A recent post on NPR's blog by Teshima Walker asked the question -- Is Blonde the New Black?
The post took a negative view of the current trend among black celebs -- most notably, at the Grammy awards Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, and Roberta Flack all wore their hair bright and blonde. And golden-hued hair is a big part of Rihanna's latest style transformation. Lo, the video for Rude Boy, where her latest hairstyle is channeling Sheila E. with a dash of classic Salt n' Pepa "Push It" era asymmetry.
Of course I applaud healthy hair, but even though I wear my hair in a proud natural style, that doesn't mean that I automatically assume blonde is a hair choice that reflects self-hate issues on the part of black women.
I've worn my hair in just about every shade of blond there is, from highlights to an unfortunate and brassy all-over dye job in college. Although the percentage of black women who have natural blond hair must be miniscule, there's a reason this style continues to come back in. Blonde is bold. Blonde is bright. Blonde brings attention. And when done well, it can really accent your features.
If you want to see a woman of color rock blonde hair right, look to Mary J for inspiration, and leave the Janice Combs all-over Barbie wig look alone.
I spoke with Nancy Jiminian, color and extension specialist at the Ted Gibson salon. Nancy has worked with the likes of Gabrielle Union, Selita Ebanks, and Joy Bryant. She offered some tips for black women who want to know -- do blondes really have more fun?
It turns out, black women need to be even more cautious when considering changing their hair color. Without further ado, Nancy's words of wisdom!
"You definitely want to consider whether or not they relax their hair. That can determine how strong of a color you can use. Bleach is too harsh for relaxed hair. If you do relax your hair, there are other ways to lift your hair's color rather than bleach. These kinds of color treatments should be done by a professional in a salon. If you do color at home, look for color that's specifically made for coarser hair textures."
"I prefer not to go totally blonde right away -- I usually like to start with some highlights. It's a great introduction to the look, and then you can see if you want to go lighter or go for a more overall look after that. Most women of color I've been seeing prefer a more natural color. They haven't been going too blonde -- it's more of a honey, caramel color. Those are popular."
"If you do decide to go blonde, definitely do weekly at home treatments. Here at the salon we've got the Ted Gibson Treatment hair sheets, and you can use those once a week. Whe you lift the hair color you reduce some of the hair's natural proteins, so it's important to to put those proteins back to maintain healthy hair."