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How Natural Hair Is Sweeping the Pageant Scene

Natural hair is one of the hottest topics in the pageant scene.

In this post, get to know the movers and shakers who are ushering in a new era.

For years, it’s been a huge struggle for women with natural hair to decide how to wear it when they compete in pageants.

If you’re one of these natural beauties, you know exactly what we mean.

But now, the tides are turning. Gone are the days of torturing your hair into submission and the potential feelings of guilt or even sadness many women feel at having to hide their natural hair.

Embrace Your Natural Hair!

Now, thanks to the incredible women on this list, more and more pageant competitors are feeling ready to share and celebrate their natural hair with the world.

Let’s take a moment to learn more about the women who set the pageant stage for natural hair.

Deshauna Barber

This 2016 Miss USA winner broke lots of barriers when she won her title.

She was the first active member of the military to ever win the pageant. While many audience members and judges alike have celebrated the chance to see the duality of a military member in pageant dresses, others, especially women of color, celebrate Barber’s legacy for a different reason.

Barber describes herself as being the first “dark-skinned” black woman to win Miss USA since Kenya Moore — now of Real Housewife fame — did in 1993.

The following year, Barber returned to the Miss USA stage to crown Kára McCullough (more on her later on!)

Making A Statement  

While Barber’s gorgeous, bright yellow gown turned every head in the audience, it was her hair that really had natural beauties smiling — and feeling a sense of pride.

Barber wore her hair naturally, in a statement-making afro.

Interestingly, Barber wasn’t always interested in showing off and celebrating her natural hair. In fact, in an interview with Refinery29, Barber stated that she has her mother to thank for encouraging her to go natural.

While Barber was afraid that her natural hair would work against her in a competition that so often centers around cookie-cuter beauty, her mother urged her to present and celebrate her true self.

But there were other, far less pleasant, reasons that influenced Barber’s decision to rock her afro on the stage that day.

Life Afterwards 

After her win, Barber pointed out the blatant and difficult racism that plagued her during the competition and only seemed to intensify after her win. In the same interview we mentioned above, Barber also stated that her fellow contestants didn’t always have the kindest things to say about her skin tone.

Especially those from nations outside the United States, where black women are often the minority, believed that Barber was “ugly” and that she was likely poorer than they were.

She was also subjected to seemingly limitless streams of racially-motivated abuse on social media.

This, combined with honoring her mother’s legacy (she passed away a few months after Barber won the competition) inspired her to go natural.

It was a huge moment in pageant history, and one that helped women everywhere to love the skin — and hair — that they have.

However, Barber was not the first woman in pageant history to wear her hair naturally. Now, let’s take a look at the icons and pioneers that came before her.

We’re also taking a look at a future contestant that followed in Barber’s footsteps.

Sanneta Myrie

For girls with natural hair — or those who are thinking of making the switch — the 2015 Miss World Competition was a huge moment in pageant history.

Sanneta Myrie, a 24-year-old doctor from Jamaica, wore the ultimate natural hair style: dreadlocks. She was the first contestant in the pageant’s history to do so.

Clearly, her amazing hairstyle paid off: she made it into the pageant’s top 5.  But for many women of color, Myrie was the true winner of the night. When asked about why she chose to wear her hair in dreadlocks, Myrie stated that it was a tribute to her Afrocentric roots.

In the same interview, she also told reporters that she wore her hair in dreadlocks because she wanted to pay tribute to the strength and “resilience” of the Jamaican people.

We think she paid her home country a beautiful tribute.

Zahra Redwood

Natural hair had another iconic pageant moment in 2007, when Zahra Redwood wore her hair in dreadlocks while competing in the Miss Universe Pageant.

Similarly to Myrie’s statement, Redwood also noted that she wanted to honor her culture by sporting natural hair.

A proud Jamaican and Rastafarian, Redwood told reporters that Rastafarianism and pageantry “both promote decorum in the attitude of the female and the female as a role model in society.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Kára McCullough

Remember Deshauna Barber, the first pageant winner and natural hair supporter on our list?

She made waves for wearing her afro at the 2017 Miss Universe Pageant while crowning this year’s winner, Kára McCullough.

It seems like Barber was a huge inspiration not just to women around the world, but directly to McCullough herself! This is because this 25-year-old from the District of Columbia wore her hair naturally, in curls, for the competition.

Like Barber, McCullough stated that she was motivated by a desire to rebel against the hairstyles that people expect to see when they watch pageants. Also like Barber, McCullough agreed that wearing her hair natural was a big decision.

In an interview with Refinery29, she was worried that people were not “going to be receptive to it at all” but that she “decided to embrace what makes me feel comfortable…”

While McCullough’s on healthcare as a human right and the role of feminism in today’s society certainly had tongues wagging all over the Internet, the beauty of her natural hair was one statement that everyone could agree on.

Celebrate Your Natural Beauty In Your Next Pageant!

So, do the amazing ladies on our list of natural hair trailblazers have you inspired to try the same look in your next pageant?

If so, you still need to make sure that your hair looks its absolute best — so that it’s ready to make the best statement possible.

Fortunately, there are countless ways to take care of natural hair — and many of them start right in your kitchen!

Check out some of these recipes for natural hair care masks that are great for giving you moisture, shine, and everything in between!

Finally, remember that natural hair is all about self-confidence. When others can tell that you feel beautiful, they’ll think the same about you.



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Choosing the Right Makeup for Your Hairstyle

Stylist Tips for Deciding Which Makeup Goes Best With a Particular Hairstyle

When your hair and makeup are in sync it can completely pull together your entire look. But deciding which makeup goes best with a certain hairstyle isn’t always easy.

Professional stylists spend years testing out different hair and makeup combos before learning which ones work best together. You can use their tricks of the trade to create a look that wows without spending years to figure it out.

Find Beauty Products That Work

First and foremost, no makeup look is going to complement a hairstyle if the products are sub-par. Pro stylists and makeup artists know they can’t trust the marketing hype when they’re investing in beauty products, and you shouldn’t either.

Beauty product testing from a reputable third party and consumer reviews are two ways to find out how well makeup products work before you buy. The bonus is that research and consumer reviews also tell manufacturers which products are in-demand so they’ll be easier to find in the future.

Research the Latest Hair and Makeup Trends

Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can reinvent a look that was put together by a high-end stylist. You can spend hours on Instagram alone checking out the latest looks from top designers, makeup artists, and your favorite celebrities. They’ve done most of the legwork for you. All you have to do is find a look that you like and tweak it to make it your own.

Keep Hair and Makeup Appropriate for Your Age and Coloration

When you’re researching looks online keep in mind that not all hairstyles and makeup work universally. Stick to looks on models that have the same hair, eye, and skin color as you. Your coloration can make a huge difference in how makeup hues appear. They can look gorgeous on one person but totally washed out someone else.

Another cardinal rule of creating a knockout hair and makeup look is to make age appropriate choices. There are some styles and haircuts you can pull off in your twenties that just don’t work in your forties. That’s not to say older women have to choose matronly hairstyles and makeup. It just means that some styles will look a little too juvenile, which will detract from your beauty.

Keep It Appropriate for the Occasion

Both your hair and makeup should be appropriate for the occasion as well. Keep the venue, time of day, guest list and purpose of the event in mind when you’re creating a hair and makeup look.

Keep the Season in Mind

Seasonality also comes into play when you’re creating a hair and makeup combo. Start with choosing a hairstyle that works with the weather, since humidity and temperature can affect the texture of hair. Next, choose makeup colors that are complimentary with the season. For example, in the spring delicate pastels are usually on-trend.

Do a Dress Rehearsal

If you’re attending a big event like an anniversary party or wedding and want to look your absolute best, do a dress rehearsal. At least a week before the event try on your outfit, fix your hair and do your makeup to see how the ensemble looks when everything is pulled together. If things look off, play around with your hair and makeup until it’s exactly what you envisioned.

Balance the Boldness of Your Hair and Makeup

There’s a good rule of thumb to follow with your hair and makeup is to keep things looking balanced rather than too simple or too over-the-top. If you’re doing a fancy updo, then keep your makeup simple so that your hair takes center stage. If you’re keeping your hairstyle simple feel free to be a little more daring with your makeup. For instance, a slicked back high ponytail pairs nicely with dramatic eyes.

Keeping your hair and makeup balanced will help you look put together without looking costumey. Decide first which element you want to play up and then plan the rest from there.

Remember that your hair and makeup work together in tandem. Everything has to work in harmony as a cohesive look or it can easily appear off.



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5 Easy Ways to Make Your 3B/C Hair Appear Longer

Having naturally curly hair can make your style look shorter. This can be frustrating if you prefer to wear your hair nice and long. But don’t worry, you’re not doomed to a life of shorter hair styles. Here are five easy ways for you to make your 3B/C hair look a little longer.

1. Contrasting Colors

This is a psychological thing, but if your hair is dyed and contrasting colours at the roots and at the ends, it will look like it’s a bit longer. You don’t even need to do anything with your hair other than dye it. It’s worth experimenting with different colours to find out what you think compliments your hair the most. A lot of people fail to consider how colors affect people’s perception of their hair lengths, but it’s quite a big factor. Worth reading more on.

2. Clip-in Hair Extensions and Weaves

Sometimes the simple methods work the best. All it takes is a few extensions and you’ve instantly created the illusion of having longer hair. If you don’t really have the time to do any of the more elaborate methods here this is probably what you should do Just find something that matches the look of your own hair and viola, all of a sudden it looks like you have longer hair. If you want to go all out, you might like to look into a curly hair weave, which can do wonders for your hair. The kinky curly weave is a great example.

3. Scalp Massage

If you give yourself a scalp massage after you wash your hair, it can help it to maintain more volume. Voluminous hair always tends to look longer than hair which has no volume, so this is worth doing to make your hair look a bit longer. It can be a bit time consuming, but if you added this into your daily hair care routine, you’d be sure to notice the effects before long. Definitely worth trying.

 

4. Hair Care Products

On the subject of volume making hair look longer, you might like to invest in a conditioner or shampoo which has been specifically designed to make hair look voluminous. There are a lot of volumizing products on the market and it’s best to shop around and find one which best suits you. Here is a useful shopping guide.

5. Straighten It

Straighten your hair and you’ll find that it looks longer. Of course, doing this will mean that you will have to lose your natural curl, which might not be so appealing, but it is still an option. Worth keeping in mind is that straightening it too often can have a detrimental effect on your hair, causing it to lose moisture and become unhealthy.

So if you want your hair to look a little longer, these are the tips to follow. Everyone has a different approach to haircare and these pointers might not be applicable to everybody. Choose the options which you know best suit you and how you know your hair to behave. What tips do you use to make that curly hair look a little longer?


By Hollie Jones

Hollie is a freelance writer and co-writer for the Hollie and the Ivy blog. She is passionate about many things, including upcycling, interior design, crafts and weddings. Writing is one of Hollie’s favorite things to do and so she takes a lot of pride in writing articles on her favorite subjects.



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