Thursday, March 29, 2012

Use Your Tools: Bouncing Back From Hair Set-Backs

Fellow YAIS readers, lately my hair (and body) has been showing me signs that I need to take better care of myself. My stress levels have been through the roof and now I've crashed; of course with the crash the damage needs to be assessed, and my hair definitely needs some repair; it's dry and breaking and duller then usual (I miss my natural sheen!) but all isn't lost. My wise and wonderful grandmother gave me some sound advice recently: use your tools. Reach back to what you know to help get yourself back on track. In terms of hair, how do we get back on track?

(Deep) Condition: Condition the tresses for moisture. I've been incredibly lazy for a while about deep conditioning, and I know this can be a bit of a hot topic when it comes to naturals (some don't see a need for it, others swear by it) but some sort of intense treatment after being neglectful is probably useful. I personally think it's more about what you use to deep condition your hair as oppose how long you leave it in. I plan to use a homemade treatment because those have always been good to me in the past.

Low Manipulation: I've always been told a watched pot never boils (or something to that effect) and that applies to hair. Leaving it alone, or just minimizing the amount of daily handling gives it a chance to grow out and recover. There are many low-to-no manipulation hairstyles: braids, twists and twist outs, buns and roller-sets to name a few. My hair is in box braids at the moment, and I will probably do buns all next week. All I want to do is worry about moisturizing my hair instead of styling it.

Eat Healthy: Food is fuel for the body. When you aren't getting enough of something it shows, first in your hair and nails and then everywhere else. Recently my diet has been anything but good and not eating well (or rarely in my case) can effect your concentration and mood. The weather is getting better so it's the perfect time to dive back into eating fruits. I'm also taking a multi-vitamin and drinking green tea to get a little more fuel - I'm not a health expert but this works really well for me.

Lower the Stress: Exercise, breath for ten minutes alone, or take a vacation if you got it like that. Taking care of your body will really take care or your hair. Now that I have crashed I'm exhausted from the lack of sleep. The last two nights I slept a full eight hours! And I'm taking a mini trip out of town this weekend to Massachusetts to visit with my sister. When I get back I plan to go back to the YMCA regularly to run and work out.

So that's what I've been dealing with naturalistas. What have you been up to? What are some useful tools you have to help you bounce back?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hair Crush: Corinne Bailey Rae

I, for one, cannot believe that we haven't posted about the wonderful Corrine Bailey Rae on this blog. I love her hair, I love her music, and I think she's so beautiful. I first started paying attention to her because of her song, Girl Put Your Records On, which became my anthem for a little bit because those oh-so-simple lyrics say so much to me. I was excited to read the interview CurlyNikki landed a few months back when she discussed her hair. I love that she unapologetically sports big hair!

I'm not lying when I say I could post every picture of her and find nothing wrong with it, haha!

Anyway, I know there are a lot of people who appreciate her music and her hair as well, so she's definitely worth having a hair crush over.

Also, her song "Love's On It's Way" is my favorite to listen to at the moment.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Question: Product You Could Never Abandon

Last week, SP straightened and trimmed my hair. Of course it came out really nice because she knows what she's doing - and I went back to curly today with no issues. She used Herbal Essence Hello Hydration to deep condition my hair; the slip, the shine and the softness of my hair made me realize that I've really missed this product and I'm kicking myself for not using it anymore. I don't even remember why! I never had any complaints or issues with it but I just stopped buying it. Cursed me, I plan to restock at some point this week!

I know a lot of us rotate our products but you always have your "tried and true." So which product could you never abandon? Is it a shampoo, a conditioner, or styler? Let us know!

If you have a Sunday Question you'd like us to post, send us an email at!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sorry Protective Styling...

It's just not for me
I feel like I've been having a private battle with protective styling, saying I'm going to do it but not really doing it. I keep trying to fit into the natural community's ideas of protective styling, wearing braids and twists, sometimes weaves over extended days, weeks, months... I just can't do it! Every single time I've tried to protective style since I've been natural has been an epic fail time wise, taking out my braids and weaves all at the two week point or before.
I love wearing my hair out. I love being able to wash it, run my fingers through it, feel it blow in the wind... I feel like those Bosley hair commercials "You can play tennis with it, swim with it.." lol.
But seriously, It's just funny to think that I've been on this natural journey for almost 2 years now, this being my first year that I've made it through without melting down and chopping all my hair off again. Now that I understand my hair and myself more, I do have to readjust my goals a little...
At this point I see where my true problem areas are and what routine/regimen I need to use in order to retain length: Roller sets & Twist Outs. I also see that with the issues I do have, my long term goal of growing my layers out has now become a short term goal. I basically have a Mohawk of medium textured looser waves & curls, and fine textured, thin, sometimes dry, porous curly edges. My Mohawk is beautiful, thrives, doesn't break, hardly splits... My edges on the other hand :::wipes away forming tears::: So fine they get tangled easily, split like every second, SSK's sometimes two per strand or 1/4 way up the strand... it can be a damned horrid nightmare sometimes, especially if I've been a naughty girl, forgetting to sleep with my bonnet on. My Mohawk continues to flourish and barely needs trimming, while my edges continue to break or need constant trimming... So since I'm trying to maintain healthy hair, the hair in my Mohawk sections are growing down and will soon be meeting up with the length of my edges, meaning I won't have these layers anymore, I'm so excited!!! Then come winter I can focus on growing out my length more without all the annoying layers.
I loved my relaxed short hair cuts. I never wanted short natural hair (except for wanting a Cesar). I don't really feel comfortable wearing all of the TWA styles, little braids and twists... it's just not me. I grew hair out to have a beautiful ponytail and long Pocahontas braids... so in the meantime, even if it takes me a little longer to get to my length goals, I'm okay with that...
I'm hoping to be full arm pit length by New years 2013, without all the layers because I want to grow my hair out to a blunt cut with about an inch of layering at the bottom. Since I cut all my hair down to a little less than 2 inches in October of 2010, my longest lengths in my Mohawk are now about 7 inches and my shorter lengths (the edges) are about 5-6 inches long.... I'd say that's not terrible length retaining considering I wear my hair out practically everyday and I do trim/dust my ends about every 2 months and I did cut considerably more off the back to avoid having an Afro mullet.

End of October 2010 - Second Big Chop
That being said... I do need to do a little protective styling for this month because I'm going to Cali next month and I want to try to go with as much hair as possible! Lol So my goal is to just try and keep the back, the edges, and my ends up and protected by any means necessary, the top can stay out in twist outs..
So the end of October  2010 to March 2012 - so basically about 16 going on 17 months... not bad huh? Sometimes this hair journey can get discouraging so these comparison pics are sooo helpful.
Whenever I get discouraged, I just try to keep growing!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hair CRUSH!: Andre 3000

It's so funny to be writing this article because for me it's almost personal... well maybe it is personal. Funny thing is, in a way you can say that Curly Film Chic and I's relationship started because of Outkast (cutest, corniest memory ever), both of us expressing more feelings towards Andre 3000, even gifting each other handmade Outkast/Andre items like cards and notebooks back in high school...
I personally would say I have a crush on him, as I have always been attracted to individuality and I love his bold style and masculine, swaggerific charm. He may not be the "cookie cutter" of every girls version of a fyne man, but that gapped smile, skinny/muscular body, dimples, and Suave had me at Southernplayalisticcadillacfunkymusic.
When I was introduced to rap in junior high, I clung to Andre's slick and clever lyrics, keeping it real in a way that you could feel, laugh about; Ridiculing other rappers out there who were just talking nonsense. I fell in love with The Love Below and the versatility and newness of the sound, ranging from rap, to jazz, to classical, to R&B, to rock, I mean this guy is amazing! It's no wonder new artists like J.Cole and Drake have been sampling his songs and everybody wants "3 Stacks" on a collaboration these days! He has been acting in Major films such as their movie Idlewild, which further showcases his talents singing and playing the piano, Four Brothers, and as of lately, has his own spot in the new Gilette Masters of Style campaign..
I'm so proud of him = ) Go brotha!
 oh yeah.. his hair! lol Looks like he has grown it back now as he has hair in these Gilette ads and we all know he had cut off his beautiful coif at some point after the Hey Ya! video. Over the years his natural hair has reflected nothing but strength, health, fullness and versatility.. We've seen him braided up, fro'd out, blown out, flat ironed, rollerset...If it was cut it was perfectly coifed, or wavy, or side parted... I mean come on, who's doing this guy's hair?! It's like always perfect! (Yeah, I'm jealous, lol)
Andre with his adorable son Seven

I just had to throw in the Hey Ya! video because this has to be the most flowy, pressed natural hair ever! If you're not a fan of the music (which I couldn't understand) just enjoy the flow:)
Keep ya heart 3 stacks!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Familiar Face on the NaturalStyle Magazine Cover

I got a link today from a friend about NaturalStyle Magazine. It's a quarterly publication exclusively for those who wear their hair natural. Now, the reason I got the link is because of a familiar face; my girl Tajh is featured on the cover of their next issue:

Check out NaturalStyle's facebook for more information

I may be late to the train because I've never even heard of this publication. Have any of you? I like that they have an online version as well as a physical copy. I've mentioned before that I think a natural 'zine is needed, and I know there are quite a few on the web; I'd like a print version however. I'm in NYC and all we do is commute. Reading on the subway, bus, or local coffee shop is the norm so it wouldn't hurt to have a book in hand.

Anyway, doesn't the cover look great? Tajh has amazing locks that I've played in many times since she's had them most of her life. Congrats to her for getting on the cover! Check out her tumblr and visit her ModelMayhem site.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

From The Black Swan Diaries: Hair We Go

I came across this beautiful dancer on facebook on a friend's page and immediately took interest. She is a beautiful African American ballet dancer who blogs about her experiences facing adversities as a black dancer. She went from being told her career as a black dancer was over, to being Zoe Saldana's dance double in the movie Center Stage. While sifting through her blog looking through beautiful photos of her dancing, I noticed that all I saw was beautiful waves brushed back into her ballerina buns... a few minutes later, I found this post:

"I came across this photo while doing some research on my last post. It was the observation in the paragraph that followed which presented an interesting topic and stirred up some uncomfortable memories from my past. The comment went as follows:

“i find the natural hair charming/interesting, esp because a black ballet dancer would almost certainly have to straighten/pull back her hair, unless the company was alt/up-and-coming/deliberately provocative. but i don’t think i’ve ever seen a picture of a black ballet dancer with a fro. natural hair, yes. fro, no.”
This comment made me recall several instances where my hair caused me to feel distant and removed from the classical art I had grown to love. There were many ballets where the dancer was meant to wear their hair down, and the image of long flowing locks billowing through the air as the dancers movement graced the stage was a breathtaking image for all who observed. Many of the ballets highlighted hair as the dancers were required to either wear long ponytails or have lengthy hair that draped and flowed during performances. This built in aesthetic posed real challenges to many girls no matter what ethnicity, but an even greater challenge for myself and other dancers of color. Luckily, we all had tricks up their sleeves to overcome these natural challenges. One particular instance during my time at Bejart Ballet will forever stick with me. While choreographing a new piece, Maurice Bejart instructed each dancer to let down their hair to see if he could incorporate that into the piece. He instructed each girl, one by one to take down their hair, and as I stood their watching each girl’s hair fall gracefully down their backs, my insecurity begin crawling its way up my spine. My hair is textured and not prone to falling down straight like what I have seen in many ballets. I believed in protecting my hair by keeping it natural and avoiding harsh and damaging chemical perms and relaxers.  I also enjoyed the versatility that my natural hair provided. However, inside I knew this was not the image he was looking for.  I certainly had never seen any evidence that my hair type was desired as the above comment so pointedly stated. Therefore, when my turn came and I loosened my hair band—my hair puffed out crinkly and curly, not straight down.  Maurice smiled and some dancers chuckled. Luckily, I was a much more mature dancer and was able to brush off such a reaction. I could only image how such insensitivity would have affected me as a younger dancer. However, this episode still bothered me. It never feels good to be laughed at because of who you are. However, although I was offended and disappointed, I was not surprised."

To read the rest of her post go to Hair We Go by Aesha Ash of The Black Swan Diaries

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rollersetting and Flatironing Natural Hair

Hey All! Here's the video I mentioned I did for you all last week of me rollersetting and flatironing my hair, I hope you enjoy!

Willow Smith. So Cool... Too Young?

We all love Willow Smith, I think there's no doubt in that! We love her funky daring style and big personality, but is all the cool too much for her age? As a young fashionista in my own right, I was dressing myself and picking my own clothes by the time I was 5 and I took over doing my own hair by the time I got to Junior High, dyeing it by the time I was in the 7th grade. I totally understand self expression is a must and she is so unique, but sometimes I think her influences are a little too mature for her. I've seen semi-sexy pics of her around, copying images I've seen of Rihanna or Amber Rose... For me, if I was a parent I wouldn't allow my young child to think it's okay to be so sexy and mature at a young age... I would try to show her role models around her age category to pull inspiration from. I won't get into any incidents or stories but I'm sure you've read them for yourself, so I don't think I'm too wrong here, lol.
I think it's great that they allow her to have her freedom, but she needs some type of barrier or filter. It's so important that we don't let our children grow up too fast, as we all learn to realize how short our childhood really is... What ever happened to the preservation of innocence?!
What do you think? 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday's Question: Full Product Lines

Happy Sunday everyone!

Sauve. TreSemme. SheaMoisture. Jessicurl. There are so many product lines naturals can choose from. Some of us mix and match, but I know there are a few of you out there who are devoted to an entire product line; the shampoo, conditioner and the styler. I have yet to devote myself to an entire line, but I do toy with the idea of using only SheaMoisture products to see if I'll get what I need.

So tell us folks; Are you devoted to a full product line, or thinking about doing so?

Have a thought/question for Sundays? email us at or tweet it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Braids too ethnic for the office?

So with all these thoughts of protective styling on my mind and wanting to be able to put all of my hair away, I've been thinking of putting large extension braids back in my hair, but one question arises over and over: Are extension braids too ethnic/ghetto/unsophisticated? Now I only use these terms, not as my own feelings, but as terms I just know would be said/used to describe me or my hair if the people in my industry percieve it negatively. I could just hear them making fun of me now... "Girlfriend is giving me Dashiki!"
I guess the question is: Do I truly care about what they think?
Yes and no. I take my right to freedom of self expression through my hair very seriously as someone who changes my hair, and I haven't worked in any environment where I was told I needed specific hair or that they didn't like my hair. In the end, I would only care because I want to continue my internship and I wouldn't want something like hair to mess it up, because I can find other alternatives if needed...

What do you think? Any one work in High Fashion? Law? Any other appearance conscious occupations and haven't been sure how a certain natural hairstyle would go over at work? HELP!

Today's Hairstyle: The High Bun

I'm not sure if I've ever expressed this before, but I never liked wearing high buns. I didn't really think I could rock one because, I don't know, it just looked odd to me? But thanks to this video by Mahoganycurls, I was like oh ok, maybe I could try again. While her bun looks absolutely perfect, I think today's attempt isn't so bad

(Don't mind my face, I've been really tired lately)
Not bad though right? It's a little to the side, because I love wearing side buns/ponytails. Next time I will not rush it, and maybe pull it a tad bit closer to the front of my head. I also didn't really slick my hair back with anything because I was rushing, but overall I'm pleased and feel pretty good about my hair today.

As a side, isn't it lovely that we have all these sources of inspiration on the interwebs?? In my opinion, natural hair blogs/tutorials are still very much needed, even for so-called veterans like myself.