Although most people put down their coloring books when they grow up and set aside childish things, adult coloring books are topping best-seller lists, in part because psychologists say they promote mental health and relaxation.
Andrea Pippins is an illustrator, professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and author of the self-empowerment blog FlyGirls. Her new book, “I Love My Hair: A Coloring Book of Braids, Coils, and Doodle Dos,” is both a colorful exploration and celebration of natural hair. The coloring book features 84 pages of “delicately inked designs intended to celebrate women’s diversity and beauty by celebrating their dos,” and focuses on everything from Marie Antoinette-style poufs to Indian bridal braids and hijabs.
In recent years, members of the natural hair movement have built a growing online community meant to support women who feel they’ve been forgotten by the beauty world. In Texas this November, an 11-year-old girl was kicked off her competitive cheerleading squad because she refused to straighten her naturally curly hair, even though she told her coaches over-straightening would damage her roots.
To those unfamiliar with the movement, hair might seem like an odd thing to build a movement around, but many women know it can be a powerful way to express yourself and your culture. In one survey of 3,000 women, 38% said they changed their hair style or color to feel more confident. The natural hair movement wants to promote acceptance of natural hair types and diverse expressions of female beauty.
One Southern California writer, Hope Wabuke, says she remembers walking into stores and not finding any cosmetics that could be used on dark skin and natural hair.
“The beauty consultants tried to style my older sister’s little Afro and then gave up, saying it was impossible. They laughed at her. The other home ec students laughed at her. My sister sat in the corner and cried, her tears blurring the makeup, while the rest of the class finished receiving their makeovers,” Wabuke wrote in an essay titled, “So Ugly With Your Kinky Hair: the Terror of the Flat Iron.”
Pippin’s new natural hair adult coloring book was published on November 10 and costs $11.99.