Thursday, May 25, 2017

Our Hair, Our Rights

I remember in the late 90s and early 2000s when I was a master hair braider. Two days a week I braided some college guy friends' hair in my dorm room and on Saturdays, I braided neighborhood guy friends' hair in my parents' basement all day long, 9a to 5p. Cornrows were in. All the rappers had them. But as they began to graduate from college, they cut their hair or loc it because cornrows were not considered "professional" hairstyles for men.

Everyone was happy back then. We *rubs melanin on hand* were happy because we had good paying jobs and felt accepted into society. They *points to palm* were happy because we were living up to the standards set for us and not questioning the standards. Usher in the widespread use of social media, the age of viral videos, and "woke" black folk. African American women had already started growing out our relaxers and making kinky fros, twisted up dos, braided styles and wavy edges the new normal in the workplace. More and more of us were tired of torturing ourselves to force our hair to do something Jehovah had not intended for it to do, be straight. We were embracing our kinks and curls. The powerful, white man in charge was just gonna have to deal with the aesthetics of it all because, let's face it, black girls are magic. So, if he had to compromise his standards of straight hair in order to reap the benefits of our talents, then so be it.

But it's not about hair, hairstyles, hair texture, appearance, it's about embracing who we are and
telling the "system" to deal with it. During slavery and the Jim Crow era, much of the culture that enforced our inner royalty was made "illegal", but you can't hold a true king or queen down. We're going to shine regardless of the circumstance. Be it a hairstyle, clothes, the way we sing, or how we run a board meeting. We got royalty, it's in our DNA. You can see it. We're woke. We're speaking out. So what does the "system" do? Try to bring our children down.

Let's face it, the American education system is not designed to make our kids prosper. It is designed to keep them in check. Think about how slow the system is to adapt to new advances in technology and the economy. Think about how most public school systems are underfunded. Think about how poorly teachers are paid. It's all by design. OUR children are more likely to be disciplined by suspension and end up in juvenile prison than any other group. And just like in the Jim Crow era, blackness is being penalized. But we are tired. We are woke. We aren't standing for it. Any. More.

Then I hear about a child being suspended for wearing a certain hairstyle. Not because she was a distraction in class. Not because she caused harm to another student with her hairstyle. But suspended for the style it was in. And to justify the suspension, they say that it's part of the dress code. No. Just no. Dassit. We are not about to make rules and laws to criminalize and vilify our young boys and girls. Our culture is our culture. How we wear our hair has NOTHING to do with our ability to do anything. Unless, of course the braids are too tight. LOL! That might slow us down for a little bit but then we're back to business when they loosen up.

People of color are magic. Black hair is magic. Racism and discrimination is real. The dress code policy enforced leading to that young lady being suspended has since been changed but only after outrage. Click here to read the story. We have to continue to voice our outrage and fight the system that was built to keep us down. Kudos to those families that resisted and brought change to that school. Hopefully, schools who have similar policies will revisit their stance without as much drama. You have set a great example for your sons and daughters. They know we have their back. They know that you have to speak up when something is not right and challenge the policies in place that try to make us compromise who we are.

You can't tame magic.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Becoming Aluminum Free

So, I'm going to touch on a subject that most women do not discuss. I'm writing about it because when I talk about it in a "safe environment", I find that it's a common issue that a lot of women face.....underarm sweat. My super close friends and I refer to it as an "Underarm Problem." My husband used to call me "pheromoney". I say "used to" because we have fixed the Underarm Problem.

So let's start at puberty, I noticed it. I used regular deodorant and sometimes I would feel sweat rolling down my underarms. I couldn't really repeat tops after one wear because the underarms would smell sour at the end of the day. Sometimes they would still have a smell after I washed them. I tried Febreeze and other laundry solutions. Nothing worked. So, I just dealt with it. I wasn't insecure about it. I didn't like it but whatever. I'm still cute.

When I went to college, all of the big time deodorant companies started coming out with "Prescription Strength" deodorant. Same issues. Except for now I'd have this film on my armpits. I'd have to scrub them separately to get the film off. SMH. By the time I turned 25 years old, I had tried the under crystals, which broke me out, so I figured out that alternating my deodorants helped. That seemed to work unless I was having a long day. I considered botox under my arms for my wedding but $1200 wasn't in the budget on top of the wedding expenses, so I put botox on the back burner.

I tried Certain Dri and some other underarm gels that claimed to help with sweating. They weren't a good fit for one reason or another. At 32 years old, someone told me about Donna Karan Cashmere Mist deodorant. FINALLY!!! I found something that worked. It was $16 a pop but worth it. I didn't smell sour at the end of the day anymore. I smelled like perfume. It had sooooo much aluminum in it though, 17%. But my clothes would still smell sour in the armpit part. When I got laser hair removal in my underarms, that helped but only temporarily. I also tried a few brands I found in Europe and Sephora. Nope. Right back to Donna Karan. I did figure out that spraying apple cider vinegar on the armpits of my clothes would get rid of that sour smell.

So, here I am, a 35 year old woman who can't get control over her Underarm Problem without spending $25 on deodorant....cuz that Donna Karan price went up every year. SMH. Then one day I had lunch with my cousin and she was telling me that had to have surgery. She was explaining how she knew something was wrong because her underarms had suddenly started stinking and she never had to use deodorant before that. I was jealous about that no deodorant thing but I started thinking. MAYBE, juuuuuuuusssst maybe, my underarm problem could be triggered by all of the crap they put in the deodorants I had been using. I was also pregnant. And you know how crazy pregnant women are about what they put in and on their bodies.

So, I started trying natural deodorants again. First, I tried a direct sales deodorant, it irritated my underarms. Then a fellow Underarm Problem friend recommended Piper Wei, another natural deodorant. AND IT WORKED!!! I was so excited! FINALLY! I had started to notice my underarms getting dark though. I thought it was related to being pregnant, until I stopped using it for a couple days and the darkness cleared up. *sigh* Breaking me out again. Then I realized that most aluminum free deodorant have baking soda as one of the main ingredient. Baking soda was triggering an eczema like reaction on my underarm skin. I knew I couldn't be the only one dealing with this. So the mission began.

I started researching and found that milk of magnesia works well as deodorant. I tried it. It worked. But it was inconvenient. Like, pour it in my hand and spread it. Naw. I ain't 'bout to commit to that. Let me put it in a roll on container. The rest is history. The end result is Fancy Free Deodorant, a roll on, natural deodorant that is aluminum free. My son is 1 year old now, I've been using Fancy Free deodorant over the course of the year. Here is what I noticed a few things:
  • My clothes no longer smell sour at the end of the day
  • I no longer smelled sour at the end of the day
  • I no longer had a deodorant film on my underarm skin that required an extra scrub in the shower
  • No yellow stains in the armpits of my white shirts (only the occasional grey smear when I didn't let it dry before I put my clothes on)
So, it WAS the crap in the deodorant making me funky and having me think I needed more deodorant. LOL! Anyway, it took me long enough to get it right but I was able to solve a problem that most women have. 

Visit the Fancy Free Shop to see the full description of all of the ingredients and what roll they play in our deodorant to keep your underarms dry and smelling great.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Shea-M of It All

As a newly minted naturalista, I spent a lot of time AND money trying out different hair products. I could never find anything that got it quite right which is why I started making my own. However, Shea Moisture quickly became one of my staple products for shampooing and conditioning. So much so that I often recommend it to my Natural Hair Consult clients. It's relatively inexpensive and chemical free, right in line with the Fancy Free motto - Fancy and Free of Chemicals. The fact that it's owned by a black family was a plus. An awesome plus. A big plus. However, in 2015, a larger company, Bain Capital, became an investor to the family owned and run Shea Moisture. With big investors come new "visions" for the company. We know that. It never fails. BUT when loyal customers, black women, voiced their concerns about what the new investors meant for the company and products, Shea Moisture executives reassured us that nothing about Shea Moisture's core values would change. In fact, partnering with an investor allowed Shea Moisture to free up resources that gave them more freedom and capitol to invest in the community. So they said. The reality is, to grow as a company, you need more money to expand. Dassit. Dassall.

Now, when I saw the name "Bain", y'all know what I thought of, right? Bane, the villain in that last Batman movie. I'm just saying. And the fact that Mitt Romney is part owner of the company, a rich, white man.... I'm just trying to figure out how this conversation even started. Anyway, my experience in the corporate world is that no one cares about the people, only the bottom line. So let's see how this plays a role in this Shea Moisture ad fiasco.

Black women spend an average of $7.5 billion dollars every year on beauty products. Let that sink in. Seven. Point. Five. But what do people with money want? MORE MONEY!!! If we have loyalty from our black women, how do we expand our territory? Market to them. I'm sure that's how the board meeting went. And then the marketing team came up with that "interesting" campaign for hair products. And WE WENT AWF! Like, seriously. We get it. You want to expand, so you switch up your target audience but at what cost?

I started selling Fancy Free for Hair & Skin in March 2015 but I had been making it for myself since 2012. By summer 2015, I had an official logo, the Fancy Girl. A black girl, with big hair. She looks like me. She looks like my friends. She looks like a lot of the people who buy my products. My vision for Fancy Free is big.....YUGE - Donald Trump. In the beginning, I had some suggest I remove my beloved Fancy Girl to make it less ethnic. And it's true, when I'm out vending, some non-African Americans look at my banner and keep walking because they thinking it's not for them. However, the ones that try it, love it. They were not deterred by the brand of products that looks like it's not for them. They just wanted quality product. White isn't always right. African Americans rush to buy items that we never meant for us. Like, seriously, any shapely woman knows not to even try to fit into a pair of True Religion jeans. THEY WEREN'T MADE FOR US!!! Some designers have blatantly stated that they don't want black people wearing their clothes. They don't market to us. But we still buy for whatever reason.

I wish that the Shea Moisture executives had put their foot down at that meeting. I wish we didn't know that Shea Moisture thought that black women, who spend $7.5 billion dollars on beauty products, just wasn't enough for them. However, because we told them how we felt, they learned a valuable lesson and will tweak their approach. But....the damage is already done. I will still buy but only when I catch a B1G1 sale to combine with my coupons and can get it for next to nothing.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free, LLC. is the manufacturer of quality products for hair and skin. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sine up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.