Sunday, January 30, 2011

Repost: Natural Hair Memories: Mistakes As A Natural Head

 How I felt once I realized the mistakes I made with my hair!

I've been natural all my life, but being a hair enthusiast wasn't me until about a year and a half ago. After all I've learned, I've been shaking my head at myself for all the havoc I used to put my hair through. You will not believe it! Not that I'm a masochist, but I really did abuse the hell out of my hair. I did things like:

*Dry comb my hair although in all fairness I always used a wide-tooth one
*Stayed away from water because I thought it was the death of me
*Flat-ironed dirty hair and almost everyday to keep it straight
*Flat-ironed or blew out hair without a heat protectant and watched my hair break off
*Greased my scalp with thick butters and pomades gross!gross!gross!
*Used rubber bands for ponytails specifically, large blue or pink ones that hold produce together like broccoli that pulled my hair out
*Slapped products on top of my hair instead of distributing it evenly with a comb or some other method, and then wondered why nothing worked!
*Using those damn boxed dyes without following up with some sort of deep treatment
*Scratching the hell out of my scalp with a comb to get all the "flakes" and that gave my scabs like you won't believe!
*Using products with mineral oil and petrolatum  these ingredients may not bother some people, but they make my hair very icky and no me gusta!
*Using shampoo and no conditioner O_o when I was low on funds, I often had to choose which one I could buy and usually bought shampoo even though I hated it

I could go on and on. I was such a naughty person when it came to dealing with my hair. I was definitely not educated.

What were some of the things you used to do, fellow hair enthusiasts?

Perfect TWA Finger Coils & Coil Out

What Became of a Co-wash and boredom... I'm trying my best to further preserve my ends until i can trim them, now that i see that a trim is imperative. I cowashed with Organix Coconut Milk and decided not to rinse all of the conditioner out. Instead, i started separating pieces, finger detangling and finger coiling. I was just playing at first but it went pretty fast and before you know it i was almost done. I didnt use a comb for any parts, just tried to take sections with like amounts. This is not a style i would say that i particularly love but im looking forward to seeing what a coil out will look like... In the meantime, i guess this will just be a temporary protective style for me

So i have Hand In Hair syndrome so here goes my coil out :)
I didn't lift at the roots or anything, i just separated while i sat at the computer. I didn't use any oil on my fingers, just separated gently so as not to create too much frizz.
I will say, although i don't like how the coils and coil out looks on me, i do think the coils looked beautiful and the coil out even better! I think i will be trying coil outs when my hair gets longer and i can do larger coils :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Healthy You Equals Healthy Hair

For me, embracing my natural hair taught me to become more aware of myself on different levels. Although hair is technically "dead," hair growth and the state of our hair starts with our insides. I remember last Spring when I was getting ready to graduate from college I had a whole laundry list of stress that took a toll on my hair. Besides direct neglect on my part, I wasn't eating well nor was I sleeping much because of the stress I was dealing with. The natural "sheen" to my hair went dim and it was constantly dry and tangled and I experienced some breakage.

I've changed my diet recently to non-meat eating, not for moral reasons but because I simply don't care for eating it at the moment--but better believe that when I crave some carne I will be eating it. Eating meat is actually not bad for our health because it's an excellent source of protein which is of course great for hair growth. I usually ate poultry (chicken) with the occasional red meat saved for when I went to Chipotle or Good Burger (omnomnom). Right now I've occasionally been consuming other sources of protein like fish, dairy and eggs and taking cod liver oil in pill form. (I used to have to drink the liquid as a child, and can't deal with the fishy taste so the pills are easier). Cod Liver Oil has omega-3 fatty acids which are great for hair. It also helps with vision and skin health and the immune system. I take 2 capsules daily.

I've also always been a heavy consumer of veggies, particularly green ones like spinach, broccoli and green beans. They are really easy to cook and great to add to a meal. I don't always eat organic, but I do shop at my local fruit and vegetable stand. Just like caring for your hair, caring for your body doesn't have to be expensive and I live in New York City where everything is pricey and I still more or less live like a "broke college student."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back to the Basics...

So i took my braids out Tuesday night because I've been kinda sick with a head cold that had my head so sensitive each braid felt like it weighed a ton!
I really wanted to keep these for another 2 weeks but at the same time I'm glad to have my hair and my head back!

1st thing out the braids, I detangled and was careful with removing dirt and shedded hairs, so as not to break my own hair. Once my hair was fully detangled I washed with Yes! To Carrots shampoo, rinsed and shook out the excess water to get ready to apply my Henna treatment! I LOOOVVVEEEE HENNA!!!!
I let the Henna sit for about 2 hours and then rinsed about 7 times with Suave Natural Coconut condish (the cheapie stuff), the last 2 rinses i used HEHH for a little extra conditioning and slip. Here's my hair a few minutes after rinsing out all of the Henna.
I put my hair in random twists and flat twists going in all directions, with the front twists twisted forward for more of a curly bang and all the others basically going outward from the middle of my head. I looovvveee my twist out actually and i'm totally loving my hair, and especially what Henna does for my hair. It really defines my curls and keeps my hair strong, not to mention i do like the little reddish tint that i get from it.
I used only my fingers to separate the twists coated with a little bit of Jojoba oil to prevent too much frizz. I separated and separated until my hair looked full enough to me and tried my best to lift at the roots with my pic to cover up the parts. This was one those perfect hair days for me, which always seems to happen on days when i'm just home in the house.
My hair did grow a bit but i'm going to wait to do my length check in February. Otherwise... i am going to need to trim sooner than later... so probably after my Feb length check because i do not want to keep these split ends and they get worse. My hair styles also don't look as good when i have split ends.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Natural does not = Afro (Creating Texture)

This post is for all of the relaxed ladies thinking of going natural, and all of those transitioners who are still a little reluctant about going completely natural...
Time and time again i have recommended friends to go natural, and i have gotten a few to start transitioning for the long haul, some in weaves, and 2 clients who have transitioned from relaxed to texturized.

The ladies who are thinking of going completely natural always seem to have the same question, or what seems to be more of a fear.
"Do i have to wear an Afro? I don't want to wear an afro."
The answer is NO... And what's so bad about an Afro anyway?
It's unfortunate that so many women are uneducated about their natural hair and think that there is no versatility in it, especially for the more tightly curled textures. There are so many different styles and results you can have when you learn how to style your natural hair, and i have learned thats it's all about creating the texture you want.

Straight Hair: People relax to permanently create a straight texture. Natural women can straighten their hair by various methods, usually combined. You can flatiron, maxiglide, press/hot comb, roller set, silk wrap and/or blowdry to create a sleek, smooth, straight finish. If you try straightening your hair and you have a lot of damage and split ends, it will show and probably not get as straight as possible, or you might have straight hair and 'afro ends.' Your ends may not be used to being straight so try your best to smooth your ends by silkwrapping, wrapping, pincurling, finger smoothing, whatever you can, and if that doesn't work, your ends may be split and in need of a trim. Remember to ALWAYS use heat protector when using heat so as to avoid heat damage.
You should also make sure to do your best to preserve your style by wrapping/ pincurling at night so as to avoid needing to add heat to the hair again. 
*A smoothing and heat protecting serum is a great way to keep away frizz and add a bit of moisture and shine.

Wavy/Curly Hair: To create wavy and/or curly textures, women rely on sets. What do you mean by "sets?"
A set refers to creating a texture and setting it to last. You can set your hair by using a curling iron, doing a rollerset, flexirod set, perm rod set, straw set, bantu knot/ china bump set, twist set, braid set, or setting your own curl using certain products/gels to help preserve your own natural curl pattern (example: Using a product like Kinky Curly Curling Custard or Ecostyler gel).

Sets have memory and can last for a few days depending on how you care for them, resetting by re-twisting a twist-out or putting rollers back in the hair to sleep can help to prolong your set. Wet/damp setting usually lasts the longest/ holds the most memory. If you want a long lasting style (usually set to last for a week), set the hair wet and let dry. Your final result will be up to you so remember to set your hair in the direction you want your hair to lay (example: If you are doing a twist out and want curly bangs, make sure you do the front twists coming to the front so when you untwist them, they're already hanging forward). Make sure you also use the right products to help you achieve your desired look, like using holding and frizz reducing products, or only moisturizing products and/or light hold if you like a more 'free' look.

Remeber that while setting, you are creating the texture you want, so for bigger waves/ curls, do larger twists/braids/knots or use bigger rollers/rods and vice versa for tighter waves/curls.
 Some people would rather dry set, probably because they want to stretch the hair first to show more length or have a sleeker/ less textured look. Braid outs, twist outs, roller and rod sets can be done on blowdryed/flatironed/air dryed hair as well.
Take your time and experiement with your hair and you will learn that your options and results can be endless. With any hair type, remember that everyone has bad hair days so if something doesn't come out perfect, try again or try a different approach.

Afros: Yes, an afro is a texture some choose to create, as not all people have hair that stands up as an afro would. An afro is basically a bunch of separated curls that stand out from the head and usually defy gravity. 
Some people may tease their hair to create an afro texture, set their hair on small rollers/ rods or in small braids or twists and then comb/pic them out to separate the curls/texture and shape the afro. 
Some people want a fully rounded/picked out afro while others like textured afros, created with either their own afro/texture or a set texture.
Either way, know that our options are NOT limited!
Now remember, it's always going to be harder to have and keep the texture that is the most opposite from your own hair texture, and remember that as women with textured hair we are not the only ones who go through these issues. Just as it can be difficult and time consuming for straight Asian hair to be curled and stay curly, the same goes for our curly hair and trying to straighten and keep it straight.
Once you go natural, it's always easier when you embrace your natural texture and natural styling, as opposed to always wanting to straighten, as it will of course be the most time consuming and damaging. 
If your texture is not ideal to you or you just want to try a new look, learn how to create the texture that you like and don't forget that your hair's health should come first and foremost. 

Have fun experimenting with creating textures!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Natural Hair Magazine Talk Continued...

Singer Chrisette Michele

Remember my post about wishing there was some sort of natural hair magazine? I just came across an article on Coco and Cream asking when will natural hair take over the magazines. I read some of the comments to this article and one of them mentioned that it's the celebrity that sells the magazines and we don't have enough representation there either.

CurlyNikki has managed to interview some natural celebs including Chrisette Michele (pictured above) so obviously they are out there but I guess not much. What do you guys think would make a natural hair magazine successful? What would it need, besides showcasing natural styles? 

Monday, January 24, 2011

We're Not Cookie-Cutter Images (Black Mixed Chicks)

I'm sure that by now those of us in the natural hair world have heard about the Mixed Chicks Twitter incident. (if not, here are two interesting posts on my favorite hair blogs at LITK and BGLH) My main issue with the tweet was that there seemed to be an underlying assumption that all mixed folks are light skinned. This also made me think about how in general, folks seem to think that a certain mix will yield a certain phenotype for individuals which is simply not the case. Just so readers are aware, both SP and I are "mixed chicks." No, we don't have light skin or light eyes or a predictable hair type but we are "black" and ethnically/culturally mixed and proud of it.

Now, I normally save these types of posts on my personal blog but I am going to discuss my background for a bit because it does relate to hair: I'm mostly a Native American and West Indian (black, white and Indian mix) and while I don't do blood quantities of my heritage, this is not one of those, I'm 1/16th this situations, they are pretty close. My father is of Cherokee decent and my mother is mixed. I have many half siblings (who are different ethnicities) but only one "full" sister, as in we share the same parental units and our hair is not the same. For a long time we didn't even have similar complexions. My younger sister was light, had light eyes for a brief time, and coily hair. I always had brown skin, dark eyes and wavier dark hair. Her hair is soft like cotton, fine strands that are dense, and still very coily. Mine is like "fluffy silk" with defined S-curls. Two mixed chicks and this is what we look like...

My sis and I, ages 4 and 7

December '10- we're both naturals
I get mistaken for different ethnicities and a few of my friends have mentioned it's because of my hair type, which if that's true it's rather foolish. (I semi-doubt that's all it is; an East Indian man tried to convince me for about 10 minutes that I must be one of his people, even though my hair was an undefined braid out because of the summer heat). I also resent when people (including my very own cousins) say anything about "mixed looking hair" but also in the same way I can't stand some people I've encountered who deny the mixed black folks existence (the, all black people are mixed anyway meme annoys me). I know a lot of black people who get annoyed with others if they admit that they are of mixed heritage and white people who demand proof of my Native American heritage. And it makes me sad when folks comment on the "good hair" my children will have if I have kids with Mr. Smooth who is Puerto Rican (of Taino, Spanish and Haitian decent). It's a frustrating hair world out there, with hair-typing and hair hierarchies and not enough representation for the those of us out there who are trying to untangle this mess. We have a lot of work to do....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Deep Conditioning With Banana

Hey everyone!

So I didn't post about the way I styled my braids because honestly, I didn't have time to do much to them. I kept the front half of my hair down and in my face and then the back pulled up in a ponytail or tucked under something like this...

And remember how I said I would keep them in till the end of the month? Well I have an "event" of some sort next weekend and realized I would not really have time to take out my hair and do what I need to do. Plus I'm still paranoid about keeping my hair from breaking and keeping moisture, and noticed my dark roots are about an inch (and since I got it hi-lighted around this time in November I've concluded my hair grows the average 1/2 inch a month, whether I retained that inch I'm not sure).

So I took them out yesterday. I mean I did do two weeks so I think that's an accomplishment for me.

Cousin It! lol
I did my own mix for a deep conditioner by the way. I used a very ripe banana (which is supposed to be great for colored or dry hair), extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk and raw honey and tossed it in my blender. I did this treatment for the first time about 3 summers ago and loved it, but forgot about it till recently. After washing my hair with Curlicious Curls shampoo, I put the DC in my hair and covered it with a plastic bag for about 10 minutes while in the shower. I personally think I may have used too much olive oil because of the way my hair feels, but overall it felt great and my curls were very defined.

Defined, moisturized curls with the banana DC
I now have my hair set in bantu knots, and I plan to take them out tomorrow. Stay tuned (for real this time) for how the set comes out!

Still readjusting goals...

I've been in these braids for 2 weeks and already thinking of what to do with my hair when i take them out, as i'm also eager to see the growth. I know 2 weeks won't give me much growth, but an 1/8th of an inch will open up new style options for a twa sometimes, every bit counts! :) 
Looking back at photos i had taken over  the of span last year, I realized that since i had done so much to my hair between dying and cutting, and I hadn't readjusted my 1 year anniversary. I guess i could say i had like 4 anniversary's.... lol

* Halloween 2009 I applied my last relaxer, so this Halloween 2010 was my 1 year natural (relaxer free) anniversary

* In March of 2010, I cut off all the relaxed ends and started wearing my  own natural hair (i had been transitioning in weaves), so this March 2011 will make 1 year of me wearing my natural hair

* April 29th 2010 I dyed my hair for the last time, so with all the color chopped off already, this April 29th will make exactly a year since i've been growing this 100% natural, no relaxer, no dye hair and i have to say it's the best hair i've ever had!

That being said...
I do need a trim.
I plan to trim with either the new or full moons this year so according to the calendar and me wanting to see what one full year of growth with no trimming/cutting or processing looks like, i plan to trim my hair on May 3rd, 2011. I hope i can make it that long... 4 more months without trimming (i need to join Shears Anonymous)!!! I seem to be on track with growing about half an inch per month, so i can't wait to see what 6 inches of Fro looks like on me again... I haven't seen that since...
(6th grade class photo)
Umm... yeah. Lol

Any of you TWA ladies end up having to readjust your hair goals because you dyed/cut/permed your hair again or damaged it in some way? Need help? Ask me, I've been through it all!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Thank you Media Take Out for your hilarity when it comes to this one, lol 
(I only posted about this because of the Side Show Bobanna pic, too funny to pass up!)
This just cracks me up! The Actual look?
Um, okay... I'll start by saying that i do like the attempt at a big and natural look, and i do like the red on her because it's a nice shade of red and it's not a terrible shade for her complexion.... otherwise, i think this wig is a bit ridiculously huge... I think she would look beautiful in any style done right really, but this wig just wasn't it.
Natural attempt 1: FAIL!

Friday, January 21, 2011

High Bunned Braids

Today makes 2 weeks for me having these braids in already and they are still going strong! I did have to go and get a few replaced, as they slipped off cuz they're big braids and my hair is short.
 To sleep or around the house, i've been just throwing the braids up into a huge messy bun, and i realized how much i actually love that look! I sooo can't wait until i have hair (long hair anyway) so i can wear all of the styles i love that require lots of long hair with my own hair. I went out to meet up with a friend for dinner and drinks last night and decided a big bun was the way to go, because i love a sleek high fashion look. 

I bunned my hair up with 2 of my stretchy headbands, since a scrunchie wouldn't be large enough to hold the braids. As i bunned i made sure to tuck the ends in and under the scrunchie, and secured any pieces sticking out with a few push pins. I made sure i didn't pull the braids too taught, especially at the edges, so i then added a little aloe gel and smoothed my edges back with my fingers, tied my scarf around my head to hold them down while i brushed my teeth, then untied before leaving the casa and Voila! Braid Bun! lol

You like? I love!
Don't forget to have fun with your protective styles ladies!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bikini Lines: Shaving, Razor Bumps, and Ingrown Hairs... oh my!

I know i usually just talk about the hairs on your head, but there's hairs other wheres... lol
With my new journey to beautiful, clear, glowing skin, it reminded me of a different path I had embarked early last year, a journey to a perfect bikini line! I figured this would be a great time to write this post, since we are still toying with the novelty of 2011 and it's resolutions... meaning If you're anything like me, this is the time of year  you start to get your body together for the spring/summer.

As some of you may know i'm half Brazilian so you will always catch me in a tiny Bikini come summertime, but who feels confident in a Bikini knowing they have razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and scarring from such atrocities? I hated the way it looked and felt to have razor bumps and ingrown hairs, not to mention that it can be painful and leave terrible scars. I felt embarrassed at the beach and pool and realized it was time i do something about it.  Early last year, I took my time doing some research and trying different remedies and my bikini line is now as smooth as a baby's bottom and the scars have faded about 90% which is amazing! Not to mention taking the ACV shot is just making my skin all over 1000 times better!... Anyhooo.... lol. 
Here are the steps i took to clear up my bikini line and get rid of embarrassing scars, razor bumps and ingrown hairs: 
  1. Let the hair in the pubic region grow in for about a month. You may be constantly experiencing ingrown hairs if the hair follicle is in shock from constant shaving, causing it to grow out of the skin improperly or to grow out and curl back into the skin. Letting the hair grow out gives the follicles in the region a time to rest, and allows for the hair to grow past the length at which the hair will become ingrown. No, you do not need to grow it for a month every time, but initially when wanting to get rid of the razor bumps, and if they start coming back full force again.
  2.  Exfoliate the region regularly. Exfoliating will help to keep skin clean, smooth, and help to prevent hairs from becoming ingrown.
  3. Make sure you use a mild shaving agent. I personally do not use use shaving creams because i have very sensitive skin and can not use products with a lot of chemicals and fragrances. I use a bar of Dove soap, and lather the area up very well, this creates a thick, creamy, sudsy residue that is smooth to shave with and does not irritate my skin. I have been doing this for years and i love it but another alternative is using conditioner (yes hair conditioner) to shave.
  4. Tweeze and Treat! Whenever the skin is punctured, even if by something as small as a hair, you have to remember that it is a wound and should be treated as such, so be sure your hands and implements are clean. Take some time, a mirror if needed, and a good tweezer. Tweeze the ingrown hair and treat it with a disinfectant, this will also help to prevent scarring. It may be painful at first, but you will grow accustomed to the little pinch associated with tweezing if done properly and quickly, and the relief will be well worth it.
  5. Shave in the same direction which the hair grows (i.e: This means you would shave your legs from thigh to ankle in a downward motion). Shaving against the grain will irritate the skin and hair follicle, causing it to go into shock and later produce razor bumps and/or ingrown hairs. For a closer, smoother shave, try shaving in the same direction the hair grows first, and then shaving against the grain once the hair has already been shaved down. This will give a smoother finish but do not shave over the area too many times to avoid irritation.
  6. Apply an Anti-inflammatory if needed. So i had been using 1% Hydrocortizone as an anti-imflammatory but wanted something else since Hydrocortizone is a steriod. Curly Film Chick actually shared with me (sorry, don't kill me) that she uses Aloe Gel as an after shave so i will be trying the same thing with the next shave. Aloe is always soothing :)
  7. Enjoy your bikini line! Summer is coming, going on vacation, getting married, or for whatever reason, enjoy the new bikini line you've been working on. Don't forget to keep it smooth you have to continue to care for it, so be sure to tweeze any ingrown hairs you may see, always disinfect and treat to prevent further inflammation and scarring, and if you need to start all over and grow the hair out for a few weeks, you'll be back to a perfect bikini line in no time!
Here's a video i found on YouTube that may be helpful, as it has more information on hair as well... Although it's mostly about men and shaving their faces, an ingrown hair is an ingrown hair, lol 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Repost: SP's Tips For Naturals, Newly Naturals, and Transitoners

General Things to Keep in Mind as a Natural
  • Never compare your hair to anyone else's. I understand that at times it can be hard to stand out and be different, especially when you stand out for reasons other than the norm or what is widely accepted. If we continue to compare our hair texture to others, we are just as good people who can't accept those who wear their natural hair and think they should "do something with it" all the time. Take the time to learn your hair, what it likes and what it needs, and learn to fall in love with what you were given and accept it for what it is. If you are in a growing stage, whether you just recently chopped or have been growing for a while, take the time to love your hair at each stage and length. Enjoy the rewards of being able to do new styles you couldn't do before as your hair grows to different lengths. Chances are, if you try loving your hair, you will!
  •  Moisture is a girl's best friend! Moisture includes water, essential oils, conditioners (leave-in and wash out), and whatever other moisturizers of your choice, just make sure you use em!
  • Just because you read about a product or it worked great for someone one else, does not mean it will do the same for you. Take the time to research and try new products and be sure to listen to your hair. It'll let you know what it likes =)
  • For transitioners to natural hair, don't expect that all the products you used for years on your relaxed hair will work on your natural hair, you may need to switch up your product stash as well as your regimen. Don't be afraid to fully accept the change and learn your hair. - Sites like YouTube, google, and the many different hair forums and blogs will be your best friend!!! Anything you want to know, search it! I can almost guarantee you will find what you're looking for or at least something that will help you.
  • DO NOT be afraid of product!! Learn what products and conditioners are best for you. My advice, try and stick with Natural and Organic products as they seem to be the best amongst many, your hair will tell you too. You may need to use more than one conditioner, more than one hair moisturizer, more than one shampoo even. Just learn what products are best for your needs and don't be afraid to learn to mix! 

Washing &Conditioning
Many naturals have different routines and feel the need to wash at different times and for different reasons. Some chose to wash as often as everyday, while others can have up to a biweekly washing regimen.
  •  Co-washing is a Natural's best friend. Co-washing is when someone washes their hair with conditioner only, no shampoo. This may seem odd at first, but for curly haired girls, moisture is essential and shampoo can strip the hair of it's natural moisture. While it is still necessary to cleanse your hair, using shampoo or other remedies for cleansing, shampooing curly hair too often can be more harmful than helpful, so co-washing is a great alternative for those quick washes in between shampoo days or for those who love to wash and wear their hair on a regular basis. 
  •  Shampoo, used  for hair and scalp cleansing, is still important when washing natural hair but it is important to find the right shampoo for you. Try to stick to organic shampoos without too many chemicals and things like sulfates and parabens, as these things are no good for your hair. 
  •  If you are a swimmer or someone who works out and sweats a lot, it is possible you may need a clarifying shampoo to remove the harsh salts from sweat and chlorine in pool water. Always be sure to find the right shampoo for your needs.
  • Conditioner, usually a rinse out moisturizer but have others that are leave-in or can be used as leave-in. No matter what, conditioner is one of the most important things when it comes to natural hair for moisturizing, washing, and detangling. No matter what, even if you don't use shampoo, be sure to always condition. Deep conditioners are also very important and can help to restore dry, damaged hair and keep healthy hair healthy. Deep conditioning should be done at least on a weekly to biweekly basis.
Moisturizing & Detangling

I repeat, Moisture is a girl's best friend! Moisture includes water, essential oils, conditioners (leave-in and wash out), and whatever other moisturizers of your choice, just make sure you use em! It is important to maintain a proper moisture balance for your hair, so take some time to learn what your hair needs, to make sure you don't under or over moisturize and make sure you are using the right product for your moisturizing needs. Some people's hair need a lot of moisture, where others can use a little less. Be patient with your hair and it will show you what it needs. If you are looking for different results within your regimen and you notice no improvement, even more damage, know that this regimen may not be working for you and it may be time to look into something new :)
  • Dry hair can be your worst enemy! If your hair feels dry, its probably because it is. I have had many people come to me thinking they have coarse dry hair, to only later learn that they actually have very soft manageable hair and that it is just lacking moisture. Dry hair is very brittle and will break easily. If you are trying to retain length,  this will definitely keep you from your goals. Never be afraid to deep condition, co-wash, add in your favorite cream, oil, butter, whatever makes your hair happy! 

As for detangling, detangling and moisturizing go hand in hand!
  • Never detangle dry, brittle hair! If detangling during a weekly routine,  you will learn that for naturals it may be best to detangle while the hair is wet and with a slippery conditioner, making the process a lot easier and also causing less stress/breakage/damage to the hair. Many people don't know, but they can cause their own hair extreme damage by just detangling improperly. 
  • If you have a much bigger detangling job, you may need to make sure to section the hair off first. If you have had your hair in styles like weaves or braids for a long period of time, it is important to detangle before washing to remove all of the shed hairs or this can lead to much matting and knots. Use a moisturizer/detangler to detangle dry hair, you can once again detangle wet with conditioner once all shed hairs are removed.
  • ALWAYS detangle from the ends first, working your way up to the roots. NEVER rip through knots! Instead, start at the bottom and detangle up, use your fingers to separate  gently if needed. You will find that once you fully detangle from tip to root, it will then be extremely easy to comb through your hair from root to tip.
Trimming is a very important factor in maintaining healthy hair, be it long or short. It is important to trim away pesky split, dry, damaged, see through ends and knots. Many who are afraid to trim away damaged ends don't realize that they are only causing themselves more damage. For those who are looking to gain length and are afraid of trimming, know that it is okay to trim, and length can still be obtained with a healthy hair and trimming regimen. 
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. Here is some more trimming info  from an earlier post that touches on a lot more about trimming.
  • Don't forget about your natural hair that is growing in. You can cause damage to your natural hair growing in with constant flat ironing and chemical processing, such as color and/or bleach, etc. 
  • Learn new low heat, low manipulation styles to help with your transition. There are a million ways to style your hair and you can trim slowly if you are afraid to loose too much length. 
  • There will come a time when you will need to part with you relaxed ends, each person feels differently about when this time is. Some even choose to transition for a long time and decide that they'd rather chop sooner than later. Whether you transition for 3 months or 3 years, learn to love your natural hair and have confidence within yourself. Remember that no matter what you do to your hair you will always have the same face. Who needs long hair with a beautiful face? lol Don't be afraid to step outside the box and try something new like a short haircut, you may realize you love it. If not, don't forget, hair grows back =D
I hope these were some good little tips! If you have any questions please feel free to send em over or leave them in a comment .
Until next time....

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Thought About Natural Hair Being Mainstream

When shopping at Target yesterday I picked up a copy of the February issue of Latina Magazine to read while I shop because the cover screamed "Rock Your Natural Hair!" I'm always curious and excited when women of color embrace themselves in any kind of way, so I wanted to know what tips they were giving.

I didn't end up purchasing the magazine because in the end, they weren't giving any actual information about how to rock your natural hair. There was a little section about how curly hair being back in style for the Spring '11 season and what (expensive) products to use to show off your curls. I was disappointed, although I'm not sure why I got my hopes up. At that moment, it made me wish for a magazine catering exclusively to natural hair. Something we can physically hold while we're shopping and make it mainstream and one that does not push really expensive products either. It was another one of those moments that made me say thank goodness for the blogs, but what about those who don't have access or may not know about them? Everyone still reads magazines. Imagine one that was for natural hair sitting right next to Cosmopolitan? How cool would that be? What do you guys think?

(And if there's already one out there, please let me know!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Got Braids Too!!

I decided to put my hair in box braids because it's been snowing and freezing and I really would not like to worry about my loose hair for a little while, so I'll be keeping them till the end of this month.

I braided my hair Monday night, it was previously washed and stretched with curl formers on Saturday night. I actually really like this set I did. I've just been moisturizing with aloe vera gel as well as sealing with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. So far no dryness. Stay tuned for more pics as I style my hair in the braids!

Naturals and Beautiful Glowing Skin

Living here in New York, I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many other naturals around the city, and i might add that they are gorgeous! I have caught myself staring at some of the most beautiful naturals, and of all ages too, and i realize what it is that sets them apart, their skin!!!

I wish i had that beautiful, smooth, glowing sunkissed looking skin that a lot of naturals seem to have.
I was feeling somewhat like "yeah, i'm beautiful with my natural hair...but i dont look like that. These women are out here looking like Goddesses!"
It got me to thinking...... I've been doing all this research on my hair and all the love and care it needs, why haven't i taken the same time out for my skin? Im a major Junk-foodie with a bad diet and terrible skin to show for it; acne and eczema out the wazoo!
I am ready to change my eating habits and cleanse my body, so i guess i could also take a few lessons from my hair...

What would my hair tell my body?
*Go Organic! I've noticed a major change since using organic products in my hair, i could imagine my body would do the same
*Drink more water and excersize!
*Don't use too many products, especially not fragrant and heavily processed products!

So i did my research, and one thing i am trying is taking a shot of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, which is supposed to help with both eczema and acne from the inside out. Today is day 3 and i will say my skin seems smoother, softer, and my eczema isn't as itchy as it can usually be. I was having a bad eczema breakout on my elbow which looked to be spreading, which has almost completely smoothed over... I'm so happy because the ACV is actually working for me!!! Thank God cuz it tastes gross!!! Lol I chase it with like 3 huge spoonfuls of Apple sauce, lol. This is the one i'm taking :
If there is anyone out there struggling with skin issues, eczema specificially, here are some of the websites i rearched for natural/organic/holistic remedies:

So i guess i'm sort of starting a skin journey... i'll keep you updated on how that goes... lol

Friday, January 14, 2011

Extension Braids again...

So today makes one week having these braids in already and i'm hoping to keep them in for a month (i hope i can hold out that long)...

I got them done smaller this time than the last time i got my hair braided in hopes that this will help them last longer.
I plan to post a video on how i maintain my hair in these braids soon :)

You asked, i answered!

So i stopped in the BSS yesterday, as i have been on the Hunt for a large enough bottle to mix my new batch of Aloe Grow in (A mixture of Aloe Gel, water, and EO's which i will make and explain for you later :)

While in there i came across the headbands i buy and thought i might snap a few quick flicks for those of you who'd like to know, Here ya go! =D

*Make sure that whatever kind you buy, they won't snag your hair!

Any New Years Reggie-lutions?

I know i'm all late but... I was rereading CFC's post  earlier this month questioning what we've learned about our hair this year and it got me to thinking about what i had learned about my hair. It also led me to realize that I've never been one to have much of a regimen, as I'm bad at sticking to them. I think now is a good time to start, since i am on my way to long hair this year and i don't want to do anything to mess that up =P

That being said, what I've learned about my hair this year is:

  • I don't need to comb my hair! - I finger detangle my hair in the shower usually with lots of conditioner... if i feel the need I'll run a comb through but only after fully finger detangling.
  • Different seasons definitely need different treatments - I learned that i can not co-wash daily in the winter but in the summer my hair loves it, and i also have to use different products, or use my products differently during the different seasons.
  • I've learned that i have about 4 to 6 different textures of hair all on my one head and that they need and like different things, and/or less or more product and manipulation depending on the texture. It ranges from a tight, fine, coarse curl to a looser, silky, medium curl.
  • Different lengths require different products and amounts - Since i sort of grew my hair out for a few months earlier this year, I gained some experience in learning how to style my hair for the different lengths. Growing out short hair can sometimes be awkward so learning how to properly style it is key.
  • When it comes to a TWA, Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize! Have fun with it while you can!
What have your learned from your hair this year?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tips For the Naturals With Lots O'Hair

My co-blogger SP has really been reppin' the ladies with TWA with all her tips. I, Curly Film Chick, the one who has massive amounts of hair hasn't really tapped into what it's like to have all this hair and how to care for it. When I first started reading up on natural hair, I was desperate to find folks who had what I considered an "issue" at the time. Having a lot of hair, whether it's long or dense (or long AND dense) is another level of care. I want to share some tips that I hope are helpful to those of us who are at this level.

- in sections is best. I typically divide my hair into four sections and using the pads of my fingers I am able to effectively get to my scalp. Same applies to co-washing.
- with shampoo that has slip. If you're a natural like me who has a need for shampoo, then getting one that has some detangling power is helpful because your hair won't "mat" up. This is my reasoning for using Jessicurl Cleansing Cream and Curlicious Curls which helps me run my hands through my hair vs Giovanni Tea Tree that cleanses my scalp very well but is not moisturizing and tangles my hair a bit, which adds more time to detangling.
- with a non-moisturizing/slipless shampoo, I find that adding a detangling conditioner to your hair before rinsing out all the shampoo is very helpful in the detangling process.

Speaking of detangling....
- Fingers first! I always do this in sections before I even think of using a detangling tool.
- Use detangling tools that won't rip out your hair. I personally use a wide tooth comb, a denman brush and yes--a fine tooth comb but only for my ends when I'm braiding/twisting/rollersetting. It helps to keep my ends from tangling.
- detangle from the bottom to the top, or "tip" to "root" so that hair isn't ripped out, again in sections.

- put your hair in workable sections
- anticipate using more product then recommended - even with products that "using a little goes a long way." I have found the best way to deal with using products where the quantity matters greatly with the results is by using the recommended amount on even smaller sections.
- anticipate using more rollers then expected. I still get left hanging with curlformers because I know I do not have enough. Usually whenever I'm doing a style I end up having to use two different types of rollers to get desired results.
- use a styling tool (comb, brush, etc) to make sure there is even distribution of product

- DON'T forget about your scalp! I know sometimes it's buried underneath all the hair but that's no excuse not to tend to it.
- Search and Destroy method is helpful for getting rid or single-strand knots and random splits. The name is self-explanatory--look through your strands and snip out with hair trimming scissors/shears as you see them. Again, best done in sections.
-I can't stress it enough about how sectioning your hair is helpful. So I'm mentioning it again. Workable sections for you. I realize for me "halves" isn't enough, I need my hair in "fours."

I really only deal with my hair once a week. That's when I style/wash/deep treat and what not. It used to take me about 30 min to wash my hair, but now I've got it to 15 minutes so I'm happy. Other things to consider when you have a lot of hair: shedding like a cat and finding a good method to put your hair in a ponytail/bun. Hope these tips are helpful!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Product Stash: Stylers

Note #1: See my stash of cleansers and conditioners.

Behold! My collection of stylers.

(note #2: I know, this is a lot but in all fairness, Mr. Smooth uses some =P)

Okay, so let's start with the Aloe Vera gel. I like to use it on both my skin and my hair because it leaves it soft. I moisturize with it mostly when my hair is in a protective style, like twists or braids as my "water based" product before I seal my hair with an oil. By itself it makes my hair feel really soft and it's nice and light. (note #3: this has been Mr. Smooth's favorite product for about a year). Next to it is the IC Fantasia Heat Protectant Serum. When I used to flat iron a lot, this was my staple. I recently bought it when I blew out my hair. It's a decent heat protectant to me and inexpensive. And next to that is Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion. This was actually passed to me from SP because she knows I set my hair with curl formers and she wanted me to give this a try. Then I have my IC Fantasia Gel which I've already reviewed and will still use it for wet setting. 

There are also three little bottles in the front, which are Jessicurl products that I have not really experimented with which are: Rockin' Ringlets, Confident Coils and Awe Inspiraling Spray. At the moment I don't really have a use for them because they seem to be 'wash and go' products and I'm not doing that any time soon. You can also see I still have the Jane Carter Solutions Wrap and Roll which I've used for dry setting (curlformers, twist outs ect) and it seemed to work okay. I'm still trying to finish the bottle and have no intentions of repurchasing. There are a couple of Aveda products back there: Phomollient Styling Foam and Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade, both given to me and that I'm experimenting with and probably won't buy because of their scary expensive prices. Next to that, you can see my beloved Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Treatment which I'm running low on and will always buy because it's a staple. I use it as a styler as well as a pre-poo treatment. (oh and note #4: Kinky Curly Custard is in that picture, but I accidently hid it. I love it but it's pricey and I use sparingly and I probably won't be buying again)

Whew! I don't think I need to be buying anything until there's less products! This has really helped me put things into prospective!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Banded TWA Puffs

Thought your hair was too short to wear a puff?!
When it comes to growing TWA's, we are always trying to fake it until we make it (In terms of length anyway). One way to do so is by wearing a puff, which can give the illusion of having a more ponytailable length of hair.
The First Set of Pictures are of a twist-out puff i did after taking out my straight back flat twists. I simply picked/lifted the roots to cover the parts, smoothed a little Aloe gel over my edges, then smoothed my headbands back, one by one.

In this second set of Pictures, my hair was freshly washed and blowdryed, as i was on my way to get my hair braided!!! I only added a little bit of my Vatika coconut oil, and again pushed my headbands back one by one. I used the multiple headbands to hold back the short lengths but depending on the length of your hair you can chose to use less, or even just one.

How do you fake length with your TWA?!

TWA Do's and Don'ts

My quest to finally have long hair this year has had me thinking quite a bit about how I handled my TWA in 2010; The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Here are some quick TWA Do's and Don'ts from my lesson's learned in 2010...ahhh...good year... lol

DO!!! =0)
- Have fun with your TWA while you have it. Even if you aren't excited about having short hair, hair grows back so don't waste your time feeling down about it, learn to enjoy it while you have it. 1 year having short hair out of an average of at least 80 years of life really can't be that bad right?

- Make sure to moisturize! Even if you have less than an inch of hair, make sure you're moisturizing daily!

- Deep Condition! Yes it's only a TWA but its still hair and it needs to be deep conditioned so do so as regularly as you can.

- Make sure to Wrap/Cover/Tie your head down with a silk/satin scarf and/or bonnet at night!!! There's no reason you should be dealing with split ends and SSK's on a freshly/recently cut TWA. I also wear a satin bonnet under  my winter hats so they won't dry out my hair.

DONT!!! > = x
- Buy Every Product you hear is supposed to be good. *Although i'm not one to hair-type, i did find that finding girls with textures that seemed similar to mine helped me figure out what type of regimen and products i needed for my hair, so i was able to streamline my products, and my product junkie-ism!

- (If you are planning on growing your hair out) Don't go crazy doing everything to your hair! Stay away from over processing your natural hair with color and bleach or texurizers. Give your hair a chance to grow and just focus on making sure it's healthy

- Don't forget to LOVE YOURSELF!!!!!
Everyone takes transitions differently and making a transitiion from relaxed to natural can be a very drastic change for some. Don't waste your time comparing your hair/texture to others, take your time and learn to love the hair you have. Buy yourself a few new accesories to jazz up your new look and learn to have fun with it!

Product Stash: Conditioners

Back with my conditioner stash!

Okay, so here we have Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut, a tiny bit of Kinky Curly Knot Today, Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Conditioner (normal hair), Renpure Organics My Hair is Parched, and Herbal Essence Hello Hydration.

The Suave conditioner I used over the summer a lot, and then I strictly started using it to rinse out henna and now whenever I do a Bentonite Clay treatment. I like having it around as a "rinsing" conditioner and it's cheap and can be found anywhere. That's really all I use it for. Knot Today I use as a leave in before I put anything else in my hair. It's great for detangling and to use under gels and other styling products in my experience. It hasn't failed me yet and I'm a little sad that I'm running low.

The Keratin conditioner from Marcia Teixiera was actually a sample I got when I ordered my Jessicurl Trial pack from Curlmart. It came with the shampoo too which I really liked (but gave away to one of my sisters) but the conditioner is nothing to rave about (in other words, I won't ever buy it). The Renpure Organics I've been using as a deep conditioner since I don't really have any more of the Jessicurl Weekly Deep conditioner. And I only buy the Renpure Organics when it's on sale for under 5 bucks. The Herbal Essence I had only bought for my mini-trip to Ohio but it's a good conditioner for me to have on hand so can't complain. I really would like a thick, emollient conditioner for deep treating, so I'll have to look into that. I want to re-order the Weekly Deep Conditioner and perhaps try the Sheamoisture mask that everyone has been raving about. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Product Stash: Cleansers

I was doing some serious cleaning today, when I got distracted and started accessing my hair product stash once again. I think this help me figure out exactly what I'm doing with my products and what I need or discard. So let's start with the cleansers, aka shampoo.

So here we have the Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat, Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream, and Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream all shampoos I have reviewed. Now the Giovanni Tea Tree is the same bottle I have had since the beginning of summer 2010 and I bought it for about 7 bucks. It does wonders for my scalp and I enjoyed using it in the summer, but I will not be purchasing again. I need something more moisturizing and with some detangling power because of all my hair. I'm going to somehow finish up this bottle.

Now the Curlicious Curls and Jessicurl shampoos, I'm going to continue to alternate with them. I love both and haven't made up my mind as to which I like better. They are both pricy but totally worth it to me. They both will last me a while too, since every other week I plan on using the bentonite clay to clarify and strengthen my hair. I know that most naturals don't seem to shampoo quite as often as I do, but every 5-7 days is for me. Especially since I'm using very moisturizing shampoos I haven't noticed my hair being dryer or anything.

Stay tuned for my next post discussing my conditioner stash....