i'm in chicago. here's why that matters.

hair me out. ha!

I didn’t think I’d wrap up 2019 with a trip to Chi-town. But two weeks ago while cruising the internet 😏 I found a hair research conference called Save Our Scalps. The name may sound dramatic, but take a moment, and think about the kinds of irritations or sporadic pain you’ve experienced with a new braid look, chemical treatment, maybe a new wig or weave installment. The folks at this small conference are mostly trichologists (people who study the scalp), dermatologists, hair scientists, and hair stylists. By the end of the conference, their goal is to figure out how they can all collaborate to bring more awareness to issues around the health of the scalp and hair.

This issue, without question, affects Black people more than any other population in the U.S.. The way we express ourselves and our creativity through hair lends itself to using extensions to achieve the trend setting looks that subsequently impact culture. But we also seem to be suffering for it. We don’t know as much as we think we do about the brands we use, and that should change.

As for myself, I wanted to be here for a story I’m working on connected to scalp health. It’d definitely say being here is outside my comfort zone. I don’t know anyone here, and I showed up not knowing what to expect by any stretch of the imagination. Typically I feel like you’d find me at some sort of culture conference for millennial women filled with brand booths and free products. However, my thinking is: while publicist and beauty editors are working to connect with one another to sell products, I feel there’s space to also build direct relationships with dermatologists, estheticians, aestheticians (there’s a difference!), trichologists, and doctors who are connected to the science of beauty. So I’ve got to stretch my arms out.

I can tell you this about the story I’m chasing (and what I’m hoping conversations with doctors in Chicago can shed some light on): there are a ton of things we don’t know about synthetic hair, but should. And TBH, this is kind of my point with all of this beauty reporting I’m trying to do 😭. There is awareness that some products marketed toward Black people cause unexplained scalp irritation, which leads to quick fixes. But it doesn’t have to be unexplained. I think’s there a ton of space to ask questions, be curious — and I’m totally up for it. I’ll be posting bite size findings from this conference on IG Stories, so make sure to follow me there 😎📈

And as much of “outside my comfort zone” this may be, I’m just happy to have something I’m proud of working hard towards again as a reporter.

@darian

(please excuse any typos)