As I sat there practicing my newfound corn row skills on my boyfriend (thanks to Niani Barrack’s online braiding course), I thought to myself, “who in the hell deemed beauty supply stores and salons non-essential businesses?” I mean, I get the whole social-distancing thing, but just because natural hair care isn’t essential to wypipo doesn’t mean it isn’t essential to us. We have to maintain the crown on our heads that we can’t take off and it’s a full-time job, let me tell you!
As international exports continue to take a hit — bundles, clip-ins and braiding hair – naturalistas and transitioning Black women are have had to find new ways to get creative with their everyday beauty routines
“Since social distancing has been enforced due to the coronavirus I have had more time to get creative and focus on my hair,” shares flight attendant and curly girl influencer Taylor Brightman with Hello Beautiful. “As black women it takes us a very long time to style our hair so a typical hair day means we’re either starting early in the morning so we can be seen later in the day or we aren’t going outside at all. Now that I don’t have to worry about the world seeing me mid- styling on my days off I have way more time to experiment or give my hair the energy it deserves.”
For those who work a standard 9-5 job, such as digital content creator Sha Ravine, the pandemic has shaken up her daily routine, giving her time and space that she may not know how to deal with. “COVID-19 disrupted my daily routine but actually taught me a huge lesson in self-care and time management. My natural hair is pretty high maintenance and time-consuming and as a result of self quarantining I’ve been able to give my hair [and skin] the TLC it’s really needed,” Sha tells HB. However, she’s managed to find the silver lining and use the time that she would typically spend at Good Morning America on her hair and trying new styles and products. “I’ve been doing overnight moisture masks, hot oil treatments, and trying new natural hairstyles! The plus side is with all the new products, methods, and styles I’m trying, if anything fails, no one will see it because we’re all stuck in the house!”
As a YouTuber and curl enthusiast, Keierra Wiltshire has been able to dedicate more of her time to creating content for her YouTube channel. “As a natural hair influencer experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been able to strategically plan my content, work on my consistency, editing, and interact with my audience more than usual,” Keierra tells Hello Beautiful. “Although my routine has not changed, I have been able to utilize protective styling and deep conditioning treatments.” While influencers Taylor, Sha and Keierra are able to find the silver lining, it may not be so easy for other influencers who are getting used to the day-to-day quarantine structure of remaining indoors.
For content creator Nneoma Okorie, also known on Instagram as the iconic @NneUnfiltered, the coronavirus has presented quite the experience. “I really feel like it’s been a roller coaster of emotions as some days I feel lazy, worried, and uninspired to do anything! I think to myself, ‘are we ever going to get past this scary time?’,” ponders Nne, “but other days I feel empowered to focus my attention on things that I love like creating fun exciting content, trying a new skincare routine, or reading.” According to VidIQ, YouTube content creators are taking a hard hit due to the oversaturation of uploads, interest and searches for “coronavirus” during this time of the pandemic. Side note, if you’re looking to make a video about COVID-19, there’s a strong possibility that you may be demonitized, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to just continue creating the dope beauty, fashion and lifestyle content you’ve been creating for your loyal audience, sis.
Speaking of content, I’m pretty sure you’ve all been watching the naturalista version of the #DontRushChallenge circulating around your Instagram or Twitter feed. Introducing Stephanie Radlein, one of the beautiful women included in the viral video and established YouTuber by the name of Caramel Coils. While there’s been an obvious spike in Tik Tok usage during the stay-at-home orders, Radlein and her girls took full advantage and created a community amongst fellow curly girls to bring to you some dope content.
“It’s given me the time I need to get in touch with my creative side,” Stephanie excitedly shares with Hello Beautiful. “Just earlier this week, me & a few of my curlfriends (Michelle Bruce, Slim Reshae, Leslie Latrice, and Anima Agyemen) decided to participate in the Don’t Rush Challenge but made a Natural Hair Edition that went viral!” This challenge definitely made me want to get up out of my Friday jammies, call up my friends and create some cute Tik Toks as well – looking fine as hell with nowhere to go!
While we all seem to find the bright side of dedicating our time to hobbies, skills and interests that we wouldn’t have time for otherwise, who else is crying and dying a little inside from cancelling their highly-anticipated hair or nail appointment by their local homegirl up the block?