By: Shenice Sanders, NDG Intern
A woman’s hair is sometimes considered the most important feature on her body. Women struggle with choosing the right product for their hair or the right style to wear their hair. Over the last few years, for African American women one question seems to often come up: “should I go natural?”
Going from perm hair to natural hair can possibly be one of the hardest challenges for an African American woman related to her hair. Therefore you might ask why so many woman are considering going natural. Is it because women want a new look? Or is it to save the health of their hair? The true reason why African American women go natural differs from person to another, but Sporty Afros founders Whitney Patterson and Alexandria Williams have created an easy way to help women through their transformation period.
Sporty Afros is a popular hair blog and unique company providing resources for African-American women seeking to take control of their health and hair. Sporty Afros is a gathering place where women can discuss tips and ideas on how to take care of their hair while enjoying a physically active lifestyle.
This remarkable journey of fitness and health started almost five years ago when the pair first met. Each brought something different to the friendship Whitney inspired Alex to go natural while Alex inspired Whitney to compete in her first triathlon. Both women experienced the hardship of training and dealing with natural hair,
“There were no products out there to keep our hair moisturized in the Texas heat as we trained for our first triathlon,” stated Whitney.
The pair was constantly asked how they managed their hair while training for such a huge event. With two successful blogs already the pair decided to create a blog to “help address the specific issues facing our community in regards to living an active lifestyle and the focus was hair care,” Whitney shared.
In 2010 Sporty Afros was created and over time so was Sporty Afros products Ayurvedic Oil and G+ Moisturizing Spray.
“Our audience was also looking for specific products to use in conjunction with their daily workout routines. By popular demand, we created Sporty Afros products which focus on keeping the hair moisturized and can be used before or after workouts,” Whitney said.
Another big aspect of the blog is health and fitness. Williams and Patterson are both very adamant about keeping a healthy diet to help hair grow.
“Hair growth starts from the inside out and what you put in your body has an effect on your hair,” stated Alex.
On the blog Alex shares simple and affordable meal prepping ideas to stay healthy. The blog also shares tutorials and tips to help women keep their hair looking healthy and fabulous while living a healthy life-style.
With so many women going the natural route, you have to ask yourself when it all started.
“For me, it started with the increase in blog and social media posts about the natural hair movement; being natural allows women to embrace themselves for who they are. Also, I believe Chris Rock’s movie Good Hair, played a big part as well,” Alex shared.
Going natural is a process and requires a lot of attention to your hair. When asked about the “big chop” to go natural Whitney offered her take on the subject.
I’m a fan of the big chop because your natural hair grows faster when you cut off the permed parts. I let my hair grow out for five months before I decided to do the big chop.
On the subject of perms both are not against perms, “I am not anti-perm, if you go to a professional who knows how to apply perms correctly and manages your hair right, that’s great especially if that person is a great stylist,” stated Alex. “There are plenty of women who get perms just once a year or every six months and that’s ok because it works for them.”
There are several misconceptions about natural hair and how it can affect you in corporate America. “If you are in corporate America, some believe it’s more acceptable to wear your hair in a straight style, but I believe it’s all about how you carry yourself. If you dress well, do your job and carry yourself professionally, I think you can wear any hair style.” stated Whitney.
Alex shared one of the misconceptions she feels is “With the plethora of natural hair products flooding the market and more women embracing natural hair; women need to understand that nothing can produce healthy hair if you are not living a healthy lifestyle. Healthy hair is a byproduct of a healthy body.’’
Both women continue to go the extra mile to help African American women to stay healthy and continue to grow healthy hair. Their future goals are to write a book and to expand their products into retail stores.
“A lot of research comes in to play with having your own hair care products. It is a tough market. Our advice to people who want to start a hair care line is to do their research to make sure their products are formulated correctly, ” stated both women
Sporty Afros has been featured on sites like Essence, Fox Sports, Black America Web and USA Triathlon. Both women will continue to help black women achieve optimal health. To read more information or to view their blog visit SportyAfros.com
The phrase in the third paragraph – “take care of their hair while enjoying a physically active lifestyle…” makes me come right out and ask the question…Does this mean that a woman who is physically active to the point of causing the body to sweat cannot take care of her hair if the hair gets wet unless she obviously follows the dictates of the Sporty Afros folk? What if she just dries the hair and proceeds on with life as God intended for us to be able to do when our hair gets wet?
And by the way, if man was made in the image of God (as we are told by most Christian preachers); does this not also include woman? Yes! And if the way we look is in fact and usually Godly – since it looks like the image of God; does this not also include our hair? Yes! So, why can’t (Black?) women accept the way their hair (as created by God – naturally) looks? After all, they (and their hair) were created by God….Right? So why do Black women continue to pay billions of dollars every year to the Indians and Koreans and the multinational chemical companies for weaves and perms and all that other frivolous, unnecessary mess???
Interesting point of view – because you seem to be blasting both sides.
No harm intended at all, but I am curious, why did their statement hit you that way. I don’t believe the advice the ladies of Sporty Afros offer was intended in the spirit of dictation. My impression is they found something that works for them, and they are sharing it with others. Free Enterprise 101.
You are a valued reader who frequently shares insightful comments, so I look forward to hearing more….
Please accept my apologies if I stomped too hard on any toes. I was only attempting to raise questions about parts of a system of values that I believe could do a better job of serving humanity. I believe the “Sporty Afros” people are doing a good job at what they are doing. I agree with you that they are not necessarily offering dictated advice. In the spirit of respect for much of what they do, I support their effort. No doutbt, the world is better off with the work they are doing.
At the same time, this issue (of haircare for Black people) always carries baggage with it that should be addressed. Therefore I asked some questions and gave some answers which I am sure won’t necessarily be the last words on these issues. Always; have courage to raise the contradictions and thereby further the analysis…
No apologies necessary, we always welcome thoughtful conversation!
You are so right it is amazing so many years after Mary became 1st Black female millionaire it remains such a centerpiece to our economic and self esteem.
…and of course, by “Mary” you mean the Madam (C. J.) Walker….right?..
Absolutely – too much multi-tasking!