House of Unicorn | Erykah St. Louis

Unicorn Story Time: The Natural Hair Movement

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Thoughts on my 13 Years of being part of the Natural Hair Movement

I've been relaxer-free since 2002...when "big chops" weren't called "big chops." When there weren't specially formulated products for girls with curly hair. Back when the natural hair movement planted its roots in poorly lit bathrooms of black teenage girls, across Canada, the US, and Europe. With a pair of kitchen scissors, a bottle of conditioner, and two of her most trusted pals (sister and big cousin) she gathered all the courage she had, to cut off all the straight parts of her hair. It felt good. Unbeknownst to her, other black girls around the world shared the same thoughts, the same desire, the same courage. 

To see her fluffy curls as the most beautiful hair texture she’s ever seen.

To see her fluffy curls as the most beautiful hair texture she's ever seen. Natural hair is not a fad, not a trend or people just playing copycat, rather it's a shift in how black women define & experience beauty. I hope one day this movement makes it to the history books about black culture in the 21st Century. It feels nice to feel be part of history-making.

3 Ways How Blonde Hair Stays Blonde

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I went blonde about a year ago and didn't realize how much upkeep is required to keep the blonde looking blonde and not brassy yellow (that's the blonde no one wants...or at least shouldn't want). Over the course of the year my blonde has evolved and today it's more of a silver-gray. Blonde hair is high maintenance but can really be boiled down to 3 steps:

1. See your stylist often

I've never been one to go to the hairdresser often but with blonde hair, 4-6 week visits is an absolute must. It keeps split ends at bay—we all know split ends on blondes looks horrible; keeps your toner fresh; and cleans up your shape, even if your hair is long. 

Check out my hairstylist Evie Johnson on Instagram @contactevie.

2. Use Purple Shampoo

Yes, purple shampoo keeps blonde hair looking blonde. This is by far the biggest blonde hair secret (and silver gray hair secret too). I don't know the science behind it, what I do know is without this in between salon visits, my hair would look dull. They use this at the salon too and make me sit for 15-20 mins. You have to rinse it out several times or else your hair will look purple so be careful! I use Shimmer Lights byClairol but other companies make a version of it. You can get it for less than $10 bucks at Sally's Beauty Supply for an 8 oz. bottle.

  Put enough in your palm to cover every inch of your hair.

Put enough in your palm to cover every inch of your hair.

  I bought the 31.5 oz because I use it often. Bought it one year ago and I still have tons left.

I bought the 31.5 oz because I use it often. Bought it one year ago and I still have tons left.

  Lather up! Sit with it for 5-10 mins and rinse well. Use a rich conditioner afterwards.

I bought the 31.5 oz because I use it often. Bought it one year ago and I still have tons left.

3. Drink water, eat right

(Sorry, I don't have a fancy photo for this one) This is pretty much the rule for everything in life, but believe it or not how you eat also impacts the quality of your hair color and your hair's overall health. Because blonde hair is super processed, it's really important to make sure you're hydrated and properly nourished. It helps prevent breakage, keeps your hair from looking dull, and promotes growth.

Blonde hair is high maintenance and you either commit to it or you don't. It has its annoying moments but overall it's pretty fun. I've had more fun being blonde :)

Thank you Vasco

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Vasco being weighed at a clinic in the DRC. Photo credit: UNICEF 2014 Dubourthoumieu

I'm not a morning person.

But for whatever reason, I've been up this morning since 4:45 am—which is a major departure from from my usual wake time. I wrestled with myself to fall back asleep but failed miserably. So I decided to see what Intstagram had to offer and thought maybe I'd get bored and doze off. I came across this striking photo of a little baby boy dangling from a scale and immediately I perked up. 

His name is Vasco and he's from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Vasco is new to our world. At only two months, he's pictured here being checked for malnutrition at a health centre where UNICEF has programs designed to help babies like Vasco survive and thrive beyond their early years. 

Malnutrition and sever malnutrition is a common issue in many parts of the developing world and it really breaks my heart knowing that many babies out there are literally starving to death. The reasons behind this are numerous but so are the solutions. This photo of Vasco hanging so peacefully in the scale represents one of many solutions in the fight against malnutrition. And what a fight it truly is. According to the World Food Programme (WFP) "Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under 5." That's 3.1 million children each year. Shocking isn't it?

It is. And as a humanitarian worker it's easy to get immune to these statistics and the issues because your day-to-day is spent being engulfed in the solutions. But today I pause for Vasco. I'm pausing to remember why I do what I do—for babies like him—and to think about how much brighter his future is going to be simply because of the hanging scale.

Thanks to this photo of Vasco, my Monday is going to be extra happy and inspiring. This is how I plan to #easeintomonday.