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.