Birmingham’s 2nd Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo treats women to new hair and wellness

Mia Watkins | mwatkins@al.comBy Mia Watkins | 
on March 10, 2013 at 7:57 PM, updated March 10, 2013 at 8:46 PM

Members of Birmingham’s natural hair community gathered Sunday, March 10 at the Cahaba Grand Conference for the 2nd Annual Natural Hair and Health Expo.
The expo, organized through Visions Beauty Distributors’ owners Victor and Jeffery Simmons, kicked off at noon featuring live hair demonstrations, hair product vendors and health and wellness outreach.
Valerie Simmons of Visions Beauty Distributors says the idea for an expo catering to natural African American hair came from a need the company saw in the community.
“The community’s been so phenomenal in wanting to learn more about natural hair,” she said. “We don’t only just provide services, we provide the training as well. We provide the support and the knowledge.”
The knowledge came by way of personalized hair consultations and classes that ran throughout the day ranging in topic from hair styling to makeup application. Attendees could also pre-register to receive free hair appointments onsite.
Mayor William Bell also proclaimed Sunday Natural Hair Day in Birmingham an a proclamation delivered to the expo.  
Deshonica Kerrie, global educator and stylist for product line Design Essentials, defines natural hair as “the coils you live with” or the hair that an individual is born with. She says events such as the expo help women learn how to care for their hair as well as their bodies.
“We find that people want to know what is good hair,” she said. “We find that healthy hair is good hair and it starts from the inside out. Your exercise, your diet, all of that is just on big lifestyle change.”
hair2.jpgNatural Hair & Health Expo model shows off her new up do.(courtesy of Brainchild Associations)     
Tenisha Finch came to the event to learn new things after wearing her hair natural for six months.
“For myself, just starting out, you don’t really know too much about natural hair, salons and all that kind of stuff,” she said. “They had all kinds of products you could buy and different salons. They even did hair in there. It’s a good opportunity for people that aren’t familiar to come in and learn something.”
Vendors such as AIDS AlabamaBody by Vi andMiBella OB-GYN were present to raise awareness regarding health issues that impact African American women.
Dr. Mia Cowan of MiBella says she chose to become an event sponsor because it serves her target demographic.
“This is my population and I always feel like I get to do a lot of teaching and prevention,” she said.
Cowan taught a class on weight loss and women’s health in addition to showcasing her practice’s other services.
“You get to reach so many people and give them valuable information that they likely don’t get from their physicians,” she said.
Birmingham resident Keeshna McKinney, who’s been natural for 13 years, said the event piqued her interest because it’s one of the few in the city.
“It’s good to see naturals locally and nearby,” she said. “You’d just never know that there’s this many naturals in Birmingham.”
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