Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reader Comment

This comment came from an anonymous transitioner on an old post about products I used a few months ago. 

Thank you for sharing your product lineup. I have been transitioning for a year this month and I am planning to do the big chop before the new semester begins mid-January so I have been researching a lotttt of natural hair products. Aside from the Giovanni are there any other shampoos that you like or recommend? I have heard and read that the Oyin shampoo bar is really good and I noticed that you have a few Oyin products in your arsenal, any thoughts? Also, have you tried the Giovanni leave-in? I know some naturals use it in lieu of the KCKT. Any thoughts? Thanks. I really appreciate your opinion and Happy Holidays!

First off, congrats on making a decision to go natural! As far as shampoos, I have posted that my new favorites are Jessicurl Cleansing Cream and Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream. SPStyles was just telling me yesterday about how she likes YES to Carrots Nourishing Shampoo (which she was kind enough to give me some of to try). It's considerably less expensive and more attainable to get--you can get it from Duane Reade so maybe you want to try that. I've also used Organix shampoos at one point which seemed fine--and again less than $10 and can get at a drugstore. I haven't tried Oyin shampoo bars, I'm not sure why really other than I haven't gotten around to it but I probably will one day. As far as Giovanni products, other than the Tea Tree Shampoo, I haven't had the chance. To be honest, their conditioners are not on my list of "must tries" for me. SP does use one of the conditioners...

Anyways Anonymous, hope this was helpful and feel free to let us know when you do your BC! You can email us at if you have any other questions/comments and that goes for all of our audience.

Happy New Years!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Best Curlformer Set Thus Far

I just wanted to share the results to a recent curlformer set I did. This was right after I used the Bentonite Clay. I used my usual Kinky Curly Knot Today as a leave-in, and IC Fantasia gel. I let it air dry and then took them out a few hours later...

As I mentioned in my regimen post, I use curlformers to stretch my hair out. I may rock them for a day but then I either twist or bun. Not only did I like the way this looked, but I really liked how my hair felt. This set was so soft and moveable and felt like there was nothing in my hair and I really think that had something to do with the bentonite clay. I was tempted to really just separate the curls some more and leave my hair like this, but my biggest problem is that I don't know how to really make them last. I been trying different methods like a high pony tail, but the curls really just "droop" after that. And a bonnet just crushes them. Oh well, my hair is twisted up now anyway.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Results: Bentonite Clay

First things first, hope everyone had a good holiday. I'm not really a holiday person and I've been sick but nonetheless I was able to relax.

Anyway so this bentonite clay. I got a plastic bowl and wooden spoon (you're not supposed to use metal at all) and dumped about half a cup of the clay into the bowl. I added water until it got to a "pancake batter" consistency although I honestly don't know how well I did that. I then added some organic honey and mix well.

I applied it to the four sections I made in my hair without gloves. It feels just like clay which I used to work  with a lot when I was into taking art classes so the feel of it wasn't foreign to me. It was quick and easy to apply.

I left it in my hair for 20 minutes - the time recommended - with a plastic bag over my head so that it wouldn't dry out. Then I rinsed out in the shower and it was super easy to do so. My hair felt like it was really, really clean, not stripped but just 'naked' and I like that. Before I even decided to follow up with conditioner (Renpure Organics is all that I had on hand) I took a look at my curls and saw how they had clumped beautifully. Rinsing out the conditioner had me even more pleased...

Now that my friends, is definition! I stretched my hair using curl formers and when I took those suckers out and touched my dry hair, it was amazingly soft, the kind of softness I been semi-struggling with this winter because of the bitter cold. And my hair was bouncy and moved around. So because of the ease of applying as well as the results and inexpensive on my wallet, I think I will be incorporating this into my regimen. I'm thinking every two weeks should be good - alternating my use of shampoos.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Trying: Bentonite Clay

Recent Purchase from Whole Foods

I posed a question on the Curlynikki forum the other day about using henna for all it's benefits other than dye release. Now that my hair is hi-lighted, I've been a little manic about preserving my color, at least for now because I don't want any sort of red in my hair. I proposed to use just water in my mix instead of green tea (or anything acidic that would release the color). Some suggested using cassia and amla and even Bentonite clay. After doing a quick search I thought that the clay would be a good idea. I vaguely remember reading about it when I first started browsing natural hair blogs and I went right back to these blogs. I found some information that's really appealing to me, as told by the website Anita Grant it removes build up from the scalp and hair leaving it clean, like a clarifier. It's also great for skin which is good news because I have eczema.

What I'm thinking about now is in what ways I can mix it for my hair. There are various recipes floating around from other naturals, and I'm thinking of this one from Honey Brown Sugar because she used honey and I love adding honey to my hair (that's what both SP and I use in our henna mixes.) I'm going to do a treatment today so I'll update everyone in a couple of days on the results. Till then, Happy Holidays and be safe!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Creating a Regimen for your Growing TWA

Good Morning YAIS beauties and TWA growers!
When i originally started my natural journey back in March of this year, i had no idea how much i would learn about my hair. I've never been one of those girls who was good at sticking to a regimen, so i never even tried. I became a product junkie, buying every good product i researched, and just did my hair from day to day. Through much trial and error (and wasted time, hair and money), i learned that my hair taught me what it needed, wanted, and very much created its own regimen!
What has my hair told me it likes?
  • Shampoo once a week, co-wash at least twice a week and more frequently in the summer. 
  • Loves Henna!!! So now I Henna once a month
  • Deep condition - Basically whenever i wash i DC, so i never NEED to, i just do.
  • Finger detangle! - My hair has taught me if i keep a comb away, my hair will stay! =D I finger detangle my hair wet with lots of conditioner. Even with dry detangling i use my fingers so i can feel the tangles and separate them, instead of ripping through them. I use a comb sometimes, but very seldom. 
  • Shea butter - My hair loves Shea butter, especially when it is in an Afro or going to be twisted, it keeps my hair highly moisturized, soft, and sets twist-outs beautifully.
  • Trim away Single Strand knots - I learned that i only get SSK's on my tighter, coarser textures, so i check them often for SSK's and snip! Snip! SNIP!
  • Protective Styling -My hair loves to be twisted! Flat twists are my fave right now until my hair grows a little more and i can wear more 2 strand twist styles.
  • Where's my Satin bonnet?! - Dont forget to protect your hair as you sleep, or even under hats.
I guess that's the reggie my hair created for itself in a nutshell!

Important Information for Growing your TWA
When growing out your TWA, you will need a low manipulation, high care regimen in order to grow your hair to its fullest potential. Pay attention to what you use and how your hair responds to it, this will help you to learn what your hair likes and what kinds of products it like as well. Remember that the ends are the oldest parts of your hair, so pay special attention to keeping your ends healthy, that way you retain all or most of your length; Breakage and needing to trim often will greatly slow your growing process. Make sure your hair stays moisturized and if you are protective styling, make sure it is a style that wont cause any damage to your hair/hairline.
If you are a new natural, take some time to play with your hair and learn what it likes and needs, as all hair is different. Start with something easy like conditioner and learn how to make ur curls pop!
 Don't expect something that works for everyone to work for you, it may not, but you will find something that will :) Remember that just because your hair is short now, this little TWA will be your ends once your hair grows out so don't go crazy dying, frying or not taking care of your hair just because it's a TWA, trust me, you'll pay for it later (obviously speaking from experience =x).

So what has your little TWA taught you? Good luck listening to it and creating your own TWA reggie!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Trimming Natural Hair

So Lovely followers of YAIS, i know i have been talking for 2 months already about the Video i made of me cutting my own hair (Thanks to Curly Film Chick for help with the editing) but i finally got it done and put up on YouTube so here it goes, Our First Vid!!! This is a first of many to come so enjoy and if you have any questions, comments or anything, please feel free to ask!

For more information on hair trimming and hair growth, read Hair Growth, Layers, And Trimming

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Little Natural Hair Education

 I saw these paintings about a month ago hanging in the Ikea in Brooklyn and thought they were adorable! I loved how the little black girl associated having her mom do her hair in corn rows with love <3

So i've been babysitting two little caucasian girls in my building for about the past 2 months and hair has definitely been a major topic with them. They are 6 and 9 years old and wise beyond their years. I knew they would want to touch my hair because that is just how little kids are, so i was ready from the jump to explain the differences of hair to them.

Upon learning that they aren't allowed to watch much TV, french braids/cornrows is now a big part of our day because i'll play salon with them and do whatever to their hair they'd like. The 6 year old, as spunky and honest as can be, decided she wanted to touch my hair, to which she replied "Is there cream in your hair?" Lol. At the time i was on 2nd day hair with KCCC so I told her that i did have cream in my hair and explained to her that different kinds of hair need different things, and my hair likes cream to keep it soft and moisturized, to which she replied "It's not soft." in a very matter of fact kind of way. The way she said it definitely cracked me up. My rebuttal, "It is soft, just different."

Their father has curly hair so although the 6 year old has straight hair like her mom, her sister's hair is wavy and puffy. I explained to her that all different types of people have different hair and that that's a great thing, just like her mommy and daddy have different hair, and her sister's hair is different from hers. I saw the light bulb go off in her head so i knew she understood.

After not seeing them for a few weeks, i decided to blow my hair out into an afro around the time i was going to babysit them again. When they saw me again, their friend told me my hair grew really fast and they all agreed. I told them i was gonna grow my hair really long and then i could wear a huge afro and they all looked amazed, and at the same time confused, lol. Now they love my afro and wanna play in it and touch it and feel how soft and puffy it is, the 9 year old even telling me that i should make a pillow out of my hair if i ever cut it. Im excited for my hair to grow and even more interested in their reactions and being able to educate two young caucasian kids about curly hair.... wait until i finally straighten it.. what will they think then?!

New Length Checks, Goals and understanding Growth

 Since i had not posted anything in a while, i guess you could consider these back-posts... 

So i took these length checks on December 9th, the day after i Henna'ed my hair. Being that i chopped my hair on October 16th, i am going to start doing length checks every other month on the 16th to monitor my growth, as i would like to see how much growth i get every 2 months. At the rate my hair is growing i would assume i do get an inch a month, or at least some where close to it, although i do notice that my tighter, finer, coarser textures seem to grow a little bit slower. 

Even though these pics are from the 9th they are my December pics so expect another set of length check pics sometime around February 16th, hopefully i will gain another inch!!!

In terms of hair goals, I of course had to rearrange my hair goals since the chop but my hair is really flourishing for the first time and i see no reason why it won't grow to the lengths of my dreams, lol.   
That being said, in all of the growing i did last year, without trimming i would have definitely been at shoulder length at least by now, so i know i can accomplish that in another year. I am aiming for Full Neck Length by my birthday, June 15th and i have no intentions on trimming before May, besides                     
snipping away at any SSK's, which i have been able to keep to a minimum with monthly Henna'ing and low manipulation styles. I used to love wearing my natural hair pulled back into a banana clip so that will be my birthday goal :)

Afro @ the Party Experience

So i went out on Friday night with my girls to The Skinny Bar down on Orchard St. in SoHo for a friend's birthday party and my afro became the talk of the night. When I arrived at the bar, a guy working the door told me he loved my fro! I saw many stares from girls, some good, others questioning it, and for some reason, the guys felt they could just dip their hands in it. So this one guy is trying to talk to me all night, telling me how soft my hair is and that it smells so good, putting his face in and taking deep breaths....apparently he was really attracted to my hair and i wouldn't be surprised if some of those stares from the ladies were stares of jealousy, as there were many-a-tattered weave and broken off relaxed haired girls in there.

Now of course i was flattered but i warned him not to touch a girl's hair without asking, as I have noticed since being natural this time around, that people, especially men feel like they have a right to touch just because it's natural. I  said to him "Well if a girl had relaxed hair im sure you wouldn't just touch it, and if you did you would definitely expect her to be upset," to which he agreed and understood, but went on to explain that he just had to... he was lucky he's cute, lol.

The week before that i went to a Christmas party at a friend's house and again, AFRO DIPPERS! lol
One of my good friends from cosmetology school always throws the best little get togethers,  and i'm usually the tolken black person, lol.... which i have no problem with of course but you can imagine why my afro would be a big deal. Asian and white hands in  my fro, loving the softness and puffiness.... the descriptive words have to be the funniest of all but i love it.
I feel like my afro will definitely be my style of choice for New Years since it appears to be the ideal party hair for me. Its growing so the bigger the better!!!

What Have You Learned About Your Hair This Past Year?

I thought being natural my whole life would make me an expert on my own hair. But this past year alone, I've learned so much about my hair and sometimes throw my hands up at the sky yelling, why didn't I do this before?! When I first started embracing my hair a little over a year-and-a-half ago I jumped on bandwagons, tried products without researching and used methods and techniques on my hair that didn't work. I thought that as naturals we all had to do the same thing!

That's okay though, those days are gone. 2010 was good to my hair, even as I was trying to figure things out about it. The main things I've learned are:

- My hair needs to be cleansed with shampoo every 5-7 days, no matter the season. As long as I use moisturizing shampoos like Jessicurl's Cleansing Cream or Curls Curlicious Cleansing Cream my hair does just fine.
- Since using more organic/"natural" products, my "naked" hair feels much silkier and smoother. I do use "drugstore" products like IC Fantasia gel but mostly sticking to organic products has made my hair "feel" better
- My hair isn't much of a fan of castor oil. It loves coconut oil and jojoba oil.
- I cannot use shea butter by itself, it has to be mixed like Oyin's Whipped Pudding.
- I don't really *need* to DC after a henna treatment. I do anyway because it can't hurt, but my hair doesn't really dry out.
- Less is always best! All I really need to use is a leave-in conditioner, a styling product and seal with an oil no matter how I'm doing my hair. That's it!

I've retained a lot of length just from the summer until now simply because I have realized these things about my hair. I don't remember my hair (and scalp!) ever looking and feeling this strong and healthy.

What have you learned about your natural hair in 2010?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Little Bit of This and That

Last week I decided to blow my hair out. I pre-treated, washed, conditioned and all that, then I let my hair air dry. After that, I got my denman brush, my IC Fantasia Heat Protectant and blow dried my hair on low and on the warm setting. I got my big hair...

I actually just wore buns for the first part of the week. Then on Wednesday night I decided to do a curl former set because on Thursday and Friday I had to partake in holiday shennanigans. I used Jane Carter's Wrap and Roll (I've mentioned before I'm not a total fan of it, but I need to get rid of it!) and slept in my curl formers which isn't as uncomfortable as magnetic rollers in my opinion...

fresh out the pack
2nd day hair

I still pulled my hair back because it's still windy around these parts. I'm still trying to find a way to preserve curlformer sets. I did do a high ponytail (pineapple if you will) mostly because I was lazy and it seemed fine. I had soft waves and curls and I like the look. I'm actually going to do this again this weekend and continue this through the new year paying close attention to how my hair deals with this.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Long time no...

I know... I know... i've been gone for quite some time so we definitely have a lot of catching up to do!
Where do i start?

Well for 1 I henna'ed my hair again last Wednesday and I must say, my hair really loves it! This time i left in on for 4 hours and got a little reddish tint too. (Being silly with the Henna there :p

My curls are soft, bouncy, and i have noticeable growth now. My curls are starting to hang once again and i must say, this is the healthiest my hair has ever been, probably in it's life (or my life, lol). My edges are coming in nicely, slowly but surely,  but i have noticed major improvement.

Since cutting my hair again i see the overall difference in how my completely natural hair is healthier, thicker, shinier, silkier, and more moisturized as opposed to my dyed natural hair which was dryer, getting split ends at a ridiculous rate, and had caused some curl loosening/relaxing. My hair seems to be growing right some where close to half an inch, if not that, a month so i am trying my best to keep it in the healthiest state possible. That being said... i guess i sorta have a regimen.. lol (I'm laughing to myself because i'm definitely not the kind of girl who sticks to a regimen) Okay. So, low manipulation styles are the way to go for me for the rest of the winter to i am going to stick to twists, flat twists, and twists-outs on a weekly basis, Co-wash twice a week, shampoo once a week, Henna on a monthly basis, and yeah... that's pretty much my regimen. (See what i mean? lol) I have a lot more to share so i'll be back soon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream

Product Description: Use Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream to wash your hair gently without leaving it stripped and straw-like. The super moisturizing formula will make your hair soft, silky and wonderfully clean. Safe for color treated hair.

My Experience: 'Tis the season of moisturizing and emollient products and on my quest to find an excellent shampoo, I definitely think this shampoo is a winner. I mentioned that I bought the Jessicurl Trial Pack-rich, which gave me 2 oz bottle of this shampoo. I love it, I think it's officially my favorite. I essentially have fun washing my hair when using this shampoo; it's like washing my hair with herbs and it has great detangling properties. It's so moisturizing and my curls clump up and it has a good lather.
Washing my hair with the shampoo for the first time...

When I rinse it out my hair feels soooo nice, not stripped but definitely clean. I do want to compare this with Curls Cleansing Cream so stay tuned for that, because I love that shampoo too. But this is definitely a keeper!

Ingredients: Water, Decyl Polyglucose, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Vegetable Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Avocado Oil, C 12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winter Regimen

My hair for the week

First, let me say that I'm not happy with the windy weather. I can deal with the cold of the Northeast, I don't mind snow or rain...but wind? iCan't deal with it!

Which brings me to my new regimen. Basically, I'm sticking to protective styling and only wearing my hair loose if there is a special occasion but even that may warrant my hair being pinned up. Last Saturday night I went out for a friend's birthday and while I originally planned to wear my hair in a braid out, I decided against it once I realized how cold and windy it was (and bundled up pretty well--cute and cold is not my thing) and pulled it back into a banana clip with my hair cascading down in the back. I'm also being paranoid about having dry brittle hair; between the hi-lights, the bitter cold and my warm ass apartment ^__^ I feel like my hair is going for a ride. At one point it was dry and lacking that shine and I can't have that. So here's my winter plan:

-Pre-Poo with Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Treatment, leaving it on my hair for ~20min (have I reviewed this product? no? It's coming...)
-Rinse. Shampoo in sections with Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream and lightly detangle with my fingers
-Condition with either Jessicurl Too Shea! Conditioner or Herbal Essence Hello hydration (or which ever thick, emollient conditioner I have on hand) and detangle with my wide-tooth comb
-Rinse. Deep condition with Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioner and cover my head with plastic. Let it sit in my hair for ~30 min
-Rinse with cold water. Use Kinky Curly Knot Today as my leave-in and stretch my hair either by banding, braiding, or using curl formers and let hair air-dry
-Style: my usual twists or if my hair is loose then it's in a bun

I moisturize daily with aloe vera gel and jojoba oil. In the mornings I usually run coconut oil through my hair and scalp. I'm still looking around for some butters and moisturizers to use daily. I may just go back to Oyin because it works so well for my hair and am about to take a trip to the Midwest where I'm sure moisture will be a challenge. But that's it for now!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Reactions and Aftermath of Straight Hair

gratuitous shot of my hair =)

I was rocking straight hair a couple of weeks ago and I knew that the kids at my job were going to react to it (as a matter of fact, my co-workers made a big deal out of it too.) You may recall that some of the girls had been "inquiring" about when I was going to wear it straight so I can look pretty, blaze blaze and how reluctant I was because of babygirl A who gets made fun of for having a lot of natural hair. While the kids were in awe with my hair including the boys, (Is that all yours? You've had all that hair since you were born?) A came up to me with the biggest grin on her face, you're hair looks so pretty! she said, and holding down her hair she continued, I like that we can do different things to our type of hair! Out of everyone's compliments that made my week.

Now that I'm back to curly, a few girls actually expressed dissapointment. Keep in mind that I work with very outspoken and sometimes downright rude children. I went back and forth with a 4th grader yesterday who is known for being "outspoken" amongst other things. She asked me why did I have to go back to how my hair is now. Because I wanted to, I said.

Well I think it's ugly.
You look better with how your hair was before. You should keep it like that.
Well, I'll do what I want to my hair.
Well it's ugly what you're doing to it now.

She went on for a little longer, and she does the back and forth thing with everyone which is why I answered her pretty passively because I know she's looking for a reaction. Most people do anyway. At this point most of the kids I'm around know that I'm quite comfortable with who I am and I'll answer their questions about my background (because that almost always comes up for them) and I let the girls touch my hair because I know they are curious and I see nothing wrong with it. My co-teacher and I were actually talking yesterday about how the kids should learn more cultural history and teaching them about hair acceptance and just acceptance in general of their images (this is a predominately Black/Hispanic school) because the teasing about hair thing is pretty awful as I mentioned with one of the kids. My co-teacher is relaxed mind you, but I don't neccesarily think that's a bad thing. I'm fully team natural, but most kids probably do not have a choice in what gets done to their hair. And if readers have any suggestions on how I can go about getting a good message out to the kids, please feel free to let me know.