Natural hair has always been hot, since the days of Angela Davis 'fros and Susan Taylor cornrows. In recent years, the trend has blossomed into a re-emerging movement of pride and creativity, from housewives to major executives. Take a look at these top looks, worn by real-life power women, and be inspired. —<em>Janell Hazelwood</em>
<em>Images: <strong><a href="http://www.photosbyrome.com/" target="_blank">Jerome Shaw</a></strong>; Makeup: <strong><a href="http://www.kenecialashae.com/" target="_blank">Kenecia Lashae</a></strong>; Hair: Maria Thompson of <strong><a href="http://www.twistandcurves.com/" target="_blank">Twist and Curves</a></strong> —Locs/Braids; Leatrice Carter of <strong><a href="http://timestudioinc.com/" target="_blank">Time Studio</a></strong> — Transitioning Style/Natural Curls)</em>
<strong>Anti-Style Rut: </strong>For her 'locs, Utuk likes to pump up the style often with updos and other creative looks, as to avoid a style rut. And the skies the limit for adding a little pop to your 'locs for in and out of the office.
<strong>Finishing Touches:</strong> Natural haircare stylist <strong><a href="http://www.twistandcurves.com/aboutus.html" target="_blank">Maria Thompson</a></strong> recommends washing 'locs with a sulfate-free shampoo such as the Mizani Sulfate Free Curl Balance Moisturizing Shampoo."You want to make sure that locs are dried properly before styling to avoid [bad] smell when styled," she adds. Also applying oil, such as the Mizani Supreme Oil, in between washes will help maintain moisture and add sheen.
</strong><strong>Techical Coordinator Consultant<br>
<strong>Natural Coils: </strong>"I went natural in August 2009 because I wanted healthier hair and was bored with the Wrap or ponytail. I love the big curly look," Taylor says. "I used to be apprehensive about going natural because I thought it would be a problem in the workplace, but I've found that I can be creative and professional. And I lots of complements, too!" Owens says.
Twist outs, particularly bantu-knot twist outs, and roller sets are great ways to achieve more defined curls. These can be done on natural hair in a cinch, with the help of silkening and moisturizing products such as Mizani True Textures Perfect Curl or Mizani Thermasmooth Shine anti-humidity spray.
<strong>Hair on the go: </strong>"My usual hair routine is a wash-and-go," she adds. Owens co-washes her curls, a method that involves skipping shampoo and "washing" with a conditioner, then rinsing, and she applies a leave-in conditioner to protect her hair from the elements. She also likes to moisturize with coconut oil.
<strong>Human Resources Training and Development</strong><br>
<strong>Bridgeport, Connecticut </strong>
<strong>Corporate Style Cameleon: </strong>"I might wear a different style every three weeks and get complements and questions in the office," Walker says. "On a regular basis, I wear my hair short, simple and chic. The braids give your natural hair a break and can be styled in so many polished ways."
<strong>Savvy Style Roots: </strong>"I grew up with castor oil being part of hair care and maintenance. Being from Jamaica, my great grandmother would make a caster oil conditioner, and I still use it."
Oils, such as Mizani's Supreme Oil, can help maintain sheen and luster for braided styles. Also, braids can be styled just like you would your own hair, with twists and pin curls as a classy option for the office. Hold and sheen sprays, such as Mizani's Shyne Bodyfying spray, help to ensure the style will last with very little upkeep required.
<strong>Attorney and Aspiring Actress</strong><br>
<strong>Queens, N.Y. </strong>
<strong>Transitioning Triumphs: </strong>"I really always wanted to be natural. Relaxing is an antiquated process I want no parts of anymore. Our natural hair is beautiful and should be acceptable in office. We can straighten it, curl it … It's so versatile," Taylor says.
<strong>No-fuss Journey:</strong> Pin curls and updos are go-to styles for transitioning. "A soft updo or bun with a few bobby pins is a quick and easy way to keep your hair looking great while not putting too much strain on it. They're especially great for bad hair days."
Pomades, such as Mizani's Velvet Gloss Shine Finishing product, help to blend edges while transitioning and can take care of frizz and flyaways.