Excuse Me, Are Your Boobs Real?

Phoenyx Austin, M.D.

Ok ladies, the headline of my post was kinda meant to grab your attention. We’re not really talking about boobs today on CurlyNikki- at least not directly. LOL.

So why did I mention boobs? Well let me give you the boob-backstory:

This weekend, while taking time out to celebrating my birthday (yay!) and pondering life questions like - “Man, why couldn’t I have known what I know now at 20?” - I also had the pleasure of winding up in a highly controversial conversation about hair- more specifically whether it’s “rude to ask a woman if her hair is real.”

I've been asked this question a bit- especially after going natural. And a young lady (also natural), who brought up the topic, said that asking someone if their hair is “real” is the equivalent of “walking up to a random stranger and asking if her boobs were real.” Furthermore, she believed the question is sometimes asked not out of genuine curiosity- but rather to embarrass a woman.

So while I would definitely see why the “are your boobs real” question is worthy of a not so gracious response- especially if the question was asked maliciously- I wonder if many others think the “is that your hair” question is always worthy of a “are you serious right now?” type reaction.

And not everyone thinks the question is rude or worthy of an embarrassed reaction. For instance, a girlfriend of mine said women who do wear weave/wigs/extensions should proudly respond to this type of question with: “yeah, it’s mine- I got the receipt for it!”

So do you think it's rude or tacky to ask a woman if her hair is really hers?

Would you be offended if someone asked you if your hair was yours? Have you ever been asked this question? How did you respond?

Liked this article and want to ask Dr. Phoenyx Austin a question or leave a comment? You can find her on Facebook where she offers advice on natural hair and wellness- and you can also find her on Twitter @Dr_Phoenyx!

Social Networking, Scandal, and Stupidity

By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Ok, so I decided to deviate a bit from the topic of hair today. Why so? Well I want to touch a bit on the topic of social networking, scandal, and stupidity. I’ve been known to drop my two-cents occasionally on relationships and sex- so infidelity and cheating are topics that are very familiar to me.

So yesterday, when the scandal broke about married Rep. Anthony Weiner contacting women via Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, I became involved in an interesting discussion with one of my male friends about men and cheating. The reality is that infidelity is as old as time. But what’s still relatively new to all of us is this epidemic of using social networking sites to cheat. Did you know that Facebook has been linked to 66 percent of divorces in the U.S. according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML)? Yes folks- it’s that rampant.

Cheating is wrong period. But personally, I’m completely perplexed when married men (especially high profile figures like politicians) use social networking sites to cheat. It seems like every other day we’re having politicians or public figures do press conferences to apologize for their naked bathroom cell phone pics or extramarital children. Is there no longer any shame or sensibility in the cheating game?

What are your thoughts on people using social networking to cheat? And what’s going on with these married politicians sending texts of their goodies to women on Craigslist and Facebook? Why get married?- Or here’s an even better question- Why not do things anonymously if you're going to eCheat?


Share your comments with Dr. Phoenyx on Facebook and Twitter.
Got a question for Dr. Phoenyx Austin? Send an email to [email protected] using 'Dr. Phoenyx' as the subject line.

5 Tips for Healthy and Lovely Curls

By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Growing and maintaining healthy, gorgeous natural hair is not hard. It just requires making a commitment to certain basic health and lifestyle choices. When some women ask me about my hair and styling regimen, it's kinda funny because it sometimes feels like they want me to reveal some super duper top secret tip about what I do to keep my curls looking healthy and full. I always tell them the same basic things I’m about to tell you. Growing healthy and lovely curls is actually quite simple. And honestly there’s no big secret or magic pill. You just have to be patient and follow these 5 tips. Remember, if you love your hair, it will love you back.

1. Eat Healthy

Your hair is a reflection of your body’s internal state. So if you want good stuff on the outside, you can’t put junk on inside. We all know that eating healthy is often easier said than done. So it’s ok if you slip up occasionally. But if you want healthy and gorgeous natural hair, then you are going to have to make sure maintain a relatively healthy diet.

2. Take Vitamins

I wrote a post about this last week, so reference it if necessary. Ultimately, healthy hair needs several nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B12, iron, biotin, zinc, etc. And the easiest way to get most of these nutrients is by taking a good multivitamin.

3. Regularly Deep Condition
If you want healthy, gorgeous curls then deep conditioning should become like a religion. In addition to regular conditioning, I also deep condition once every 2 weeks. Daily conditioners can work great, but often they often don’t have the capability to really penetrate the hair shaft and repair damage like deep conditioners do.

4. Moisturize Daily
The curlier the hair pattern, the drier hair will be. This is why women, particularly Black women with natural hair should make sure we moisturize our hair daily. Moisturizing is very important because it combats dryness, which will ultimately prevent breakage and damage.

5. Keep Things Low Maintenance

Keep things simple with low maintenance and protective styling. All hair goes through normal wear and tear. But the less stress you put on hair by manipulating it with things like combing and heat styling, the less likely it will incur damage that will cause things like split ends and breakage.

And that’s all folks!

What are some other healthy habits naturalistas should adopt for obtaining and maintaining beautiful hair?

Want more hair advice from our writer Dr. Phoenyx Austin? You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx has been featured in Essence for her gorgeous natural hair. And she is a physician, writer and media personality who discusses hair, love, and life.

Hair Vitamins 101- Natural Hair Info

By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Most doctors know that a person’s hair, as well as their skin and nails, are a very good indicator of their nutritional state. Healthy hair is a direct reflection of proper nutrition- while deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals will result in stunted hair growth or even hair loss. And the most common vitamin deficiencies that lead to hair loss are deficiencies in B vitamins, especially B6, biotin, inositol and folic acid, as well as deficiencies in the minerals magnesium, sulfur and zinc.

These types of deficiencies are not uncommon because many of us live very busy lives where it’s often hard to eat a balanced diet that is inclusive of all the important vitamins and minerals. That’s why it’s important to take multivitamins and/or supplements.

Many women take supplements for the sole purpose of growing healthy hair, and that’s fine. But you shouldn’t overdo it. When it comes to vitamins and supplements, “more” is not always “better.” And sometimes when you exceed the recommended daily dosage for a vitamin/supplement, the result can be harmful. For example, taking large doses of vitamin A for an extended period of time can actually trigger hair loss!

So when it comes to hair health and vitamins, always take vitamins and supplements as directed. Here’s a list of vitamins and minerals for healthy hair, as well as the daily recommended allowance. Use this list as a reference guide:

  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) - Do not exceed 35mg per day.
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) - Do not exceed manufacturer's dosage.
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) - Do not exceed 100mg per day.
  • Dosage: Do not exceed manufacturer's dosage.
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 3,500mg per day.
Vitamin C
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 2,000mg per day.
Vitamin E
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 1,000mg per day.
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 40mg per day.

Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, writer and media personality who discusses hair, love, and life. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

"The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions. Dr. Phoenyx Austin and CurlyNikki.com expressly disclaim responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this article."

What vitamins are you taking?

Why Black Women Rock!

Why Black Women Rock! My Thoughts That Crazy Psychology Today Article
By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

In case you missed it, the now infamous article titled Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, published yesterday in Psychology Today, set twitter and blogs ablaze. Why? Well if you read what Satoshi Kanazawa (the evolutionary psychologist who wrote the article) had to share about black women, you’d understand why. Basically he hypothesized that our “unattractiveness” could possibly be a function of our greater BMI’s (body mass index), our lower intelligence, our increased load of “genetic mutations,” and even to our higher levels of testosterone. Basically, it was one of the most unscientific and ignorant articles I ever read. And after I finished reading it, all I could think was this: Psychology Today actually published this?! LOL!

I guess, evolutionary psychology, or psychology for that matter must’ve gone through some evolutionary change itself that no longer requires its researchers to think or even publish fact. Because interestingly enough, in all his “hypothesizing” about black women, Mr. Kanazawa decided to completely ignore fact, and substitute it with fiction. Furthermore, he chose to even ignore the profound effect of social conditioning on perceptions of attractiveness. Well I’m not a psychologist. But I’m a medical doctor, have a degree in psychology, and that’s something I learned in undergrad Psych 101.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to recognize that our perceptions of beauty are greatly shaped by what we see, hear, etc… When we sit down to watch television, who do we see? Or rather, I should be asking: Who do we not see? It’s common knowledge that black women are not equitably or variably represented in the media. The general public is constantly bombarded with images of “beautiful” fairer skinned, straighter haired women (i.e. women that do not look like us), it ultimately shouldn’t be too surprising when black women are “perceived” as less attractive.

It’s a classic case of social conditioning. And it’s something that Kanazawa, interestingly enough, wanted to omit. The article has since been removed. But the damage has already been done to Kanazawa and Psychology Today’s reputation. And ultimately this article also displayed that being a psychologist, or any doctor for that matter, does not always require the ability to think intelligently and objectively. It also doesn’t require that one not be ignorant. But even through his very transparent attempt to bash black women, Kanazawa made a great misstep and accidentally pointed out one of the most amazing things about us. And what’s that?

Well, Kanazawa wrote this:
It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others.
I don’t know about you, but when I read this I got the biggest kool-aid grin. I smiled because it speaks to our resilience and strength. No matter what, you are not going to break a real black woman’s self-confidence when it comes to comparisons with others. You can’t convince a real black woman that she doesn’t look good, that she weighs too much, that she’s too “manly,” or that men don’t want her. I takes me back to one of the first poems I memorized by one of my inspirations and one of the most phenomenal black women, Dr. Maya Angelou:

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

So let’s keep holding our heads up high ladies. We’re phenomenal and we know it. Rock on sisters… rock on!

Want to leave a question/comment for our writer Dr. Phoenyx Austin? Well head over to her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter. A phenomenal mix of brains and beauty, Dr. Phoenyx is a writer, media personality and physician who’s all about natural hair, health, and happiness. And she has been featured in Essence and has also appeared on popular shows like The Russ Parr Morning Show and The Warren Ballentine Show.


CurlyNikki Says;

***Check out Psychology Today's follow-up article.***

Weigh in!

“Natural Hair’s Not Meant To Be Defined!”

My Run In With A “Militant Naturalista”
By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

An interesting thing happened to me the other day. I was at a salon, asking a few naturalistas for their individual opinions on a couple hair products. More specifically I was asking them to compare and critique Taliah Waajid’s Protective Mist Bodifier vs. Kinky Curly’s Knot Today- two products that I enjoy using for detangling and curl definition.

That’s when a passerby naturalista stopped by our group. She appeared agitated. And without any warning she interjected with this statement: “Look, our natural hair was not meant to be ‘detangled’ and ‘defined.’ It’s meant to be worn ‘as is.’ And doing things to manipulate it with products is no different than women who have identity issues and get relaxers.”


Now I won’t get into how that conversation ended. LOL. Rather, I’d like to take her statement as an opportunity to open up dialogue on this question: “Do you define your curls, or do your curls define you?”

I’m one of the biggest natural hair lovers around. And yes, I’ll fight a sista or stylist to the death before I let them put a relaxer on my head. But I’m far from what I like to refer to as the “militant naturalista.” What do I mean by the “militant naturalista?” Well she’s the naturalista that feels it’s her mission to aggressively “educate” and even chastise women (both relaxed and natural) about what natural hair “means” as well as how it “should be worn.”

I’ve had a few “interesting” run-ins with these types of naturalistas. In fact, a couple months ago I had an encounter with another militant naturalista who steadfastly declared that “if your hair ain’t natural, you don’t love yourself!” Mind you, this woman was also wearing colored contact lenses and acrylic nails.

While no two naturals are the same, I tend to divide naturalistas into the “live and let live” and the “militant” types. And as much as I love and celebrate natural hair, I could never be a “militant.” Why? Because I love versatility and freedom. I define my curls- my curls don’t define me. And quite frankly, I’m too busy ‘doing me” to chastise other women about how they “do them.”

So if you’re a ‘militant naturalista,” or if you know a “militant naturalista,” just tell her to chill a bit. Every naturalista (and woman for that matter) has the freedom to express her natural beauty the way she deems fit- whether it’s via an untamed afro or defined curls.

Because quite honestly ladies, it’s oftentimes hard enough just learning to love ourselves. So we should all encourage and celebrate each other, regardless of how we wear our natural hair. Don’t you agree?

So what are your thoughts ladies- Do you define your curls, or do your curls define you?
Have you ever encountered a “militant naturalista?” How did you handle them?

Want to leave a question/comment for Dr. Phoenyx Austin? Well head over to her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter. A phenomenal mix of brains and beauty, Dr. Phoenyx is a natural hair & relationship expert, as well as a pop culture enthusiast. She has been featured in Essence and has also appeared on popular shows like The Russ Parr Morning Show and The Warren Ballentine Show.

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