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Better Than Good Hair (BOOK REVIEW)

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The Curly Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair
by Nikki Walton
with Ernessa T. Carter
Amistad Books
Paperback, $14.99
224 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-212376-3

Book Review by Kam Williams

“I often get stopped on the street by other black women. They tell me they love my hair and want to know who ‘does’ it. It always gives me great pleasure to tell them that I do it myself.

And it gives me even more pleasure to refer them to CurlyNikki.com to find out how they, too, can achieve fabulous, healthy, natural hair on their own… CurlyNikki.com is the most popular natural hair care blog in the world.

This book is not a political manifesto intent on shaming you into giving up your relaxer… If you haven’t decided whether to give up your relaxer, we’re here for you…

Inside, you’ll find product guidance, lifestyle advice, hairstyle tips, and frank discussion—just as you would in any hair salon across America… We only want to provide you with the information that you need to take the next step in your hair care journey.”
— Excerpted from the Prologue (pgs. 4-5)

I can still vaguely recall the day I overheard someone telling my mother at a barbecue that I should have been born a girl because I had “Good Hair.” I was too young at the time for the remark to register, so I simply shrugged it off and ate s’more ribs.

But I belatedly came to appreciate the meaning of the phrase a few years ago while watching the Chris Rock movie of the same name. For, Good Hair was an eye-opening documentary which offered an inside look at the great lengths to which African-American females go to straighten their hair. Yes, I had been aware that my mother and friends spent a lot of time at the beauty salon on Saturdays, but I really had no idea what went on there.

The informative film generated discussion and reflection because it not only blew the covers off the dangerous chemicals (“creamy crack”) involved in the relaxing process, but it also questioned whether the considerable expense and effort involved in maintenance were even worth the effort. Why not go natural?

Today, ostensibly in response to the controversy stirred up by that shocking expose, a hair revolution is afoot.  Suddenly “Relaxers are out!” and “Weaves are so yesterday!” have become the rallying cry in black communities all over the country.

At least that’s the case made by Nikki Walton in Better Than Good Hair, a handy how-to guide to rocking a retro-style natural. The opus is amazingly encyclopedic in terms of its scope, as it covers everything from transitioning to TWAs (Teeny Weeny Afros) to tips for white mothers of biracial toddlers.

Apparently, “The Big Chop” can be pretty traumatic. That’s the day you cut off all your chemically-treated locks. For, if you’ve looked one way in the mirror for as long as you can remember, you might need a “curl”-friend’s shoulder to lean on after making the decision to let your hair grow the way God intended.

Should you be so inclined, take note of the five mandatory hair care products: Shea Butter (for moisture), Aloe Vera (for shine), Jojoba Extract (for softness), Olive Oil (for sealing and shampooing) and Honey (as an antibacterial rinse). Who knew?

Chock full of fascinating factoids like that, Better Than Good Hair is a veritable, natural hair bible, a very “Good Book” for anyone seriously considering that route.

To order a copy of Better Than Good Hair, visit:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0062123769/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

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