By Desiree Johnson
Welcome to the Your Hair Story Series presented by Mixed Chicks. This dynamic, new innovative series allows Mixed Chicks users to share their personal stories behind their hair. Hair that kinks, coils, curls, waves, and tells a story reflecting their culture, race, ethnicity, and upbringing. Like our customers, hair comes in all shades, textures and shapes unique to each individual and here at Mixed Chicks we want to celebrate that to the utmost extent. Meet our exquisite Mixed Chicks women, men, and children who exhibit beauty from the root and give us honest, bold stories that we are honored to share with you.
What has your experience been with the Mixed Chicks products?
Mixed Chicks always keeps me and my curls happy. As someone who rocks natural hair—because it’s beautiful, because it’s a political statement, because it’s easiest—it’s hard finding products that really “do” the job. I’m anti-product, as I tend to break out along my hairline due to the harsh chemicals in most haircare products (in addition to the fact that I dance and am a yoga instructor and, therefore, am always sweating). I haven’t had that experience with Mixed Chicks, so it’s been a blessing. It sucks having to compromise having a nice curl pattern or having clear skin.
What makes them different than other hair/beauty products you tried in the past?
To reiterate the aforementioned, lots of other products make me break out along my temples and hairline. I have very sensitive skin on top of the fact that I dance and am a yoga instructor, so am constantly sweating. So that’s nice: not having to worry about my hair regime—which is usually just water and a product here or there—interfering with my active lifestyle.
Do you have a Go-To or token Mixed Chick Product you cannot go without?
The Holy Trinity: the Sulfate-Free shampoo, detangling DEEP conditioner, and the Morning After Redefining foam.
How has having a product specifically for your biracial/ethnic/multiracial background impacted your beauty regime?
Like most conversations regarding race within the States, from media platforms to university classrooms, beauty products are extremely binary. I remember being a little girl and going to beauty supplies stores and seeing either shampoos that’ll add some “spunk” or “zest” to thin hair, or “Just for Me” chemical relaxers. If I used any of those products, I would have looked like a fool—as my hair can’t be placed on a European richter scale—or it would’ve burned off. I couldn’t imagine if I wore makeup and had to deal with the whole “finding your right foundation color” thing. Since my beauty regime sticks to haircare, it’s definitely nice having something specifically for my hair texture and curl pattern.
How do your curls/hair texture represent your cultural/ethnic background?
As people of color who have a shared history of European colonization— from the States, the Caribbean and Latin America, to the greater African continent, and India—Western beauty standards have penetrated our minds and skewed our self perceptions. Which, as a young woman, is a very detrimental byproduct of enslavement and colonialism. How often do we hear “your nose is too wide,” “your skin is too dark,” or come across the most ignorant social media posts referring to “dark skin n****s” v “light skin n****s” complexes.
As a mixed race woman who’s mother is Dominican (her parents were both born in the D.R. and have ancestry that ranges from the Indigenous to Guinea Bissau and Morocco), hair is a big conversation. I should preface this by saying that my mom rocks her curly hair and always taught me to be proud of it, although people like making hyper generalized, sweeping statements that all Dominicans like to deny their ethnic roots. But to say it isn’t a big deal both in Latin America and here wouldn’t be true. The whole“good” hair versus “bad” hair dichotomy is still instilled into little Black and Brown children as they get their first wash-and-sets; as they fry their hair for the first time and are told that now, they are beautiful. It’s instilled into little Black and Brown girls who rather play with phenotypically white dolls than ones that resemble them. Frying your hair and dying it blonde seems to be a norm, although there are really dope movements on the island and within Latin America “reclaiming the pajón”. Of course I’ve straightened my hair here and there, for 3rd-grade class photos, but as I got older, I started to love my curls.
Hair is one of those relationships that you have to navigate on your own: so despite having a mom who stays true to the curly power, you have to find that love yourself. And I did. Keeping my hair curly is a political statement: it is an in-your-face act of resistance to the colonizers of the past and to the teachers of today who have been angered by hair, asking me to “tame it”. Don’t tame culture—embrace it.
What is one feature of the Mixed Chicks brand that empowers your hair/beauty care?
It doesn’t negate my existence. From the “tragic mulatto/a” literary genre trope of the early 20th century to the binary lens that the States still wears when speaking about race—keeping it Black-and-White, only adding Latinos to the mix like the Adobo that we are in reference to immigration, since every last Latino in the States has come here illegally from Mexico, right?—there does not seem to be a space for people like us. In middle school or university, in the playground or on the ‘block, you’re never “Black” enough or “white” enough. As individuals, we should not have to conform or assimilate to such an ill-informed racial spectrum. We’re here, we exist, and we should not be made to feel like we’re “half-breeds” or not “authentic” enough.
If you could define Your Hair Story in one word what would it be?
Why is the hair revolution celebrating natural/healthy hair types vital for our generation?
This generation is all about reclaiming and redefining, questioning and re-configuring. Too long has hair been a source of (self)hate, conflict, (internalized)racism. We talk about moving toward more self love and less self hate, so we need to eradicate this whole “good hair bad hair” stigma. Curly hair is beautiful, thick hair is beautiful; short hair is beautiful, as is long hair. Straight hair is lovely and so is thin hair. Personally, my politics don’t preach a negation of Western beauty standards: but they do negate its use as a referent to us. We are no longer colonized—well, actually…—so we have to break the mental chains that anchor us to the past, to archaic ideas of self perception.
If your ‘Mixed Chick’ story were a song, what would it be?
“Bandy Bandy” by Zap Mama and Erykah Badu.
Do you have any go-to beauty/hair bloggers or vloggers who inspire or help your hairstyles?