Gabrielle Union Wears Bantu Knots with Twist-out and Updo

1BlessedNatural: Gabrielle Union Wears Bantu Knots with Twist-Out and Updo (photo cred: @hairbywankya/Instagram)

Gabrielle Union-Wade has been busy promoting her new natural hair care line by showing off her natural hairstyles. This week, the actress posted a picture and video of her Bantu knots and twist-out on social media. The caption of the photo was "Dear summer hair #Day1."

Her hair was done by celebrity hairstylist Wankaya. The stylist posted more photos of Union's hair pinned up in the back into a pineapple. Love it! Earlier this month, Gabrielle Union wore Afro puffs and a regular puff. I want to see what other natural hairstyles she will wear next!

What natural hairstyle would you like to see Gabrielle Union wear next?

Related Articles: Gabrielle Union Comes Through with the Natural Hair Inspiration
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Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Synthetic Hair?

1BlessedNatural: Can I Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Soften Synthetic Hair?

Happy Wednesday, my blessed naturals!
Many of you have been asking if it is okay to soak synthetic hair in Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) for tangles, so I decided to try it. This post is Part 2 of Apple Cider Vinegar for Wig and Weave Extension Tangles.

Items Used

1. Bowl
2. (1) Cup of ACV
3. (2) Cups of Water 
4. (1/2) a pack of Kanekalon (synthetic) braiding hair

What I Did 
1I soaked the Kanekalon hair in the ACV and water for 30 minutes. As soon as I put the hair in the solution, the water turned cloudy, and it got cloudier as time went on. 
2. After removing the hair from the bowl, I rinsed the ACV off. The hair was tangled and fragile. 

3. Afterward, I let it air dry for 2 1/2 hours on a towel. 
After taking the hair out of the ACV

85% dry

100% dry
My Results
After the hair was completely dry, it looked like it was back to normal but it was tangled when I ran my fingers through it. This is the opposite of what happened when we did the same experiment with human hair. Plus, I could still smell the ACV on the hair.
I wouldn't suggest using ACV on synthetic hair for tangles, but it is good for removing the alkaline that can cause your scalp to itch. That's why the water was cloudy. BIG shoutout to my natural friend on Twitter who first told me about the method! I wish I could remember her name, but BIG Thanks to her!
If you're like me and need to do an ACV rinse to treat dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis, you might need to use a little bit of mild shampoo or conditioner on the hair itself to get the smell out. Keep the hair straight when applying the shampoo so it won't tangle.

Do you use ACV on your synthetic weave?

                            My First Time Doing My Own Single Braid Extensions

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My Reaction to the SheaMoisture Commercial that Received Backlash

My Reaction to the SheaMoisture Commercial that Received Backlash

Since the beginning of my (adulthood) natural hair journey, I was there for SheaMoisture. Every time I heard the name I associated it with Black women and the natural hair movement. After hearing about the controversy surrounding their latest commercial, I decided to see the commercial for myself.  When I watched it, I felt no connection to it at all.

Even though the commercial included one woman who was natural, she looked like she could be bi-racial and had a loose hair texture. In the one minute video, the camera moves from the natural to 3 white women. The natural and blonde-haired women talk about how hard it was to accept their hair and hair color. The commercial ends with "Everybody Gets Love"-- that kumbaya moment (rolls eyes).

I'm guessing the company made the decision to include "everybody" from a business standpoint. However, I don't understand excluding kinky hair in their commercial. I know their products were established in 1912, but they have been marketing to the natural hair community heavily for the last 6 or 7 years. I've been rooting for them since 2012 (a year after going natural), but again, I felt no connection to the new commercial and now ultimately the brand.

1BlessedNatural: I was looking for something like this in the SheaMoisture commercial.
Since the release of the commercial, SheaMoisture has received so much backlash from Black women who are hurt. There are also some who say "get over it" and are not bothered by the commercial. I think there is nothing wrong with appealing to a bigger audience, and you have to be realistic about that when talking about business. However, the move to not include the people who were such a big part of the development of the brand is a no-no!

Yesterday, the company released a public apology on Facebook to their "#SheaFam," explaining that they messed up and were removing the advertisement altogether. According to SheaMoisture, the commercial was a part of a larger campaign that included other ethnicities. They said,"We must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way."

If you're wondering about who is included in "our community,"  it is the Black community. SheaMoisture is a Black owned company which adds to the shock of the commercial. When you're talking about advertising, this means a group of people sat down and decided on every element in the video, what to include or not. SMH. If you haven't seen it, check the video out below and let me know what you think!

What do you think about the new SheaMoisture commercial and their apology?

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Why is #Melanin SO Popular?

1BlessedNatural: Why is #Melanin SO Popular (photo cred: William Stitt)

Over the last couple of years, I've noticed an increase in the popularity of the word "melanin." The word has been included in the names of clothing companies, hashtags, and other elements. Black women (including myself) all over the world are posting pictures with the hashtags like #melanin, #melaninpoppin, and #melaninonfleek. On Instagram to date, the #melanin has over 4 million public posts. What is the reason for this?

So, 1BN why is #Melanin SO Popular? 
Based on my own use and observation of social media and trends, I think it's due to the posting of pictures, especially on Instagram that show the beauty of Black people. There are so many different skin tones and textures of hair, and they're all being celebrated.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines melanin as being, "any of various black, dark brown, reddish-brown, or yellow-pigments of animal or plant structures (as skin or hair)." It is a popular belief that melanin is only present in dark Black people, but it is also present in light skin people. It is just to a lesser degree.

 Also, if you've ever wondered about freckles and why they exist, you can thank melanin! says, "Freckles which occur in people of all races are small, concentrated areas of increased melanin production." They get darker the more the skin is exposed to sunlight. 

Types of Melanin
(Skin and Hair)

There are 2 types of melanin that relates to skin and hair. They include eumelanin and pheomelanin. Eumelanin gives hair and skin its dark to black color. Pheomelanin gives them a yellowish to reddish color. As a result, melanin is found in both light skin and dark skin people. There is a third type of melanin called neuromelanin which refers to a dark pigment in the brain.

Melanin is the reason why skin becomes tanned when it is out in the sun. It protects skin from the sun's rays.


Instagram: @sozoed - Model: @sarajones__

 What About Black People with Albinism?
There is a debate going on around the internet that asks this question: Should the #melanin movement include Black people that have Albinism? Merriam-Webster's definition of albinism is "an absence of pigment in the eyes, skin, hair, or feathers caused by a genetic defect."

In my opinion, Black people with Albinism should be included in the #melanin movement, and I've seen it happen. However, the debate originates when the #melanin movement is viewed as only including certain Black people.

Let me break it down like this: There was not one moment when everyone said let's use #melanin (and related hashtags) to refer to the beauty of Black people. This all occurred over a couple of years when internet users began noticing and using the hashtags. As a result, some people might see a picture of a dark skin Black person with the melanin hashtag and think it only refers to similar dark skin people.

If everyone who uses the melanin hashtag is not clear on what it represents, you're going to have it being represented in different ways. 

                                              Connection Between #Natural Hair and Melanin

For the last 7 years, I've watched and participated in the natural hair movement. It was and still is a time where Black women have learned to appreciate their natural strands as well as the scalp it grows out of. It's a definite shift in thoughts relating to the standards of beauty. The same thing is happening with the melanin movement, and it's awesome to witness!

Pulling It All Together!

The increase in the use of the #melanin and other related hashtags on social media is a celebration of something that Black people was once put to shame for---their skin. This goes for both light skin and dark skin. Let's go back to the porch scene in Spike Lee's movie Crooklyn when one of the little girls insulted her cousin by saying, "Ole black self..." Back in the day when I was growing up, dark skin was frowned upon. Today, I think it's celebrated more than ever, and that is why #melanin has become a movement!

Use the #1BNMelanin on social media to continue the conversation!

What do you think about the use of #melanin and other related hashtags on social media?

Further Reading: Melanin -Encyclopedia Britannica

Related Articles: Aborigines and Melanesians: Naturally Blonde Hair and Dark Skin 
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Review of Season 2/Episode 7 of Centric's The Round Show

1BlessedNatural: Review of Season 2/Episode 7 of Centric's The Round

Saturday, the new show The Round aired on the CentricTV network. The Round features powerful Black women who deliver short speeches about their life journeys. Think TED Talks! I really liked the show! This week's speakers included director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, Thelma Golden and Fashion Bomb Daily creator, Claire Sulmers.

Thelma Golden's theme was "Representation", and she talked about the importance of art in her life. I was inspired by Claire Sulmers story of how she went from sleeping on a bathtub to being a successful entrepreneur. Her theme was "Strategy" and she talked about the importance of having it when pursuing your dreams.

I thought both speakers were awesome! It is extremely important for us as Black woman entrepreneurs to be able to see ourselves on television. Many people think of being an entrepreneur as a prestigious thing, but it is hard work. The road to success can be bumpy and trying. That's why it is good to see people who look like us tell their life stories. Shows like Being, Queen Boss, and The Round (all on CentricTV) are filled with inspiration and great advice.

I need to go catch up on The Round episodes! Round of applause for the show! It airs on Saturdays 11/10C on CentricTV!

Did you see this week's episode of the The Round? If so, what did you think of it?

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