Straw Set Curls

I achieved these curls by doing a Straw Set. Follow these few steps.

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1. Prepped all my products. I moisturized with Girl and Hair leave in conditioner. It’s very hydrating.

2. ALWAYS #Detangle your hair. I prefer using a Detangle Brush. I tried a new one today by Txture Pro I ❤ it & highly recommend it

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3. Section your hair in the direction you want your twists to fall

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4. Straw Set: Direction is important. I have about 4 small sections. I twisted my hair on the straws in an upwards motion (coming forward). I used #ecostyler Black Castor & Flaxseed Gel

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5. Unravel; separate your curls

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6. I Lightly teased my roots & curls with my fingers; again, in an upwards motion. I didn’t separate them much.

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7. I Styled my curls in a Mohawk. I wanted my curls to look a lil old, not too fresh…so I did my straw set whilst my hair was dry. First time in a while with these curls. I love the end result. Switching up from time to time is good 😉

My side’s were shaved ✂✂✂ by Master Barber Kevin Kidd

 

Custom Made

When you feel good, you look good! Be sure to Customize your life! After all, it is YOUR LIFE and you are Custom Made 💛

In regards to my style, I really love Custom Made pieces. I have a closet full of dresses and skirts you will not see on another person. Custom made makes your look classic, unique and different! In addition to standing out in the crowd, you support another’s dream and passion.

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Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it! Fashion is ART and you are the canvas; so forget the rules! If you like it WEAR IT! Make sure it’s Hot though, lol 😉😆

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Don’t be afraid to wear horizontal stripes! They’re always going to be a Big Fashion Statement! I had this skirt made about 5 years ago and this is my second time wearing it since! The key is HOW. . .what you pair it with and styling it for your body type.

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💛 Loving & Living Life 💛

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Location | Bronx, NY

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Maxi Skirt  |Nsaa House of Designs

Top | Rainbow Shops

Earrings| Design By U Essentials

 

Nothing like a flowing Maxi Dress

No matter what people think of you, keep singing your own song! Many may not know this but music is my sanity. I cannot go a day without singing or listening to music. I was having a moment in this shot 🎤🎵🎶🎵

Now about this dress 😁

I have quite a few favorite style looks. Maxi dresses & skirts are definitely on my list! Can you believe I bought this amazing Maxi dress for $20? Yes, you saw that price correctly!

It was on sale at Mandee’s in NYC. I purchased this dress a few months ago. This particular color may not be available, but they do have many great colors & patterns in stock now.

 The material and the way this dress flows is beyond words. I received many compliments while wearing this Beauty.

Because this dress speaks for itself, I decided to minimize my accessories and went with a Bold Metal Choker. I don’t have earrings on because I forgot to put them on 😩🙈

 

Location | Bronx, NY

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Maxi Dress |Mandee

Necklace| Design By U Essentials

SASS & Strut 👠👄

Beautiful minds inspire others and Empowered Women; Empower Women!

I’m part of a phenomenal sisterhood on Facebook called Natural or Not. . .Hair We Come! It started off as a hair group giving natural hair care tips. It has currently grown to a tribe of almost 6k women sharing their LIFE experiences and supporting each others’ creativity, ventures and businesses.

We had a private event last Saturday in NYC in collaboration with Allure Dance NYC, led by our fierce and fab instructor for the night, Traye. Not only did she teach us ladies some great seductive and sensual dance moves, she taught us how to add that EXTRA ummmph; how to ‘Enhance our Sexy’! We had such a great time! That red lit room was full of confident women embracing their curves and owning their space on that dance floor. It’s also a plus when you’re getting a workout! Allure Dance NYC  has classes every Friday. You can also schedule a private class as a group. Check them out!

Collaboratively, NONHWC will be hosting another themed dance class and more events in the next coming weeks. Keep up with us on Facebook at Natural or Not. . .Hair We Come and on Instragram @hair_we_come

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. That is the true essence of beauty ~ Dr. Steve Maraboli

Ladies, Always be Confident, Beautiful and continue to ‘Enhance your Sexy’

Eye See You

Let me start off by saying Happy New Year! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. This is my first post of 2017. I hope your year has started off with a BANG! My year surely has! I’m truly excited about all that is in store.

I would like to chat a little about gratitude. Being thankful and grateful is an amazing feeling. It’s a really big part of who I am! There is not a day that goes by where I do not give THANKS!

Today, I want to share a moment in particular. One evening while responding to comments on a post I shared on Instagram, someone wrote, “I most definitely have to draw you very soon.”  I responded by saying, “I would be honored.” He then responded by saying, “The Honor would be all mine. Stay Tuned!”

Imagine waking up to a tagged image of yourself two weeks later!

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My mouth fell open and I said, “Oh my God!” quite a few times! This image is phenomenal! It was beyond me! The artisit nailed my bold features, one of my favorite hair cuts, earrings I once made by hand, my fingers and even the folds in my neck. The detail was mind blowing. What really had me was the artist used two different images to create this! When I realized that, I just kept saying WOW!

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The above photos I have posted on my Instagram account is what he used as inspiration to create this phenomenal piece he titled “Eye See You.” Talk about amazing Talent!!!!!

After being in Awe for about half an hour, I immediately messaged him to thank him and tell him how much I loved it. I reposted it and the response from many was positively overwhelming. What truly made me happy is that many have connected with him.

A 40 x 28 size Canvas Print of “Eye See You” now hangs in my Apartment

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Photographer | Matey Ghoslow

The artist name is Tim Baxter. I’ve yet to meet him in person. We finally had the opportunity to speak last week. I used that opportunity to interview Tim briefly.

Meet the Artist

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When did you start drawing?

I started drawing in Kindergarten/first grade. Then, it was my brother & cousin who both inspired me to start drawing.

What’s your style of choice?

I like to use color pencils,  paint,  and I like drawing on my Ipad. It’s very convenient. I’ve been using it for the past year. I can change brushes, erase, and make changes. It’s like drawing on paper. I used a program called Procreate on my Ipad to draw your image.

The Process Click here to see the process Tim used on his Ipad In a program called Procreate to digitally draw the amazing image he created of me.

Why did you choose those images to draw of me?

You have a unique look. I used two different images because I didn’t want what I was creating to be an exact copy of anything. I wanted to create a unique pose, but also incorporate your images.

What’s your profession?

I am a Data Anaylst for a transportation company for the past 10 years. For the past 2 years, I’ve been pushing to put my art out. I’ve always wanted to work more behind the scenes. In the past I’ve done a book and album cover. It’s now that I would like to share my Art a lot more.

Where are you from? Where do you reside?

I’m born & raised in Brooklyn. I still reside in Brooklyn.

What school did you go to? What did you major in?

I went to Morgan State and majored in Business Administration & Computer Programming

Which are your favorite artists?

Ernest Barnes, Double Yoo and Damien Dunn

Are there any current projects that you’re working on?

I’m currently fininshing up a comic book that I started in 2003-2004. I have yet to publish it. I’ve always been into comics. I still have comics from when I was a boy. I have a series of characters that I would like to update. I also like to sculpt. I would like to sculpt images similar to my drawings; sculptures of females and of man and woman.

Tim Baxter in his own words

I’ve been drawing since 5 or 6 years old and my artwork has always been very important to me whether it’s for sale or just for me. There has always been a burning desire to either draw what I see, create characters or create something I’ve seen in my mind. My goal is not to be the best artist in NY or the world but to genuinely and honestly be the best me, the best Tim Baxter I can be. My hope is to leave this earth, when that time comes, knowing that I left behind a body of work this will continue to inspire, encourage, provoke and uplift. An artist whether visual, conceptual or performance, he or she should not be judged on the first or last piece they’ve done but their entire body of work, as a whole.

It was great conversing with Tim. He’s calm, funny and passionate about his work. You can view more of his work on his website

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I have LOVE for anything ART related. I believe in supporting artists  of any kind. I will finally get to meet Tim on February 19th at the UZURI ART Exhibit, an event curated by Like Minded People NYC. If you are in NY and can stop by, please do. I look forward to seeing and meeting as many of you as possible.

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The Brighter Side of Things

Think Happy. . .Be Happy! Stay on the Sunny Side of Life!

Yellow always uplifts my mood! It has many meanings; happiness, optimism, sunshine, laughter, enthusiasm, confidence, emotional strength, friendliness, self-esteem, creativity and uplifting are a few of my favorites.

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Wherever I am, I stand Tall!

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There are some walks that you have to take alone! No Worries. . .God will direct your steps!

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Fashion is what you buy. Style is what you do with it!

One of my many gifts is knowing how and where to shop on a budget! I bought this beautiful yellow tie knot asymmetrical dress from Rainbow Shops for approximately $18 and my sandals from Luichiny for about $150 about 11 years ago. I remember this vividly because my son was just a few months old. He’s now a vibrant pre-teen 🙂 My sandals are in mint condition! I’ve only worn them a few times.

I will share how I keep my shoes ‘Brand New’ for so many years in a future post.

Location | Battery Park City. . .NYC

Photographer | Matey Ghoslow Photography

Dress | Rainbow Shops

Shoes | Luichiny Shoes

Nail Shade | Blue it out of Proportion

Jewelry | Design By U Jewelry

Blooming

When you’re growing and glowing, you have no choice but to prosper and allow yourself to bloom! Don’t go through life, grow through life! It does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.

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Follow your soul. It knows the way. Be one with your thoughts. . .Think for yourself. Trust your own intuition. Another’s mind isn’t walking your journey. You are!

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I have a thing for tanks, hats and  maxi skirts! There is just something about the combo that I love. I’ve never been a fan of floral prints . . but I must admit, I’ve been enjoying them all summer ’16!

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Where ever life plants you, Bloom with Grace!

Location | Battery Park City. . .NYC

Photographer Matey Ghoslow Photography

Hat | H&M

Top | H&M

Belt Forever 21

Skirt | From my closet! Purchased from Century 21, Spring ’15

Bamboo BraceletsDesign By U Jewelry

Lipstick | Shade. . .Electric Purple by 127 East Cosmetics

What is African Black Soap?

I’ve had an influx of orders for my Authentic African Black soap during the Holiday season after I shared my personal testimonial on it on instagram; after frequently being asked how I am able to maintain flawless skin.

Many have been saying & asking, “I know it works, but what exactly is African Black Soap?” Below is a brief summary.

African Black soap has been used for centuries in West Africa. It is still made the traditional way from locally harvested plantain skins, cocoa pods, palm tree leaves & shea tree bark, to name a few potent ingredients. It is then fermented which is how the soap gets its brownish-black color.

*Please Note* African Black Soap  should not be entirely Black in color. If so, it is not authentic. It’s  watered down & mixed with different agents!

African Black Soap is suitable for all skin types! It can be used daily and it is also great for washing makeup off! If you have any skin sensitivity, it is best to do a skin test. Place a small amount of soap (wet it first) and leave it on an area of your skin for about a minute to see if you have a negative reaction to it. Another way is to choose an area on your skin to wash with it for 3 consecutive days (same area). Because of it’s organic ingredients, a negative reaction rarely happens (unless you have specific allergies).

(WASH ONLY. DO NOT USE AS A MASK)!

Because of it’s potent ingredients, the soap is powerful. You should not leave ABS on your face for a long period of time. When you start using this soap, you will instantly see improvement in discoloration, skin tone, acne, reduction of razor bumps, ingrown hair bumps, fine lines and wrinkles. . .just to name a few. ABS detoxifies and purifies the skin, due to its amazing ingredients.

Plantain skins is high in vitamin A, which increases collagen production; vitamin E, has natural healing properties which helps  moisturize the skin; & iron, which boosts the benefits of both vitamins A and E.

Cocoa powder softens & firms the skin & its antioxidants & anti-inflammatory properties, fight free radicals, repairs damaged skin, and renews skin cells.

Cocoa butter is a natural moisturizer loaded with vitamins A and E that fights & helps reverse the signs of aging. It also eases rashes, eczema, and psoriasis.

Shea butter also has vitamins A and E to strengthen skin, repair damage, and diminish wrinkles. Over time, ABS can help in healing sores, scars, & help with treating psoriasis, eczema, & dermatitis.

Palm oil is rich & packed with antioxidants and two forms of vitamin E which help heal acne and eczema.

Palm kernel oil, extracted from the fruit seeds of the African palm tree, is high in lauric acid, giving it antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help heal acne.

When African Black Soap is exposed to air, it may develop a thin, white film. There is no need to panic or worry. This is normal. It’s not mold nor is it a sign that it is expired, and the soap may still be used. African Black Soap has a very longgggggggg shelf life!

F A Q’s

What are the ingredients in Raw African Black Soap? How is it made?

The ingredients in Raw African Black Soap may vary depending on the region, but the soap consistently usually includes: plantain skins and leaves, bark from the shea tree, cocoa pods, oils (palm oil, coconut oil and/or shea butter). The skins, leaves, barks and cocoa pods are burned to ashes. Water and the oils are then added to the ashes. After being stirred for a day or more, the mixture  is left to ferment. There are absolutely NO CHEMICALS, artificial ingredients or preservatives in our A U T H E N T I C  African Black Soap.

Does African Black Soap contain alcohol and | or lye?

NO! Our Authentic African Black Soap contains neither alcohol or lye.

What are some of the benefits of African Black Soap?

It is an all-natural exfoliator which deep-cleanses the pores. It is suitable for all skin types. It helps fade dark marks and hyper-pigmentation, psoriasis and some eczema flare ups; (should not be used if the skin is broken; sore)

How do I use African Black Soap?

A little bit of African Black Soap goes a VERY LONG WAY! We’ve made it easier for you by cutting it in our classic soap pattern. Just add water and lather. Because of the uneven texture of the soap, we suggest lathering the soap in your hand and then applying the lather to your face (if using for your face only). If you’re using the African Black Soap to wash your hair, you can put pieces into a bottle, add water and shake it up. That will dissolve the soap and create a face | body wash & shampoo. This is easier and safer than buying already mixed African Black Soaps because you are controlling the contents that it’s being mixed with.

How do I store African Black Soap?

Since the African Black Soap has no preservatives, it must be stored in a cool, dry place. We suggest you keep your soap in a tin; not in plastic. If the plastic that you are storing your soap in; is not BPA free, it will absorb the toxins present in the plastic.

Note: the soap dissolves quickly when it is wet. If you let the entire soap or piece you’re using sit out in water, it will look like melted caramel by the time you are ready to use it again 😁 When stored, ABS may get a whitish film on it. If this happens, do not panic, It’s not mold! It’s just the effects of the soaps exposure to air.

Can I Use African Black Soap on my newborn?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! It is too strong for a newborn baby’s skin. We suggest you use on children 2 years of age and up (Only to bathe); do not leave on their skin for a long period of time.

African Black Soap didn’t work for my friend. Will it work for me?

Everyone’s skin is different because everyone has a different skin type. What works for another may not work for you. This is why we encourage you to do a skin test prior to using, as we mentioned in our summary. It also helps to know what you are buying. Not all African Black Soaps are Authentic.

How is it that I’m able to use this soap on my oily skin when there are oils present in the soap?

Though oil is present in the soap, it is not “oily”. The fermentation process gives all ingredients an amazing balance, which makes it a great exfoliator. It keeps your skin hydrated without increasing oil. If you have oily skin, please moisturize afterwards with a non-comedogenic lotion.

Can I use African Black Soap on my dry skin?

Yes you can! But, if you do not like to moisturize or wear lotion, please do not bother to use it! With those that have dry skin, the soap is effective, but you MUST moisturize and cream your skin immediately after using. It is a natural exfoliator, meaning it is striping skin. You have to replenish moisture to maintain balance.

What is the shelf life of African Black Soap?

African Black Soap has a very long shelf life. If stored in a dry cool place, it can last for approximately 10 years.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Your questions will help me add more insight to Design By U Essentials FAQ’s for ABS! Comment below or send us an email at info@designbyuessentials.com

Beauty Standards. . .What’s Ideal?

I believe the answer will depend on whom is being asked. Beauty can be…and is expressed and translated in many forms. One may express beauty through art while another may choose to express beauty through fashion, hair, music or all of the above. In regards to physical beauty, there are usually various opinions and debates on what is and what is not ideal.

When I saw this image, I stared at it for a while. It fiercely resonates with me. 99.9% of what is written has been and at times. . .is still said to me. I went back to my natural kinks almost 20 years ago. The natural products you now see on shelves did not exist back then. At that time, I was attending Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. I befriended a few Naturalista’s at school and they provided me with information on natural hair products. I started purchasing Carol’s Daughter’s products. This is when her shop was at Spike Lee’s old Joint on Dekalb Ave & South Elliot Pl; literally a few blocks from school. When I found these products for my hair, I was the happiest woman on Earth. Not only did I have natural products for my texture; to see a black woman who owned and operated this business with her family was just PHENOMENAL!

Prior to going back to my natural kinks, I had a perm and wore weaves. I loved it! Society taught me that this was how my hair should look. I felt beautiful. . .but, there came a time where this stopped agreeing with me. Years and years of chemical abuse started to show. My hair was breaking, shredding, falling out…It was very weak and tired! It was then that I made the conscious decision to just cut it all off and start over. This also awakened a new me!

My natural hair downright offended folks. I would hear, “What is that on your head?…It doesn’t hurt when you comb it?…I really think you would look nicer with a weave!…Press that shit!…It’s too kinky!…You look like a coffee shop chick!…You really look African now!…You look like Kizzy from Roots!…Can I touch it?” I even received criticism from my parents. I’ll save my complete story for another day 😉

This image speaks volumes! Whether you are dark-skinned and natural, light-skinned with straight hair or vice versa; you face ridicule, judgement, whisper…all kinds of opinions will be thrown at you. This happens because society spreads it’s own convoluted messages on what beauty should look like.

Why should I wear my hair straight because you don’t know what to do with your natural hair? Why should my friend cut off her relaxer because you went back to your natural kinks?


Body Shaming. . .What’s That? Unfortunately, body shaming is a part of our daily lives. Women are shamed for being too dark, light, fat, skinny, tall, short, petite, busty, flat chested, having a flat ass, having too big of an ass, for being too plain, wearing makeup, having a thin nose, big lips, being too sexy. . .for just being a woman!

Magazines, billboards and social media outlets constantly encourage us to change our appearance. We are continually reminded of this through body slimming tea advertisements, body shapers, liposuction, hair, lightening creams. . .etc. These messages and the messages we may receive from others often imply that we should want to change; that we should care about looking smaller, thicker, darker, brighter.  .  .the list goes on!

Young girls are being corrupted and brainwashed daily. Mass media is one of the most powerful tools for young girls and women to learn and also understand feminine beauty ideals. “Before mass media even existed, our ideas of beauty were limited to our own families and communities.” Because of that, people would stick to seeing each other in person in order to form beauty ideals. But as mass media develops, the way people see feminine beauty ideals changes as does how females view themselves and one another.

Each day, girls are exposed to images of beautiful models and advertisements about beauty and fashion.” says Renee Hobbs, EdD, associate professor of communications at Temple University.

Beauty ideals are exposed to children from an early age through fairy tales and Disney princesses. The feminine beauty ideal has become more ingrained and cohesive in recent decades because of the expansion of technology and the relevance of mass media. Research has shown that the pressure to conform to a certain definition of beautiful has had drastic psychological effects. These ideals have been correlated with depression, eating disorders, and low self-esteem starting from an adolescent age and continuing into adulthood – via Wikipedia

Body Positivity

Again, Western Ideals have a profound effect on our perception of Beauty! It is no secret that the fashion industry has been guilty of body shaming and photoshopping for years! In recent years, curvy and voluptuous women have been taking a stand and fighting back on what’s considered “Normal!”  Curvier women are on runways and in print. The various body positivie and love yourself campaigns that I’ve been seeing are capturing many hearts. It has helped change the game. It has aided in redefining what “Beautiful” is. It has also taken “Confidence” and “Self-Esteem” to a totally different level!

It’s an amazing thing to see a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and dares to be “Unaplogetically” Her!


Colorism 

The term “Colorism” was coined by author Alice Walker in 1982. It is not the same as racism. Colorism is dependent upon the social status on skin color alone.

“Colorism is discrimination or bias based on skin color. Colorism has roots in racism and classism and is a well-documented problem in the black, Asian and Hispanic community. People who partake in colorism typically value people with lighter skin more than their darker-skinned counterparts. They’re likely to view lighter-skinned people as more attractive, intelligent and generally more worthy of attention and praise than darker-skinned people. In essence, having lighter skin or being associated with light-skinned people is a status symbol. Members of the same racial group may participate in colorism, giving preferential treatment to the lighter-skinned members of their ethnic group. Outsiders may also participate in colorism, such as a white person who favors lighter-skinned blacks over their darker-skinned peers,” says race relations expert, Nadra Kareem Nittle.

Mass media often bolsters discrimination based on skin color. Scottish artist, Rawdi, depicts the beauty standards of women of color and blackface in the fashion industry. These images are powerful! The black model is condisered too dark and her hair is too kinky. Her hair is being straightened and her skin is being lightened so she can occur to others as more appealing. The white model feels she is too pale and her hair is too straight. She gives herself curls and darkens/tans her skin with makeup so she can occur to others as more appealing (Blackface).

The images below are from an Animated Short Film titled ‘Yellow Fever,’ which explores Colorism & Self-Image among African women and young girls. This mixed-media documentary animation by Kenyan filmmaker Ng’endo Muki was a. thesis project at London’s Royal College of Art. This lovely animation explores the effects of Euorpean beauty standards and highlights the reasons why darker skinned women resort to bleaching creams to lighten their skin. Yellow Fever also addresses how certain beauty standards are passed down through generations.

In these particular images from the short film, Ng’endo Mukii’s niece states that she wishes she were American and white. When asked how she sees herself,  she stated that she is uncomfortable with her dark skin every time she sees her reflection in the mirror.

All of the images I shared is to provide examples of the different beauty standards and ideals that we face today. The question, Beauty Standards. . .What’s Ideal?. . .is not so easy to answer. Depending on who you are, where you are, your confidence and self-esteem level, what you view as beautiful, what you take offense to. . .will shape your view(s) on, “What’s Ideal?” 

How would you answer this question? How did these images make you feel?  Share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you!


* timasamad.com does not own the images or video published in this article *

Naturalista. . .What’s That?

For the past few years, the term and hashtag #naturalista has been used by many. What exactly is a Naturalista? If you look in the dictionary or search Naturalista in your web browser, you will find different meanings. The first one I saw stated that a Naturalista is anything or anyone copying nature’s ways, its natural surroundings; pertaining to natural history; or anyone about or an advocate of naturalism. Another meaning stated that a Naturalista is a biologist knowledgeable about natural history. The one that stood out the most to me was the Urban Dictionary’s meaning.


Kudos to the author ❤️  I am a black African female and I totally identify and take pride in who I am, my hair and its wonderful texture. . .But, I believe being a Naturalista is deeper than what is written. It is what all these meanings state and then some! Being a Naturalista is a way of life. Being a Naturalista is being YOU! Naturalista’s come in all shades, shapes and sizes . They also rock fros, frohawks, tapered cuts, undercuts, locs, protective styles, blowouts and pressed hair.

 

@deunivory

 

Being a Naturlista is not a statement but the closest I can get to being myself! – Anonymous

What does being a Naturalista mean to you?

*Photo Credits* @africancreature @bennu_rising @loccrush @caraliekory @djandaj @deunivory