Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Statements Naturals Are (Probably) Tired of Hearing

I know I don't speak for all naturals, but I'm really sick and tired of the statements people are making about natural hair. Some of the things people said have me wondering if it's offensive or not; then I get annoyed as to why it's such a statement to just embrace what you have growing from your scalp.

Here's some of what I'm tired of hearing:

--Being told we need to comb our hair.
--Asked when we're going to get it relaxed/straighten
--That only people with "Indian in their family" (like myself, ahem) or mixed can wear their hair natural
--Natural hair can't grow long
--Naturals can't wash their hair
--Natural hair is unprofessional
--Naturals think they are better then those who relax
--"Why are you wearing your hair like that?"

--what the HECK are people talking about?

I have very snarky responses to most of those statements, but at the risk of sounding like an angry colored woman I usually just raise my eyebrow and keep it moving. I'm starting to realize that some people are set in their thinking and trying to change them is pointless. As a kid, I used to get mad whenever I felt people were being unjust or mean and I would demand that they change. My mother told me early on that trying to change someone is wasted energy. So I don't! If people want to learn about something they will open their minds to it at least, and for those who don't well--why spend your energies arguing with them? You simply existing as  you are is enough of a statement, in my opinion.

So, do I need to comb my hair? Yup. When am I going to relax? Never. Straighten? Maybe in a month or so. Yes, I am a proud "Black Indian" and it doesn't make my hair nicer. My hair is APL (arm-pit length) and I wash it every week, sometimes twice. I have a job at an office  and wear my hair like in big poofy ponytails like this:

No, I don't think I'm better then those who relax. I don't spend my days worrying about someone else's touch-up. And quite frankly my hair and appearance=my business. I'm not putting anyone at risk am I? I promise I don't stand in the middle of the street blocking traffic with an updo ^__^

So naturals, what are some other statements/questions you are sick and tired of hearing? It's therapy time, vent it out!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ponytails: From Broccoli Bands to Coated Bands

Last night I was preparing my dinner (curry vegetables with garbanzo beans and rice, because you asked) and as I unwrapped a package of fresh broccoli, I took note of the blue rubber band the stalks were held by.

I suddenly remembered that I used to use the rubber bands to put my hair in a pony tail back in the day! I know it's because I always had so much hair, but could never find a suitable ponytail holder that held it all back. Rubber-bands are generally not a good idea because they will rip out your hair. Trust me on this one.

Now I've moved on to banana clips and coated ponytail holders, which don't stress my hair as much or pull it out--for the most part. I really love these satin covered ones I got a while ago but I can't remember where I bought them and am running low.

So today, I have my hair in a ponytail. It seems I've come a long way from stealing bands from produce.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

How Do You Feel About This?

Being that I work in a salon now there's undoubtedly always talk about hair going on. I work in a  sort of mixed environment which means we also see a sort of mixed clientele, and from what I've seen the stylists who have done "ethnic hair" seem to do a good job at it. I've watched them do really nice blowouts and flatiron finishes on the relaxed black girls who have come into the salon, who seem to be mostly texturized ... IDK too much about the hair-care part though, they just see it and know to straighten it. I've also noticed that quite a great deal of the white stylists have black boyfriends, so some of them have dabbled in ethnic hair practices.
Now I know I'm trying to ask a question here so let me get to the point...
In many a conversation with my stylist friends who are curious about "ethnic hair" or listening to the instructors during our advanced training classes, I continue to listen to them refer to our hair as coarse, kinky, nappy, or refer to the curl as too tight. I haven't said anything, being that I'm really like the only natural black woman in the salon (aside from one manager who's transitioning out of Loc's) and I don't want to come off as an ABW - Angry Black Woman or black supremacist, but after a while of hearing us be boxed into one nappy category and make it seem like we need one nappy product, it's hard to not feel a certain way sometimes. Especially because soooo many people come to me with their questions and curiosities, knowing about YAIS and the fact they see I have natural, healthy, hair that I care for and style quite often. Now don't get me wrong, it's not always like this, but should i ever be left feeling this way at all?

How would you feel? Any advice on how I should handle this situation? I'd love some feedback!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Regimen Updates

Best thing I have learned when it comes to my hair: less is best! In my mission to restore my hair from the dryness and breakage, I have already seen a difference in the last couple of weeks. My hair has got it's shine, it doesn't cough out broken strands, and feels nice to touch.

I haven't been doing anything magical either. I cleanse my hair once a week usually with SheaMoisture Moisture Retention Shampoo and deep condition with SheaMoisture Deep Treatment Mask (I will give a formal review soon). Then I use TRESemme Naturals Silicone free conditioner as my leave in, add EcoStyler gel and stretch my hair with curlformers. Sometimes I style them and other times I don't. I also do a mid-week co-washing with a Sauve Naturals Conditioner and deep condition again with SheaMoisture, and again wear a stretch style. It's really been that easy!

I actually clarified my hair today with CURLS clarifying shampoo and am waiting for my hair to dry a little before I style. I am going to set with curl formers a little later and maybe wear it like for a couple of days. But I did not forget about bantu-knots. I plan on doing that later this week, especially since I'm contemplating a curly fro for the Afro-Punk Festival next weekend. If anyone plans on going, do let me know, and look for me =)

That's all for now. Feel free to check out my updated product staples page, in which you will see how proud I am of the very little I use these days.

Good Vibes

Just thought I'd send some cool tunes your way, and check out Damian Marley's Loc's, aren't they amazing?! I love the fact that they're so long yet so neat and well groomed. Enjoy the music and Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Naturals on Misfits TV Series

I don't know if anyone on this side of the pond (in the USA) watches the British TV show Misfits, but thanks to Hulu I do and I'm a huge fan. I'm making my way through season two, and eagerly wait each Monday when Hulu adds a new episode.

Anyway, two of the main characters Alisha and Curtis (played by Antonia Thomas and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett respectively) rock kinky-curly hair and (in my humble opinion) are quite stunning to look at. Observe...

Alisha and Curtis
See more pics after the jump...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Twist-out Results and 2nd Day Hair

I woke yesterday morning and my hair was still damp so i sat under the dryer for probably another 45 minutes as I drank my coffee and watched Ninja Warrior.  Finally when I felt my hair was dry (and it was still actually a little damp) i went to my go to coconut oil for the take down. I took my time, as taking down the 3-strand twist was a little different than taking down a 2-strand twist, but all in all i loved the results! It came out super shiny and defined and I can see i will definitely continue to try new twist and braid out styles while i have this weave. It just makes me so exticed to think of what a twist out on my own hair will look like when i achieve this length. The weave was purchased at 14 inches and has been trimmed to about 12 inches with layers .

To achieve second day hair, i simply added a little Eco Styler gel and put a cornrow in the front, 3-strand twisting the rest of the hanging hair. I then pineappled the hair in the back and put on my bonnest and went to sleep, these are the results:
Not too shabby right? Although it looks natural, as I work in a salon and most people are confused and can't tell where my hair is, i still think i can work on making it look a little more natural so this will be a part of my goal with these braid outs and twist outs.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Experiments in Curlyweaveland + Video Questions

On Wednesday evening I washed my hair, detangled it, and did 2 cornrows in the front to help blend my hair with the weave hair. I let the back air dry a little and then pineappled it, put my bonnet on and went to bed. It didn't dry by morning time so I left the braids in and went to work. Luckily I thought about it possibly not drying from the night before so I tried to braid the braids in a way that would look okay to wear out of the house, so i wore my dream catcher feather earrings and kind of went with a native look. I should have taken a full length picture because my outfit was nice that day but it gets so busy that sometimes i forget. Either way, I took a picture of my hair at the end of the day and this was the outcome. I got a lot of compliments and little did they know it was supposed to be a braid out, lol. I finally did the braid out yesterday but I didn't get to take a picture because my cousin kinda ruined it by running her fingers through it :( It's okay though :) It led me to want to try to twist out my whole head so I'm trying a twist and curl of sorts tonight...  I had been wearing my hair they way it was in the photos in my last post, two flat twists rolled back, and I really wanted to try wearing it all out.
I did 5 on the scalp flat 2 strand twists using Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel, but when I twisted down to the end of my head, I twisted the remainder of the hanging hair as a 3 strand twist, then 2 strand twisted the very ends and wrapped them on perm rods. I've never done a 3 strand twist out on myself before because this seems like it's probably easier done on hair that has a bit of length, so this weave enables me to try it. I sat under the dryer for about 30 minutes and plan to let it air dry while i sleep for like another 10 hours so i hope it's dry by the time i have to go to work tomorrow. I'm going to try to get up a little earlier in case I need to sit under the dryer for a little while, so I'll see the outcome in the morning. I'm excited  because I'm feeling like this is going to come out really beautifully so i'll be sure to snap a few flicks!
If I like the outcome I would be open to doing a tutorial and later trying it on my own hair!

I also had a question: Are there any things you all would like for me to do a video on specifically? Any style you had in mind and are wondering how to execute on your TWA or longer hair? I'm looking for some creative ideas of what people would like to learn how to do! Leave your comments, I can't wait to hear em'!

Bantu Knot-Out Side Pin-up

Since I've been making an effort to wear my hair "stretched out" (so I can continue the search and destroy method of cutting off splits and single strand knots) I stumbled upon doing a bantu-knot out. Both SP and I have done them, and I forgot how much I love 'em.

I washed my hair Wednesday night, and let it dry in a bun. On Thursday night I set my bantu-knots with Jane Carter Wrap and Roll using a single-strand twist, and secured with bobby pins. Friday morning I unwrapped the knots with some Vatika Oil on my hands and they were shiny and defined, but still a little damp on one side. I think I was too "generous" with the wrap and roll and bantu-knots already take so long to dry. So because I didn't want my hair to frizz up mid-day and because I like side-updos, I used a bunch of bobby pins and pinned up my hair, from the back and towards the side.

I really liked the way it came out and I got a lot of compliments at work; best of all I have second day hair, can't beat that! I'll try to make a tutorial sometime during the week, because I am most likely going to be wearing them like this.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Being Natural DOES NOT Mean You're Enlightened

I'll admit that I am one of those folks who believe that for women of color, specifically black women, hair isn't just hair. It's a statement. It means something. As much as we wish that it didn't, our hair evokes questions, demands, anger, happiness, relief, explanations, and dismissal. It can shame our family, or show pride in them. Hair isn't just hair and that's a fact.

What I've come to be even more shell-shocked about is the belief that naturals are better. When first scouring the online natural hair community I suddenly felt like I belonged somewhere. Naturalistas seemed non-judgemental, they came in all shades, textures and walks of life. I felt "virtually" accepted by folks who only knew my by my online name and hair texture. Little by little I opened up and people reciprocated. It felt great. But not everything is rosy. Not everything is well. Naturals are people first (duh) and have their own values and beliefs. In a lot of ways my feelings started getting hurt and I've been slowly shying away, because the natural hair world isn't the safe space I thought it would be. I don't expect everyone to ever agree on everything, and no one should have to bare the responsibility of representing for an entire group of people but the negativity has really been taking a toll on me and my journey.

I dislike the hair hierarchies we have. I don't really deal with the hair-typing system for two reasons: the first being it doesn't really explain anything to me about how the hair functions, and the second is that it seems to have created a division amongst naturals who say things like "Only type 4's struggle, type 3s have it easier and can't really complain" or discouraging the "type 4's" from having great hair because they feel their hair type is the worst ever. I'm sick of the natural hair police determining for someone else whether they are natural or not because they color their hair or straighten it. I don't like the snobby attitudes about products and the philosophies of others. Sometimes the ideological differences do bother me, not because of the belief but how it's used to again, separate people and it hurts.

I don't know if others have felt this way, but honestly right now I only feel safe on my own blog space. I've been posting on the forums and a couple of blogs I'm comfortable with, but overall I'm discouraged and dismayed. I'm not trying to be negative which is why I have stopped short of naming the certain instances that led me to rant write about all this, but I'm hoping that this little blog with a handful of readers is at least welcoming to others. *Sigh*

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Curly Weave

In preparation for my weave, I blew out my fro and wore it out for the day as i went to pick up my hair and run a few errands. It's been a few weeks since i blew out my fro and i'm happy to see that it has grown, especially since i just trimmed my hair last week. I parted out the sections of hair i wanted to leave out and twisted them up, then proceeded to braiding the rest. Here's the outcome:

 I love it! They did such a great job with blending the color for me, using 1b mixed with burgundy. The hair is called Jheri Curl from Lugo's Mecca of hair located on 1st Avenue between 12th and 13th streets and I got it sewn at the longest length for this texture of hair which is 14 inches. I cut it a bit of course to shape it after I installed it. I'm going to do my best to keep it for 2 months which should give me about another inch and push me closer to full neck length which im making my halloween goal. I will probably straighten my hair sometime after taking out this weave too. I love this weave!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 steps to TWA Bob-ery!

SO.... My hair is looking more and more like a bob now... yay!
This Bob style was actually discovered accidentally so these are the steps i took, and will continue to use to re-create this look as my hair grows:

1. Wash hair, add leave in conditioner and gel and smooth hair back into 2 buns for drying and stretching.
I did my buns in the morning before going to work so i wore them for the entire day, about 12-14 hours. When i returned home my hair was still not dry in the middle, which led to the next step...
2. Once buns are mostly dry or dry, take them out, add a favorite moisturizer (I used coconut oil), and without disturbing the smoothness of the front of your hair, separate each ponytail in half and band all the way down so you end up with 4 banded ponys, put a bonnet or scarf to tie them down and go to sleep!
I like to band my pony's to already face in a downward motion so my hair will want to hang instead of stick up...
3. In the morning, take out your banded pony's and fluff and separate your curls with a favorite oil or serum for minimal frizz. 
If you want the front to stay flat like i did, do not disturb it, simply add some moisture for shine and fluff only in the back, lifting with a pic at the roots if desired.

Seem simple enough?! I can't wait to continue to try this as my hair gets longer and longer!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

TWA Glam/Rock Fro-Hawk

 So since I'm working in a salon now and my hair has gotten a little longer, making it a little easier for styling (at times), I've been trying to do my best with switching it up and trying new styles, on top of trying to dress stylish in all black everyday, which for me is like uhg. I'm a colorful person so dressing in black feels very limiting, so I've just tried to buy what i would normally wear in color, in black... and then just accessorize the hell out myself and beat my face a little more than usual.
This Mohawk is the result of a 2 day old twist out that was done with 3 large flat two strand twists and slept with a bonnet. I originally twisted my hair with Aveda's Humectant Pomade and Eco Styler Olive Oil gel on freshly washed, damp hair, and then slept on to dry. It didn't dry completely in the morning so i lightly blowdried the twists before taking them out, then untwisted with *A NEW PRODUCT!!!* I'm not even going to mention it in this post... it needs it's own post! Anyhoo.....  So after sleeping on my twist out i decided to do something with it because the sides of my hair weren't looking cute at all. I fluffed my hair out into a little afro to wear to work, and when i got there decided to try a doing a full faux-hawk since i haven't done that with my natural hair in years.... as a matter of fact, the last time i did a full faux-hawk with my hair, it was texturized and i had just turned 18... no really... That was my 18th birthday... lol
While at work i used Aveda's Flax Seed Aloe Gel to smooth the sides upward in mohawk-ery fashion, and then started adding booby pins, with the short side down from the back/ bottom of my head, to the front hairline, interlocking them while pushing them in. This helps to keep the pins and your hair style nice and tight; I used about 12-14 pins for this hairstyle, 6-7 on each side. Once i got my mohawk up and in place, i then tugged the hair in the mohawk in different spots to get it to hang the way i wanted. For my little curls in the front, as a last step I smoothed a few choice curls with Aveda's Be Curly Curl Enhancer, and Eureka! Glam Rock Fro-Hawk!

And oh yeah... I guess i should mention that i rinsed my hair again =) This time i used some cheap brand from the BSS called Adore in Violet Gem... Loving it!

What new styles have you tried or bought back from the past?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hair Lately....

So here's a little update on what's been going on with her majesty:
A month ago, i learned i can fit her into 2 pigtails/buns; I'd definitely call that a new milestone!
 A blowout from 2 weeks ago pulled back with a headband
Fresh out the shower and then twisted out the next day (Her majesty was 2-strand flat twisted into 4 big twists with a little conditioner left in and Olive Oil Eco-Styler Gel)
A wash and go with Eco Styler Gel and the roots blown out after it dried.

 So these styles are basically all that has been going on with my hair for like the past 2 months because i've been too busy to do anything else really and i've still been at awkward lengths. My hair feels like it's jjuuuussstttt about to be out of TWA land... i can't wait!!! I plan to do a weave on myself this weekend because i'm getting my first paycheck!!! I've been wanting to do this weave FOREVER but with a lack of time, money, and length, I had to wait a while. It's a weave i've done on myself a few times before so i know i love it, only thing is i've done it when my hair was relaxed so it'll be fun to see how doing twist outs and sets to blend my hair will go. Here's the weave when i did it before I went to Brazil back  in 2008:

So excited!!!