Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hair Crush: Kelis

Long, short, straight or curly, brightly colored or dark and lovely, Kelis' hair is awesome. Other cool things about her: She's a Grammy-nominated artist, a singer-songwriter, plays instruments, and is from Harlem!  I don't listen to her music like that, but it's really hard not to pay attention to her because of how fun and creative her hair (and make up!) always looks. I think those with natural hair love her too; a quick google search reveals blogs gushing over her TWA and curls. When I think about being bold and cool, she immediately comes to mind. If I ever cut my hair short (wink) Kelis would definitely be my inspiration. There are so many looks to admire of hers, sad that I can only include a few to keep this post short!

I love this color and cut!

What are your favorite Kelis looks??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday's TWA Twist - Out Pompadour Updo

 On Sunday night I washed my hair, detangled and put it in 5 flat twists, done with Care Free Curl Instant Moisturizer, Shea Moisture curl enhancing smoothie, and Eco Styler Olive Oil gel. The next morning I untwisted and wasn't really loving the way my hair was hanging so I came up with this out of the blue...

 I loved the definition of the curls in the front so I decided to make a side hump with it. I then figured I could do two rolls up the back so i just split it with my fingers and started rolling upwards and inwards, pinning as I rolled. When i got to the top I added a little gel to the edges and brushed it back for a smoother effect, and folded the hair behind the hump over itself and the sprouts of hair coming out of the rolls. This took me like 5 minutes because I was in a rush so I'm sure i can do it better and I may try again tomorrow, or some type of rendition of this. I wish I could have gotten a photo of what I was wearing that day but I threw in a photo of with my shirt and necklace.
I just have to take a moment to give a "Woop! Woop!" for bargain shopping because I was wearing a silk vintage Bloomingdales shirt which I paid $6 for at Salvation Army, a necklace I think I remember paying about $10 for at Forever21, and Cheap Monday boots that are $115 online which I got for $29.99 in store at Urban outfiiters! I love having the look I want for less.
Back to my hair... I'm just really trying to retain some length, keep it moisturized, wear my scarf at night and protective style a little so here's one of my feeble attempts... Of course someone said I look like Janelle Monae, Lol.

(excuse the mean mug, that was my 'trying to be incognito so no one would catch me snapping pics of myself in the bathroom face,' lol.)
What do you think of this as a conservative hairstyle for work?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Avocado Deep Conditioner & Hair Updates

I don't know if I've shared this yet, but ever since I came back from Tampa 4 weeks ago, my hair has been acting a little funky; it's been drier and there's some breakage and I'm positive it was the water down there as well as the up-and-down temperatures here in NYC. I've been trying to restore my hair and I think it's getting back to normal. I've been washing my hair twice a week (usually Sundays and Wednesdays) and using Aphogee Two Minute Re-constructor every other wash day which seems to be doing it's job but nothing to dance about. My shedding is normal and I'm not seeing so many "short hairs" so I think progress is being made.

This past washday (Sunday) I decided  to deep condition with Avocado. Avocado is said to be great for hair and excellent for your body as well, which is just as important. I mixed it with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Honey, left it on my hair for about an hour.

 There are other avocado recipes that use mayo and coconut milk, but I didn't feel like mixing that in my hair. Turns out that this recipe worked just fine; my hair was fully moisturized and my natural shine is on full blast. I set my hair in some curl formers using Jane Carter Wrap and Roll for a "soft curl" look, and fluffed it out a bit. I didn't care much for having "defined" curls this time around.

Also I found something to cover my ears for the cold and thought it looked cute with my curls. I bought it in SoHo, in this little market on Broadway Saturday night when I realized that my ears were freezing and that I would be out all night.

Have you guys tried an Avocado Deep Conditioner?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hair Memories: Males Helping You With Haircare?

I remember a few times as a kid where my mother hadn't braided my hair and sent me to my father's house in Brooklyn. I grew up Muslim and mostly had my hair covered, but my hair still had to be neatly groomed to fit a scarf over my head!

 Age 8 with one of my younger sisters, "N"
I've always had a lot of hair and it seemed to frighten my father whenever he had to manage it by either ponytails or braids, neither which he could do! Once when I was about 6, we stood in front of the full length mirror trying to pull all my hair back. I was annoyed because what he was doing was NOT how my mother or Nana did it; he was using Vaseline and water to slick my strands back, and by that I mean that he "sprinkled" water on my head with vaseline just sitting there on top; and I have no idea what he was trying to use as a ponytail holder. Am I doing this right? he kept asking. Eventually I shoo'd his hands out of my hair and took matters into my own hands and decided to do my own ponytail. Hey - it was better then him trying to deal with my hair!

To this day, my father does not deal with hair. My younger brothers have thick bouncy wavy/curly hair and he keeps it cut low; when one of my other sisters "A" - who has the same texture as mine but with larger curls - was younger, he would always ask me to put it in braids because he had no idea what to do with it ("A" also tried to convince my dad at age 10 to let her have a relaxer, and he would've had I not explained to him what a relaxer was). The point is my father seems mystified and bewildered about haircare with three girls, and while he marvels at how nice it looks, I will forever remember his attempts that could've made me bald.

Since I'm a "grown-up" now I do my own hair. Occasionally Mr. Smooth helps me wash and comb it, and he used to help me take my box braids and twists out. I told him that if we were to procreate, hair care for the rugrats would probably fall on me but that he needs to have some skills so that the poor children don't look back on their childhood pictures and remember that their dad did that to them.

Do any of you have memories of Dads or Uncles trying to do your hair? If you have kids, do you let their fathers or other males in the family tackle hair care? Share with us!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sisterly Advice: Keeping Natural Hair Moisturized in the Winter

One of my sisters, who's in college in Boston, called me not to long ago telling me that she wanted to deviate from her "box-braids routine" and wear her hair "out" for a little while and wanted to know what products she could use to keep her hair moisturized. I'm always excited when one of my sisters or cousins (and even my fiance's relatives) call to ask me what they should do or use on their hair, makes me feel like I may be doing something right with my haircare. I especially feel pleased when this particular sister calls me about hair stuff because I'm the one who convinced her not to ever relax it and promised I'd show her how to "rock what she got"-which is how I became interested in blogging about hair in the first place!

Anyway, I texted her a basic answer so that she could refer back to it later and then I thought I should also post about it, because it might help other inquiring minds. So again, the question is: How Can I keep My Hair Moisturized in the Winter? What Products Should I Use?
My Answer: To keep your hair from drying out, it's not just having the right product but the art of sealing your hair. This basically involves using a water-based product (ex. conditioner), and locking in the moisture with an oil (ex. coconut) or butter (ex. shea).

My sister also expressed not wanting to have to wet her hair everyday for moisture - after all it's winter time and no one wants to walk outside with wet hair. I recommended that she spritz her hair as needed with a home made mixture (in her case, she's always been good with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and water) or buying a spritz. I personally swear by Oyin's Frank Juice, but she may want something she can buy locally.

At this point, I turn it over to you folks. Any product recommendations for my sister or tips you want to share for winter hair care? She'll be watching this post!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Why is MY natural hair good enough for you but yours isn't?

This may sound strange, but the title from this post stemmed from a few compliments, that I sort of read as an insult...
So for Turkey-day (sorry, don't really celebrate, just eat) I wore my hair in a twist out Fro because I didnt have time to really style my twist out. It came out pretty cute and all I did was untwist my 6 flat twist and finger comb them, then pulled in different directions to fill in any spaces as I ran out the door with my potluck contributions...
Everyone was raving about how good my hair looked, cute, curly, soft and healthy and how they wished they could wear their hair like mine. The crazy thing is, the people who were raving about my hair the most, that being my cousin and my mother, are both natural now too with gorgeous hair and neither ever wear their hair out. They both complimment my styles and tell me when they favor a certain style over another, but when it comes to their own natural hair, they just aren't comfortable with it until it gets longer. I really just don't get it.
Now, to give them the benefit of the doubt, they are both 30+ and have been relaxed since their teens up until about a year or 2 ago (thanks to me putting the natural bug in their ears).  I understand them being used to themselves with long straight hair, but my mother has had short hair before, my cousin never has... What's wrong with trying something new for a change anyway? My mother usually wears her hair in a bun everyday, my cousin's in a wet and wavy weave ponytail everyday (their transitioning styles basically).
I guess where my offense comes in is when I'm complimented so much on my hair, but you have the same, if not nicer hair on your head that you won't do anything with but want to question the hell out of me about my hair.
(My little cousin sporting a cute bow-tied scarf around her TWA, none other than Moi, and my mother with her gorgeus natural hair flatironed)
Friends & Family: Omg! I love your hair! What did you do to it? I love those curls and its so soft! What do you use? 
Me: Oh thanks! This is a twist out i just raked my fingers through and hoped to not look crazy, lol. You can check the blog for info and tips and everthing else too.
Friends & Family: Yeah I love the blog but Wow, your hair, i really love it. So cute, beautiful.
Me: Why don't you try it? You're natural now, and you can do this, 2 strand twists are easy and your hair is longer than mine and beautiful. You can even have the curls without the afro look if you want...
Friends & Family: No..uumm..yeahhh seeee....nah...i don't ... uuh..think...uuhhh...  yeah not yet... when it gets longer... but it looks good on you though...
Me: :::silence::: -__-

It just makes me feel like if long hair is all a lot of people are really comfortable with, how do they truly feel about my hair? Is it more like "it's beautiful...but its short"or "it's so short... but its cute"? Am I just supposed to wear all the cute short hair for everybody but its not good enough for anyone else? I don't know, maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but I can't help but to feel a certain way... or maybe I should just be happy that I have enough confidence to love my hair at any length...

What do you think? Do any of you ever go through situations like these where some compliments leave you to feel anything but complimented?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beyonce's Natural Hair

Beyonce, our biggest star since Michael Jackson. So just as everyone was all up in his business, everyone is in hers as well. We all love her for her amazing talent, captivating her audience by first glance and note, her moves like Jagger, and let's not forget all the amazing Lace Front Wigs that come with her (like she's "Weaving Fun Beyonce"). It's funny because I'm really not one to be starstruck or worship celebrities, but upon entering the online natural hair community, aside from Solange seeming to be the first black woman to go through a real hair journey in the Media, everyone wants to know if Beyonce is natural and what is her hair texture!

I've seen people with their own Fotki albums arguing Beyonce's hair and texture. A lot of people argued that she had beautiful, loose wavy curls that look pretty much like her weaves because she was "creole", while other's argued that if her sister's hair was tighter and coarser, then she must have that hair too. Both of these statements, as a professional hairstylist I can say are not true. Being a particular race does not ensure you a certain texture , nor does the fact that 2 people with the same exact parents would have the same exact hair. Prime example, I, even with a mulatto parent do not have any particular "mulatto defining" hair, and Curly Film Chick and her sister share the same 2 parents and their hair textures and curl patterns are completely different, though equally beautiful. Another thing we can not forget is how amazing weaves can be. Weaves are supposed to and should be installed to look natural, so there is also possibility that the hair we've been thinking is her natural hair, has been somehow enhanced with tracks or is a weave.

After watching her video "I Was Here" Live @ the Roseland it bought back the thoughts of what her natural hair was like, seeing her hair as a child. My conclusion? Well....
Beyonce definitely has hair of her own. I think she's also making a little too much money to be caught out there bald headed under a weave... even Jay would tell her to take care of that I'd think, lol.
Do I believe she has some length?
Yes, and she seems to also go through phases of being colored or growing her natural color out.
Do you think she has some sort of relaxer or texturizer?
It's hard to say, being that I've never seen or touched her hair or even have been up close to it. From photos, I would say I believe she has a texturizer. Tighter waves and curls can be seen at her root/natural hair line, then going into a looser curl/wave. In the video, as a child, her hair appears very similar, but it's not impossible for her to have had a texturizer as a child as well. If she is fully natural, she could be doing sets, braid outs, and twist outs to achieve these curly/wavy looks, since her roots do appear much tighter. Even in the photo with her dark hair pulled back, you can see the wave pattern is smaller than that of a loose wave or curl.
Do you think the natural looks are weaves or her hair? 
I believe she is wearing her natural hair out, even if she adds tracks for fullness and/or length. Regardless of anything, this gorgeous woman does appear to have a beautiful head of hair of her own.
(Now remember, these are my opinions from a hair stylist's stand point and I am not implying that any of my statements are particularly factual)
What do you all think of Beyonce's natural hair? 


I came across this photo on the web the other day, a throwback of Beyonce sporting a natural look. Look at those tight waves at her roots... I think it's safe to say her and Solange most likely have the same or a similar texure.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Protective Styling Vs. Hands In Hair Syndrome!

And this time, Protective styling won! Lol
For someone who is trying to achieve great lengths, I may have worse case of Hands In Hair Syndrome ever!!! Besides the fact that I rarely wear the same style from one day to the next, If that style is out, I definitely have my fingers dippin' in it. Even if it is up, once I get home and take out whatever pins, banana clips or whatever types of hair constrictors I'm using, it's one on one time, hands to strands all over again. Finally, since weaving my hair in the summer I decided to protective style again to give my hair a little break. I weaved it up again, this time wearing a straight weave though since it's winter and my hair will stay straight... and even decided to do a video of how I do my own weave, kind of start to finish. I didn't post it on YAIS' YouTube, I posted it on my personal one since it's not much advice for natural hair, but it's definitely a great way to protective style for naturals. So without further ado...
Enjoy! And stay tuned to learn about how I care for my hair when it's in a weave :)

Hair Product List: Cool Weather Edition

It's December folks, and time to address and assess hair needs for the season. I plan to wash my hair twice a week and mainly stay with protective styles, such as buns my new favorite go to style, the Side Braid. I also want to concentrate more on preserving my hair and growth because I have a goal to be MBL (Mid-Back Length) by my birthday in May 2012--is it possible? Guess we'll see...

Now that I have a better understanding of my hair and what works for me, I'm going back to what I know for the Northeast winters. Behold, my list of products that I hope to get me through the season; some may be recognizable to you because I have reviewed them before:

Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream
CURLS Pure Curls Clarifying Shampoo
SheaMoisture Moisture Retention Shampoo

TRESemme Naturals Silicone Free Conditioner
Sauve Naturals Conditioner
Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioner
Henna 'N' Placenta Hair Olive Oil*

EcoStyler Gel
Jane Carter Solutions Wrap N Roll**
SheaMoisture Hair Milk
Burt's Bees Avocado Butter

*I recently tried this and really like it. It's cheap and easy to find, and gives my strands an extra boost of moisture. It's also a great to de-tangle with. 
**Jane Carter Wrap N Roll, which I originally wasn't sure about, has won me over. It's great for dry styling and setting, particularly for bantu-knots. It's a decent leave-in as well

I'm also on a quest to find a great hat for my hair. I love hats and scarves and would love to cover my head in style! What's on your hair shopping list for the winter?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My New Go To Styles: Buns and Side-Braids

These days, I've been trying to find hair styles that are easy to throw together in the mornings before work and to easily travel with while out of town (I just came back from Tampa and New England, and it looks like 2012 will be travel-heavy as well). I've been testing a couple of looks out and so far my favorites are Buns and Side-Braids.

I know you're thinking a bun isn't a really big deal. But it is for me. I was never really into buns, but now I love them and have already made a case as to why they are awesome. I really loved this bun I did yesterday when going uptown to Harlem to see my Nana - it was full, shiny and secured. I simply used Jane Carter Wrap and Roll to create this bun with a side-part, and secured it with a pin.

I think the "side bun" is officially becoming my signature by the way...

Next up we have the Side-Braid. It's also a style that is very simple and easy to do on wet or dry hair. It's actually great on wet hair because it will stretch your hair out really well. You need a lot of bobby-pins while gathering your hair to the side of your choosing, and then a pin to hold the place of where you want the braid. Start braiding as smoothly as you possibly can, and secure with a hair-tie of some sort.

This style takes me about 5 minutes. I also realized that I prefer a textured look with this style, so I tend to do it right after I wash my hair, or after an old braid out.

I've worn both these styles to work and I think they are very acceptable for those of us who may work in conservative environments. To keep them from being boring rock accessories such as earrings or headbands, which can be as "quiet" or as "loud" as you want. Hope you all like!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Intro Tips For Grocery Shopping and Cooking (for the Young, Natural and Busy)

We talk a lot about hair here at YAIS, but this is also a blog for the twenty-somethings who are navigating adulthood. It can be really rough sometimes and although we are "adults"  we do need some guidance and life lessons, especially in time management, how to to deal with emotional issues, etc. For those of us who graduated high school and work or have recently finished college (like myself) we have been thrust into the "real world" and expected to fend for ourselves-- the big question is how? But it isn't all bad, if you have direction and some resources to help you out! First, let me share a picture of a recent cooking experiment SP and I had a couple of weeks ago. We made a garlicy alfredo sauce over Angel Hair pasta and spinach with garlic bread and some wine--it was a quick and delicious meal!

Our tasty pasta dinner
Cooking for oneself is a crucial skill which doesn't require culinary expertise, just an area to make your food. I'm talking about everyday eating, with food you can afford and the time set aside to cook it.  At one point I was taking a full schedule of classes, working two internships and commuting about 4 hours daily and I kept my eating out to a minimum - partly because I was a broke college student, but also because I like cooking. I wasn't preparing gourmet meals and shopping at Whole Foods, but I made rice, simple stews, and casseroles. These days I work full-time and work on projects on the side; it seems to me that I really only have one day of "rest" and that varies but my meals come from home on average 6 days out of the week; most of my meals take less than an hour to make. I even bring lunch from home, which is a combination of left overs and sandwiches. What helps me cook is basing my meals off of what I have in the house, which comes down to buying what I normally eat. I started keeping a log to help with grocery shopping. Here is a screenshot of my Google doc that lists the "staples" I try to have:

I don't always have everything on this list, and this may be anal for some, but it really helps me. (And I'm sure you're wondering what I make using this list, recipes to come!) I should mention that right now I don't cook with meat: I was a vegetarian for about 9 months after Turkey Day '10, then went "Pescatarian" (one who eats fish) and now I eat meat maybe once every couple of months, but have opted not to cook with it because it saves money and has made me more creative with cooking. It's easy to use a search engine for an idea or use resources from blogs and cooking sites. My two personal favorites at the moment are Poor Girl Eats Well and Cheap, Healthy Good. I've adapted recipes to my taste and what I have in the kitchen and they use ingredients that are easily attainable.

Eating out all the time really adds up quickly and if you're "frugal" like me, money disappearing like that can upset you. But if you're busy working, raising small children and/or going to school cooking may not be something you can do all the time and that's understandable. If you can boil a pot of water, cooking will be fine with practice. Taking some time to make sure that you eat and can take care of yourself is truly important however, and your body (and wallet) will definitely thank you for it later.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

From Essence: The Natural Hair Blogger's Holiday Gift Guide

If you're a natural who celebrates the holidays, it's a great time to ask for all things hair-related! I came across this gift guide from Essence  from some of our favorite natural hair bloggers. Some of my favorite picks are the Natural Hair Love Affair Hair Emergency Kit, The Hair Therapy Wrap, The Science of Black Hair (I really need this book!) and Satin Pillow Cases. Nothing fancy, but items I would love to have.

Check the list out and let us know which ones you would love to have!