Caring for Natural Hair

February 19, 2010 10:07:46 AM PST
Chris-Tia Donaldson has written a new book about caring for natural hair. But she is a Harvard-educated lawyer, not a hairdresser. Frustrated and tired of wasting money and time, she set out to write a guide to help other women struggling with their hair. Like many black women, Chris-Tia says she grew tired of spending thousands of dollars and hours upon hours frying her nappy tresses into submission. After 25 years of trying to realize an unattainable beauty standard, Chris-Tia decided to finally let go of relaxers, wigs, weaves, and extensions and embrace her kinky hair for what it was in all its natural glory. But learning how to take care of it wasn't easy; her search for answers resulted in "Thank God I'm Natural: The Official Guide to Caring and Maintaining for Natural Hair."

"Although a growing number of black women are now opting to wear their hair natural, they are often at a loss when it comes to properly taking care of their tightly-coiled locks," she says. She wrote "Thank God I'm Natural" for them, so they would not have to search through the clutter of websites, blogs, and Internet message boards for information on going natural.

Featuring the advice of celebrity stylists for Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Floetry and Naomi Campbell, Chris-Tia's book is a simple, fun, and easy to read; it covers all aspects of caring for natural hair and locks. In addition to providing product recommendations and styling tips from the pros, this book also traces the history of black grooming practices and dispels many popular myths associated with wearing black hair in its natural state (e.g. Natural hair is unprofessional, I'll never get a date with kinky tresses, etc.). Chris-Tia includes tales of hair disasters and successes from the perspectives of everyday women who are going natural. The author also shares her own personal experiences (both funny and sad) -- working in corporate America with a kinky mane.

Chris-Tia holds degrees from both Harvard Law School and Harvard College, where she graduated cum laude. She began working on "Thank God I'm Natural" with years of exhaustive, first-hand research on the political, social, and historical facets of African-American hair. She conducted interviews with hundreds of women and stylists from across the country and around the world.

You can find "Thank God I'm Natural" online at and locally at Barnes & Noble, Frontline Bookstore in Hyde Park, Karyn's Wellness Center in Lincoln Park, and Afriware Bookstore in Oak Park.

For more information, visit or click on Chris-Tia's blog for all the latest in hair care news and current events at

. CARING FOR NATURAL HAIR Moisturize and condition
Hot oil treatments
Minimize heat styling
Get regular trims
Twist out
Bantu knots
Kinky twists
Afro puff
Micro braids

NOTE: The pictures of the styles and the book cover are available for download at the following link:

These Chicago women explain why they decided to go natural.

Christina Williams
30 years old; College Administrator, currently pursuing MPA

"I have been natural for over 4 years. I decided to go natural while living abroad. Being natural gives me more versatility and less fuss. I am currently a school administrator and working on my masters. Having natural hair gives me the versatility of being professional by day and still fun and flirty when I do out. I am adventurous and enjoy water activities. What I love most about natural hair is that it doesn't matter wear I am I can find products to care for my hair: moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and a leave in and I am good to go."

Sheree White-Steward
35 years old; For the last ten years, has worked her way into Senior Leadership, Directing for the largest non-profit in the United States; recently resigned this past November in search of something new, exciting and more importantly ? challenging. Sheree is married with beautiful children

"For the last 15 years, I have been Natural. Perms did not agree or cooperate with me. My hair is extra thick and required additional heat and torture that I would not comply with. My hair often smelled burnt - which drove me crazy. I wanted a life change that would eliminate chemicals from my hair as well as my body. At that time, 1999, my husband and I decided to get "right" mentally, physically and spiritually - part of that process included locking our hair. Two years ago I cut the locks off. Presently, I have a little longer than shoulder length natural curly hair. Services include receiving a deep conditioner and clipped ends monthly. I double-strand twist my hair nightly to maintain frizz and kinks which allows for an easy do in the morning. I take down the double strand twists, apply some type of Miss Jessie's Product and shake it out ? done.

Olga "Peaches" Richardson
50 years old; Self Employed (Cleaning Service)

"I made the choice to go natural in 2003. My hair had taken over; everything I did contingent on when my appointment was at the salon. I was obsessed with my hair with how my hair looked. I t had gotten to the point if I did not get a compliment for a stranger I felt like I needed to go back to salon. I am the youngest of 4 and my mother was not a hair person. I started going the beauty salon at the age of four so this became a way of life for me. "

31 years old; Hair Stylist

Eboni as a fourth model wears her hair in an extremely short style and many women both black and white, who are undergoing chemotheraphy for various forms of cancer are often forced to cut their hair extremely short due to the radiation treatment. Eboni provides a remarkable example for women of all races of how a short style can be both feminine and attractive and how short hair highlights your features.