Jul 14, 2011

Someone cue the James Ingram because I'm about to sing. *I did my best but I guess my best wasn't good enough* Sorry, I know that was catty but you really had it coming Mr. Walker. By now I am sure you all have read Savvy's post about Andre Walker(stylist to Oprah), his Elle magazine interview, and his subsequent *defense* of himself.

Honestly, I laughed about the Elle interview. It contained so many contradictions that I really could not take it seriously. First, while patting himself on the back for creating Halle Berry's signature cut, he explains it by saying that while he could straighten her (3c) hair just fine in his salon, she could not manage it herself at home. Then just 4 short sentences later, he laments about the limited styling options of "kinky" (type 4 hair) and so they need to chemically straighten their hair. Apparently people with *good* (sarcasm) hair have limited styling options too.

But Mr. Walker ,apparently, is above people pointing out the flaws in his logic so he decided to silence his critics with a statement. In it he basically said, I told you all ten years ago that "kinky" hair has to be relaxed and I'm not changing my position now. And if that wasn't bad enough, he decided to pour salt in the open wound by adding that he was giving his BEST advice.

Well, Mr. Walker if that's your BEST advice then Oprah has been wasting money for the last 25 years. In 25 plus years as a licensed professional, the only advice you can give Black women with "kinky" hair is to get a relaxer??? Really??? Because I am not a licensed beautician and I know that you don't need a relaxer to get TEXTURED hair straight. In fact, I learned that lesson over 20years ago as I sat in my grandmother's kitchen, holding down my ear as she pulled a scalding hot pressing comb through it and explained to me that beauty is pain.

My problem with Mr. Walker's statement have nothing to do with being relaxed versus natural. I'm angry that a professional who knows or should know better wants to take the lazy way out. I find it professionally irresponsible that you would tell an entire category of women, get a relaxer or there's nothing else I can do for your hair.

I'm really not impressed by your BEST sir so how about you slide over and let this rookie take a shot at it.

Mr. Walker says you cannot comb "kinky" hair because it leads to breakage-- I say, always moisturize your hair before you comb it and use a wide tooth comb to detangle. Start from the ends of your hair when detangling and work your way up.

Mr. Walker says "kinky" hair is weak and fragile-- I say, textured hair (and yes that includes those of us with 3c hair) is naturally dry. In order to keep your hair healthy and strong, wash with sulfate free shampoos (why am I not surprised that Mr. Walker's keratin shampoo contains sulfates?) because sulfates strip away the hair's natural oils. Deep condition every time you wash to moisturize hair. Use a daily moisturizer on your hair every day or every other day (avoid ones that contain mineral oil). Trim split ends immediately so that they don't travel up the hair shaft.

Mr. Walker says "kinky" hair has limited styling options-- I say, if you want textured hair straight you have several options, roller set on large rollers and sit under a hooded dryer, make sure hair is completely dry before you remove the rollers, then wrap hair cover with saran wrap and sit under the dryer again for about 25 minutes. You roots will not be perfectly straight but all you have to do is go over them with a blow dryer and brush, flat iron, or pressing comb. Don't think you can get your hair straight enough with a simple roller set, swing by any Dominican salon for a blow out and there are several natural hair salons that specialize in heat straightening hair. On days when you wanna rock it curly, flexi-rods sets, wash and gos with curl defining cream and braid outs will have you in style. Don't forget, you can also do twist outs, bantu knot out and braids.

If you do have a relaxer, your hair still needs TLC. Get a re-touch every 10-12 weeks instead of every 4-6. Be careful not apply the relaxer to previously relaxed hair. Wash your hair weekly with a sulfate free shampoo, deep condition and use a daily moisturizer.

There's one last thing I'd like to say to Mr. Walker, you say you know that all hair is good hair but then you make a distinction between curly hair and kinky hair. First of all, most "kinky" hair is curly but the curl pattern is just very tight. Secondly, you acknowledge in your book that all hair is composed of the same materials and that the only difference is texture... I agree with you and the science backs that up, so why does it seem like now you're promoting 3c hair as good and any type 4 hair as difficult?? It's okay though, I've already made peace with my hair and I'll just keep trying to help other sisters get there.

Lovely Locks


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