Workshop Helps Black Women Care for Their Natural Hair

It’s no secret that many women spend a lot of time and money on their hair. From maintaining intricate styles and colors other than their natural one, to using chemicals and high levels of heat to change the texture, women the world over experiment with their hair on a regular basis. For those with African heritage who’ve used chemicals and hot tools to straighten their hair, the journey back to sporting natural hair is one that’s often fraught with misunderstandings.

Michaelle Cedar, who began to transition back to her natural hair in 2010, has held a series of workshops in 2014 to help others who are in the process of transitioning titled Natural Evolution: Demystifying Afro-textured Hair. Cedar says she wanted “simply to help black women accept the natural texture of their hair by literally demystifying how to take care of it in its natural kinky, coily, curly state. My ultimate goal was to bring awareness and understanding. I think we’ve succeeded!”

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Cedar, who lives in Montreal, held two workshops in her home city, one in Ottawa and another in New York City. The first Montreal event was sponsored by local businesses Mama Africa, Nana & Les Girls du Plateau and L’Alchimiste en herbe. “When I first started my natural journey, there was nothing that catered to afro-textured hair in its natural state,” she explains. “I’ve learned to adapt what’s at the market, organic stores and herbal stores. The ingredients needed to achieve a supple, manageable mane are readily available.”

She used Facebook and word of mouth to advertise, and is planning press coverage for upcoming sessions. Highlights so far have ranged from having Montreal television reporter Dorothy Alexandre start the first workshop to “captivating a ten year old girl’s attention enough for her to ask questions that I would only expect an adult to be interested in.”

Cedar notes that even though planning is “exhausting,” if you work through all the details with a dedicated team, things will go well. “I provided notepads and pens, and made sure the alternative products we’d discussed, that I could easily package, were in the goodie bags I made. My advice is not to shortcut your idea. Scale it down to your budget, but don’t use a shortcut. Run your ideas by the others doing this with you; they will bring you down to earth and, most of the time, find cost effective alternatives.”

How do you come up with interesting events that capture people’s attention?