Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Twists Remix

So basically, what I do is braid sections of my twisted hair to make it wavy. I like the way it looks, it gives the twists an extra "umph" in my opinion. I moisturized my hair with aloe vera gel, Oyin Whipped Pudding and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to seal.



The combination of products I used were quite moisturizing by the way. I'm heading to the mountains upstate tomorrow so hopefully the hair will be able to stand the random conditions for the weekend. Depending on how they hold up will depend if I leave them in for the 8-12 days I had planned.

I'll be back to report and have fun with SP and her Majesty for a few days.  Peace!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What has her Majesty been up to?

So as everyone can see i haven't really been posting much due to a bad mosquito allergy = / 
Gross right?
So i wasn't able to do much to my hair for 2 weeks besides wash n go, which paid off in the end for me because once i was able to start really touching and doing my hair again, i realized it had grown.
My roots are getting bigger, my hair is getting thicker, and although i haven't stuck to my regimen in quite a while (which i plan to get back to today!), my majesty has really been flourishing and i am so proud of her.
I am back to regular posting and i think i have some fun stuff in store = )

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hair For the Week: Double Strand Twists

I haven't done this in months! I literally just finished this set. I love twists because of how versatile they are and how I don't have to touch my hair for how ever long I leave them in (between 1.5-2 weeks)
*I did my wash routine on Fri, but then co-washed my hair early Sunday morning
*Put my hair in two braids to dry
*sectioned my hair into four, worked from the back to the front
*did not use a comb and did not really part. I really just used my fingers to gently detangle and part
*Moisturized each section with aloe vera gel and Oyin Whipped Pudding (which is a shea butter mix)
*I braid the roots and then twist the rest of the hair
*Sealed twists with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

I actually don't leave my twists like this because I like them to be curly. I'll post how I actually wear them later.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Natural Shopper

So yesterday I was minding my own businesses buying groceries at ShopRite when I somehow managed to wonder into the hair section (gee wonder how that happened lol). I was really excited to see that my two staple conditioners were on sale: RenPure Organics My Hair is Parched for $2.99 and Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Family Size at $1.79! Both of these items I had purchased before from CVS retailed at $7.99 and around $2.79 respectively and not including tax. And of course I was even happier to find out that regularly, RenPure is $5.99 at ShopRite. For both my conditioners, I spent $5.20! *does the happy natural dance*

Of course, I started thinking about fellow natural hair enthusiasts who love buying their products but also love having money for other important things. And as a natural who became a hair enthusiast during my last two years in college (and did not live at home, had an apartment, and recieved no money from the parentals) I wanted to share some tips that I used first for saving money while grocery shopping (which sounds funny I know) that I later applied to hair shopping:

*Shop for the best deal: coupons, circulars, online orders. Products for your hair are everywhere including in grocery stores so you're really not confined. There's always a deal on a product somewhere, you just have to look. And when there's a sale for your staple product(s) be sure to stock up!

*Ingredients check: if you know your hair well enough to know what it likes, then shopping for new products is a lot easier. Need a conditioner with good slip? Then make sure that something like Behentrimonium methosulfate is in the first 5 ingredients. Don't want any sulfates in your shampoo? Well that will narrow down your choices...

*Sample: and if  you aren't sure about what ingredients work for you, sample the product somehow. Ask a friend if they have some, ask the store for some samples (I know Aveda gives out samples, Ricky's has products you can try in the store) participate in online giveaways (hint hint, we have one coming soon!) and you can sometimes call the manufacturer and request samples from there. I especially like to sample if the product is expensive and I'm not completely won over but am curious.

*Research Before You Try: Everyone's hair is different so what works for Natural A may not work for Natural B, but maybe it will for Natural C. Also, please follow the directions as close as possible the first time you try a product. Learning how to use it first allows for experimentation later, especially if you don't know your hair that well. I cannot tell you how many products I am thinking of revisiting that I dismissed before simply because I didn't know how to use it.

*Jumping on Bandwagons: will make you broke, simply put lol. It's cool to try a product that another natural reccommends (I mean we ♥ product reviews) but it goes back to researching before hand. Someone says they love castor oil and so they say that mixing it in their conditioner is wonderous! Don't run out and buy castor oil without even knowing what it is. There are too many resources for us out here, there's no excuse!

*Always Have An Alternative: I mean this specifically when at times you cannot afford the usual product. There's always, I repeat, always an (cheaper?) alternative. For instance, I love my Kinky Curly Knot Today, but costing between 9-13 bucks doesn't always help my wallet. That's why I alternate with Sauve Naturals because it's cheaper and it works about the same for me. And there's always stuff from the kitchen that is the same, if not better, than commercial hair products and it turns out cheaper (I have personally mixed all sorts of things and I promise to share concoctions in future posts)

I could go on and site how each of these tips helps with grocery shopping, but that would make this post longer. I will give a small example. I'm trying to decide what to cook for a dinner party I'm hosting and I want it to be something really popular. Someone tells me I can't go wrong by cooking calimari. As it turns out, I loath the thought of eating squid and think omg what if there are leftovers? What am I going to do with them? Throw them out? I hate wasting food. I know it would be popular but I have an alternative that I wouldn't mind eating and having left overs from.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hair Growth, Layers, and Trimming

As a professional hairstylist, there are a few things i have heard, read, and that  people have asked me that i would like to hopefully clear up and better explain for some. If i have forgotten anything or anyone has questions they need answered, i will be back to update this post with any further information.
Now, lets begin!


~ Hair grows approximately a 1/4 of an inch to a 1/2 of an inch per month
(Remember, these are average hair growth rates and hair growth will vary from person to person, with some people growing faster or slower than these rates)

~ Hair is not Symmetrical.
 It is completely normal, and very common, for our hair to grow faster and fuller on one side. As we are not perfectly symmetrical from our left side to our right of our bodies, sometimes with one hand or foot being a little bigger, same goes for our hair.

~ Hair does not grow in layers.
I wanted to clear this up because i see a lot of people, especially naturals saying that their hair grows in layers and this is not true. I will do my best to explain....

If you shaved your head bald and and let all of your hair grow out again, each strand of hair should be the same length ( give or take some length depending on the way your hair grows). 
With each hair being the same length, it will seem as though your hair grows in layers with the hair in the nape area reaching your shoulders first, while the hair in the front is growing to the chin, the hair on the sides past the ears and so and so forth. 
Being that there are higher and lower points on the head, these same length strands will hang down, in a layered effect.


For some reason, a lot of people seem to be confused as to when to trim, why to trim, how much to trim and who should trim. I've heard everything from some people thinking they need to trim every month or 6 to 8 weeks, to some who believe they don't need to trim because they are natural.
A lot of people tend to forget that a lot of rules that pertain to hair are generalities because most people do not follow the same hair regimen, seeing as how our hair is all different.
Think of the same when it comes to trimming.
Here it goes...

Trimming is truly only needed as necessary.

Reasons why to trim:

  • To remove split/stringy/see through ends.
  • To remove damaged hair due to chemical processes such as color, relaxers, perms, texturizers, Brazilian Keratin Treatments, Japanese straightening treatments, and bleaching processes (to name a few).
  • Keep ends freshly trimmed.
Trimming every month to me seems excessive unless you are slowly trimming away hair that is damaged in some sort of way or are in some sort of transition, or your hair grows fast and you are trying to maintain a certain length. 
Otherwise, if your hair is healthy there is no reason to need to trim every month. 

Trimming every 6 to 8 weeks would be a good regimen for someone who is trying to maintain healthy ends and has chemically treated hair. Because chemically treated hair has been weakened and is more susceptible to damage, it will more than likely need to be trimmed at a faster rate than hair that is natural, this goes for all hair types. 

Now of course if someone has really strong hair (let's say Chinese hair for example) and they have a chemical process done, they may not need to have their hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks because their strands are really strong.

Just imagine, lets say hypothetically your hair grows 1/2 inch per month, thats 6 inches a year. What if you kept your ends in such a good condition that you'd never have to trim them. Imagine how long your hair would be!
Get it? lol.

NATURALS .Yes you need to trim too. 
I have found that many naturals have a lot of split ends and it can be the reason why their hair is feeling coarser than usual and may be hard to comb through. It can also play a big role in the way your hair curls up if your ends are split and dry. Naturals who wear a fro especially should want to trim because their ends are constantly being exposed to damage from the elements of styling and everyday life. Also, women who get knots in their hair should trim these knots away if they can't be detangled, instead of ripping through them.

I hope i did a good job of explaining =)
If there are any questions or anything is unclear, please feel free to ask and i would love to see what your comments are.
SP = )

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Early Memories of Natural Hair: Extensions

Relaxers (or perms as I knew them growing up) was not a normal thing in my family. As I may have mentioned before, women in my family wore their hair natural but not necessarily loose in their own hair. After being part of the natural hair community for about a year and some months now, I've come to understand that getting a relaxer was like a right of passage for young girls in their pre-teens and teens. In my family, you came of age by getting your hair done with extensions.

My cousins and my mother all rocked all kinds of braided styles. Just think of any black celebrity of the 90s who wore braids and that's how the women in my family wore their hair. They even added yarn to their hair! My younger cousin and I pleaded to have our hair done like that because it seemed grown up. My mother said that she would do it for us when we turned 12. We were excited for a little while, counting down the months and years to get our hair done. But when the time came both of us had lost interest; I had become a bit of a tomboy and disliked the process of getting my hair done. And I became fully aware that it took a long time to add extensions. So I buried the idea.

To this day, I never got extensions honestly because of the time. I do not want to spend hours getting my hair done lol. Which is another reason I probably thought that having natural hair was limiting, unruly, and annoying because of all the time it seemed I had to invest in it, while other people with "nice hair" could shake and go and didn't seem to slave away for hours doing hair.

What were some of your early hair memories? Feel free to share!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Let's Discuss My Hair Some More...

I don't know what to call my mane, but do know that she is full of wavy springs and coils. As SP said, I am not a fan of hair-typing using the popular Andre Walker system for a number of reasons, one of them being it's too limiting. So no, I won't be able to tell you what my type is in that sense. I can say that although I have a lot of hair, I do not have thick hair nor are my strands fine (ah, medium seems to be the word.) My texture isn't coarse either...

I tried a wash-n-go today, mostly because I was playing in my hair. So I co-washed with Sauve Naturals Tropical Coconut, used Knot Today as a leave-in, then added Kinky Curly Custard. I noticed a lot about my curl pattern today....the front has loose waves, the middle is very coily, and the back has slightly larger curls. interesting....

Wet with no product

Dry...end of the day with product

As a side note, I will probably do the wash-n-go again this way. I guess the right product and technique is key? My hair wasn't dry and tangled at the end of the day which I very much appreciated.

Seriously, I am taking proposals as to what I should name my hair. My two favorites are already taken (Majesty from SP and then Poofy from another natural hair blogger). So feel free to suggest.

On Trimming

Okay trim or not to trim? I hear some of ya'll don't think it's necessary and some of ya'll do. Some say you don't do it because you don't wear your hair straight. Others say you do because you want to keep the hair's shape...

I personally used to have my hair trimmed (or trimmed my own hair) because I had some heat damage and crazy split ends. So when I ran my hands through my curls I heard snap, crackle, pop. My last drastic trim was last November or December, because I really was sick and tired of my hair being tangly and fragile. I neglected my ends, which are the oldest part of the hair and lost nearly two inches but they were the best two inches I ever lost. My hair became smoother and easier to detangle.

I realize that my ends need dusting every three months or so. I get these damn single-strand knots ("fairy knots") so when ever I am arbitrarily touching my loose hair and feel or see a knot, I reach for my trimming scissors and snip them off. I know that I still have some splits because a the last couple of months of my college semester was so terrible stressful and I ignored my hair. Trimming, at this point is necessary for me because I do like the option of wearing my hair straight. Although I have no desire to do so right now (probably won't till November-December) I still need to be able to run my hand through my hair without snapping and I'm still learning to manage my ends.

So what's the verdict for you guys? To trim or not?

Friday, July 16, 2010

TWA Wash n Go Curly Fro

So today i wanted the afro look without the actual afro so i went with the wash-n-go curly fro!
Wearing an afro can be very drying to my ends so i try not to wear them too often, even though i have now grown to love mine. 
I decided i wanted my wash n go to be a little larger than usual, so i co-washed in the shower with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, rinsed and shook my hair out to remove excess water and make my curls stand up. I then added equal amounts of these guys:
Let air dry for a bit, then used a pik to LIFT the roots only! do not comb through to the end of the hair if you want to leave your curls in tact at the ends. You can lift and shape your hair the way you would like it. Also, i did this while my hair was still damp. I know it will shrink so i will use the pik to lift it again once it dries.

My Summer Routine

There's a debate as to whether one requires a regular routine to maintain the health of their curls. I know some naturals who are hardcore followers of their routine and their hair has flourished. I know others who do whatever they do and their hair flourished. To each it's own I guess. I personally feel like finding a way to gently care for your hair, with regular moisture and less manipulation helps the hair flourish. However you can accomplish that, go for it.

And so for the last month, I've been following a routine that has been serving my hair quite well.  So far, I do the following:

* Wash my hair every 5-7 days in sections
*Pre-poo every wash day
*Deep condition every wash day for 30min-1hr, cold water rinse
*co-wash mid-week if hair needs moisture boost
*Moisturize 2x a day (morning and night) with water based moisturizer, seal in moisture with butter and oil
*Protective style most of the week to protect ends (two-strand twists, buns), wear my hair out for 2 days or less

Pre-poo: Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Shampoo: Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo
Conditioner(s): Sauve Naturals Tropical Coconut, Kinky Curly Knot Today
Deep Conditioner: Renpure Organics My Hair Is Parched
Stylers/leave in (depending on style): Oyin Shine and Define, Oyin Whipped Butter, Oyin Frank Juice, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Conditioning Creme, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Wide Tooth Comb
Denman Brush
Hooded Dryer (occassionally)

This routine is actually very easy to follow for me because it's not high maintance and actually quite inexpensive. The most expensive thing is probably the Kinky Curly Products, but they last me a while so I think that somehow cancels out and I am heavy handed with products like conditioners. This is the first summer I know my hair well enough to determine what it likes and the first summer that I actually have a workable routine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Majesty and her Textures Galore and Opinions on "Hair Typing"

When i decided to go natural for this last time, i had no idea what i was getting myself into in terms of textures. I started seeing this beautiful wavy pattern on top but my sides were always rough and i didn't appreciate it. I thought it was something i was doing wrong, that my sides were just dry and not as soft and wavy as the hair on top.                                                                        Then while going through different hair forums and blogs, i realized that i was not the only person with this "problem." I never took the time to realize how many people also had multiple hair textures, and from there, i started trying to understand and embrace each different hair texture for what it is. 
Curly film chick and i are not really into hair typing because we feel it boxes our hair into a small category. Our hair goes from such a wide range of straight hair,curl and wave patterns, and textures that it seems hair typing, especially with its limited categories is a bit inadequate.  I tried finding a chart so i could find an example but they all seemed a bit absurd to me, especially being that the person who made the chart isn't even a credible source and most of the girls in the photos have a twist out/set or thermal styling (using any hot tools to style the hair). It isn't even their real curl or the afros are wigs and weaves, why would i want to go off of that?                    That being said, I do sometimes try to figure out what my hair types would be if i were using the hair typing method just to learn a few things when i see people with similar hair textures to mine. Now that i am growing my hair out, i am wondering how my textures will hang and i am especially anxious to see how my hair will hang as it gets longer.
These photos are from a few days after i retired the relaxed ends on March 14th, and the photos below are from yesterday after a co-wash. As you can see i basically have a mohawk of looser curls with tighter curls going down the sides of the edges. My loosest curls are at my nape and crown, these are mostly waves actually. My hair has also thickened out a lot since starting to really care for it, especially since i stopped combing it and just started finger detangling during co-washes. Now I only comb when i have an afro and use a pik. Some quick length checks, why not? =D


Remember on wash day I expressed my dissapointment with the way my curlformers came out? Well I decided to take advantage of my hair being stretched out and braided the back half of my hair down like so...

Then took them out and got this...

and styled it like this...

This was on my day off though. For work this week I have been bunning my hair which is a bit more boring but hides my fragile ends and isn't much manipulation.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Renpure Organics My Hair Is Parched Moisturizing Conditioner

(damn, a mouthful...but I digress...)

Product Description: This formula contains Pomegranate Juice and Pomegranate Extract which helps restore normal moisture levels. It also contains Silk Protein which is used to repair damage and Olive Leaf Extracts which are used to smooth and repair split ends.

My Experience: I figure I should give this product a formal review, considering I've been asked about it. So yeah I really, really like this conditoner. I like the bottle it comes in and love the way it makes my hair feel. It has excellent slip for detangling and it's very moisturizing. I use this for mid-week co-washing when I feel like my hair needs a boosy of moisture. Lately, I have been using it as a deep conditioner and it works even more amazing. Best of all, it's found in drugstores so easy access! Downsides? It smells like some sort of dish washing liquid. although it's a faint smell so it's do-able. And the price might be a little problematic, it came out to about 7 bucks and it's not a huge bottle, but I believe it's worth it. And since I've been using it mostly as a deep conditioner instead of using it to rinse-out/co-wash, the bottle has lasted me a while.  (I don't know about it's claims of mending split ends because as far as I know, you can only temporary smoothen them out but the only way to get rid of split ends it to cut them out). But if your hair is need of moisture and you want great slip, I would definitely encourage you to give this a try. I'm even inspired to try the rest of their line, including their shampoos.

Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol (Canola Oil), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Canola Oil), Zingiber Officinale Root Extract (Ginger), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Vp, Dmapa Acrylates Copolymer, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower), Glyceryl Stearate (Palm Oil), Peg-100 Stearate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance