Toma Leche? My Chai Latte Habit Makes My Hair Healthier!

Last week I got invited to the perfect event at Estilo Salon sponsored by the Toma Leche campaign.

(That's "Got Milk" for all y'all who cannot habla espanol.)

Why was it so perfect? No, no, Depeche Mode was not there, but my fellow blogger friend Sundry from Any Given Sundry came to hang out with me instead! We had free manicures, free hair consultations with celebrity stylist Roberto Ramos, free snacks from that super cute cafe right up the street from the salon on Beverly Blvd, Milk , and free chai lattes for me, the #1 chai lover in Los Angeles!!!

Yeah, I know, I'm "pondering" being vegan, so I'll blame my leche indulgence on the latte mixologist they had on hand. He was seriously good looking good at making chai! I wanted to bring him home with me so he could, ahem, make chai on-demand for me!

OK, enough with the eye candy... if you're wondering what the connection between hair and milk is, the thinking is that we spend so much time agonizing over what products we're going to use on our hair, but not as much time thinking about the nutrition that goes in our bodies. Whether you're a milk drinker or not, it's probably better for your hair if you spend $20 on some healthy, nutritious, calcium-rich food instead of some random "magic" hair conditioner. And if you're a chai addict like me, you can feel a little better about yourself since your habit is making your hair healthier!

Indeed, the highlight of my evening was my free consultation with the Roberto Ramos. Roberto does the hair of movie stars Jessica Alba and Eva Mendes.

Embarrassing story: I ran into Eva in Manhattan like five years ago, and to my eternal shame, did the, "Do I know you??? No, really, I'm positive I know you from somewhere!" thing because she seemed sooo familiar but I couldn't place her. I think she thought I was some weirdo stalker...and I have never seen someone jump in a cab so fast to get away from me!

Anyway... I was super curious what Roberto would say regarding my hair because on makeover shows, anybody with even a HINT of curl in their hair gets taken for a ride on You Should Flatiron That Frizz-Fest Express.

It turns out Roberto is super nice, totally unpretentious, and he absolutely LOVED my hair. In fact, he said my hair is:
a) Beautiful
c) I don't need to change anything about it and it's working for me!

I was a little shocked to hear all this praise -- and you know what? That's sad! I shouldn't be shocked to hear it. I shouldn't be expecting everybody to be thinking I need to straighten the heck outta my hair for it to look decent.

He only suggested that I fluff it and pull it out from my head a bit more so it would have more volume -- and he said I should get rid of all the reject hair products taking up space in my bathroom. Here we are together after he did a little re-fluffing and styling on me.

I came home all buzzed about getting some positive affirmation about my hair from the same guy who does super-hot Eva Mendes' hair... and then I read a comment on my post, My Natural Hair is not a Fashion Trend that made me feel a little sad. It said, in part:

"...but you are someone who has...what is it called in America? "Good" hair? And I think for someone with "good hair" it is much easier to go natural than someone with my hair which is....impossible to comb, impossibly coarse, and painfully thick. I don't think my hair would ever be considered "professional" or "beautiful" by any mainstream white culture, whereas your hair is unquestionably beautiful to anybody with eyes."
I can't run a comb through my hair either unless it's wet! My hair is super thick, (I can make a full-sized pencil disappear in it) and it's really textured. I don't like the word coarse when describing people's hair because that sounds like a bad thing. Sandpaper is coarse, you know? Besides, isn't all hair that's healthy "good"?

To cut to the chase, no, I don't have what is stupidly referred within the black community as "good hair". My hair likes the black side of my gene pool a LOT more than the Irish side. And that's absolutely 100% fine with me. I'm really over all the times I've been told dumb stuff like, "You're mixed? You prolly got robbed of having good hair cuz your mom's hair is so nappy."

So, am I supposed to think Roberto Ramos only liked my hair because it is not more highly textured? Do I think he would've said my mom's hair needed a lot of work and a flatiron if he'd sat her down in his chair?

Honestly, no, I don't think he did, and here's why: His encouraging me to stop trying to smush my hair down and to instead pull it off my head was sincere. It was him being a great stylist. A great stylist knows how to work with ANY texture of hair and make sure it looks good and healthy. And when he pulled my curls out off my head, it looked better!

Really, if more stylists acted like him, maybe I wouldn't be so wary of going to a salon as it is! And if you want to go natural, embrace your hair. Don't think it has to look like mine or anybody else's to be beautiful!

And now I'm off to somewhere to acquire some more chai because, um, I have a head of hair I need to keep looking good!


Michele said…
I love this! I actually have the "good" mixed girl hair. It has a nice wave when wet, fails into place easily with a quick brush of the flat iron and is generally low maintenance (except after a long run, when I look...well...CRAZY!).

My middle daughter, on the other hand, has the wildest head of hair on the planet! Ultra-curly, always thirsty (i.e. dry!) and down to her waist. She longs to have the smooth wave her sister and I share, and we both agonize every morning trying to get the puff down.

But, I'm saving your post. She'll appreciate it years later (she's only 6 now). For now, I'll stop trying to minimize her full head of hair and embrace her gorgeous mane as the natural gorgeousness it is!
Elizabeth said…
I like your hair! It totally works for you.
Jameil said…
Why are people so silly? And why must they be so petty? Who cares why your hair is how it is? It's your hair. There isn't a woman in America who has always loved her hair if for no reason other than b/c other people envy her for it. You're pondering being vegan? Wow...
Ms Angela said…
You know Liz, I've been asked about my so-called "good" hair all of my life, and BOTH of my parents are black! In fact, I've had other black people tell me that I MUST BE something other than black because my hair wasn't "nappy enuf" to be "all the way black". What does that mean? Funny, the white folks who called me and my siblings the "N" word certainly thought I was "all the way black"!

Like Jameil said, it's so silly. My grandson's father is white (Irish and Scottish) and yet, Xavier's (my grandson) hair is nappy. So now what? Does this mean he ISN'T really half white because he has the hard-to-comb-in-need-of Dixie Peach type hair on his head?

I'm looking forward to a world in which generalizations and stereotypes no longer apply.
You look fabulous dahling!

It is interesting that people assume bi-racial people always have "good" hair. Like with complexion it varies. Some of my bi-racial friends have very straight hair and others don't.

My hair is very kinky and going natural was not an easy decision. I do miss having some flexibility (my hair is short) but I cannot go back to relaxing my hair every 5 weeks. Just can't.
Cyndee said…
That's a really good picture of you! You look so happy and healthy even with your nappy hair!!!
MDUBB said…
I used to date a girl who used to wear her hair like that all the time.

I think it brought out a more primal attraction from me. Needless to say I always begged her to keep it that way.
tamigill said…
To MDubb's point, it does seem that men are attracted on a deeper level to women who are natural, especially black women. And it definitely hasn't gone unnoticed by me that most of my hot, white, guy friends here in the South ALWAYS wanted to get with my pretty girlfriends with the natural fros. And my hair-weave wearing self got NO play! :-)
1969 said…
I love your hair. The curl is beautiful and it fits your face and personality. Vibrant, full of life and healthy.

I just chopped all of my hair off last week. Most of my friends had a fit. Not's just hair. It doesn't define me in any way. I can go short, long...whatever. It will grow back. I do not equate my hair with my self worth.

I wish more people felt the same.
Liz Dwyer said…
Everybody's hair looks kinda crazy after a long run, doesn't it? LOL!

I bet both of your daughters are absolutely gorgeous... I have two sons, we could arrange a little something! :) You are taking me back to when I was a little girl and I would ask my mom how come my hair always had to be braided up when the white girls could just wear their hair out, and she'd say, "Because you're not white!" or tell me to stop being silly because my hair was too big for all that.

Anyway, your daughter will appreciate her hair in later years, for sure, especially because she has you there to love her for who she is! BTW, have you tried Mixed Chicks products on her hair? They might work really well.

Thank you! I think it works too, and I was SOOO glad Roberto didn't say, "Have you considered going straighter?"

Girl, if you can answer the why are people so silly question, you will be PAID for life! Yeah, I'm thinking about becoming a vegan. Really thinking about it. But it would be really hard for me because I like to eat a lot of non-vegan stuff and I do not like soy ice cream AT ALL!

"Funny, the white folks who called me and my siblings the "N" word certainly thought I was "all the way black"!" -- OMG, that should go on a t-shirt or something!

Yeah, I've heard those same sorts of comments before, directed at some of my 2nd/3rd cousins I grew up with who are very dark skinned but have straight hair. "You must have some Indian up in you." It's ignorant.

Yeah, the assumption drives me nuts. I've gotten the, "Are you sure you're mixed?" thing a lot in the past. And then I started replying back, "No, I just like to imagine that white man is my daddy. He's really not."

I'm thinking it might be easier to keep my hair shorter than to let it keep growing. The more it grows, the more time it takes to detangle, and I don't like spending all that time on it!

Hahaha... imagine that, even with naps all over my head, I'm happy!

So did she keep her hair natural, or did she decide to straighten it despite what you liked?

Ok, I'm with you on this and I have been meaning to find a way to post about it that isn't just totally offensive to somebody on some level, but some of my friends have noticed that white guys have started hitting on me ever since I went natural. About a month ago, one was even joking and calling me the Queen of the White Guys -- and I NEVER had white guys step to me when I had my hair straight. Maybe I should just throw caution to the wind and write about it more...

I like your short bob! It's super cute on you. But I can imagine folks tripping out over you cutting your hair. Did you get the, "If I had your hair, girl, I would nevah evah cut it!" speech? lol!
Nelia said…
Cyndee : I'm new here, so I'm going to assume your comment was made tongue in cheek.

Los Angelista : Great post. I just recently went natural myself and am "struggling*! What products do you use?
Liz Dwyer said…

LOL, Cyndee is my sister...she's totally teasing me. :)

I have been meaning to do a post on products I use in my hair...because a lot of folks have asked. I promise I'll do one by the end of the week! :)

Your hair works for you. Embrace it and let it flow. Have you tried Keracare products? I think the Hydrating & Detangling Shampoo might work for you.

Simply Raw Hair Salon might be a good place to check out 323-930-2750. They have stylists that work with untreated hair.

Spice Hair Oasis 323-934-5592
liz you should totally write a post about the white guy/going natural thing. I've noticed it too.

When I went natural, black men ignored me (true I was living in L.A.) but play from white men went way up.

Here in Italy African and Caribbean men try to rap to me. The few black american guys do not.
Daniel said…
Los Angelista,
Go ahead. Write about it. I'll let you know how close you get. LOL!

And, you READY? In the next few days before the "event", drink, drink and drink some more. Water that is. Float all those body cells, bigtime. The body will be happier if you do.
Liz Dwyer said…
I've never tried Keracare before... I'll check it out (crossing fingers it's not too pricey) and I'll look into that salon. Do they specialize in natural hair?

OK, I'll write it... what do you think it is though that brings about the "white guy vote"? (lol)

Haha... yeah, you'll have to let me know how far off I am with my hypothesis!

As far as the marathon, good grief, I am TOTALLY freaking out, but I am trying to drink lots of water!
Sundry said…
Thanks again for inviting me! So much fun! I met up with Katy from Constant Chatter yesterday... I said you'd invited me and she said, "Oh, the one with the gorgeous curls?" Yup, that's the one!
Nelia said…
Cyndee & LA : Whew. That's a relief. Because you know a sistah was about to get heated!

LA : Looking forward to the hair product update!

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