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Erin // Natural Hair Style Icon

• Apr 26, 2010

The lightness of my skin doesn’t make me any less black than I feel, and the way I wear my hair doesn’t make me any more. It simply makes me, me!

Where do you live?
E:
I’m a Chicago girl, born and raised, currently calling the Logan Square neighborhood home base. I work as a consultant in the vintage clothing industry, working freelance for three vintage businesses in the city, and additionally I’m a freelance artist and curator of pop-up art exhibitions. I went to the School of the Art Institute for about a year, with emphasis in painting and fiber & material studies, but it wasn’t necessarily the right match for me, so we said our peace in 2005, and I went on to do all sorts of other bigger and better things.

Why did you make the decision to go natural?
E: I was just sooooo over my hair being this ongoing stressful and negative focal point for me.
I always had really rad and ridiculous hair styles when I worked with relaxers and flat irons, and I would always receive compliments and kudos on them because I guess they were what you could perceive as unconventional in terms of African-American women’s hairstyles, but it was so much work, and deep down, I was miserable and never felt like my natural self.

As I started to hang out with more natural women and explore life as an adult, I started to see that I had been blessed and NOT plagued with these awesome super wild and tight curls, and I could see how mentally I had conditioned myself to think that because of the type of music I was into and the lifestyle that I chose to live that I would need to have straight hair, even if it wasn’t on my own aesthetic terms, and that just wasn’t the case anymore.

When and how did you transition into natural hair?
E:
I wanna say it was November of 2008 when I gave myself the big chop. I was super nervous, because even though my mind had been made up to do it since I had come back from a life-altering vacation in Oakland (which played a huge part in my decision), physically I was still attached to my straight locks (even though they had some serious new growth action at that point). I knew if I waited around or contemplated it any longer it wasn’t going to happen, and I certainly knew that I wasn’t going to have a stylist do it for me, because I knew no matter how amazing my friends in the hair industry are and how much I love them, this was going to be my own personal experience, and nobody was going to do it for me. Which is not to say that I recommend this method for any woman, hacking away can lead to ridiculous lop-sided hairdos, of course.

So I grabbed some shears I had around the house and went to town. I also made it a point to throw out every product I had that I knew had started to suck the life out of my scalp, ie. my hair spray. Once I chopped it all off, I still wasn’t quite ready for full fro status, I didn’t have a lot of length to work with at that point, but I did and still do have a full head of thick, thick curls, so while transitioning, I used a soft bristle brush to wrap and set it while wet into little baby waves.

I loved it, but I would still heat set it for a few minutes from time to time, to keep my waves in check, which I gradually eliminated from the regimen. I stuck with certain products I knew worked for my hair regardless of texture, and I stocked up on my fair share of products that I knew would help it come alive again, as well. And once spring rolled around, bam! My little blond afro came to be. I guess the rest is history.

I am extremely happier and about a million times more confident living my life as a natural woman! I understand my self worth in a way I could never fully comprehend when I would douse my head with chemicals. It sounds so cheesy, but the world just seems brighter, ya know?

What’s your basic regimen?
E:
Well, let’s see, my hair regimen changes with length. The thing I keep consistent is WATER. Hydration is key! I wet my hair and co-wash every day, and give it a nice healthy scrub a few times a week. Sometimes I switch up products, but I try to keep it pretty simple, so I tend to stick with the following basics: Queen Helene’s hair cholesterol in the shower, Motion’s or Luster’s Pink Hair Lotion right after I dry it off a bit, but definitely while still pretty wet, followed by a daily dose of olive oil cream (which as far as I’m concerned, everybody should swear by!) massaged in while my hair’s still damp.

I use a metal fan pick to pull out my hair and rock my afro daily, and on the days when I decide to wear it either pinned up on the sides (2nd photo), or up in a huge scarf and bow piled on top of my head (1st photo), I go back (after picking it thoroughly) with my soft bristle brush and a small bit of Murray’s pommade and I brush my curls upward, so as to train it in the direction I want it to go in on that particular day.

What mistakes have you made with your hair that you’ve learnt from?
E:
Flat ironing my relaxed hair AFTER putting oily product in it, and having just bleached the front half of it, I had never heard something sizzle SO intensely. But at the time, I figured it was the normal and only way I was going to be able to have fire engine red, bone straight hair. Oops, I guess.

How does your hair express who you are?
E:
My hair reflects everything about me. It’s my heritage, my narrative. It always has been, and I guess with every changing style, a new part of me has come to life. I mean, realistically, if someone were to come up behind me and shave my head, I wouldn’t lose the essence of who I am, but I feel that my hair strongly represents how I have grown as a woman and career-minded adult. And I believe for that other natural woman, or women inclinig to make the change, it expresses that I’ve gone through the same battle, figuratively speaking. And I’m as happy as can be.

I was really moved by the last interview you did with Cherekana, where at the end she discussed how she dislikes how people view her wearing her hair the way she does as a political statement and that not being the case… I deal with that frequently, generally sporting what some would consider a classic afro, from the days of the Panther party, and it becomes trying at times when people make assumptions about you based on your hair, your looks, etc, without even knowing you as a human being.

I think a majority of us may have been on that angry militant tip at some point, however long or short-lived it might have been, but for me, sporting my hair the way it’s MEANT to be is completely different.

The lightness of my skin doesn’t make me any less black than I feel, and the way I wear my hair doesn’t make me any more. It simply makes me, me!

Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
E:
Certainly! I have a blog about my art, vintage goodies, adventures and all that jazz. Check it out at http://mahaloclub.blogspot.com/.
You can also find me on Facebook, or on etsy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/psychosurplus

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BRITT
Guest

I AM IN LOOOOOOVE WITH HER LOOK! Her hair, her piercings, just…her! Shes just beautiful all around. Btw, could you ask her if her lobes are stretched and what size?

Ari Vee
Guest
Ari Vee

OH! I saw you on Keshs blog a few times, Your hair is beautiful, and your a beautiful artist!! Love your style

Eve
Guest

Wow, Erin, you really went through such a transformation with styles. I have to say, all of them fit you very well. But what it comes down to is what makes you feel your best, and you seem like a very beautiful person. I will check out your blog. Keep Styling. Eve

Tiffany H.
Guest
Tiffany H.

You, my dear Erin, are a vision and an inspiration for not only your style, but your bravery to dictate your own truth. I commend you for the recognition you’ve embraced and wish you all the best with all of your endeavors.

Respectfully,

T Hobbs

P.S. I’ve been a fan of Kesh’s for years and was introduced to your awesomeness through her websites. Hope you guys can get back in the lab and knock some more stuff out!

Best. Xoxo.

vonnie
Guest

sick sick SICK gorgeous frohawk! bad ass style, me likey 😀

http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

Alana
Guest
Alana

Werk!!!!

kadiane*francophone
Guest
kadiane*francophone

”The lightness of my skin doesn’t make me any less black than I feel, and the way I wear my hair doesn’t make me any more.”

No but your natural is a sign hat that you love your blackness at least in regard to the hair. It does not make you more black (Your are black or you are not) but is shows that you like your blackness.

amber
Guest

OMGGGGGGGG she looks awesome! i love her look!!!!!!!!

MissBNatural
Guest
MissBNatural

I love her style! her hair just compliments the whole look.

Bri
Guest

I love Erin’s style. It’s so edgy and beautiful!

Afrika
Guest

I LOVE ERIN. She soooooooooooo sexy. I saw her on Kesh’s blog a few times and I always ask Kesh if Erin had a blog or a website because I wanted to see more of her. Thank you for profiling her 🙂

thelady
Guest
thelady

great style

justicefighter1913
Guest
justicefighter1913

Erin, I all can say is FIERCE!!! Work it honey!!! The whole look is on fire!!

serenissima
Guest
serenissima

what a flllyyyy girl! love it

sidenote she looks exactly like my cousin! i did a double take

http://sartorialme.blogspot.com

Sydnemm
Guest

”The lightness of my skin doesn’t make me any less black than I feel, and the way I wear my hair doesn’t make me any more.”

I feel her so hard. Her style is dope, dope, dope. 😀 I got some inspiration up in here!

Courtney
Guest

I love it!!! She’s beautiful, original, and herself!!! And I love that quote! You and a few others are really inspiring to make the big choice to go natural!

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Black Girl Long Hair, Black Girl Long Hair and Samantha , Akaniyene King™. Akaniyene King™ said: Ups to miss erin rembert http://bglhonline.com/2010/04/erin/. her art will be at the #dontsmokethecigarette release. 6.4.10. chi’zgtncrzy! […]

tam
Guest
tam

Very fly! wanna be like her when I grow up! keep shining Erin 🙂

kyesha
Guest
kyesha

my fave feature so far … hands down !

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Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by THEGTW: Ups to miss erin rembert http://bglhonline.com/2010/04/erin/. her art will be at the #dontsmokethecigarette release. 6.4.10. chi’zgtncrzy!…

Taheerah
Guest
Taheerah

I love her opening statement; very powerful.

Niki
Guest

Love it! Erin is an amazing woman inside and out!

laela
Guest
laela

I think I saw you at a vintage shop on Milwaukee ave. I tried not to stare at you but you were very pretty (your eyebrows look great too btw)

Bilguissa
Guest
Bilguissa

Simply Love Her style!!!! hair, clothes, piercings etc…
She’s simply her…Love it

Liv
Guest
Liv

Beautiful beautiful beautiful! Hot hair & hot style! BGLH I love this site!!!!!!!!!!!

loren
Guest
loren

Luv the style!!! Where did you find the eyeglasses? I need a pair just like that.

Durdyn
Guest
Durdyn

I’m new to the site and I just wanted to say that I truly adore Erin! I admire her energy and confidence. Love it!

M3RLz
Guest
M3RLz

Everything about Erin is fierce! Love it all!

Candice
Guest
Candice

What a small world!! I used to see you around from time to time on the bus and would always think, “dang look at her hair! I wish I could do that!” lol love your look!

sunshyne84
Guest
sunshyne84

I love that quote! I love people who aren’t afraid to express their individuality in any way. I have the same issues with people thinking I’m less black than others because I’m light or if I wear a fro I’ve gone all afro-centric. There’s no one way to be black. I’m just me, not my hair.

mommayonna
Guest
mommayonna

goodness! I am LOVING erin and her style…and bout to go find me some olive oil to scrub into this here scalp (that sounded AMAZING)

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

Omg I love her!! I see her often in LS and I digg ger style soo much. DOPE!

Lamariposanegra
Guest

Please teach me your ways lol! Be my guru!

khamedra19
Guest

@Britt, I have stretched earlobes. From the look of the picture, it looks like Erin’s ears are stretched to a 00 or a 000 gauge. I like her look too. I have a septum piercing, stud in my nose, stretched first holes, and regular sized second holes. I’ve been contemplating wearing earrings in my second holes, but was unsure how it would look with the larger first holes. Looking at Erin’s photos lets me know that it will indeed work. Fabulous hair and style, Erin. Thanks for the inspiration.

Erin
Guest
Erin

thanks for the love, ladies! to note, my ears are stretched to just a smidge under a half inch, but the plugs i have were custom made for me, a bit on the smaller side, so that i could wear another smaller set of gauges along with them. hope to see you lovely women at the BGLH meetup next weekend!

xoxo

yourself
Guest
yourself

It must be nice to be yourself

Crist
Guest
Crist

+1

bree'l
Guest
bree'l

most influential style icon to date.

clara
Guest
clara

you are so beautiful (:

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

Awesome hair and your style is ridiculous love it!

Angee
Guest
Angee

Love love the plugs who made them?

nnaattaayy
Guest
nnaattaayy

does n e 1 kno how she did her hair in the first pic? i luv it n i want 2 try it!!

Eloïse
Guest

I love her look and hair!!!

MsNaturalJas
Guest
MsNaturalJas

I love this woman! Her style is unique and self expressive! True motivation!

Classychassis
Guest
Classychassis

Makes me so happy to see someone as light as myself! I know exactly the sentiment of your first quote, being so light has no bearing on how i feel inside- and how tight these naps are! I do love the style too-a body full of art:)

cwiczenia na brzuch
Guest

Hello! One of the better to provide large thumbs upward in the fantastic details you have just for this distribute. Go back to your web site to obtain more certain quickly.

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[…] Style Icon Erin […]

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[…] am not new to BGLH, having been featured 4 times before (here, here, here, and here.) But as I prepare to embark on an incredible new chapter in my life with the BGLH team, […]

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[…] Style Icon Erin […]

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