Hacking Curly Hair

Posted in Uncategorized on March 14, 2018 by jerlina

I had dreads for 8 years. Last summer I decided that I wanted to give my curly hair a chance, now that things have changed for us curly haired people. Over the past 8 years curly hair salons have sprouted up across the country and curly hair products are available everywhere, even Target. Just 8 years ago none of this existed. So I picked out every lock and headed to a curly hair salon in Alameda. My stylist had straightish hair but new all of the secrets to keeping curly hair healthy and frizz-free. I am so happy!

Hack #1: Do not wash too often and when you do, use moisturizing shampoo. My stylist recommended washing no more than once a week. Also, when you wash, focus on your scalp rather than sudsing up your hair from head to tip. The idea here is that washing your hair strips it of moisture and curly hair needs all the moisture it can get.

Hack#2: Soak deeply with very warm water. I’m not going to get into the science of this but basically the hot water does something to the hair follicle. I’ve noticed that my hair goes from stiff to smooth if I really let it soak. Once your hair is at that smooth stage, run your fingers through your hair to further smooth out your hair and to release all of the tangles. I have started creating four parts. I knot three parts as I work on smoothing out the fourth. I make my way around my head and work out the tangles as the part is soaking under the spray from the shower head. Once the tangles are out I loosely re-knot and move on to the next quadrant.

Hack#3: Hella condition. The salon that I visited sells an amazing leave in conditioner designed for curly hair which I generously apply to my hair right after I have smoothed out all of the tangles and before I loosely knot it. I have also used the leave in conditioner by modern organic products and it worked well too. The trick is to apply while your hair is still sopping wet and in that ‘smooth’ stage and use lots of it. I now use about 8x as much conditioner as I used to. This means, the amount I used to use for my whole head, I now use 2x that amount for each quadrant. This is a whole lot of conditioner but apparently, my hair needs it.

Hack #4: After washing/ conditioning, flip your head over and ‘scrunch in’ conditioner from the bottom up. In other words, bend over and flip your hair over so that the back of your hair is exposed. Take a big glob of gel for curly hair and grab the tips of your hair and scrunch it up to your roots so that the gel is being applied as you scrunch. Do this gently and apply evenly all over your head.

Hack #5: If you need to squeeze out any moisture, use a t-shirt or a micro-fiber towel and do it as gently as possible. squeezing out moisture is optional and basically, the less you mess with your hair post-gel application, the better.

Hack#6: Air dry or blow dry with a diffuser.

Hack #7: Keep your hands away from your hair! The more you play with your curls, the faster that they will frizz and you will need to go through this process all over again.

Hack #8: If you can find a curly hair stylist in your area, check them out. Cutting curly hair is different than cutting straight hair and a good stylist can work wonders.

Hack #9: Love your beautiful curls!



And the salon I went to is called Twist and they use Deva Curl Products:




Tips for Mixed Folks

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2017 by jerlina

Some people are given clear identities when they are born and those identities work for them over the course of a long period. For most mixed race folks, we are given a social identity i.e. are told that we are mixed race at a young age and over time this identity is challenged. It is this challenge that can provoke an identity crisis. We develop a sense of doubt in who we think we are and this sense of doubt can linger and/or fester over time. A few suggestions I have cultivated over the course of writing this blog are:

  1. define your ‘cultural’ self according to your respective ethnicities. You will be challenged far less, if at all.
  2. Take any racial identity that society projects onto you with lightheartedness. Seriously, don’t take any of it too seriously. This social construct does not work very well for multi-ethnic people so instead of trying to make it work for us, let’s just not give it too much weight in our lives. Ultimately, I have found that taking our racial identities seriously is almost always more harmful for our healthy development of self.
  3. Get to know other multi-ethnic folks. Spend time with them, if not in person at least online. It is important for us to feel like our experiences are normal.
  4. stay connected to folks of all of the ethnic groups which you identify with. If you have any trauma or difficult feelings related to any of these groups, work on resolving these issues and developing a healthy connection with all of the groups that make up who you are.
  5. Cultivate your general sense of health and wellbeing. Exercise, meditate, laugh, eat well. Do not focus on this acute issue without doing the generalist work that will promote your overall wellness. Focusing acutely on your racial identity without a general sense of wellness can increase negative feelings (stress, anxiety, confusion) rather than relieve them.
  6. Cultivate gratitude for your family, friends and all of those things that bring connection and joy into your life. Focusing on what you are grateful for can help resolve the ‘tunnel vision’ experience that can develop when you are trying to figure out your racial identity concerns.
  7. Your racial identity is defined by how OTHER people or, how society perceives you. This identity might not reflect your lived experience and/or it can shift when you move around the country and the world. When someone asks you who you are (racially/ culturally) they are generally trying to get more information about who you are. If you provide your ethnic background, this will allow the person to make their own conclusions about your racial identity, if that is of interest to them. I strongly suggest to sticking to facts and details that feel true to you.
  8. You can claim many identities, at the same time. I identify as black and mixed race and multi-ethnic and half white.
  9. Cultivate principles and practices that will make you feel proud of yourself. you are so so so much more than your racial identity.

The Overlap of Jewish and Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2017 by jerlina

I have said this many times: The Jewish and the Mixed Race ( half white/ half black) experience in the US is very similar and precisely I would state it like this: Jewish people are white people who are also minorities. Mixed race people are minorities who are also white. We are both members of groups who have historically been oppressed by the white majority but we are also part of the white majority. What an interesting place to live! So, with this thought, I want to do more research into how Jewish folks have navigated this place. It is no surprise to me that two of my best friends are Jewish, because we experience the world in very similar ways. This post was inspired by this intriguing episode of This American Life where a Hasidic Jewish community in New York State takes over a school district and does some wacky stuff.


One more thing, I have always found it intriguing that a disproportionate half white/ half black folks are in fact half jewish/ half black. Maybe because Jewish folks are typically more liberal? I don’t have an explanation.



Defending White People

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2017 by jerlina

I am a brown woman who was raised by my white mom. She was a terrific parent and continues to be the most important person in my life. As I age I am becoming her in many ways and that makes me happy. She is a very kind and generous person and I am proud of her. In some ways our identities are fused, as is common with mothers and daughters. In addition this important relationship I have with my mom, who has devoted her entire life to me and my brother, I also have other very important relationships with other white folks, namely two of my closest friends and my boyfriend. So, when a close friend of mine, who is African American, stated venting to me yesterday about how stupid and terrible white people are, I got nervous and frustrated. On one hand I knew that as a ‘woke’ person I am not supposed to defend white people. However, wasn’t she talking about my mom, my close friends and my boyfriend? If she had added ‘some’ before repeatedly trashing white people, I would have felt a lot more comfortable. Racism is real, really real, so i empathized with her frustrations. However, white people are definitely not the only ones who perpetuate it. Also, she is a close friend of mine so she knows where I come from. She even knows my mom really well. So it boggled my mind that she would trash this race of people, from which I come, so violently. I wondered ‘can she see me? or, is she considering who I am at all?’ It felt confusing. Maybe she was so upset that she just didn’t care. Anyway, I just sat there and listened to it, I felt like I was getting beat up. I remained uncomfortable for the rest of our visit.

I just did not know what to say. Clearly she was suffering so i wanted to support her but she was saying things that directly implicated the people who i love most in the world- not all white people, but a few of them. Also, the person who has hurt me the most in this world- my dad, is Black. This does not mean by any stretch that I think all Black folks are bad, however, he reminds me that there are challenging black people and challenging white people. I really can’t favor a side. Ultimately, this felt like a very real mixed girl moment. It was almost the defining moment- feeling like I am apart of both worlds at once and not wanting to take sides.

Mixed Girl Hair

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2017 by jerlina

The struggle is real. So real that I went from straightening my hair to locks so that I wouldn’t have to deal with my curly mop. I am currently unlocking my hair and am worried about having to deal with my curls again. However, they are part of me and I am ready to embrace them. Also, there is a new curly hair salon in the Bay Area that I think can help me. I wish they had been around when I was young. Oh the tears.


Gross Couple Stuff Illustrations

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2017 by jerlina

I was pleasantly surprised by how many interracial couples that are illustrated in this buzzfeed quiz. Cute.




Black Women Share Their Awful Interracial Dating Stories

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2017 by jerlina

Oh Vice… Leave it to them to publish the spicey article on interracial dating:


Black Women Share Their Awful Interracial Dating Stories