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