Monday, 31 December 2012

Natural Hair Encouragement For 2013

The trouble with hair is that it is full of surprises. It doesn't matter if your hair is bone straight or extremely kinky. You can walk out of the house with perfectly done hair and return with frizz, reversion, flyaways brought on by static and the list goes on. The elements have a way of affecting our hair and those who are on a hair journey can easily get discouraged. Here are a few tips to help you keep your sanity in the new year.

1. Patience is key: When you're patient with your hair, you will be more gentle with your hair. Take a deep breath and relax before you comb, trim or detangle to avoid unnecessary breakage or hair loss. I know we are pressed for time so definitely consider sticking to two or three last minute "quick fix" hairstyles. Here's one you can try. If you're having hair growth blues, remember that others were there. I actually cut off my relaxed ends in April and was sporting an unflattering Afro. I couldn't even put my hair into a sensible looking ponytail. I managed to get through that awkward growth phase and so can you. Look at how my hair grew between the months of April and December.

2. Service your body first: We invest so much time and money on products and tools that are designed to work best for our hair to achieve certain looks and protect our hair in different weather conditions, but what if we shift our focus to what's going on inside? Our hair is part of the Integumentary system, which is composed of the skin and all of it's appendages (hair and nails). When we are unhealthy, there is a good chance that our Integumentary system is one of the first indicators. Our skin starts to look bad, and our hair and nails begin to break. This can be brought on by stress, disease, dehydration and malnutrition. You can eat three meals with a drink and still be malnourished and dehydrated so be sure to prioritize what you need over what you want. How about we resolve to focus energy into fueling our bodies with the proper nutrients, exercising more, looking at the positive things in life and getting regular check ups? There's nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with unhealthy snacks...just do it in moderation.

3. Moisturize and seal: If you are team kinky curly coily, etc. then this one applies to you. Moisturizing and sealing my hair regularly definitely helped make it softer, pliable and more manageable. Trust me when I say you will have better hair days as time goes on.

I hope this helped. I hope you all have a safe and prosperous new year with better hair days to come.
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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fall/Winter Haircare: My Top 5 Deep Conditioners

The biting cold of winter is definitely here, and as we pull out all those cute coats and scarves, it's important to remember our delicate strands need some extra love and care as well. Deep conditioning is vital no matter what time of the year, but especially during the Fall and Winter months as the temperatures get very low and dry, which can lead to breakage, loss of moisture, and brittle strands. Here are five of my favorite deep conditioners that protect my hair from freezing temps, wind, and dryness in the air.

1. Darcy's Botanicals Deep Conditioning Mask-This mask is great in that has amazing detangling properties as well as leaving my strands smooth and incredibly moisturized even after rinsing it out. Right when I apply it I feel my hair softening up, which is very important since I detangle my curls usually once every two weeks. It leaves a great moisturizing foundation for styling my hair in protective styles as well as wash and gos.

2. Curl Junkie Beauticurls Argan and Olive Daily Hair Conditioner-Although this product is marketed as a daily/rinse out conditioner, it has such amazingly moisturizing ingredients that it actually makes a wonderful deep conditioning treatment. With Argan, Olive, and Jojoba oils, this rich and emollient conditioner effectively coats the strands, protecting them from the elements especially when some is left in the hair after detangling. Not only is this an amazing deep conditioner but it also is one of my favorite leave in conditioners as well! Check out my review on YouTube!

3. MopTop Daily Conditioner-Another gem that is not traditionally marketed as a deep conditioner is this product from MopTop. This thick creamy conditioner has a great mix of honey, aloe vera gel, proteins, and extracts to maintain the proper protein and moisture balance. And the detangling capabilities are out of this world! My hair is left strong, yet soft upon rinsing. Here's my review so that you can get a feel of the consistency and performance.

4. Shea Moisture Purification Mask-This deep conditioner is easily available and has amazing ingredients like Kaolin clay, Neem extract and coconut oil to purify and nourish the hair and scalp. We can't forget our scalp during this frosty weather, which can get dry and flaky in the dry climate. The clay helps to get rid of flakes and remove buildup from the hair as well. Link to my review on this easily accessible wonder is here.

5. Bee Mine Bee-U-Ti-Ful Moisturizing Deep Conditioner-This conditioner gives a great moisturizing base prior to styling. Helps immensely with detangling and provides exceptional moisture that lasts even as the hair is drying. Also nice as a leave in conditioner. Full review here.

Enjoy ladies and I hope this helps you find a great deep treatment to help you get through the next few months and beyond with healthy happy hair!

**~Please visit my YouTube channel for more hair fun and product reviews!
      Also feel free to come hang out on Instagram! Username: Curlypad


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Stretch Your Hair...With Thread?

   One of the most difficult tasks we encounter as naturals and transitioners is stretching our hair. It may be time consuming, costly or even damaging to our tresses. Although there are many options to stretch our hair, I would like to highlight one option that is arguably one of the best methods; the African Hair Threading Technique. I use this technique to get the “blow out look,” prepare my hair for flat ironing, straighten it before molding it into a certain style, and even to create a protective style with the thread.

   As a child, my mother would sit me down and stretch my hair with thread. She would use water, a pomade and regular thread that she would fortify by overlapping it. The water was to moisturize and the pomade was designed to seal. Today’s alternative would be to M&S with our favorite products. She would do intricate, traditional designs with the thread or she would just stretch it to make my hair more manageable.

   The technique is very simple. All you have to do is get a section of hair, moisturize it, seal the hair and then thread it. I use weaving thread to do this. If the section is small, then M&S a large area before you begin threading in small sections to save time. To thread the hair, you must do the following:

     1. Wrap the thread around the base of your hair approximately five times. This will secure the thread. Do not do this tightly, just enough to stretch the hair at the base.
     2. Start wrapping downward; toward the ends of your hair. You can wrap tightly of loosely.
     3. Once you get to the end, begin wrapping upwards for approximately 2-3 inches then wrap going back down so that your hair is secured. That way, your hair will unravel easily. I know that many people knot the thread, but do not knot the thread at the ends. This can cause damage during removal.

        This technique saved my life when I was transitioning to natural hair. It may not be easy to get the hang of, but practice makes perfect so put your blow dryer and hair bands down and pick up some very cheap weaving thread. Bear in mind that you should be gentle with your hair. If it hurts, you are pulling too tightly. Feel free to look at the following videos for inspiration and a closer look at the technique.  

     Transitioning Hairstyle:
     AHT ponytail with extensions:
     AHT band in the front and extensions in the back:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Fun During Fall Fro Fashion Week

This September I had the pleasure of going to the Fall Fro Fashion Week in downtown Atlanta, a Natural hair and beauty event that spawned a weekend filled with natural beauty and lifestyle workshops, lots of product shopping, and tons of natural hair schmoozing! Now in it's fourth year, the Fall Fro Fashion Week event had a theme of Glitz and Glam, complete with a red carpet that led into the the product arena where attendees could shop in an intimate setting where eight hand-selected vendors were chosen to show off there handcrafted hair and body products, jewelry, and accessories.

Some examples of the lovely vendors that there were in attendance were wonderfully whipped and heavenly scented hair and body butters created by none other than the lovely tastiredbone from YouTube! Her company, Tasti Kiss Essentials, had scents of Cherry Almond, Pineapple, Pink Sugar, and a variety of other yummy smells wafting around the arena (P.S.-She just released her I Heart Mango Butter in the Pumpkin scent for the month of October,  I had the chance to preview it, and it smells amazing and scrumptious, the perfect Fall sealant as the temperatures continue to dip!).  Also, a unique concept I have never seen at a natural hair event revolved around the company, Luxor Couture, and their unique concept of a Earring Bar, where you could make and customize your own earrings with a variety of brightly hued beads, silver, gold, and wooden accents. She had gorgeous feather earrings also that were definitely calling my name! The product junkie in me was also pleased to meet Taiza, the owner of HoneyChileHairLove, and I can't wait to try her Lush Curl Custard, Avocado Truffle Hair Milk, and the many other yummy sounding products I purchased from her in the coming weeks. 

There were also very interesting workshops that I was able to attend, such as the D.I.Y: Women Do Everything segment, that gave tips on how to change the oil in your car, how to make minor repairs around your house, and also how to check the wiring in your home, all things that could come really handy when you least expect it! There were also workshops on How to Look Great on a Budget, Protective Styling, a Blogger Luncheon, and a Curl Talk co-hosted by the owner of Jessicurl, Jessie McGuinty. All in a very informative and intimate setting, which allowed tons of insightful questions from the many beautifully coiffed naturals in attendance.

The evening of Saturday culminated in Penthouse party on the top floor of the Melia Hotel which hosted the Fro Fashion Week Event, here is a pic of us all glammed up for the event:

Although I made the long 13-hour trip back home early Sunday morning, CurlyGirlJess from YouTube filled me in on the festivities of Sunday, which included another day of shopping at the vendor's arena, a Curls Unleashed Focus Group, and the highly-anticipated Fashion Show, which showed off local fashion's from Atlanta-based designers as well as honored the eight unique and incredibly talented vendors that were in attendance.

Overall, I had a great time at the event! The best part by far was spending time with my girls, tastiredbone and CurlyGirlJess. Events like this bring women together with the common interest and love of natural hair, and foster great friendships that go beyond that! Check out the vlog CurlyGirlJess made of our adventure in ATL right here. If you haven't been to a natural hair event yet I highly encourage it, you'll have a great time meeting and mingling fellow naturals! I'm already planning my trip to the World Natural Hair Show in April 2013 :) See you next month ladies!

~*Check out my YouTube Channel: Curlypad
Links to 

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Scarlett Rocourt of Wonder Curl

Please introduce Yourself!
I’m Scarlett Rocourt, creator of Wonder Curl products for natural hair, Haitian born Jersey girl and lover of pretty things.
How long have you been natural? Did you big chop or transition?
I began my natural hair journey back in 1998. I stopped relaxing for 6 months before doing the big chop. It was the first time my hair was so short and I loved it! After a few months, I began texturizing my hair because I didn’t know what else to do with it. I wasn’t happy with the texturizer and big  chopped a second time. I started blow-drying and flat ironing my hair. My hair became straight and thin from all the heat so I big chopped a third time in June 2006. This was my last big chop and I’ve only straightened my hair a handful of times.
Tell us about Wonder Curl.
Wonder Curl is a line of natural hair products created with the needs of our natural curly hair in mind. Our hair tends to be dryer and not always have defintion or shine. The products deliver definition, softness and shine without weighing the hair down or making it feel greasy. It was paramount that Wonder Curl products work with all textures, helping each individual to achieve their desired style with minimum effort and maximum results.
What inspired the name Wonder Curl?
I was brainstorming different names for a website and Wonder Curl sounded so much fun to me. After I bought the domain name, a friend of mine out of the blue called me a ‘wonder curl’ I knew at that point that it was the right name.
There are many product lines that claim to benefit “natural” or curly hair. What makes Wonder Curl different?
Wonder Curl products only uses ingredients that serves a purpose, whether it’s to strengthen the hair like Virgin Organic Coconut oil or nourish the hair like Neem oil. Since I use the products in my hair, I want my hair to not only look & feel great, but to also grow as strong as possible. The products are also versatile meaning you can use them to achieve any style you’re going for whether it’s a twist out or a wash-n-go and they work great for all textures.
What’s in the future for Wonder Curl?
Right now, Wonder Curl is available in 5 different countries and I’m looking to expand and make Wonder Curl even more accessible to curlies everywhere!
What advice do you have for transitioners, those who are curious about natural hair, or those having difficulty embracing their natural hair?
Using Wonder Curl products helps take the guess work out of what products to use because they all work well in any hair type. If you’re transitioning, the products will help you achieve the styles to keep your hair strong while maintaining a uniform look.
Where can people connect with you?
I’m everywhere!
instagram @wondercurl
facebook @wondercurl
facebook fan page @wondercurlcom
youtube @wondercurlcom
twitter @wondercurl
pinterest @wondercurl
And at Curls of Joy

Saturday, 15 September 2012

How to Salvage Your Style: The Benefits of Dry Restyling

With the combination of my brassy and often dry-as the desert highlighted curls, as well as my daily walks to the metro in 90+ degree weather, there were many days this summer that my hair turned into an abundance of frizz and tangles long before I was ready to hop in the shower to restyle. Twisting, braiding, and creating cute and simple styles with the resulting braidouts and twistouts yielded some of my best hair days this summer! Whether you're returning to a busy work or school schedule, or just want to extend your style without re-wetting with winter just around the corner, here are some tips and benefits that dry restyling bring to the table.

1. Turn slowly wilting curls into a lovely set of elongated twists.
Around day 7 of my wash and go, or after a week old braidouts, instead of starting anew with the detangling process, I would dry twist my hair to not only get a few extra days out of my initial style, but to get get a slightly different look from ordinary twists. To achieve the longer, fluffier look of dry twists, some of these tips were incredibly beneficial:
  • Use small sections of hair to restyle. When dry restyling, it's important to remember that you may have several days of shed hair waiting to be unleashed  during your next detangling session, so being gentle is crucial. Work with small sections when twisting and gently remove any shed hair you may encounter. This will also ensure a smoother finish to your style.
  • Try to avoid products that are heavily water based and use creamy emollient products with a nice oil and moisture balance. I avoid spray leave ins and products with a watery consistency when dry restyling. For my curls, water plus dry hair equals frizzy, albeit moisturized curls. With products like Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk, Curly Kinks Twist Whip, and Karen's Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia, I'm able to easily twist or braid my hair because the products provide slip, shine, and the perfect balance of moisture to my parched curls.
2. Turn lackluster products into styling dynamos when used on dry hair
Many products that have been lurking in my product stash that have just been blah at best on wet hair have completely wowed my when used on dry hair. My luck with the Karen's Body Beautiful completely changed when used on dry hair, not only is it a good way to use up product if you're an epic product junkie like myself, but dry styling is also a great way to find use for a product in a way you had not imagined.

3. Dry styling is actually a great way to get a jumpstart on Detangling Day, also known in my house as my Half Day Hair Date complete with washing and deep conditioning. 
When going through those sections to restyle, I notice that removing the shed hair I encounter as I move along the restyling process significantly decreases my detangling time in the shower come wash day. I am also gently loosening tangles that may have formed in between washings, so I am essentially dry finger detangling my hair as I style. Anything that helps me lessen the time it takes to take care of my hair is a must have in my regimen!

And there you have it ladies! Dry detangling is a method I haven't really utilized in the past, but now with winter coming fast and hard, my grow-out the ill-advised highlights mission, and my 60 hour work week that i'll be experiencing until November, dry restuling is going to me a must have. The bonus days of prolonging detangling day, the ability to use up my lovely product stash, the low maintenance ease of the styles, and of course the beautifully fluffy and different look it gives my hair all make dry restyling an epic win in my fun experiments with my natural hair. Check out my YouTube channel Curlypad for fun natural hair chat, and here is a video with my hair in a twistout that resulted from dry styling!! Happy hair ladies!!!
Pics: From Frizzy dry frazzled third day hair (1), to happy moisturized twists done on dry hair (2) to a fluffy, soft twistout that prolonged a full fledged detangling session for 8 more days (3)!! 

Friday, 31 August 2012

5 Minute Natural Hairstyle For Newbies

I’m newly natural and enjoying wearing my natural hair but sometimes, I have a bit of a problem. From time to time, my hair is simply uncompromising and I just can’t seem to style it the way I want to. I was rushing one day, and found my Five minute quick fix to my natural hair blues. It’s very straightforward and should work regardless of your hair condition. I included a video for those of you who are visual.


1.       The first thing I did was part my hair in a boomerang shape to create the part for the “faux fringe.
2.       I went ahead and pulled as much hair as I could into a banana clip so that my edges would look neat. I could only fit about half of my hair in it without it snapping open so I went ahead and pinned the rest down to create a Mohawk.
     3.       I went ahead and got the fringe part and tucked it going all the way around and back to the banana clip area; pinning it as I went.

That’s all there is to this very simple hairstyle that you can use whenever your planned hairstyle fails. I hope you found this to be useful and feel free to leave feedback and join me on my other sites where I share more on hair topics.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Mastering my Wash and Go:  A Natural Milestone 7 Years in the Making

In 2008 I was in the full swing of being natural. Experimenting with everything from twists, braid outs, straight hair, to the ever-popular and often practical wash and go. I would apply a leave in, quickly smooshing it through four voluminous sections of my incredibly thick and very curly hair, or leaving in literally every precious drop of my detangling conditioner without washing it out. My hair would be big, soft, and kind of defined for a day or two, but when day three rolled around, the dryness and tangles would begin to return hardcore.  After transitioning from an ill-advised texturizer in 2009 and being natural again here in 2012, I think I’ve finally cracked the code of the ideal wash and go after lots of trial and error. Here are a few things I’ve changed in my routine that have made a wonderful difference in helping me achieve a defined, moisturized, and relatively tangle-free wash and go (that lasts a  full week to boot! ) 

1. Start with a well moisturized foundation
I make sure that I cleanse my hair before every wash session now, usually once a week for a wash and go style and every two weeks when I’m doing a protective style. I use either a sulfate free shampoo, cleansing conditioner, or my new favorite, shampoo bars. I then deep condition with a silicone free conditioner for at least two hours. Happy, well conditioned hair leads to longevity of my wash and go since moisture retention is increased from the very beginning of my styling session.

2. Moisturize and seal
This crucial change in my styling routine is probably the one that I credit most to finally being able to rock a successful wash and go. After applying my leave in to about ten sections of hair in order to ensure even distribution of product, I go back and seal my hair with a nice emollient butter, such as avocado, hemp, or sweet almond. I used to use oil to seal, but I find that the weight of a butter helps to provide a buffer and decrease single strand knots from forming because of my hair rubbing against my clothes, as well as keep my hair smooth and moisturized longer. The butter also helps to decrease the slight crunch I get from the use of my stylers and my hair is touchably soft.

3. Apply Styler of choice in small sections
              Two gels that I have been loving lately are Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha and Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic. These medium hold gels help to “freeze” my curls into place and my hair stays full and defined throughout the week, no need for restyling. Applying to small sections helps me to concentrate the product and make sure no strand is left behind! 

4. Nightly/Daily maintenance
               The pineapple has been a lifesaver for me at night. Before, I would smush and wrangle my hair into a bonnet with some of my scarves, and wake up with a Frederick Douglass-esque mullet that called for tons of shaking. Now before bed, I use my trusty satin covered, straight out of the 80’s scrunchie to gather all my hair into a high ponytail on top of my head, cover with scarves and a bonnet for good measure, and go to sleep. This method prevents any smooshing, and leaves my hair with tons of volume, keeps some of the frizz at bay, and also prevents shrinkage due to the high ponytail. I usually don’t have to do anything as far as daily maintenance until day five, when I start to gets a tiny bit of dryness and flyaways. I use a very light oil, like jojoba or camellia on my nape and over my hairline and canopy to add shine.

That’s it! A few simple changes have made all difference to me being able to enjoy wearing my hair in a wash and go! I’ve been enjoying them so much this summer that I’m already plotting and thinking how I can tweak my routine to carry them into the Fall and Autumn! Come check out my YouTube channel for some fun hair chat as well Curlypad! Happy wash and gos ladies!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Steps to a Better Bantu Knot Out

One of the difficulties that we encounter with natural hair is achieving a certain look without the use of heat. We love our kinks, but sometimes we want to trade them in for a smooth spring curl without sacrificing the integrity of our strands to a heat styling tool. We resort to braid outs, twist outs and bantu knot outs but sometimes, what should have been curls ends up being gathered tufts of our original kinks. This weekend, I decided to do a bantu knot out on my hair to monitor every little thing that I do to achieve my spring curls. I came up with some pointers that could lead to better results.

Minimal moisture: The amount of moisture that you put in your hair determines the amount of time that you will spend waiting on it to dry. Try moisturizing with very little product; just enough to dampen your hair. Minimal moisture means your hair will set in two hours, whereas too much moisture will have your hair taking its sweet time drying since bantu knots have an unusual way of holding onto moisture.

Use a curling aid: If your hair is as kinky as mine, you'll likely need all of the help you can get to make it hold a curl. Also, the natural hair care industry has evolved so much that we are able to get products that are designed to hydrate and define our curls. Coco curls curly styling aid is a great curling aid to use on your tresses.

Water and oil mix: Moisturizing and sealing our hair goes back further than we think. My mother used to use water and pomade to soften my hair. She adopted this method from her mother and I’m sure it goes back further than I can imagine.  Now we can moisturize and seal with a variety of product choices that suit our preferences, but the fact still remains that this method will give you a more polished look when you remove your bantu knots.      
    Tension rules: You must tension your hair properly if you want a smooth curl. This does not mean that you should pull your hair tightly. What you want to do is firmly twist your hair in one direction. Once you get to your ends, loosen your hold just enough to form a slight loop at your roots. This will happen naturally and is the foundation of your knot. Wrap your hair under the loop until there is none left and I can almost guarantee that the vast majority of your curls will look the same. This method will also ensure that the hair at your roots will be straight.

      Add a little slip on the ends: There’s nothing more annoying than having the perfect curl with a tuft of kinks on the ends. To avoid this, add a little more oil to your ends to provide enough slip so that you can tuck the remainder of your hair underneath the knot. It will be a tight space, so there will be no need to secure the hair with a bobby pin.

Size matters: The size of your knots should be based on your natural hair length and texture. If you have tightly coiled hair, you want smaller sections for your bantu knots. This will result in tight curls like mine, but they will be smooth and they will loosen over time. Try to section your hair in 1-1.5 inch cubes. It may take more time, but you will be pleased with your results. If your hair is longer than shoulder length, you can easily get away with larger bantu knot outs regardless of texture.


      Tease them out and twirl them loose: Removal can be tricky and you must be careful not to ruin the curls in the process. Lightly oil your fingers then place two fingers on your knot and rotate from side to side until it loosens. Once loose, you can twirl your strands loose and be sure to only separate two or three sections with your fingers to avoid fizz. If you're going for bigger curls, you can section the hair more. 


Essentially, these are just methods to achieve a more polished look. Bear in mind that bantu knots can be damaging to your hair if you do not take the time out to be gentle with your hair. I decided to pin mine up for a classy look, but sporting a curly afro with a scarf is a nice casual chic alternative.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Joyous Curly : Iknowlee

Hi, Iknowlee. Please Introduce Yourself!
My real name is Helecia and I am 24 years young. I am a Houston Native.....a city girl! The name IKNOWLEE originated from my nick name "Lee Lee." I always had trouble with people mispronouncing my name and that nick name was not only common but memorable.  People almost go to the point where they never learned my real name and they would say, "Oh, I know Lee Lee!" It just stuck so I came up with the youtube channel entitled IKNOWLEE.

What does your current hair regimen look like?
My current hair regimen is actually very simple. Its the products that get people confused.  I wash and deep condition my hair weekly. I always apply a leave in and usually do a twist out. Then I retwist my hair every night and sleep with a bonnet. 

How long have you been natural? Did you big chop or transition?
 I have been natural two years and two months. I hit my two year mark on May 24th, 2012. I wanted to transition but I didn't have the patience. I wore weave for about two months just to let my perm grow out. Once I took the weave out, I decided to just do a big chop. I ended up with about a half of an inch of hair. 

Why did you decide to go natural? How did people react to your decision to go natural?
My sister encouraged me to try something different mainly because she was going natural.  I loved changing my hair so I took the risk and just went for it. When I told people that I was going natural, they didn't really respond at all until I actually cut off all my hair. People were extremely shocked and I mostly got extremely negative responses. 

What advice do you have for transitioners and persons that are curious about natural hair?
Natural hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get! Go for it! If you want to go natural just try it and if you don’t like, go back to a relaxer. Be patient and give it some time to adjust.  

Do you think that there are DO’s and DON'T’s for maintaining YOUR natural hair or natural hair in general? 
Absolutely NOT. Everyone's hair is different so different things work for different people. You can set rules because in some cases they might not apply. The only DO is to keep it moisturized!!! 

How has your natural hair changed/affected you?
My natural hair has helped me gain self esteem and accept who I am.  Until I went natural, I didn't realize how society viewed natural hair in general. I had to accept what I had and work with it to the best of my ability even if others didn't view it as socially acceptable. For a while I was outcasted because of my hair. Because I rocked it with confidence, people began to accept it and also love it. 

Where can people connect with you?
 You can check my YouTube Channel or like my Facebook Fan Page.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The 10 *New* Rules of Black Beauty

By Vanessa of Onyx Rose Online

As I read Ben Arogundade's article, "Black Beauty - The 10 New Rules", I kept saying to myself, "Yes!". Many of his points illustrate how I've been feeling about natural hair, relaxed hair -- black beauty as a whole. The following are statements that stuck out to me the most:

All hair and hairstyles are good.
Providing you choose them for yourself, rather than through any forms of pressure or coercion, from family, friends, haters or society.

Know your black hair history.
Knowing the cultural history behind the hairstyle you choose empowers your choices. For example, for those who wear wigs or weaves, this type of adornment dates back over 5,000 years to ancient Egypt, where they were worn for ceremonial occasions, and as sun protectors.

Know your own hair history.
For many black women, their preference for straight hair is driven by bad childhood memories of being teased and tormented at school about their natural hair, or being made to feel insecure by parents who insisted on the hot comb or hair relaxer. Understanding your own psychological back-story, and the way it has influenced your choices today, is fundamental, thereby raising ones consciousness from "choice" to "informed choice".

Black men -- be more supportive.
The black Nationalists of the civil rights era chastised African American women who didn't give up their processed hair during the aesthetic revisionism of the 1960s. Today's black men should support black women in their aesthetic choices, whatever they may be. They should be more empathetic and less chastising.

End black-on-black hair conflict.
Black women are under attack again, only this time from each other. Curly against straight, natural against processed. The two styles are billed in opposition to one another -- like a face-off between a pair of heavyweight boxers -- always with the word "VERSUS" separating them. In reality there is no reason why these two styles should not co-exist in harmony, with both factions accepting, instead of attacking the other. These feuds are divisive, and distract black women from life's more important battles.

and my favorite:

Perceived meanings can't be trusted.
Reverting to natural hair is often talked about alongside adjectives such as "self-acceptance", "freedom" and "political awareness". But these terms could just as easily apply to a black woman with a blonde weave, who chooses her style while being fully "aware". All assumptions based on aesthetics alone must be outlawed.

Do you agree with Ben Arogundade?

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Summer Must Have: Glycerin

Hi Naturalistas!

This summer, sure you should stock up on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and find yourself to the beach at least once, but you should also make sure your products are stocked with ingredients that will truly benefit your hair. One of these products is glycerin, which is usually found in your leave ins and moisturizers. Glycerin is a humectant which is just a fancy term that means that it traps moisture from the air to soften and moisturize your tresses. For those naturals who live in dry climates, you want to be cautious when using glycerin because it can work adversely and make your hair dry and brittle. For other naturals who are living in areas with humidity and moisture in the air, you hair will most likely LOVE glycerin.

Another warning about glycerin is that because it traps moisture in the air and into your hair, it can turn our beautiful twist outs into to a full out fro if the dews are too high. Of course, there is no complete formula to gauge how glycerin will affect your hair so you really have to test it out and observe the weather patterns in your area. However, when used correctly and in the right amounts, glycerin is AMAZING. It will leave your hair soft and supple. Who doesn't love soft, touchable hair right? If you're looking for products that contain this fantastic ingredient try Karen's Body Beautiful Luscious Hair Mask and Sweet Ambrosia or Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion.

Hope that was helpful!

Who's using glycerin this summer?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

7 Reasons Your Hair Won't Grow

By Nia of My Kinks and Curls

For the most part, all hair grows. On average hair grows about a 1/4 to 1/2 an inch a month but sometimes (or should I say a lot of the time) it seems that our hair growth stunts and we can't reach our ideal length goals. The truth is to gain longer hair we have to: retain hair length, avoid doing things that lead to hair breakage and shedding, and stimulate hair growth. In this article, I've listed my top 8 reason why your hair doesn't seem to grow and helpful tips to counteract them. Enjoy!

1. Lack of moisture

Without moisture hair dries up and eventually breaks off. With curly and kinky hair textures it is important to keep the ends of our hair well-moisturised as the scalps natural oil find it harder to reach these parts. Use a water-based moisturiser concentrating on the hair ends followed by a hair oil or butter to seal moisture in the hair longer. I recommend using Olive Oil, Jojoba or Coconut Oil. Check out my article on How to Moisturise Effectively.

2. Constant manipulation

Daily styling, brushing and combing can cause a lot of wear and tear to the hair. Protective styling can reduce the amount of stress you put on you hair in the long term. You can also try style that require less manipulation  and little up keep like buns, puffs and ponytails. Furthermore try to not part in the same places and vary styling options.

3. Product build-up on the scalp & hair

Products can build up on your scalp and clog the pores, pausing hair growth. Heavy products like hair greases, pomades and gels are especially inclined to doing this. Therefore always try to uses light natural products like oils and avoid using hair greases. Make sure you cleanse and clarify your hair and scalp you every 7 to 14 days depending on your hair texture and product usage. Check out my article on How to Shampoo.

4.  Heat damage

If you've followed this blog from the beginning you'll know that I had a lot of heat damage in the beginning of my natural journey from using heat styling tools. Heat damage basically is when your hair is over exposed to heat and the outer layer of the hair (the cuticle) becomes damage, this causes your hair to be dry, frizzy and kills curl definition. To avoid this minimise your usage of heat styling tools, use heat protectant and do not use the hottest setting on heat styling tools. Check out The 411... On Heat Damage for more information

5.  Colouring

I love playing with hair colour but the truth be told colourants are very harsh chemicals. When you dye hair bonds in the hair are broken and this means more care needs to be taken in looking after your hair. Protein treatments can temporarily repair hair bonds stripped by colourants.

6. Pulling hair

Pulling hair to tightly can cause not only hair loss around the hairline but sore and acne on the scalp. Make sure you are gentle with hair in these area as it is quite fragile and negligence can lead to traction alopecia.

7. Diet
A poor diet can lead to a stunt in hair growth or hair loss. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet and are properly hydrated.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tips for Surviving Hair Envy

Hey Curlies,

We can all agree that natural hair is beautiful and versatile. For those of us who are rocking TWAs (Teeny Weeny Afros), we aspire for huge afros and moptops. For those of us who can't master a twist out, we admire the women who wear out styles effortlessly. However, sometimes our goals for our hair creates something that is referred to as "hair envy." Have you ever caught yourself saying, "OMG, I WANT her hair"? Perhaps you've exclaimed, "Whoa, I wish I had hair like that" or "She has the prettiest curl pattern/texture."

Although you should always show love to other naturals, you should never sell yourself short. Trust, there are women out there who are in love with your hair as well. They could be intrigued by your fade which creates perfect waves throughout your head or dazzled by the way your afro stands tall and proud.

Society tries to tell us what beauty is and what perfection should be.Even so, you have to know and accept yourself for your beauty, perfections, and imperfections.

Here are our TOP Tips for Surving Hair Envy:

1. Create a love affair with your hair. Know what makes it happy and upset. Find out what makes it tick. This will make you happier and content so that you'll still love it even with it misbehaves.

2. Keep your goals in mind. Today, you are rocking a TWA, but in a year or two, you'll have more hair than you'll know what to do with. If you covet a silkier texture, remember you can always do roller sets, curl former sets, etc. to get the look you want.

3. Don't try the imitate the woman on the magazine, BE the woman on the magazine. Realize that society can be very limiting; even so,you are a whirlwind of fire and your hair is FIERCE.

4. Remember you have something other people want. No one has the most perfect hairstyle or hair type and if you rock your natural hair with confidence, other people will be watching you too.

5. Let go. At the end of the day, natural hair is JUST hair. Don't be caught up in the hype. You have to be a dynamic, intelligent, and powerful woman regardless of the way you choose to wear your hair! Work on YOU and then everything will fall into place.

Have you experienced hair envy?
How did you get over it?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Retaining Moisture| The L.O.C. Method: Has it Worked for You?

By Kiki of Rockin' it Napptural

Hey loves! So, while perusing the Curly Nikki Forums, I came across a thread for keeping hair moisturized for days at a time without having to keep adding products to your hair. The women in the thread were discussing using the L.O.C. method and how it helped them keep their hair moisturized for 4 to 5 days! So, of course I jumped on Twitter to find out what all the hype was about and lo and behold, they were speaking of a technique that I had been using already, but not consistently and I was unaware there was an actual name for the technique.

Liquid: First, you would use a liquid of choice on your hair for moisture. For me, that liquid is water. Most people think that water dries your hair out, but that is not the case at all. You would want to use cool to lukewarm water for this step.  Not only is water free but it is one of my top moisturizers! Whether your hair is wet or simply damp by spritzing the hair lightly with your spray bottle, you would want to seal the water in by next, using an oil.

Oil: The next step simply involves using your oil of choice (I like Dudu Osun's Oil Herbal Therapy Oil & Moisturizer) to seal the water in your hair. A lot of folks are using coconut oil for this step, which really is a great oil to use. Coconut oil is one of the very few oils that actually penetrate the hair and doesn't just coat the hair shaft.

Cream: The final step involves using a creme or butter of choice to ultimately seal all the moisture in your hair and act as a protectant. You can use any butter or cream that your hair likes, and be sure to coat the hair. Continue to style as usual!

The purpose of using the L.O.C. method is for each layer to seal the layer before it resulting in ultimate moisture. I've been using this method for a few months without even knowing what the L.O.C. method was and trust me, it truly works, at least for me. Be sure to play around with different oils and creams to determine what works best for your hair.

Have you tried the L.O.C. method and if so, has it worked for you? What types of oils and butters have you found that work best for your hair?

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Joyous Curly: IslandGurl

Hi, IslandGurl. Please Introduce Yourself!
My government name is Kim Aska , however since starting my natural hair journey I am better knows as islandgurl 3601. I am a proud mother of 3 and by profession I am the Property & Procurement Manager for the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.

What does your current regimen look like?
In my eyes, my current regimen is pretty simple. I mostly wear my hair in Wash N Go's and I am on what I would call a modified Curly Girl Method.  I say that it is modified because I am a product junkie and as such, I review and try many products. While I try to stay away from products that are not "curly girl" approved, sometimes I am sent products to review that are not CG approved and I do use and review them. I also occasionally use heat to stretch my hair which is not recommended if you are strictly CG.

What I love most about being natural is the versatility and freedom of my hair, thus I refuse to be a slave to any particular method, rule, or regulation.  I do what is best for my lifestyle and my hair. I believe that natural hair is fun and free, so while I am very much into taking care of my hair and keeping it healthy, I am not  opposed to trying out new styles, products, or methods.   Deep conditioning is a step that I never miss no matter what adventure I am having with my hair.

My normal routines consists of the following;

Sunday: Cleanse and deep condition
Monday: Re-Wet and style with conditioner or styler of choice for my Wash N Go
Tuesday: Refresh with water or moisturizer
Wednesday: Re-Wet rinse out product and restyle
Thursday same as Tuesday
Friday: Same as Wednesday
Saturday: is a free day so I am usually in a puff, scarf, tam or some cute hair accessory

How long have you been natural? Did you big chop or transition?
I have been natural for 2 years and 6 months. I transitioned for 6 months and then I BC'd due to an unfortunate disaster with a protective style.
Why did you decide to go natural? How did people react to your decision to go natural?
I decided to go natural for my daughter Eshae' who was looking forward to her 13th birthday to get a relaxer.  As a parent, I thought that her getting a relaxer was not going to be in the best interest for her hair due to the fact that she is an avid athlete and frequent beach goer. When I expressed this to my daughter, I saw the look on her face change. Her response to me, though respectful, made me feel like a hypocrite since  my eldest daughter and I both had a perm at the time.  After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided to make a deal with Eshae' and told her that I would transition to natural so that both of us could be natural and learn how to take better care of our hair as well as make it stylish and fashionable.  We decided that if we did not like it, both of us would have a hair day at the hairdresser and get a perm.  This seemed to brighten her mood and since becoming natural, I have never had Eshae' talk about a perm again and I see that she is happy to be able to see a reflection of herself in me and me in her. Most people were a little taken aback about my decision due to the fact that they liked my hair straight and long, however, my family was extremely supportive and that is what really mattered to me.

What advice do you have for transitioners and persons that are curious about natural hair?
Wow, this is a hard one...Well the best advice I can give to people that are curious and transitioning is to do your own research, have patience, and to go on this natural journey because it is your decision and desire to make that change.  It is not easy in the beginning but once you get it, it all seems so simple that you will wonder what took you so long to finally get it lol.  It is important to be confident in your choice to be on the journey and to not just take any blogger, vlogger, or particular persons reviews, or recommendations as gospel.  Use the media outlets as a tool to do your research and remember that everyones' journey, hair, and experience is different.

Do you think that there are DO’s and DON'T’s for maintaining YOUR natural hair or natural hair in general?
I think that one thing we all have in common no matter what porosity, density, or texture our hair has, is the need for moisture and that is imperative that we find the right combination that will help us retain that moisture thus getting use to wetting our hair as often as possible and deep conditioning is imperative to healthy hair.  I cannot pinpoint a particular don't because for me, the way we care and figure out what works for our hair is an individual task so one thing that is a don't for me may not be a don't for another. In retrospect, because we have a fight for moisture I believe that a big don't is not to sleep on cotton pillow cases and to try our best to cover our hair with a silk/satin bonnet or scarf before going to bed at night.

How has your natural hair changed/affected you?
My natural hair has changed my life in many ways. Being on this natural journey has changed my view on not only what I put on my hair but in my body as well, thus the way my family and I eat has changed in many ways. It has also expanded my circle of friends beyond my imagination and it has thrusted me into a position where others (at least) where I live see me as the "go to" person to ask about natural hair. I find myself more open to talk to strangers and I have even become a radio personality with my radio show "lets talk hair".  I find that while I never thought of myself as an insecure person, my natural hair has given me much more confidence to just be who I am naturally.

Where can people connect with you?
You can find me on Youtube, Blogspot, and Facebook
Instagram and Twitter as Islangurl3601