in a timely manner.

Amorphous Black Hair Salon Profile by Black Hair Spot

What would you say is your biggest success so far?

My biggest success was when Amorphous used to be doing performance. We brought high-energy entertainment to the audience. It was a big accomplishment because it was an Amorphous production. We created the choreography, the clothing, the hairstyles – everything was done by Amorphous. I remember on one occasion we had to do a performance in New York City. At that time I was putting the money I was making for doing my work back into the performance. I spent it on my models. I wasn’t going able to pay for them to model but I paid for their transportation and hotels. We were well rehearsed. When we took the stage people didn’t believe we were from Toronto. My work has appeared in various quality magazines, television, and music videos, but traveling with Amorphous productions felt like my biggest accomplishment. I’ve worked with Wyclef Jean, LL Cool J, Boys II Men, Beyonce… there is too many to name. But celebrities mean nothing to me. Celebrities don’t make my day. My day is made by the regular people who come through the salon doors. I’m not a celebrity stylist. I’m the people’s stylist. I’m the people’s hair designer. Celebrities are human beings like the rest of us. The people who pay my bills – who have been coming every three months for the past fifteen years – mean something to me.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Starting school. When I was in hairdressing school our teacher constantly undermined me. One day I took him into the office and was on the verge of changing schools. I sat down with him man to man and asked him to lay off of me and just let my juices flow. From then on, my challenges were gone. I always knew what I wanted and I knew that I would get it. I gave up all of the other things that I love – music, painting, acting – to be a hairdresser. I knew I had to do well.

What do you want your business to look like in 10 years?

If I could make a salon made of gold I would do it. I want people to walk into my salon and be intimidated because it’s so well structured, and the hairdressers are so polite and knowledgeable. If I could put a million dollars into a salon I would do it in a minute.

What advice would you give to new Canadian salons and/or hairdressers?

I would tell new hairdressers to embark on education. The industry is low educationally and different from when I was in school. It’s a different industry. I would tell young hairdressers to make sure they select the salon that they want to work for. Don’t just jump into it. You can’t walk into a salon because you’re going to be paid and they do weaves and jheri curls. Go to a salon that suits your image. Know what type of hairdresser you want to be. Know your goals. Research. There are a lot of great hairdressers out there, like the ones I mentioned earlier.

What does your salon specialize in?

Many people would say that we specialize in hair cutting – but we are a hair care provider first. We know how to care for hair. Amorphous is strong in hair cutting, styling, and colouring. I would say that we are strong in every area in the industry because we work like a team.

Is there anything else you wanted to say?

Amorphous is a curly hair salon. We help clients cut and maintain their curly hair. Also, I want to see black manufacturers come back into business. I must add a bit of politics. I want to see that black dollar go back into the black hair industry. Forget the two cents you’re going to save by putting your money somewhere else. We need our dollar circulating among us. There are billions of dollars being spent in the black hair industry and not a lot is coming back to us. There was a time when black marketers would come to your salon and pay you to do seminars, but now that doesn’t happen at all.

We have one of the most versatile hair of all races

Hairdressers need to get their act together. It isn’t difficult to take care of our hair. People need to be comfortable going to a salon to have their hair treated and know that their hair will remain on their head. If I’m not political my name is not Buster.

Amorphous Black Hair Salon Profile by Black Hair Spot

A Head Full of Wool: The History of Black Hair in North America

(photo source:

Where did the story of black hair begin? Too often we begin black people’s story with slavery – when we know full well that the African story began in Africa.

Before Slavery

Early in the fifteenth century, African hair was a distinct form of communication. African hair spoke of age, marital status, ethnic identity, religion, wealth, and social rank. For instance, in the Wolof tribe of Senegal, young women would shave a portion of their hair to tell the bachelors that they were single and ripe for the picking.

Africans knew their hair was beautiful. They would spend hours washing, combing, and oiling their hair to ensure it remained healthy. Africans used to use elaborate combs, brushes, and ornaments like cowrie shells to highlight the beauty of their hair.

The Birth of Good Hair

Africans were taken from their homes and sold into slavery in the 1700s. Black people were taught that to look European was to look beautiful. This is when the term “good hair” came into being. No, Chris Rock did not coin the phrase. Good hair was smooth, silky and straight. Bad hair was kinky, short and coarse.

From that point onward, Black people in North American began to do everything in our power to change our hair texture to look more like the straight hair of white people.

I shift impatiently on the two pillows I snagged from the couch to sit on. My hair is freshly washed, but not oiled. My mom doesn’t oil my hair before hot combing it anymore. She’s tired of my squeals of discomfort. When the steaming metal comb gets too close to my roots it heats up the Blue Magic on my scalp and my head feels like it’s going to boil away. So I scream and I cry.

My mom walks into the living room and sits behind me on the couch, her legs on either side of my shoulders.

“Ma, I think it’s ready now,” I say. It’s important that she doesn’t leave the hot comb in its oven too long. Last time that happened I lost a significant chunk of my hair. She doesn’t answer. She lifts up the heavy metal comb, rubs it with a towel, blows on it, and brings it to my roots.

It makes a ttssssssshhhhhhttt sound as it straightens my coily tresses. “Aaahhhhhhhhhh!” I complain noisily. No oil – but the heat still burns my scalp. My mom pauses and I can feel her disapproving scowl.

“Do you want me to stop?” She asks, annoyed. “No ma,” I answer quickly. Tomorrow is my first day of grade 10. I can’t go to school with cornrows anymore. That’s for kids. I need to look beautiful.

In 1909, Garrett A. Morgan invented the first hair relaxer. He was working with sewing machines in his tailoring shop when he noticed that a chemical he was using straightened the fibres of woolen cloth. From this realization the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company was born. Morgan first sold to black men who were interested in straightening their kinky hair, and then began to sell to black women.

Annie Malone became one of the first self-made black millionaires in 1920 when she patented the hot comb. The invention was initially developed in France for women with curly hair who wished to temporarily straighten their hair.

A Change of Attitude?

In the 1970s, things began to change. Political activists like Angela Davis began to wear their hair in afros and the Black Power Movement gained popularity in America. Black people of all ages began to grow their natural hair into afros in solidarity of the movement. But like many other hair crazes; the afro was popular only for a season. The popularity of chemically straightened hair remained.

In 1977, the Jheri curl chemical process exploded. The Jheri curl allowed black people to have smooth curls without the frizz of the kink. Achieving the Jheri curl look was not easy. It required a two-step application process. Wearers first applied a softener that loosened the curls, and then applied a chemical solution that permanently curled it.

The definition of good hair began to change in the 80s. Black people started to rock everything from the braids Janet Jackson wore in Poetic Justice to Lauryn Hill dreadlocks to long Beyoncé-blonde wigs and weaves to Erykah Badu head wraps.

In 2009, Solange did what the natural hair community now calls the “big chop”. She cut off all of her hair to start afresh. She went natural. Since then multitudes of black women have followed her lead, cut off their relaxed or damaged ends, and gone natural.

And now we are in the midst of a hair revolution. If you don’t believe me, type “natural hair” into Google and you’ll see millions of results. Black women in particular have begun to embrace the natural texture of their hair. After centuries of weaves and chemical straighteners we are now attempting to understand how to care for our hair in it’s natural state. Black women are investigating the intricacies of the strands that grow out of our scalps. Many black women are learning how to care for our hair for the first time in our late 20s, 30s and even 40s.

I think it’s beautiful.

That’s why in 2012 I decided to go natural. It wasn’t easy. My long straight weaves were my foundation and I didn’t feel attractive showing my natural curl pattern. I still struggle with self-image and at times yearn for my 20″ remy. But my personal conviction has been to find beauty in the natural texture of my hair.