Natasha Hastings: Championship Beauty
By Na'Tasha Jones
On the track, Natasha Hastings is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and World and U.S. National Champion. But off the track, she’s also a stylish and savvy businesswoman with her own mink lash business; and charity organization, Natasha Hastings Foundation.
Despite a packed schedule of training, entrepreneurship and life(!), she is able to manage it all with grace and eye-catching style. One look at her race photos and it’s apparent that Natasha loves to be creative with hair and beauty looks. She doesn’t let rigorous workouts or competition get in the way of maintaining her hair and beauty regimen.
Natasha’s Hair Routine
“I do weekly washes and my routine varies with my style. If I’m wearing a wig, I’ll have my hair cornrowed underneath and oil my scalp every other day. With sew-ins, I’ll have it in for a bit, and then go in every other week for a wash and style from my stylist,” she says.
As someone whose job it is to sweat, Natasha has to be thoughtful about her hair care.
“Sometimes in these hot months, I rock my natural hair. In Austin, Texas, it’s currently 100 degrees. So on a day like today, I am regretting my sew in,” she says, laughing. “A lot of it is mood, it depends on the season. But it’s also about function; I sweat a lot in my head.”
She also opts for wigs as an extension look, because they are a bit more versatile. “I can take it off and on. That alternative has been pretty resourceful and easier for me,” she says.
One thing that is consistent in her routine is to avoid heat and protect her edges. “Another staple for me is a headband to cover my edges, so I don’t constantly have to put heat on my hair and I definitely try to make sure my roots are all the way dry,” she says.
Her busy lifestyle demands simplicity with her hair choices. “When it comes to my hair, I will almost always go for the least amount of manipulation,” she says.
Natasha’s favorite hair products currently are from the Curls line (she’s an ambassador for the brand). “Even before I worked with Curls, I really loved the Blueberry & Mint Tea Scalp Treatment oil and the Blueberry Bliss Control Jelly I found right before the Rio Olympics and it became my go-to,” she says. “But I really love their new Cashmere & Caviar Collection. I use it to wash my wigs and it’s good on my own hair, both natural and extensions.”
Photos: Michael Tutu for RUNGRL
Expectations in the Public Eye
The “400-meter Diva” says that she has certainly felt her own share of pressure to have a certain look all the time.
“I do recognize that I have the luxury of having working out as my job,” she says. “But sometimes, we [as athletes] just have to accept that throughout the week, I might look a little rough.”
In addition to switching up her hairstyles, Natasha loves makeup and wears it not just on average days, but on race days as well. She refers to her makeup as both a “positive distraction” and her “war paint”--especially her red lipstick.
Hair and makeup are really part of a bigger philosophy of Natasha’s to “do what feels right for you.”
When asked her thoughts on fellow Black female athletes such as Simone Biles and Serena Williams receiving scrutiny for hair or other beauty choices, she had this to say:
“There is pressure to look a certain way, but I feel that it’s a situation where you’re also ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t’. I’ve seen Simone and Serena get criticized for their hair or makeup choices. I’ve also had people think I'm not taking my job seriously because of my hair and makeup choices. So really, you have to decide what’s for you; screw the criticism.”
For Natasha, running and working out are her jobs. “I’m going to work, I’m dressing for the part,” she says. “If I were working a 9-to-5 behind a desk, I would dress for that too. But I’m on TV. I’m dressing for that, and if you look good you feel good.”
This "you look good you feel good” philosophy is one Natasha also carries over to her charity work with the Natasha Hastings Foundation.
“When I started this organization, I was thinking about the younger me, as a girl growing up in sports and going through puberty--the types of things I was looking for at that time," she says.
Among other things, the foundation hosts regular “Teatime with Tasha” events, where she speaks to girls ages 12-18 about her own experiences, her personal body image, going through having a more athletic body and not developing the way the other girls do.
“For example,” she says, “I never had a female coach, so I had to learn how to navigate those sensitive conversations with a male coach. Or, having that convo with teammates, that ‘No, I don’t wash my hair every day,’ because we [as Black women] have to maintain it differently.
Once you learn early to communicate ‘That this is my hair and it’s okay’, it gets easier.”
She also dives into age-appropriate beauty conversations with the young ladies. “I love makeup and my hair, but also emphasizing how you take care of your hair and skin.”
Ultimately, Natasha hopes to support these young women financially. “I wanted to be able to pay it forward and give some girls the same opportunities I was afforded. This sport can get expensive, with flights and hotels for meets, etc.,” she says.
More importantly, though, she hopes to share her knowledge to create and establish relationships with the girls so that they know they are not alone in their journeys as thriving, Black, female athletes.
The Natasha Hastings Foundation is hosting the Tea Time Inaugural Gala on Wednesday, September 26, in New York City to raise funds to help send girls to high school nationals. For more information and tickets to this event, visit: https://www.nhfcares.org/tea-time-gala.
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