Texture Diaries is a space for Black people across industries to reflect on their journeys to self-love, and how accepting their hair, in all its glory, played a pivotal role in this process. Each week, they share their favorite hair rituals, products, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned when it comes to affirming their beauty and owning their unique hair texture.
Model Stacey Louider serves up regular beauty inspiration for her Instagram followers. One week in August saw her with her hair coiled above her head, then braided in a veritable wearable sculpture, then glowing with silver cowrie shells. “I must admit that having to only rely on my own two hands for this self-expression is forcing me to become a hair artist,” she wrote, “and I’m not mad about it.”
Louider, who has appeared on the Savage x Fenty runway, also uses her platform to speak out against fat phobia and flex her makeup skills, applying metallic eyeshadows and experimenting with lined lips. Her artist’s approach to beauty has been honed in recent years. Growing up in Port au Prince, Haiti, Louider didn’t initially connect with her hair as a form of creative self-expression. “Personally I did not really care for my hair that much growing up. I was consuming Western media from a young age, so I thought nice hair meant long, flowing hair,” she says. At 13, she begged her aunt for a perm. “I remember the day so vividly. I was like ‘I’m grown now, I’m old enough now,’” she says with a laugh. “Once I got it, I remember swinging my hair left and right and really feeling myself.”
At 18, she began exploring different styles, cutting bangs for herself and friends before a night out. Louidor, who moved to states at 19, didn’t realize the full possibilities of her own hair until she was 21. “One of my friends talked about wanting to remove her perm around that time. And I remember asking ‘what do you mean? How will you manage it?’” Louidor watched her friend transition out of the perm over time, and saw how much she loved her hair. “I started thinking to myself: I haven’t seen the texture of my own hair in a minute.”
“I didn’t fully know what I was doing yet when I started to transition but I was loving my hair. I started occasionally cutting off the ends as it grew out,” Louidor remembers. One night, a friend came over and chopped all of the permed ends off so she could fully go natural. “But I panicked. I had never had short hair before. People told me I looked like a man and that I had ruined myself,” she recalls. “But as my hair started to grow out, it was during a time where natural hair videos were on YouTube everywhere and that really helped me. I let it grow out.” Around this time, she also began experimenting with her pattern: dying a patch blonde “because why not,” she says. Then dying it purple and blue as it grew out. “Even if people in my community judged me for having colorful hair, I had my internet community,” she says.
Eventually, Louidor liked the idea of having short, colorful hair again after growing it out. “I did not feel completely free, though. I felt like my face was too round and I needed hair to frame it. Or that my face wasn’t symmetrical enough. I had all these hang ups,” she says. She let them go in 2017 when she cut her hair off and dyed it all the colors her heart desired. She kept that look until early 2020, when she decided she wanted braids. “Now I feel like I can grow out my hair and play with it in a way where I don’t feel like I have to hide behind my hair.”
Today, her biggest hair inspirations are all from the past. “I long for a time when I was innocent, like in the 90s,” she says. She always loved Faith Evans growing up, as well as Lil Kim and Missy Elliot, whose look she recreated recently on her Instagram. These days, she’s enjoying keeping it simple when it comes to her hair regimen. “I put some oil in my hair and a durag and call it a day when I’m at home,” she says. Her product line-up includes moisturizers from Mielle, extra virgin olive oil from Trader Joe’s, and Haitian Castor Oil. Otherwise, she’s enjoying exploring clip-ins and wigs.
“Acceptance is what’s helped me love my hair most, though,” she notes. “Young kids are taught early on that something is wrong with our hair. But we have to start with tolerance, and acquiring knowledge. Exploration also has built my confidence. I was afraid of my hair until maybe last year. And now I have so many ideas. It can be so fun. Whether we want it natural or not, we can do whatever we want.”