Friday, May 28, 2010

Who Do You Trust With You Hair???

I must admit that since I have learned so much about natural hair, I trust very few people with my hair. Many people have the misconception that natural hair is strong and can endure a lot but, this is so not true.

Breakage can occur easily with my type 4 hair if it is not handled gently. Heat is of the devil. Chemicals are a major NO NO!! And I don't trust all shampoos, conditioners, or products.

When I am doing my hair or handling it I am very patient with tangles or fairy knots. If my sisters are helping me with my hair I can give them specific instructions. But, how would you tell a hairstylist about the many instructions that come along with natural hair???

First of all, I do not ever seeing myself going to a hairstylist that does not specialize in natural hair. Second of all, not all natural hairstylists know what is best for our hair. Mainstream hairstylists believe in using EXCESSIVE amounts of heat. They will use the straightening comb, the flat iron, the blow dryer, the curlers, etc. I do not want these things near my hair--I have heard too many heat horror stories. Then, I am cautious of the products that they use in these salons. Will they understand that I want no sulfates in my shampoo, no mineral oil in my products, no cones in my conditioners, etc??? I seek to have as much moisture in my hair as possible. Then, mainstream hairstylist are usually trying to convince the natural consumer to use such chemicals that will loosen the curl or control the curl. I say to that "No thank you. I embrace my natural texture."

Other questions: Will they understand that I don't want a fine tooth comb near my head? Will they understand that even with a very wide-tooth comb they need to comb my hair gently from the ends to the scalp? Will they understand that they may need to put the comb away for a moment to gently detangle any knots? Will they understand that I reject any type of style that will attempt to "straighten" my hair? Will they understand if I choose to bring in my own products if theirs are not up to par? Will they understand that if anything puts pressure/pull at any part of my hair that I will reject it?

My hair is like a high maintenance female. It needs only the best products (and expensive does not mean its the best), gentle love, and tender care. Choosing a hairstylist is like choosing a good man. They need to be responsible, listen to my needs/desires, and accept/fulfill these requirements.

A Staple Product: Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel

Even though I am not starting any locs (at least no time soon) I must admit that this is a great product. I will be using this product mainly for my twists. As mentioned previously, I put some twists in my hair this past Sunday and this set is so much better than the last. Last time I used Cantu Shea Butter on dry hair. This was probably not the best choice because my twists did not last that long and they kept unravelling. By using the Jamaican Mango & Lime, I have not had this problem. My twists are still in and I love how they are looking today. Each night I would simply sleep with a satin bonnet and oil my hair every other day. Refer to the pic below to see my hair today...this is day 5 with the twists.

Here are the pros of this product:
(1)It does what it says it will do...I have no buildup, and my twists are still looking great and held up wonderfully. (2)The smell is so blissful (i am a sucker for great scents). (3)This product also promises that it is great for starting and maintaining locs and this is true. Even though I don't have locs my sister did for 4 years and I she was a faithful user of this product--which, is probably why we have random bottles of it in the house.(4)I love the texture of does not feel like your typical gel. It feels kind of bouncy and lightweight (rather hard to describe).

Here are the cons of this product:
(1)Some people may not like the texture of the product if they are expecting it to feel like a typical gel. (2)I don't really understand the ingredients of the product, however; there isn't a long list of ingredients (which is a good thing).

Deionized Water (Aqua) , Polyquaternium 37 , VP DMAPA , Acrylate Copolymer , Propylene Glycol , Diazolidinyl Urea , Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Fragrance (Parfum) , Yellow #10 (CI 47005) , Red #33 (CI 17200)

Overall, this will definitely be a staple product for me. I love that it maintains my twists. And considering that I will doing more protective styles like twists on my hair, this product is a must.

I feel that my twists could definitely last for about 4-5 more days, however; on Sunday night I will be doing a new set on dry hair. I will be co-washing on Saturday and deep conditioning on Saturday also.

**I included a bonus pic below because I am in love with her hair and she is very beautiful.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beautiful Natural Men: Allen Iverson

Whew!! I remember when I first saw Allen Iverson. I was in high school and he was in the NBA playoffs...around 2001. Mind you, I have never watched the NBA playoffs before this and never watched them after this. But, I watched them steadily that year for Allen Iverson alone. LOL:-)

Simply put, Allen Iverson is beautiful. Those eyes, those lips, those tattoos ...I can go on. But his hair is gorgeous. He is usually rocking the intricate braids, which I absolutely love. Back in the early 2000s, he had an influence on the popularity of the intricate cornrows with the fellows and the ladies. Everybody was rocking them.

He is definitely a beautiful natural man.

Hair Today: Twist Updo

This past Sunday night I dry-twisted my hair using Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel. I must say that this helped the twists last longer than the last time when I used Cantu Shea Leave-In.

See, the hair around my perimeter is more coily. Whereas, the hair in the middle of my head has more of a wave. Because of this wave pattern, it is really hard for twists to stay in my hair. The last time I tried this style they were unravelling and popping out, but I have not had this problem with this set of twists.

This is my hair today. The twists have been in for four days now.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Naturals in Advertisements: House of Dereon

In continuing with the segment "Naturals in Advertisement" we will look at the House of Dereon. In my past post for "Nauturals in Advertisement" I noted that most businesses that are owned by Blacks do not really depict naturals in their ads. However, I came across this old advertisement for the House of Dereon, which is owned by Tina and Beyonce Knowles. In this advertisement, dead in the center, is a natural. She is rocking a complete afro. And I think this may be Bibi McGill a guitarist who has performed with Beyonce. Her afro looks simply stunning in the advertisement! And even though, the other black women in the ad are rocking their straight/relaxed tresses Dereon still attempted some form of diversity. Note in the far left the Caucasian woman's hair looks like it is in locs. And we all know that Solange Knowles is now natural so the future ads for Dereon may have her depicted as a natural.

I look forward to seeing how this company will depict naturals in the future...

The Past Life of a Relaxed Chick...

I got my first relaxer at the age of 15 years old. My mother would not allow us to get a relaxer prior to then but, we regularly got a press n'curl. When I first received my relaxer I remember feeling relieved. I felt relieved because all the girls at school would finally stop interrogating me about my lack of a relaxer.

My first relaxed style was simply a ponytail with gelled down edges. I felt so good that I could finally lay my edges down to my scalp. I also loved that I could get my hair wet and not have to worry about my hair poofing up on me. See, I was in the marching band in high school and whenever my hair sweated it would poof out. This would cause me to be the butt of many jokes..."What is going on with your hair?". I would continue to receive perms throughout high school. My main style was my hair wrapped. I remember packing on the grease and then flat ironing my hair to achieve this style. My hair would be so greasy and where I would have to walk around with a stiff neck. I did this so my hair would not stick straight out if I moved my neck. Sad...I know.

During my college years, I started rocking the hook-on fake ponytail or the hook-on fake bun. I would gel my edges and then hook-on that ponytail and tighten it with the attached drawstring. I wore my hook-on ponytails faithfully! Then, my mother was combing my hair and noticed that the middle of my head was bald. This was a result of the comb from the fake ponytail digging into my scalp. Because of this I started to wear micro braids to get that section of my hair to grow back. But while that section of hair was growing back the front of my hair was trying to leave. The Africans from the shop would braid my edges so tight to where they would develop little white bulbs from the hair coming out of the scalp. Around 2004, while I still had the braids in my hair I decided that I wanted to go natural and start wearing locs. I didn't get a perm for a minute and kept my hair in braids. But, I was crossing into my sorority and I wanted to have my hair done for the probate. So, I permed it. I stopped wearing the braids and went back to a simple ponytail.

Then, I started dating this guy who wanted me to where my hair out more. WARNING: DO NOT CHANGE YOUR STYLE SIMPLY FOR A GUY. WEAR WHAT YOU LIKE, ACCEPT YOURSELF, AND DO NOT GIVE IN TO OTHERS OPINION OF YOU. I LEARNED THIS THE HARD WAY. Ok, back to the subject. This guy wanted me to show my real hair without the ponytail, fake buns, etc. So, I knew that my hair was not even so, I went to the salon and got it cut into a cute bob. I will admit that I liked this style. I maintained it and only put heat on my hair once a week. But for some reason, the middle part in the back started to break off. My hairstylist said it was simply a "weak spot". What??? I mentioned to this guy that I wanted to get locs one day like my sister and he said "That's fine. But, you will be getting a new boyfriend." Me and the guy eventually went our seperate ways. I started rocking the roller sets. The roller set was a great style option for low manipulation and it looked cute.

Then, about a year later, I really started to evaluate my life. Why was I living my life trying to please others and live up to their standards??? I decided at that moment--while sitting at my current job--that I would begin by wearing my hair the way GOD created it. It was the best decision of my life. I changed the way I lived my life. I let go of the parties, the alcohol. I even let meat out of my life and became a vegetarian. Being completely natural has been one of the best decisions of my life!

Accepting ourselves can only begin with us. Our Lord, Jesus Christ blessed each of us with a uniqueness that we should accept. By putting a relaxer in my head I was essentially saying "I would rather please people than You, Lord."

Sad...I know.

**Disclaimer: I speak from my personal experience only and do not feel everyone has these problems that I had with being relaxed.

Natural Inspiration: Tomiko Fraser

I first remember seeing Tomiko Fraser in a Maybelline advertisement when I was in high school. Back then she had relaxed hair but, I remember thinking she was so gorgeous. Then, when Tomiko went natural she became even more gorgeous to me--if that is possible! And not only is she beautiful on the outside but, also on the inside. She is heavily involved in Lupus awareness--her sister has the disease. This is a beautiful thing and it inspires me to get involved in more causes so that we may help others lives.

Usually I include one picture in the Natural Inspiration segment however; she simply inspires me so I had to include three photos.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hairstyle: The Classic Afro

On my way to church...

A full view of my hair with my outfit...

After church, with an accessory in the Afro...

Yesterday, on Sunday, I decided to wear my Afro. I absolutely LOVE wearing the classic afro! First off, I feel as if it really accentuates my features. Also, I feel so beautiful and confident whenever I wear it. And at church, I received quite a few compliments on the hair.

However, as I continue to grow in my natural hair journey I continue to learn new things about my hair. The afro is definitely not a good protective hairstyle. Especially for my type 4 hair. I say this because the ends are not protected. When I wear the updos I don't experience the vast amount of tangles (fairy knots) that occur with the Afro. By the end of the night, when I was trying to braid my hair for the night there were so many tangles!!! In the past, when I wore the afro I thought that amount of tangles was normal. Yet, since I have been wearing the updos for about three weeks I can now notice the difference in my hair. I had plans to wear the Afro to work for the week, but as I was trying to braid my hair for the night I was getting frustrated with the detangling session that was going on. So, my sister helped me to put some twists in my hair so, I could wear a twist updo to work for the week.

Therefore, the Afro will now be limited to certain occasions. I don't think it will be a staple hairstyle as it has been in the past:-(

These are the steps to achieve the classic afro:
1. Braid/Cornrow the hair the night before(optional: oil/moisturize each section).
2. Take each braid down the next day and comb from the ends to the root with a wide tooth comb.
3. After each braid is taken down and combed out, shape the Afro. This can be done with an Afro pic and your hands.
4. You may pin it to one side--as I did--or you can rock it full, with a headband, etc.
5. And you're done!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Staple Product - Carol's Daughter Tui Hair Oil

Product reviews will be a recurring theme on this blog. I will begin by focusing on the products that I use most often. This product review is on Carol's Daughter Tui Hair Oil. I must admit that I did not purchase this product. My baby sister, Auset Abena, purchased it while at school and when she brought it home during Spring Break she left it by mistake. Since she left it, I decided to use it on my hair and observe how it worked(I did let her know I would be using it).

This is the description of the product from Carol's Daughter website, Tui Hair Oil soothes dry scalp while adding shine and softness providing hydration and moisture for styling and healthy hair growth.

I must admit that I adore this product for a number of reasons. First off, the smell is simply divine. It is a perfect "perfume" for the hair and I love it. It is a mix of guave, mango, and passion fruit! Secondly, this product gives my hair the most lustrous sheen. I usually apply it only twice a week and the sheen will last throughout my week. Thirdly, this product really does add softness to my hair. Since using this product my hair has never felt dry, brittle, or hard to the touch. And lastly, I love this product because of the moisture it provides for my hair. I am always seeking products that provide moisture b/c type 4 hair has a tendency to dry out.

It should be noted that this product is paraben free, with no petroleum, no mineral oil, and no artificial color. What great perks!!

These are the ingredients:Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Fragrance, Calendula officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract. May Contain: Dried Angel Wings (Assorted Colors).

I will be purchasing this product in the future because it will be a staple. I have not tried any of Carol's Daughter other products, but I must admit that I am curious about the hair milk. The only thing that deters me from her products is that she advertises them as "Excellent for all hair types." I just don't believe that products can cater to hair types across the board. Because everyone hair differs and what works for my tight coils may not work for a person with bone straight hair. But that just my opinion...

I do love this product!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"But what are you going to do to your hair????"

This is the question that many people with modified (permed, pressed, relaxed, etc.) hair will ask. This question comes to the forefront when others feel a special event/occasion requires us to to do something spectacular to our hair. These kind of functions include weddings, balls, proms, dates, job interviews, etc. I am confused as to why people make such a big deal out of something that isn't a big deal at all.

My response is "I will wear my hair exactly as I usually wear it." If I was getting married I would have no problem wearing a full afro with a beautiful flower near my ear. I would wear my afro with a headband to an interview. I would wear my braid-out updo to an after-five event. I would wear a twist updo or braid updo to any occasion. What I am saying is natural hair can be as diverse as we want it to be or we can wear it as simple as we want to.

Below are some pictures from certain events I have attended and how I wore my hair:

This is a picture from a cocktail party that I attended in Atlanta, GA at the Buckhead Marriot. It is a simple afro with a bump in the front.

I was attending a pageant that my sister was participating in. Again, this is the simple afro with a bump in the front.

I was going to church in this picture. This is a twist-out that was pinned into an updo.

This is me at a typical day at work. The style is a braid-out updo.

In the end, it shouldn't be that hard to think of hairstyles to do for special occasions. I usually stick to my usual go to styles, which makes me feel elegant and timeless.

Beautiful Natural Men: Maxwell

As I continue my blogging, I have so many topics that I want to discuss! Because of this I must stay focused and organize some topics into segments. A new segment I will be starting is "Beautiful Natural Men". And of course I had to start with the talented, beautiful, and engaging Maxwell.

I am a major fan of Maxwell because when it seemed that music was beginning to have no hope he brought it back to me. I love his albums and probably wouldn't know how to react if I ever met him in life:-) Also, I have to give a shout out to one of my favorite songs by him, which is "For Lovers Only". When the Lord blesses me with the man he will have for me, I dream of playing this song at my wedding. However, I am digressing...

Not only are Maxwell's voice and poetic lyrics beautiful, but he is also beautiful physically. I adored his hair when he was wearing the cornrows leading into the braids. I am helpless to his free-formed afro. And I can appreciate his closer cropped curls. I have stated it before but, I'll say it again...I love diversity. Maxwell shows that we can change and evolve with our hair and our lives. All of his styles were gorgeous, which allows me to truly say that he is a beautiful black man and a beautiful natural man.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Naturals in Advertisements

I've noticed I've been seeing more naturals in commercials on TV. Which is great!! The next time you're watching TV take note of the many naturals in commercials. This had me wondering if naturals are as readily depicted in print advertisements?? So, I started searching the web for print advertisements of naturals. What I have noticed is that major corporations are starting to depict more naturals in their advertisements such as the GAP and Old Navy. But what is amazing is the lack of naturals in companies that cater to Blacks and were created by Blacks. Examples of these companies are Roca Wear, Sean John, Dereon. This is just an observation.

Please note: I have not seen all print advertisements by all companies, which is why I will keep this as a continuing post. I will continue to research the availability of naturals in print advertisements with all companies. I will then post on my further observations.

This photo is of an old Coca Cola Ad. The hair of the women in this post is straight and flowing in the wind. I wonder how the current print ads by Coca Cola depict black women??

This is a photo of a print advertisement by Roca Wear (a company created by Jay Z and Damon Dash in 1999). Notice the lack of naturals in this advertisement. Or I should say the lack of curls, coils, waves, etc. I would love to see a head full of curls in this photo. I wonder if Zoe Saldana (on the right) has naturally wavy/curly hair...she is of Dominican/Puerto Rican descent.

This print advertisement is by Sean John (a company created by Sean Combs "Diddy") which features the beautiful Lauren London and Cassie. However, we have the typical/popular bone straight hair. I believe both of these ladies have naturally curly hair. Lauren London is African American and Cassie is Mexican/African American.

I love the diversity of the Old Navy print advertisements. When you initially look at this picture you get a feeling that Old Navy caters to people of every nationality. This is great b/c it doesn't limit their company. Also, I love that they chose to show the black woman in all her glory in these photos. They are rocking their natural coils. The women look so beautiful and seem like they are comfortable in their skin and beauty given to them by God.

Gap is the company that owns Old Navy. From looking at their print advertisements we see that they project their appreciation of the black woman and her natural beauty in their print advertisements--just as Old Navy does. I absolutely ADORE the first photo of Lorna Simpson (an African American artist and photographer) and her daughter Zora. This just melts my heart to see their crown of glory. The second photo reminds me of the Old Navy print advertisements b/c of the diversity and the black woman on the right with her natural coils.

***As previously noted, this will be a continuing thread as I find/research more pics of print advertisements from these companies and more...

Ever Had a Lazy Hair Day???

It is amazing to me how on most days I love to just play in my hair. For instance, I love moisturizing it, washing it, braiding it, picking it, etc. But some days I am so lazy when it comes to my hair. Last night was one of those nights.

I ran some errands after work. Came home to watch my three nieces and nephew. Whew!! I took a nap after they left. I then woke up to watch "Glee" (starting to not like this show but, I digress). After this I just felt PURELY lazy. I did not feel like doing my usual routine of moisturizing my hair and braiding it up for the night. So what did I do???

I simply covered by edges with a scarf and then put a satin bonnet over my updo (w/the bobby pins still in it and all). I started off the night trying to sleep carefully so that I wouldn't smoosh the hair. But, after awhile I just didn't care and slept with my usual abandon. And when I awoke the next morning I was not disappointed at all in my hair.

It didn't have as much volume as it did the previous day but, it was still cute nonetheless. My hair looked as if I had a cute TWA (teeny weeny afro) and I liked it:-)

And not only did I have a lazy hair day...I had a lazy face day. I decided to not do my usual routine of foundation, eye primer, eye shadow, mascara, blush, highlighter, etc. All I did was swipe on some lipstick (which is now gone as I'm typing this) and fill in my brows. It amazes me that on the days that I choose to be laidback how I can feel so confident and good. This doesn't mean that I'm gonna let go of usual treatment but, it is good to have a laidback day every once and awhile.

Tonight I will be going back to my nightly regimen.

Hairstyle: The Braid Out Updo w/a Little Something Extra

I have realized that my braid out updo has become a staple hairstyle for me. The reason this hairstyle is a staple is because it requires no manipulation from a comb. The night before I simply cornrow the hair. The next morning I take the cornrows out. And then I pin them up. (all of this was described in a previous post).

However, though this style is so easy, I began to feel bored with the look. For this reason alone I decided to put some braids in the front of the updo. Just for a little something extra. I really like how it came out and will be wearing this for the remainder of the week.

These are the steps:
1. Put in 2-3 side cornrows in the front of hair. (these braids will not be taken down the next day)
2. Cornrow the remaining hair straight back.
3. Take the back cornrows out the next day.
4. Pin the loose hair under. (pin the hair in sections)
5. Remember to pin the front cornrows end pieces into the updo to camouflage them.

And you're done!

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Baby Sis: Auset Abena

My baby sis, Auset, has been natural since she was about 10 y.o. The reason she initially went natural was that perms had so severely damaged her long tresses to short pieces that my mother felt she needed no more perms. Initially, she didn't do a big chop the permed pieces just fell off on their own.

By the time, Auset, was in her junior year of high school she wanted to get locs. This received mixed feelings from some in my family. I just remember feeling indifferent (didn't care either way). Well, long story short, she got her locs and they grew long, luscious, and beautiful. However, after four years she felt her journey had ended and decided to let them go.

I am in love with her new look. It brings out her features--her big eyes, full lips, etc. And it also makes her look more mature than she did with the long locs. Its good that she realized hair is just hair and that it will grow back. Sometimes, we will get so attached to our locks that we can't fathom the idea of letting go even an inch.

Her move showed me that in life we can take risks. And they just might work out wonderfully.

I may have a interview with her in future to gain more from her perspective...

Natural Inspiration: Tempest Bledsoe

Tempest Bledsoe has appeared to be natural most of her life. I remember watching her on the Cosby Show when she was a teenager and she was rocking the geometric natural hairstyle that was popular in the eighties. Her head full of hair has been an inspiration of mine. I really appreciate how she will wear it in the twist out state or the cornrows. She inspires me because she was a natural when not many people thought it was the thing to do. Despite this she was proud of her natural coils and is rocking them to this day. I aspire to wear my natural hair for the rest of my life--just as she seems to do.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh, the crazy things people say...

So, recently, my baby sister has cut off her locs and is now wearing a TWA (teeny weeny afro). She simply felt she needed a change and decided to let go of her 97 locs. However, of course she has received numerous feedback from others on how they felt about her new look. Most ranged from surprise to like. Yet, she was telling me how this one lady will repeatedly say, "A, since you changed your hair you look so militant. I'm just waiting for you to blow something up!"


That is all I could say once she told me this. It's crazy because people don't realize that their comments are ignorant. Maybe it would have been good to inform the lady about how the comment was ignorant and that natural hair does not always represent militance. Yet, we just have to remember to pick and choose our battles.

I truly believe it will take time but, more people will begin to recognize natural hair as the norm and not view it as a person seeking to make some sort of political statement.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hair Today: Pinned Up Braid Out

So, to ensure that I post everyday, I decided to post my hair today. As you can see, it is the same style from a previous post. (The Braid-out updo). The only difference with this braid out is that instead of 6 cornrows I put in 11 cornrows. I noticed that when I make the cornrows smaller it gives it a slightly more defined look.

I plan on trying new looks and hairstyles---mainly, to keep my blog diverse. A couple of styles that may be coming in the future are: the Classic Afro, Cornrows leading into a Afro, Cornrows leading into a braid out, a Twist out, Flat Twists, and so much more.

Continue to stay posted...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Do You Have A Hair Inspiration???

I am inspired by Monique Coleman of High School Musical's hair. I first saw her natural hair while transitioning and immediately fell in love with her head full of glorious natural hair. I would love to rock my hair like this on a daily basis (with no headband, no accesory, no pins, etc.) However, I go for a more conservative look in the office. Yet, when those weekends come or any other time away from work I will be rocking my hair like this regularly. And you never natural hair becomes more accepted maybe this will one day be alright for the office.

She looks absolutely beautiful. Love it.

Hairstyle: Twist-Out Updo with a Braid

So, a couple of posts back I showed how my hair in a pinned-up twist style. After about four days of wearing that style I was tired of the twist b/c they would just not act right. They were popping out of the updo and just looking randomly crazy. (my hair is still at a relatively short phase). So I took the twists out and went to bed with a satin bonnet. The next morning I woke up for work not knowing what I was going to do with my hair. So, I braided a front section and then just started to pin the hair up. The result was this updo, which I'm going to call a twist-out updo. I actually received a few compliments on this style. I only wore this style for one day b/c sometimes I will miss my fro and will feel the need to wear it. It's my ultimate go to style.

These are the steps:
1. Section off hair in the front at a side part and cornrow it towards the ear.
2. Grab pieces of the hair throughout the head and start to pin them under. (make sure to pin the tail of the braid in with the hair.
3. And you're done!

This style takes about 10 minutes to pin.