First off, thank you for featuring me on Afroniquely You! It’s truly an honor and I absolutely love your mission and passion for teaching women to embrace and showcase their natural beauty.
I decided to write If You Love It, It Will Grow in August of last year. At that time I was writing quite a bit on natural hair topics and getting featured on a lot of natural hair blogs. I’m a lifelong writer (also a physician and media personality) and I enjoy writing/speaking on topics related to beauty, love, relationships, and well-being. The actual book idea for If You Love It, It Will Grow came after I started receiving a ton of comments and questions about my hair and personal hair care regimen. Many women seemed to really enjoy my articles on natural hair and were sharing my pictures on their social media sites. The mass exposure resulted in a lot of women personally emailing and Facebooking me for hair care advice. I knew I had a lot of hair care information to share, not only as a woman with natural hair, but also as a medical doctor. So, I decided that it would make perfect sense to write a book. Now interestingly enough, it was also a very hectic time to start writing If You Love It, It Will Grow because I was already working on another book project that I had intended to release in Spring 2012. Ultimately, I put that other book on hold (I’m working on it now) and committed myself to bringing If You Love It, It Will Grow to life. I just released If You Love It, It Will Grow in early February and I’m very proud of it. It’s exactly what I envisioned it to be- a great book that teaches women to not only care for their afro-textured hair, but also to embrace their natural beauty.
What can a reader garner from the book?
My book is a very down to earth, fun and informative read for women who are looking for a straightforward and educational guide to growing healthy and longer afro-textured hair. I wrote my book from both a professional and personal perspective. As a doctor, I practice and advocate principles of holistic health and wellness. My book is about holistic hair care, and this means I cover healthy hair growth from the inside out- not hair growth based on whether hair is natural or relaxed. For example, I teach women to use principles of nutrition, natural and organic hair products, as well as alternative medicine principles such as aromatherapy and Ayurveda to achieve healthy hair growth. I also address issues such as hair loss in Black women, as well as how to treat forms of scalp dermatitis (i.e. eczema). And of course, I share how to grow longer hair. In addition to all those things, my book is about a deeper message- a message of self-love and self-acceptance. For many women, hair is not just hair. There is a great interconnectedness between how women feel about their hair and how they feel about themselves. In many ways, our hair is an extension of who we are. And in my book, I’m advocating that women love themselves, love their hair, and treat their bodies well to achieve their beauty goals. Without a doubt, ALL women will benefit from this book.
A popular topic on my fan page is always the one of Moisture and Retention, please briefly state a way in which a natural with severely dry hair might be able to get and maintain moisturized tresses.
It’s important to recognize that afro-textured hair, by its very nature, will be drier than other hair types. This tendency for dryness occurs because of our hair’s curly, coily, and zig-zag structural pattern. These structural patterns prevent sebum (our hair’s natural conditioner and moisture sealant) from traveling to the ends of our hair. As a result, moisture will more easily evaporate from afro-textured hair. Counteracting the sebum issue is actually quite simple- all you have to do is make sure to properly moisturize and seal your hair. Moisturizing should be done with a water based moisturizer and sealing should be done after moisturizing. When you seal hair properly, moisture will be retained. Common sealants are emollients (i.e. an oils or butters). Now you mentioned naturals with severely dry hair who have a problem maintaining moisturized tresses. I have women who come to me with this hair issue and I have consistently found that it is the result of not properly moisturizing and sealing hair. For example, one big mistake that I notice women make is using oil to “moisturize” their hair. I always tell women that oils are not moisturizers. Oils are emollients that condition hair. Oils do not give hair moisture. So using oil/butter on dry (or un-moisturized hair) may make hair “look” nice but it will also result in hair that becomes drier and more prone to breakage as time goes on.
What is one topic in your book you are most excited about and why?
That’s really hard to say. I’m so excited about the entire book because I really put in the work to create something that is informative and unique from any other Black hair care book out there. If I had to choose favorite chapters, I would say that I really enjoyed writing the first chapter, My Hair Story, because it was a very vivid walk down memory lane. I get very personal in this chapter and readers really get a glimpse into my hair struggles and triumphs. I also enjoyed writing my chapters on nutrition, natural hair products and Ayurveda. I think the topic of growing healthy hair from the inside out is one that is often under-emphasized. But in my book I took the time to really break down principles of nutrition, give in-depth information about vitamins and break down a large variety of natural products for healthy hair growth. I also enjoyed sharing information about Ayurveda- an ancient healing science that has been used by women for thousands of years to achieve healthy and beautiful hair.
It’s a usual taboo topic, black women generally feel that their hair cannot grow long, and as such the ones that do, are coined lucky or blessed with special mixture genes. What is your take on black hair growth, especially the kinkier textures?
That is an interesting question and something that I do tackle in my book because I grew up hearing many stereotypes about Black hair and “good hair.” To be honest, the reason why some of us Black women have such a hard time growing our hair to long lengths has absolutely nothing to do with our hair type and everything to do with how we are taking care of our hair. I titled my book If You Love It, It Will Grow for a reason. It’s a catchy title, but it is also the truth when it comes to our hair’s health and growth potential. Basically, if you treat your hair with the upmost care, you will be able to achieve your hair goals. Unfortunately, many of us never learned how to truly take care of our hair. And unfortunately, some of us aren’t even in a place where we can say that we truly love our hair. I think we need to have an honest discussion about Black women and hair because I do believe that our misconceptions, self-consciousness and even our fears, are leading us to make unhealthy choices when it comes to our hair. In my book, I put all political correctness aside to tackles these issues and provides inspiration, as well as solutions. Overall, I am very proud of my book and readers will find that I put a lot of love into it. After reading my book you will walk away with the knowledge you need to achieve the hair you want. Growing healthy and longer hair is not about type and texture- it is about care. And if you love it, it will grow!
Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, author and media personality who writes on beauty, relationships and well-being. You can order a copy of Dr. Phoenyx’s fabulous new book If You Love It, It Will Grow! A Guide To Growing Long Afro-Textured Hair on DrPhoenyx.com, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can also find Dr. Phoenyx on Facebook and Twitter.
My Review on The Book
The book offers very in-depth accounts on growing your hair. It relates information on properly caring for afro textured hair, how to get it to be healthy and also how to get yourself healthy. The book was a great way to approach hair care in a easy, but yet rewarding method. Who doesn’t intend to have long lengths? I know there are ladies who choose a short cut, but the majority of us, want to attain some type of length. This book is a great guide into allowing you to change your approach. Change how you think about haircare, change what you’re doing to your hair, and as a result get it long!!
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