Monday, October 31, 2011

Old School: Greasing Natural Hair

There's been seeing a lot of chatter lately about hair grease and how naturals have been ashamed to come forward and say they use it. It's been said that grease is no-no because of ingredients like mineral oil. Here are our opinions on it's usage:

Curly Film Chick: I used to use Indian Hemp all the time for my scalp because it was always itchy and flaking; this turned out to be a bad idea because it made my scalp flake with gross gooey stuff. I found that my scalp is at it's best now because I wash my hair frequently and apply either tea tree or coconut oil to it. Products with mineral oil at the top of the list really clog my pores and leave my hair feeling funky so I tend to avoid. However, I'm open to the idea sealing my hair with some sort of "grease." Maybe I should try Indian Hemp on my ends and see what happens?

SP Styles: I'm in the same boat as Curly Film Chick, growing up on the blue and green Dax & African Pride (you know, the one with all the specks of stuff... what's that about anyway?) which my mom used to use to twist my hair after washing, grease my scalp, or of course the good ol' grease, water, and a brush to slick natural hair into a ponytail. Once I got to junior high/ high school I was using Doo Grow, the light formula for my light strands and optimism in it's promises to grow my hair. It's funny because (secretly) I had started to every once in  while use some of the grease I had in my product closet when my hair was feeling a little dry to seal in the moisture. It's cool sometimes.

So what about you guys? Have you given up on grease? We have a poll set up on the sidebar about hair grease usage so please vote and feel free to let us know your thoughts!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Natural @ Wilhelmina

I don't know if I've yet to, or when was the last time I updated my employment status, but I am no longer working at the Scott J. Aveda salon. My heart was never into the salon environment, especially the fast paced high end salon environment of New York. People working as though it's a hair factory, on 1/2 hour or 45 minute time blocks, depending on the clients length, textures, and desires. In my opinion there are a lot of hair types out there that require more time with  most processes, aside from just the simple task of detangling, which while rushing can lead to a calamity of issues for your tresses, breakage and split ends to name a few. Long story short, I went back to doing editorial full time. I also finally started my own website so click here to check it out. In my latest ventures back into full time editorial and making the choice to be committed to staying a freelance artist, I was offered an opportunity to interview at Wilhelmina ... so yeah... I start tomorrow! I'm so excited and I had to come and share with you all because I have a new challenge:
High Fashion Natural TWA Styles!
I'm exicted to put my creativity to the test when it comes to my hair, to be professional and represent natural hair to the fashion community right! Walking through Wilhelmina to interview I didn't see any noticeably natural heads anywhere in the agency so I was a little nervous. So much so that I even thought of giving myself a weave... but then a comment was made to me that I was hired that way so they probably liked me with my natural hair... TRUE. Why didn't I think of that? Lol 
This will most definitely be a challenge for me but I'm ready and I plan to look Damn Good! lol (Let me calm my sassy pants down) Something tells me to stick to twist outs, so I rinsed my hair blue/black again last night and did my six, side parted two strand flat twists. I let them dry while I slept and wore them all day today with intentions to take them out tomorrow. I want to try something new too... Before I take the twists out, I want to saran wrap them and sit under  the dryer for about 10 minutes and see if it makes the twist out set come out a little smoother or silkier or something...
I'm so excited for these new developments... stay tuned for outfit, makeup and hair posts!

Do you all have any Corporate/Conservative/High Fashion natural TWAstyle ideas for me? Whether it's words, a link, a photo, a video, or a sketch, please send it my way, it will be gladly appreciated!

Hair For the Week: Flat-twists Using African Threading

Okay, so my hair is back to curly. No issues with reversion or straight pieces; the trim really made my hair feel a lot better. I was so eager to wash my hair because I was ready to try something new with my hair: African threading. I saw this video  by YouTuber GirlsLoveYourCurls and got so damn excited with how accessible and versatile this technique seemed. Apparently this is also known as Ghana Plaits, but from what I understand, the technique is used throughout West Africa. Anywho, I headed to the beauty supply store and asked for some weaving thread (hoping the lady knew what I was talking about because I am very much a beauty supply store virgin) and behold! I was presented with a thick black thread. Here is an example of what I started to do:

I was really trying to get a feel for the technique which I got used to after a while. So I did this for the back half of my hair, then when I got to the front I did some flat-twists as well

Wore my hair back today
These pictures are actually from when I was recording--yes I made a very (clumsy) attempt to record myself doing this style. You can still see the thread hanging from my ends because I hadn't cut them yet. I'm going to try to edit this video so you all can see how I did my hair. Although I definitely need more practice, I really like this style. It's a great way to stretch out your hair and can be while it's wet or dry. I did it on damp hair--I shampoo'd, deep conditioned, and used TresSeme Naturals as a leave-in and sealed with both Coconut Oil and Oyin's Whipped Pudding. I will be trying this again very soon.

Have any of you tried African Threading??

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hair For the Week: Straight Natural (With Ponytail Amusement)

Good morning folks! So last week I got my hair straightened by none other then SPStyles (she's the only stylist I can always trust to do my hair). And boy, did she tackle my mane! It was washed, conditioned, blow-dried, flat-ironed and trimmed. I've definitely retained length; my hair is actually crawling to the bra-strap area.

These pictures aren't official "length shots" or anything, and actually I'm pretty sure I took these a day or two after I got it done. Having it straight made me realize how massive my hair is and how much I've been appreciating it--my hair has never been this healthy and long and I've been natural my whole life! I didn't really wear my hair down because this past week was windy and rainy, which was fine because I went straight for the ponytail, which amused me because of how full my hair was in these ponytails. I love wearing big, poofy side ponytails but this was a nice change up...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Todays Hairstyle: Inspired Natural Grecian Updo/Puff

Today, while thinking of what to do with yesterday's twist out, I came across this really cute style and decided to give it a try!

At first I thought the middle part would look funny on me with my long face shape but I actually like it. Cute, quick, and easy style, I'll say it took me all of 5-10 minutes... Thanks Dominique!
On my way to my cousin's dance class now... Peace!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reflecting on My First Ever "Big Chop"

I was going through some photos on my facebook page and happened to come across a photo from when I did my very first "Big Chop" back when i was still in cosmetology school in 2008. If you're a regular reader then you may know i'm not particularly a fan of the BC term, as to me the term just sounds horrible and scary, but for the sake of 'Laymen's terms', I'll just call it that today -_-
Anyhoo... I realized upon seeing this picture, that I've basically BC'ed every year from 2008-2010, and all for extremely different reasons.
Weave I sported to Brazil
The first time i big chopped was in the fall of 2008. I had went to Brazil to visit my family with that curly red weave I had mentioned a couple of posts ago... You remember... this one:
Haircut I was sporting at the time
So during this particular visit to Brazil, I had shown my family a photo of the haircut I was rocking at the time and they loved it and nearly begged me to take my weave out because most women there all sport long curly or straight hair... so I did.  Since I was wearing the curly weave, I hadn't given myself a touch-up relaxer because I needed the little kinky-ness in the roots for the weave to blend, so naturally upon taking the weave out, and being in Brazil in a warm climate, I figured if I was going to wear my hair out it would be best if I touched up my roots. So, with all of the hair knowledge I thought I had, I went to the beauty supply and bought the relaxer I had applied on my cousin's hair about a week before. 20 minutes later... my hair DIED! I wanted to cry but I didn't because I needed to hold my composure in front of my family. My hair before the Brazilian relaxer was gorgeous, healthy, shiny, bouncy and full of life, but this hair after relaxing felt like straw. Literal Straw... I could have put a broom on my head that felt better! To achieve the beautiful hairstyle I used to wear with my short haircut, I would rollerset my hair and it would have body, shape, movement, and last me about a week. After killing my hair, it wouldn't hold a curl, a set, straightening, nothing I tell ya! I mean I was sooooo in love with my short haircut (The Rihanna before Rihanna people called it or the Kelis, lol) so I was super devastated. Cheap plastic-y  weaves even felt better than my hair.
What exactly went wrong? At the time, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of relaxers out there, I just assumed there was Lye and No Lye, so when i finally looked everything up and realized what had happened, i realized there was a different chemical agent in this Brazilian relaxer, Guanidine Hydroxide! For information on the different types of relaxers out there, I found this great site that really breaks it down, so click HERE to learn about the different chemical relaxing agents.
Long story short, the dead hair wouldn't do ANYTHING. It looked like straw, it felt like straw, it snapped off like straw. So after a month or two of fighting it and wearing a wig, about a month after returning to cosmetology school, i chopped my hair off. Did I love it? NO! But me not being one to mope, or want others to see me feeling insecure, i rocked it. Yes, after about 2 or 3 months I relaxed my hair again; Not that I didn't like my hair, but I just didn't want short natural hair. Had it been longer.... Had I knew then what I know now, I would have started my healthy hair journey and never would have turned back, and I'd have the long natural hair I've been yearning for. I will commend myself for always wanting to go with health over length, which is why most styles generally looked good on me. Now, 3 "Big Chops" later, I can say I've embraced myself with short natural hair. Although I'm over having short hair right now and can't wait to feel my curls cascading down my back, I still want to some day try a ceasar... Someday... lol

Have you "big chopped" more than once? What have your experiences taught you? 
Showing off my magenta hair & Brows
under my foil hat my classmate made for me, lol

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Young, Curly and Fabulous - Another Curly Perspective

Please join us in welcoming our newest contributor to YAIS, Ariel. She is a college student hailing from NYC and currently studying Fine Arts in San Francisco. She was featured as a Style Icon at Black Girl Long Hair and between studying and creating her art she will be contributing to the blog a couple of times a month; show her some love!

Art student, poet, visual artist, amateur chef, social commentator, sister, friend, daughter, procrastinator, and full time daydreamer. *Phew*. Oh, and did I forget to mention I'm a 3b, no poo, bleach-blonde (for the moment) curly? I bet you're wondering how I balance pigment stripped hair, two online classes, two studio classes, and a life.

I've been a natural my whole life, and I didn't have my first real roller set at a salon until I was fourteen. I know that's not every little girls story, and some curls are late in life which is totally fine. Hair at the end of the day is hair. I never had a choice; after a lifetime of perms my mother never wanted either of her girls to have one. But as any normal teenage girl, I wanted to rebel. My mother loved my curls so I straightened them in all the wrong ways. I've flat ironed my hair wet, slathered it in Dax, hot combed it, blown it out, colored it black and bleached it to blonde with a 40 volume. In case you didn't know, all those things are bad. I'm not a professional, but I do have a crap load of experience in damage control. I can save me some damaged hair like nobodies business.

Now that I think about it, I use to tell myself I didn't want a perm because it had the potential to damage my hair. Honestly coloring is not that much different. I choose to be curly because I love my hair. I like that I can have a neon yellow bone straight style, a hot pink fro, or have ebony black finger waves. You don't ever really know who you'll be tomorrow. With that being said I feel like just as unknown as the future me is, my hair should reflect that unpredictability.As silly as it may be hair means something to me; as impossible as it is to find a decent black hair salon out here in San Francisco (that doesn't require you to give up your first born child for a wash and set) I would never perm my head. I look at my hair in the mirror an I see potential. I see that it needs attention, care, I see that its wild and romantic, its strong, I see my blackness (or should I say I can see my Africa showing). I see me in my hair every morning. So, if I can depart some words that might
make others feel similar so shall it be.

Questions for Ariel? Send an email to: (at) gmail (dot) com with "Ariel" in the subject line, or just leave a comment below!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Twisted and Braided TWA Updo + Fun Makeup!

Yes, another video, and this one was actually filmed within 6 months of posting, lmfao.
I've been sick for the past couple of days with a cold, and not only have I been physically sick, but i've been sick of detangling, single strand knots and dryness, so with my scratchy throat and runny nose, I decided I couldn't take it anymore and got to styling... 
I had no specific style in mind, although I would say I was inspired by Curly Film Chick's many 2-strand twisted hairstyles which is what had me starting with the twisted bang area. The rest I totally freestyled, keeping in mind that I didnt want any hair hanging, and the back of my hair is soft and would slip out of twists. This updo was done on an old twist out that was picked out. I parted my hair into 5 sections, one for the bang area, and then 4 equal sections, with 4 flat twists in both front sections going inward towards the back/middle of my head. The back sections consist of 4 cornrows on either side, going inwards towards the middle/back of my head. Once all braiding and twisting was done, i twisted all of the braids and twists together, tucked where ever needed, and used booby pins to secure the style. I wasn't crazy about the bang area hanging but i love the way it looks with it pincurled in a pin-up sort of way.  One thing I did think of when doing this style was versatility and i like that I can take the bang area out and wear it as a twist-out or even put in regular 2 strand twists!

I only used 2 products while doing my hair: Shea Moisture Curl Enhacing Smoothie and Herbal Essences Split End Mender (which i quickly flashed in the video). I plan to keep this in for about a week and I'm hoping I actually stick to what I say this time! 
A shot of my makeup before I started doing my hair

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Styling My Straightened TWA

So Ladies and Gents, I know this is horrible but I made this video for you all back in February when i straightened and styled my hair and never got to post it... So without any further ado...

Hair For the week: Curly Twists

So I went from being really lost with how to style my hair to coming up with a style I really like. It's funny- I parted my hair into four sections like usual and started doing two strand twists in the back. When it came to the front half of my hair I had no idea what to do, so I decided to wait till the following morning (Monday) to do something. And here was the outcome:

Not to bad right? Another variation on single twists in the back, and flat-twists in the front. For some reason I still wasn't satisfied, so I went a little further.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Playing with Protective Styling Ideas: TWA Updos

As most of you can see, I dont protective style much although i'm trying to get back into a better routine of doing so, my problem mostly is that I'm tired of looking the same way, and a lot of other styles just aren't me...
 I can easily create a lot of twisted and braided styles to wear but with being conscious about my thin hairline/hair and just not liking the overall look.. I tend to lean towards more loose styling alternatives. Now don't get me wrong, I more than definitely plan to wear more twisted and braided styles, but the twist and braid looks I'm going for are looks that are on longer hair, because I'm not a fan of how most short braided and twisted styles look on me. I also must always keep in mind my personality and professional appearance when i'm styling my hair because as a hairstylist, my hair really reflects my talents and who I am.
I also keep having the problem of braiding my hair too tight and needing to take it out right away... I'm not a super tight braider, but i braid very secure for it to be neat, making sure every strand is accounted for, so by the end with all the braids together it starts to feel tight and I just can't take it. Last week I was going to try braiding my hair into a protective style but by the time I was done with 3 braids it was feeling tight already and  I couldn't do another.... so I decided to free-style the rest of the hairstyle with 
flat twists and hairpins.. lol

I didn't care about neatness in the "kitchen" (still don't know why its called that... Is it because that's where you keep the peas? Lol.. No seriously?) area, I just used my hands to flat twist, roll, pin and tuck what ever I felt and however it came out was surely how I was going to wear it. I added no extra products while doing this and my hair was done on an old twist out, which explains the bang area. 
I quickly made this style messy when I passed a hat vendor and came across this slouchy cutie which I immediately shoved on my head and wore for the rest of the day! The only thing is... since i wasn't wearing a bonnet, it dried my hair out a whole heck of a lot. Some oil treatments and a few DC's later... all is well with your majesty.

What To Do With This Hair of Mine?




Hey there natural hair enthusiasts!

So shots A-C show my general cluelessness about what to do with my hair for the week. It's been clarified, deep conditioned and air-dried in bun (a sleek one I might add, for a 90th birthday party I had to attend yesterday for a relative) and now I'm up  this morning and full of energy, with no idea on how to style it. Should I do curl formers? A Twist-out? Should I do a protective style like twists or box braids? Bun it? Alas, the possibilities seem endless.

I plan on relaxing today and tomorrow (since I'm off from work) and I have some time to play in my hair. I've been having the urge to wear it straight for a bit, which usually happens when I'm utterly bored and need a drastic change up so that might be coming within the next couple of weeks. But for right now, what should I do ladies and gents? How should I style my hair for the week?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bad Comment About Your Natural Hair? "Dust Your Shoulders Off"

--You're at a party with family you haven't seen in a while. You're loving the way you look and your twist out looks gorgeous. A cousin tells you that you shouldn't be wearing your hair like that because it's upsetting an aunt, showing up with "nappy" hair.

--You've just mastered a new hairstyle. You've been practicing it for weeks and finally you've gotten your hair to look amazing. Your significant other (boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife) really isn't feeling the look and tells you so.

-- Another celebrity once again sounds off about wanting someone with good hair, and you know your hair type isn't what they have in mind.

--Your parents are asking you when you're going to do something about "that hair of yours."

-- At work, you are told by another black co-workeryour braids/locks/twists are inappropriate and will not get you a promoted

-- A friend has offered to straighten your hair for you and you know they mean well but it's still rubbing you the wrong way.

What do you do?

Dust your shoulders off.

I know it can be tough because the people who are the closest to you may be the ones who are making these comments. But take a moment today to just look at your curls/coils/waves and appreciate who you are and what you've got, whether you're transitioning or fully natural. And once you've done that, feel free to let us know what you've discovered about loving your hair! Let's keep positive vibes!