Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday's Question: What Products Have You Retired?

I've been looking through our blog archives reminiscing over styles and products that were once used. I remember when I was all about certain products, like a Renpure Organics conditioner, Herbal Essence, IC Fantasia Gel and Kinky-Curly Knot Today, just to name a few. I fondly think of these products but realize I haven't used them in ages for a two main reasons:

A) Too pricey, and found something cheaper with the same results
B) Found something the works better

I used to use Kinky-Curly Knot Today as my leave-in, but have switched to using TreSemme Naturals because of reason A while I stopped using IC Fantasia Gel for reason B, thanks to my sister who introduced me to Eco-Styler Gel.

So we're curious: What products have you retired and why?

Friday, January 27, 2012

From Coco & Creme: Natural Hair Bad Habits

Good morning natural hair enthusiasts!

I was browsing through one of my favorite sites on style Coco & Creme and came across a list of Natural hair Bad Habits.  From that list, I'll tell you that lately I've been so guilty of going to sleep without protecting my hair. I really should get some satin pillow cases, because while I've found my red Egyptian Cotton sheets to be so comfortable to sleep on, my hair has been drier due to my lack of protecting my strands all because I'm either too tired or lazy to remember to "put a scarf on it." Mind you, I have 3 satin scarves AND a bonnet!

So I'm admitting what I'm guilty of, what about you guys? Check the list out and let us know!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Reader Question: What Twist Pattern Do I Use For My Twist-Outs?

This post is an answer to reader Melyssa's questions: was that a twist or braidout? Do you think you could post a picture of the placement of your flat twists?
Hey Melyssa & all other readers who have been wondering the same thing, here is a link to photos of how I generally place my flat twists to achieve my twist out looks. I generally always use this same pattern when flat twisting my hair for a twist out, but I only part perfect lines when I'm planning to wear the twists for a few days. Otherwise, when I do flat twists just to twist-out in the next day or two, I 'll just separate my hair with my fingers in those same sections and flat twist my hair like this, because trying to hide those perfect parts is really hard. If I want to wear my twist out with a part the next day, I will only use a comb to make a straight part, and then separate the rest with my fingers. I sometimes switch the placement up a little, lately by adding just one single strand twist right at the crown of my head so it won't be flat on top, but for the most part it's just a variation of the same thing... a little trial and error =)
I guess I should also mention that from time to time I do single two strand twists, randomly placed to hang the way I like by twisting my hair in the direction I want my hair to hang
She also asked if I do braid- outs... I did one, and I liked it, but I much prefer twist outs because they resemble the natural curl of my hair

I plan to do a video of how I twist & twist-out my hair and also how to pic a perfectly rounded fro'... 

Thanks for asking, I'm happy to answer

Re-attempting the Perfect Twist Out

About 2 weeks ago I discovered how to achieve the twist out of my dreams... by doing a twist out on hair that was roller set with end wraps. Though it is a bit of a time consuming regimen, I am going to do my best to make the time to stick to it because my scalp seems to do okay with this method, as last time I didn't feel the need to wash for almost 2 weeks! Normally I can't go longer than 4 days... Also, I'm really attributing a lot of my length retention to this method. Anyhoo, notice anything different from the last post where I roller set my hair? Yup, bigger rollers! I bought these larger capped rollers for future endeavors and realized I could actually use them now! #superpsyched
 When my hair gets a little longer maybe I'll attempt to wear one of these roller sets, but until then, I just snapped a few flicks of what what hair looked like brushed out and fluffled a little after silk wrapping. I also used a new foam wrap that I must say I'm pretty impressed with, and a little with myself as well, as I did spend like a good hour in the BSS comparing foam wraps. I promise to give it a review sometime before this new week is over but I will say I love that it left my hair light, fluffy, and super moisturized instead
 of dried out. No sign of any residue, nor greasiness, and I used this product alone. I did do one thing different this time, I decided to use Bentonite Clay for the first time and I will say that I loved it. It left my hair super soft and had my curls popping. I dusted my ends, then twisted my hair up in hopes of a perfect twist out again so stay tuned for the post of the outcome and product review of the foam wrap I used!
What do you think about roller setting your natural hair as a part of your regular regimen? 
I think this may be one of the best regimens for winter length retention for me

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Back to Braids!

Snow has finally decided to show up in NYC (which hasn't happened since October) and for some reason this reminded me that I wanted to do a long-term protective style. I've been having a blast with my flexi rods sets because they last until my next wash day and I think the curly-bob is cute!

So I learned that we'd be hit with some snow and started randomly missing braids. As I've mentioned before, Wednesday is my usual mid-week wash day. I set my hair on some curl formers to stretch my hair out Wednesday night, wore it out Thursday and braided my hair last night while re-watching some Futurama episodes.

I think I've gotten a lot better with parting!

I probably will keep these braids in for about a week. I'm enjoying the length and how I won't have to do much to my hair this week - back to low maintenance!
What are your hair plans for the week?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Great Day @ the MOMA

An old friend of mine randomly hit me up this morning and invited me out to the MOMA! I was so psyched when I got there because it had totally slipped my mind that the Diego Rivera display was on now! His work is so real and truthful, he's definitely one of my favorite artists. You're not supposed to take pictures... but I managed to sneak one..
Circa 1932

I had a great day walking around the museum, taking pics and staring at whatever I so pleased, but one of the most awesome things was my hair! My friend kept touching it and making the comment that my afro looked so "Juicy." Lol I think it's time for a nick name change. My mane is now Her Majesty aka Juicy..... I think my hair has a stripper name now, lol ... Anyhoo, I have been getting many compliments or people staring and smiling, while wearing my fro'. Some white guy even thought I was a black supremecist last week as he whispered a political statement to me while getting on the train (I'm automatically Angela Davis now). Funny thing is, for the most part, I like wearing my hair curly more but I get way more compliments and attention when I wear my fro. #grassisalwaysgreener 
All in all I had a great day and even in all of this NYC wind right now, a great fro'.
Some gratuitous shots of today's fro':
Would you call that Juicy? lol 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Just Graduated from the TWA Academy!

It's been super hectic for me since I've started at Wilhelmina. I'm learning better time management and with needing to look decent for work, I live in twist outs! I try my best to twist my hair up every night, not always in the same exact twist pattern, and sometimes I may just put my hair into little pony tails. Of all things important, I'm doing my best to never go to sleep without a satin/silk scarf or bonnet on my head. In the begining of the winter I was having a bit of trouble with dryness, but now with a little regimen adjustment and my handy dandy bottle of Jamaican Black Castor Oil, my hair has been soft, moisturized, and I can really see the length I'm retaining now! One other thing about my regimen, I've been staying away from heat and I would say that has made a big difference as well. Since twist outs and I seem to love each other, I am going to stick to what I've been doing, as I'd love to retain my full 3 inches by summer! The crazy thing is, though I've been the busiest in my life like ever, this is also the best care I think I have ever taken of my hair, all which I attribute to finally understanding...
The coolest part of this all?! I finally feel like my hair is longer and not a TWA anymore! 
It's almost all going in to a ponytail holder and I really can't wait to just be able to get a little lazy with my hair. I will probably straighten my hair once more before it gets warm, maybe some time in March or something so I'll do an official length check then...               
(The hair in these photos was from putting my hair in a ponytail after washing, then blowing the back out because it was still wet inside)
 These photo's are today's photos of a failed twist out that I pulled back into a banana clip.
All in all I see the effects of my hard work paying off, and in some ways I would say even the hard work I haven't been doing. Since I've been so busy I guess my hair has been more low manipulation, especially because on days off I would try my best to keep my hair twisted up, keeping the HIH syndrome at bay. Lol

I have to say, it feels good to feel like I finally "get it" when it comes to my hair and to be graduating from the TWA academy and leaving all those super awkward stages behind!

For all of you ladies who have started from a short haircut, how did it feel when you Graduated from the TWA academy?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday's Question: Is Your Natural Hair Routine "High" or "Low" Maintenance?

My Bentonite Clay mixture

At this very moment, I'm sitting here with Bentonite Clay in my hair (and on my face). I love this stuff. I love applying it and I love how great my hair feels once I rinse it out. After I rinse this out I'm going to condition with Suave, use Aphogee for some light protein and apply TreSemme as my leave-in and seal with coconut or Vatika oil. Then I'm going to set my hair some flexi-rods using Eco-Styler gel. Is all this too much for my natural  hair? I personally don't think so, but that's a matter of opinion.

I hear sometimes that natural hair is high maintenance which dissuades some to transition to natural hair.  Some of us naturals tend to even make fun of those who we feel "do too much" like daily co-washing and intricate styles. The one thing we have to keep in mind is that all grooming practices are personal, and hair is included. My sister jokes that I'm in my hair way too much, because I wash and style twice a week and she can't imagine having to do all that hair so often, while I think leaving your hair alone for too long - while ideal because of time and other obligations- really isn't for me. I enjoy what I perceive to be a simple routine for my hair that aligns with how I wish to present myself and practical grooming.

But I am curious, what do you guys think is "too much?" Would your routine be perceived as "high" or "low" maintenance?

ETA: I would consider my routine "low to medium" because depending on the week, I'll just wash and bun OR set my hair. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rollersetting Natural Hair: Curlformers vs. Flexirods

As you all know from my previous post, I finally did a full flexi-rod set and I was overjoyed with the results. Since then, I've done two more sets and both have come out to my liking. Considering we're in the cold weather season (a.k.a. Winter) I'm trying to avoid the inevitable snagging that occurs with wearing heavier clothing and the ends of my hair hang down and loose and rub against coats and collars; so I've been styling my sets in up-dos

My hair yesterday - "2nd day" hair
I was thinking about whether I prefer setting my hair  with Curlformers or flexi rods and decided to make a comparison based on my experiences with both. Here we go!

Curlformers: Long and Wide Set

  • Easy to set hair - you simply take a section of hair and using a hook, you pull it into the Curlformer which "sets" the curls for you (see this video I made of me setting my hair) - I call it the "slide-in-and-out" technique
  • Less chance of having puffy roots - when done correctly (which I find hard to mess up) your roots are pretty straight
  • Easy to sleep in - when you don't have a hooded dryer or you don't have all day to sit with them in your hair
  • Expensive as sh**
  • Hook can snag on hair
  • Can't be purchased everywhere - locally I'm pretty sure you can only get at Sallys or you have to order them online
  • Rollers rip and tare easily - in the end they are like stretchy plastic!
Flexirods: Various Sizes

  • Cheap to buy - only $2.99 for a pack of 6 at a Beauty Supply Store
  • Options for different size curls depending on the look you're going for (the bigger the rods the larger/wider the curls, smaller rods yield tighter curls)
  • Great for long or short hair
  • no snagging - rollers are soft and "flexible"
  • hard to sleep in - still not as bad as magnetic rollers in my opinion but still uncomfortable
  • Can be difficult to set - no "slide-in-and-out" technique for these. If you don't know how to set you can have puffy roots and/or rods falling out of your head

I should also mention a couple more personal things: I've noticed that with Curlformers, my sets do not last as long. While I've been using the same products with my flexi-rod sets (Eco-Styler Gel) I can get 4-5 days with my curls looking decent while with Curlformers I'm lucky to get 2 or 3 and I'm really not sure why that is!

So that's my verdict. I'll be using flexi-rods for a few more times because I want to practice and experiment with them some more, but Curlformers will always hold a special place in my heart for their ease of setting. Have any of you tried Curlformers or flexi-rods? Which do you prefer and why? Let us know!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Perfect Twist Out! New Year, New Regimen?

So on thursday before New Years I decided to rollerset my hair. I've attempted roller setting my natural hair before and it usually comes out good.... except for in my curlier textures where it just looks like smushed up, stretched out curls. This time I decided I was going to try using end wraps on the ends of my roller set to try and get them to come out straight. So using my Motions Foam Wrap only, because I wasn't sure if I was going to straighten my hair after, I roller set my hair using end wraps and sat under the dryer. About an hour later, this is what I was looking like...
My hair came out really soft and fluffy and the ends were bone straight! I loved that my hair was still so full but not overly huge and overwhelming. I decided to silk wrap it before going to sleep and instead of flatironing it, I wore a bun for 2 days (faking my hair into a ponytail and tucking it under). For the new year of course I didn't just want to wear my hair in some little mediocre bun, so with little time I decided to do my normal 6  two-strand flat twists using Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango butter and Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Hold Smoothie, sealing my ends with Jamaican Black Castor Oil. The next morning I took off my bonnet, used jojoba oil to separate, and I've been doing the same thing every night since December 31st....
The crazy thing is, my scalp usually feels the need to be washed like every three days but since deep conditioning and rollersetting, both my hair and my scalp still feel clean, hasn't started itching really, and doesn't feel weighed down or greasy, just healthy and moisturized. I'm actually going to see if I can stretch this twist out for another week.
 For the first time since I've been natural I would say I feel like I've had perfect hair. I've been so in love with my twist outs since roller setting first and so has everyone else... Do I hear a new reggie for the new year? I'm always super busy but I definitely will be putting time aside to roller set and flat twist my hair as a regimen to see if it'll help me retain length and keep the split ends and single strand knots at bay. It was a lot of work to roller set my hair I'd say but I feel like it'll be totally worth it. I'm really close to shoulder length so I'm hoping to be close to collarbone length by summer.  
Oh, the twist out? 

 Tuesday's Twist Out
My hair today!
My hair today is actually the product of about 12 single 2 strand twists because I didn't feel like doing flat twists when retwisting. I would say I definitely like the outcome of the flat twists better as it gives me better definition and stretch, especially in the roots. My roots are a little froey today, but I still love it!

What do you think? Would you try rollersetting before your twist outs?   

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hair Style for the New Year - Flexi Rod Set + Updo

Happy New Year folks! Hope you all had a safe one. I personally stayed inside the comfort of my apartment stuffing my face and guzzling down beer with Mr. Smooth while watching content on Netflix and Hulu (I don't even remember  what it was we were watching haha)

But before I had my own little private party on New Years Eve, I decided to do my hair. I had my hair straight for a little over a week and I've been retaining length, even with the two trims I've had these past couple of months. I'm about three inches from bra-strap length which I hope to reach by my end-of-May birthday. I'm also happy that I'm not experiencing as much breakage as I was before.

I decided that I was actually going to use my flexi-rods I've managed to gather over time from places like Walgreens, Target and the Beauty Supply Store. I've always been terrible at roller-setting which is why I've given up on magnetic rollers and stuck to curlformers. But after watching this video  by Kairox146 with gorgeous results, I suddenly got some confidence to give it a try. I clarified my hair, conditioned, used Aphogee for some protein, applied TreSemme Naturals Conditioner as a leave-in, and set my hair with Eco-Styler gel.

There were some parts of my hair where the roots were poofy, but for the most part I did well in that department. At first I wasn't sure if this turned out to my liking but once I started separating the curls, I started liking it a little better. I was heading out yesterday, so I thought pinning my curls up for an up-do was a quick styling option.

Not bad for the first time, right?? I think the look is growing on me, but I'm definitely going to experiment some more.

Later folks!