Summertime = heat = protective styles . I’m all about bunning when it’s too hot to try a full-blown style. When I get lazy, I rock a simple puff. I like to sport both sleek and messy buns and puffs, depending on my mood, or where I’m headed.
Puff Style circa April 2011
Curly puff paired with a headband
Tried using a scarf with this puff. I’m obsessed with polka dots!
Was too busy focusing on the dress to focus on the hair! But this is a curly puff
Buns, buns, buns. I wear them on casual days, work days, and nights out
Wearing buns and puffs are the easiest way I maintain twistouts and braidouts. I generally add texture when I want a more sleek or sophisticated look. I’m starting to stray away from puffs because they leave the ends of my hair exposed - which can cause breakage.
My new motto – BOP : Buns over puffs! (lame, I know)
Okay, I’m not a natural hair nazi. While I do choose to wear my hair in its natural state and encourage other women to embrace their natural curls/kinks/coils, I do also understand that some woman like relaxers and weaves and that’s never going to change. Honestly, I don’t care that much about what other people do to their own hair. I do, however, care about the negative and shameful mentality that African-Americans and women in particular perpetuate in regards to “black hair”. This leads me to the point of this post and this question….
Why are people still burning their scalps in the name of straight hair holiness??????!!!!!
While I do understand that the result in this video does not represent all circumstances, I do know (from years of pre-natural hair experience) that, MOST of the time, when we get our hair relaxed, it does burn.
So another question I ask is: Does the end justify the means?
See, this is why I went natural. I just couldn’t do it any longer. Poor child.
I’ve been getting so many questions about my hair, the products I use, and how to use them. I remember when I did my big chop in 2009 and couldn’t figure out what products to use. The internet was a HUGE help to me then, and even now – especially YouTube. There are so many natural hair gurus in the blogging community who vlog and blog about all things natural hair – and I’m one of them (wink)! So here are my tips for how to use natural hair products.
Layering is KEY when it comes to using natural hair products. Different products have different functions, so you may use more than one product at a time to achieve a certain look. Oils and leave-in conditioners are used to retain moisture and promote softness. Butters are used to “seal” the hair and hold in the moisture. Gels of course are used to smooth hair, but are also used to define the curl pattern of your hair. Many of these types of products are multipurpose also. You may find a leave-in conditioner that also brings out your curls, or a moisturizing gel.
Water – The most inexpensive and most important natural hair product you can use is water. It’s free and it’s abundant. Water is your first defense against dryness. Dry hair = unhappy hair – and unhappy hair won’t grow. Tip: Keep a small spray bottle handy for wetting your hair
Oils - Oils are great for keeping the scalp from drying out and they give the hair a nice shine. You’ll want to use them sparingly though, too much can build up on the scalp and cause itching and irritation. Tip: the best time to use an oil is right after you wash your hair and are about to apply a styling product, and when you’re taking down a braid-out or twist-out. I mentioned some oils in a previous post, but here are a few popular ones among naturals:
Olive oil – a natural go-to product. Use this for moisture, shine, and anything you can think of
Coconut oil – best for taking down twist-outs and braid-outs or finishing styles
Jojoba oil – great for homemade leave-in recipes and moisturizing the scalp
Grapeseed oil – great for homemade leave-in recipes and as a pre-poo treatment
Castor oil – because it’s thick, it’s great for sealing twists and braids
Leave-in Conditioners – Leave-ins are great for ensuring that your hair stays moisturized and soft. They can rage from liquid spray-ons to thick creams and somewhere in between. Tip: Leave-in conditioners are great for detangling hair, and leave-in sprays are great for refreshing old hairstyles. Here are a few leave-ins that most naturals can’t live without:
Kinky Curly Knot Today – this lightweight, gel-like liquid leave-in does wonders for moisturizing and defining curls
Garnier Fructis Leave-in Conditioning Cream – I love how creamy it is!
Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-in Conditioner – great for refreshing old twist-outs and braid-outs
Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Mask – This one has a double duty – use it as a deep conditioner or as a leave-in conditioner. It smells amazing!
Butters – Butters are great for sealing in moisture and as a styling aid – especially for twist-outs and braid-outs. Tip: a little goes a long way, so don’t use a heavy hand with these. They also work well when used before gels to keep the hair soft (no one wants crunchy hair). Here are some common butters in the natural hair community:
Raw Shea Butter – you can find this product in any beauty supply store or hair stand. It comes in white and yellow
Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie – great for applying under gel for a wash and go
Pura Body Naturals Cupuacu Hair Butter
Karen’s Body Beautiful Butter Love or Creamylicious
Gels and Curl Creams – We all know that gels help to smooth the hair for styling, but they also help to define the curl pattern of the hair. Curl creams help us achieve the same results, but gives the hair a soft feel that gels often lack. Tip: Start off with a small amount. Use too much and you may end up with dandruff-like flakes in your hair- and it will take forever to dry. Here are a few natural best of the best’s:
EcoStyler gel – It comes in Krystal, Olive Oil or Argan Oil. They all are great! The only differences are the amount of hold and scent
Kinky Curly Curling Custard – It’s lightweight and it doesn’t leave flakes
Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding – It’s creamy, has a wonderful smell, and a little goes a long way. It holds curls like a dream!
Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic – It tames frizz, elongates curls and adds moisture
Don’t be afraid to try different products until you find the right ones your hair loves. The key is to take your time and experiment. It’s so easy to become a product junkie, so don’t go out and buy all these products at once. Do your research, find a product that is designed to meet the needs you’re looking for and go for it!
Whether you sport kinky curls or straight strands, you know that making sure that your hair is tangle free can be a pain – one wrong move and you could end up with a tennis ball-sized clump of hair on the floor – or worst. Not to worry! There are tools that you can use to help ease the burden of detangling curly hair. When used correctly, any of these three options can work perfectly to unleash the curly beast and leave your hair without a tangle in sight.
The basics: (1) Detangling should only be done on hair that has been wet (not soaking wet, but damp) and coated with conditioner (or some sort of creamy product). (2)When detangling, it is critical that you start from the bottom of the hair shaft and work your way up to the root. ( 3) Be sure to work in sections. It makes the process so much easier and avoids working too much with the same pieces of hair.
Ladies I cannot stress enough how important this is. If you don’t use these methods, you’re going to end up with a lot of hair on the floor instead on of your head – and we don’t want that, now do we?
Wide Tooth Combs
Now you may be thinking, ” Akia, I’ve tried using a comb and all it does it pull my hair out”. Wide tooth combs are much better tools to use because the teeth aren’t as close together as traditional combs, making it much less likely to pull out hair when it catches tangles. Try using the Ouidad Double Detangler Comb or the Jilbere Shower Comb, specially designed to glide through curls without ripping out hair.
For ladies with strands that are more fine, or even if you have thick hair but have already detangled with a wide-tooth comb, a modified brush may be perfect. Brushes not only help to detangle, but they smooth out the hair as well.You’ll want to use a Denman brush. There are several on the market and many naturals swear by them – so pick your fav and go for it! You could also try the newest natural tool to hit the scene with a bang, the Tangle Teezer. I personally LOVE this thing! It smooths my unruly curls like a dream!
Your Good Ole’ Fingers
Yes, you read that right! You can use your fingers to detangle your hair – and they work just fine! I’m currently on a no-comb challenge and have been finger-combing for several weeks now and I love it. I’m able to feel my way through my hair and be gentle when I find a tangle or single strand knot. When using a comb or brush, you may not always be able to feel those small tangles, but with your fingers you can feel EVERYTHING – which is great. Even if you do use a brush or a comb, you can still use your fingers before, that way you’ve done some of the work that the tool doesn’t have to do. I find finger-combing also defines my curls differently than when I use a comb or brush – and I’m all about defined curls!
Remember ladies, your hair wants what your hair wants, and it’s important for you to find out what that is. Whether it’s finger combing, using a modified brush or a wide-tooth comb, make sure you treat your locks with TLC!
It’s no secret the lengths women go to feel beautiful. We get manicures, pedicures, spa treatments, and of course, run to our most trusted hairstylist every two weeks. But for many natural hair women, we are the stylist. We spend hours pre-pooing, detangling, shampooing, conditioning, deep conditioning, moisturizing and sealing- and that’s all before we actually style our hair. I know it may sound tedious and not worth the effort, but the results sooooo make the process worth every second. (plus you get sexy, toned arms in the process!). This leads me to my point. With the natural hair revolution booming, there are so many new trends in the natural hair care world – and I want to share a few!
Today we’re talking about oils!
Produced from the kernels of the argan tree (native to Morocco), argan oil is highly coveted for its medicinal and nutritious properties. While it’s been said to have restorative and anti-aging effects, argan oil is extraordinarily high in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are necessary for our health and are responsible for the luster in our skin, hair, eyes.
It is used to remedy various skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and wrinkles. It also contains phytosterols, which are good for treating scar tissue. Moroccans use it on their skin, hair and nails – some even use it on their babies. (Can we say multipurpose?)
I’ve tried the One ’n Only® Argan Oil Moisture Repair Conditioner and I love it. Remember, every product reacts differently to different hair types. I say, if you’re going to try a hair product with argan oil, be sure to do your research and try it at least 3 times before you decide if it’s for you.
Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of neem, an evergreen tree native to India . It contains vitamin E and strengthens keratin, the main protein component of human hair. In India and Pakistan, it is used for preparing cosmetics like soap, hair products, body hygiene creams, and hand creams.
Neem oil is added to several cosmetic products for its healing characteristics. Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing in nature, Neem oil has been said to relieve dry and itchy scalp, dandruff, the symptoms of scalp psoriasis, as well as encourage growth. It can even help with hair problems like hair loss and premature graying.
Some examples of the Neem in action: A watery extract, similar to tea, is made from neem leaves and is used as a rinse to prevent hair loss. Neem leaf pastes are used like conditioning treatments to soothe irritation, prevent dryness and flaking, nourish the scalp and improve its general immunity and health. It can even be used to kill lice.
Hempseed oil is pressed from the seed of the hemp (cannabis) plant. Refined hempseed oil is primarily used in body care products. The oil is highly nutritious because of its 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids, which matches the balance required by the human body. It also contains vitamin E, phytosterols and trace minerals and hemp protein is high in amino acids and protein.
Hemp seed oil is used for the effect it has on moisturizing and hydrating the skin. It is a highly nutritious food, and contains anti-oxidants, protein, carotene, phytosterols, phospholipids, as well as several minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus (two words - super food). It contains all twenty amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids, and contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E.
Oils are a great way to moisturize the hair and scalp without clogging the pores. These oils are not only good for the hair, but they’re great for the body. Give ‘em a try and I bet you’ll be glad you did!
It’s safe to say that America has an obsession with appearance, trends and social acceptance. One of the first things we notice about a person is the way they look. In fact, it’s often said there’s nothing like the first impression. More often than not we are judged and judge others by their appearance first. What we often notice before anything else is a person’s hair.
America was founded on the backs of African Americans and for hundreds of years it was socially acceptable, and desirable, to hate all things related to blacks and to teach that hatred to all others, including blacks. As a result, I can’t help but to think that America is still in the mind-frame of despising all things that are natural to African Americans. Still in the 21st century, it’s shocking when a woman wears her hair in its natural state . She’s deemed as being radical or going against-the-grain. That says that the normal and acceptable thing to do is change the way your hair looks so that everyone can be okay with it.
Are you Okay with it?
In Chris Rock’s film Good Hair, Rock makes several valid points. He says that the inspiration for the film came from his young daughters. Rock essentially told his young girls that he doesn’t care if they relax, weave, or go natural, just as long as they do it for themselves. He wants his girls to be okay with their hair and not to worry if anyone else is okay with it. Not just his girls, but Rock even said that he made the film because he wants Black women to feel better about their hair.
Not only does this “trend” of changing your natural hair to be more socially acceptable promote self-hatred, but it also promotes financial instability of the average American. Rock points out in his documentary that women spend 20% of their income on their hair with relaxers, weave, and extensions. The hair industry is a billion dollar industry because of this, meanwhile women are damaging their credit, going without necessities, and building debt all in the name of having “good hair”. Not to mention that their real hair is being burned to the core with chemicals that if not properly formulated could burn a hole right through the scalp! Some have actually experienced this.
Now, I’m not one to judge. In fact, my motto is “to each his own”. However, I do feel socially responsible to say and do something about a problem that negatively affects African Americans and women. I agree with Chris Rock. It’s your hair, do what you will with it. Yet, before you get that monthly relaxer or freshen up those extensions, think about why you’re doing it.
Think about that damage that is being done not only to your physical body but your mind as well. Have you ever seen an eighty-year-old with 14 inch extensions or long silky freshly relaxed hair?
Are you relaxed, natural, or somewhere in between? How do feel about natural hair? What about relaxed? Share your thoughts!