Women of all races are completely consumed with becoming more holistic in their choices of clothing and over the last 5 years hair has become an essential component to embracing the holistic lifestyle. For most African American women it was the 2009 movie Good Hair that highlighted the damaging chemicals of perms. Women of all ethnicities are on the hunt to live a chemical free lifestyle. What does this mean in 2013? More people are embracing environmentally friendly green methods in every aspect of their life.
This is why I’m happy to introduce you to Aziza Yasmine. She is one of the most talented nationally known Natural Hair stylist in the U.S. She spent her grade school years at the Cleveland school of performing Arts and high school years at Garrett Morgan Cleveland School of Science . Upon completion of high school she was accepted to Miami University of Ohio.
Aziza begin growing her business and perfecting her craft as a very popular hair stylist on the campus of Miami University. Although hair was her passion, she also enjoyed learning about
world cultures particularly African studies. Her hunger for culture and love for natural hair helped to fuel her business dreams.
“I spent a few months studying in West Africa, learning the history of the continent, studying the diverse cultures and the amazing hair styling techniques. I knew once I completed my journey that I wanted to work as a entrepreneur in the urban community, black hair care and make natural hair care her focus.”
Aziza Yasmine’s visions to become a natural hair care stylist and dynamic, multi-talented entrepreneur came true when she became the owner of A II Z Naturals Lt , A II Z Academy LLC, and the inventor of Paradise Naturals Products. Aziza's businesses all focus on natural hair care and holistic beauty care and education for people of all ages and ethnicities. She’s an award winning stylist and platform artist, and she’s a master of afro centric hair design. Honored with the first place title in Los Angeles at the Milky Way "Welcome to the Future" hair competition and named by Glynn Jackson as the Natural Hair Stylist of the Year at the Annual Golden Scissors Awards. Aziza Yasmine's hair creations have graced the pages of numerous print publications including Essence Magazine , Sophisticates’ Black Hair Magazine , Tresse (French Publication.) Sanata International Magazine to name a few. A Styling pro, she is an advisor for the Sophisticates’ Black Hair Corporation, offering monthly style tips for readers. Aziza also currently works with the Ohio Academy, A Paul Mitchell focus salon where she educates stylists, students and instructors on the art of natural hair styling.
I asked Ms. Yasmine a few questions on why the natural hair business is becoming popular and why women of all races are looking to become more holistic in their approach to hair.
1. Why did you decide to get into the hair business?
Styling hair is something that came to me naturally. I was just six, standing in the mirror wondering what to do with all my thick, long natural hair. I enjoyed styling my friends and family, and got plenty of practice on barbie! After years of grammar school and college, I realized natural hair care and hair styling was my passion. Not only did I discover I excelled in it but I loved doing it! The business aspect only seemed logical. Ive always said, if you do what you love, you will love what you do.
2. You’ve traveled around the world to learn about the hair industry, what is your message to black and white women concerning chemicals being placed in the hair?
I have taken a considerable amount of time traveling to Africa and China to learn about hair styling and the products manufactured to manage and manipulate hair. My studies have brought me to a greater understanding of the diverse and complex nature of hair care and the beauty industry. All people spend time and money on hair grooming, it's neither black or white. We use similar products for styling our hair, shampoos, conditioners, gels, hair sprays, pomades etc. We invest in wigs, toupees, hair weaves, hair replacing systems and the like. Chemicals are used to enhance color, straighten or curl the hair. They are also used to manufacture hair and hair pieces. My message to the masses is to take time and study the product before putting it on your head or anywhere on your body. Many chemicals are linked to aneurysms, strokes, fibroids and even breast cancer. It's is imperative that you ask yourself these questions before making decisions for style techniques and products:
• health benefits- is the product based in nature, does the style protect or damage the hair?
• Ingredients- what's in the product? What are the human and synthetic fibers made of? What do researchers say about sodium hydroxide, ammonia thyoglocolate , sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial colors, fragrances, and parabens?
• Quality assurance- will the style benefit your hair and health over long periods of time?
Getting to know what you use is the first step in managing and maintaining healthy hair, the more you know the more it grows!
3. Why do you think so many women are concerned about hair chemicals? (Influences)
I believe many women are concerned more now than ever because disease and illness is epidemic in America. Many researchers, foreign and domestic, have linked scalp disorders and cancers to toxic ingredients used in the beauty industry. There is a collective consciousness among women, a heightened awareness that there is something out there causing us to get sick. The question is what? When we take time to analyze our habits and behaviors, we find that women all have something in common, our beauty care regimen. Most of us use shampoos, color, relaxers, perms, deodorant etc. and most do not take a second to look at the ingredients. We buy whatever has the best marketing strategy, and whatever the celebrity endorses. We consume without knowledge of the consequences. I believe this natural hair movement has created a heightened awareness and in turn has caused women to begin questioning their beauty choices.
4. What are your concerns with weave usage as a means to growing our your perm?
There is nothing wrong with weaving. Hair is used to protect and adorn. Most women are uncomfortable with the big chop, or braid transitions if they are in corporate America or accustomed to free flowing hairstyles. I understand, we all have our likes and dislikes and it's important that we feel comfortable with our choices, regardless of what others may think or say. My only concern is whether the weave is done with too much tension. Sometimes weave bases can be braided so tight that they cause traction alopecia. This is hair loss, particularly around the hairline. I always suggest notifying the stylist during installation if you feel the base is too tight. Remember, it only gets tighter as the weave is installed.
5. What are your suggestions for black women going natural?
My suggestion for anyone going natural is to study your options first. Understand your hair texture and type before selecting a style. What will work for one texture may not work for you. Do your homework on your stylist. Is the person certified and qualified to work with transition styling techniques? Study the various natural products available on the market and decide which one will work best for the style you want to achieve. Understand that you are not alone. Hundreds of thousands are on this journey. Know that your decision to go natural is the best beauty choice you can make. Not only are you embracing the divine beauty within, but you are also taking control of your health.
6. What are your suggestions for white women who are trying to maintain a nonchemical hair?
I suggest the same for all women. Study the alternatives to perming and straightening treatments. Consider natural and organic coloring systems. If your stylist doesn't offer these services, suggest them.
7. What are some of the hair products you suggest that are good for all women of color?
Some of the best products on market for styling natural textures include Jane Carter Solutions, Dermorganic, Avalon Organics, Curls, Giovanni, and Shea Moisture. Most can be found at Target, Walmart or Whole Foods Market. My company will launch our line Paradise Natural Products at the 2013 Premiere Orlando Intenational Show in June. The salon professional products I would recommend include Aveda and Origins, Lush cosmetics are great too!
8. I hear you have some hair products in the works, if so what are they?
Yes I do! My products were formulated using natural and organic ingredients. Our tag line is, "All natural products designed with your health in mind" My company imports pure organic Shea from Ghana and we refine in here in the states. The Shea is used as the base for many of the products on the line. As an ultra emollient oil, Shea makes a great base for oil treatments, creams and moisturizers. The beautiful thing about Paradise Natural Products is that everything is designed to be used on the hair and body. No need to buy separate lotions, cremes and body washes. Our Shampoo can be used as a body wash, our hair and body soufflé is great for designing textured hairstyles and great for moisturizing your skin. Our Golden Shea is excellent as a hot oil treatment and heals dry cracked hands and feet, great for eczema too! The fragrances are light and soothing, infused with natural botanicals like Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, and Aloe Vera, you will feel like you're in Paradise.
9. Although you’re not located in the DC area you’re truly taking the nation by storm with appearances in Essence and various hair magazines…How can DC women get some of your hair products? Do you offer private services?
God is Great, I have had the privilege of gracing the pages of Essence magazine, Sophisticates Black Hair and international publications in France, Russia and South Africa. I certainly make myself available to women and men across the nation, participating in shows such as Premiere, IBS, and Bronner Bros. I offer public and private classes. Salons can book me for day classes or weekend seminars. Our marketing and design team is currently creating the web page for Paradisenatural.com, so everyone in the D. C. Area will be able to purchase product online. I will be honored at the 2013 Self Image Awards in D.C. and I anticipate having the hosts, Madame Walkers Braidery, as a product distribution site. So please stay tuned!
10. What is your advice to all women who are interested in the natural hair business?
I'm big on research. I believe there is a wealth of knowledge out there specifically for the natural hair connoisseur. The industry is just bursting at the seams, so many new stylists, products and opportunities. Start out at a hair show checking out what's happening. The Atlanta World Natural Hair Show is coming up in April, this is a great place to start. My friend Taliah Waajid is the founder and has created the worlds largest natural hair showcase. There are plenty of educators, products and shows to get anyone started in the industry. Being a licensed professional is always recommended. This is where your credibility comes into play. Check your State Board of Cosmetology to see what you'll need to do to get started.
11. What can we expect from you in the future?
So many things! I'm just so excited to be among the greats who have pioneered this industry. I've given 20 years of service, and I believe it's time for a Global Academy of Natural HairCare. I'm ready to share the wealth of knowledge with the world, I believe people are ready. I'm looking forward to ventures off shore in Africa and also the globalization of my product division, and a textbook of course! For me, the sky isn't the limit, we are reaching for the cosmos...looking forward to the future and light years beyond.
Aziza Yasmine has used her education to take the natural hair world to new cultural horizons and is using her talents to make a global impact. If you’re interested in learning about Ms. Yasmine's hair services log on to AIIZ Naturals.com. If you would like to receive the latest updates on AIIZ Naturals become a fan on Facebook click here . Also follow AIIZ Naturals on Twitter by clicking here.