Oct 31, 2011

Toya's Hair Diary: Dare to Do a New Do

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe Halloween today!  Last night at Shutup and Sing at the Hard Rock Cafe, I went as Janelle Monae. 

Rick Ross (Jason Waters), Janelle Monae (Me),  Lady Gaga (April Rucker)
Can I just say that this was the most fun costume ever?  Not only do I want to wear my hair like this more often but I also want to wear more blazers...and bow ties (half kidding about the bow ties).  I was a little nervous about doing my hair myself but it turns it out it wasn't that hard at all.  Last night was the first time since my Big Chop in January that I blow dried my hair straight.  It has grown a lot more than  I realized and that was encouraging.  I particularly loved the wild way my hair looked before I pinned it back and was starting to get that feeling of wanting to cut the back and sides of my hair again.  After much urging from Melissa, I'm going to hold out.  Still I can hear the faint cry of some clippers nicely lining up my edges that I miss so much. *Sigh*

I was shopping at Wal-Mart Sunday when the checkout lady,  a newly natural naturalista looked at my hair (it was big and curly in the front and the back was in a knit cap) and let out a heavy sigh.  "I want my hair like THAT!" she said.  I thanked her and told her something that Erika Alexander of Lovely Bands told me. Enjoy every part of your journey:  the beginning stage, the awkward in between stage, the "ooh I can finally put it up in an afro puff" stage. All of it.  Growing your hair naturally is a wonderful journey with plenty of discovery.  I looked at her closely cropped hair and told her that I missed where she is in her journey right now.  It's all beautiful and it's all necessary. 

Do you have any new hairstyles that you've recently discovered that have made you love being natural even more?  If not, try something new!  I guarantee it will make you fall in love with your hair all over again.

Oct 27, 2011

HAIR LUST: Afro Sheen ad from the 70's

 If I do choose to have a child, she will be natural until she leaves my home. Hopefully, I can equip her with enough tips and techniques for her to be confident in wearing her natural hair. I feel like we, as a people, are moving closer to embracing our natural hair like our parents did in the 70's.

Click the link below for bonus video from Afro Sheen!

Oct 26, 2011

EVENT: Curly Talk Natural Hair Meet-up - 11/19/2011

On Saturday, Novemeber 19, bring your curls, coils, and kinks to the CURLY TALK Natural Hair Meet-up!

Have you just started the natural journey, not quite ready to clip those permed ends, been natural your whole life, or maybe just thinking about taking the plunge? Well, come out to speak with trained professionals and natural sisters in the game, as they discuss all the details of the process of going natural. Come out and join us:
  • Guest speakers - The Natural in Nashville team will be on deck to talk about the natural lifestyle!!
  • Product Demonstrations
  • A swag bag filled with goodies from over 10 different sponsors!
  • Raffles, Door Prizes, Special Giveaways, and vendors will be on site!

Saturday, November 19, 2011, 4p-8p
Out of Bounds Cafe
1211 Murfreesboro Pike

Oct 25, 2011

LINK LOVE: KisforKinky discusses the best flat iron and the fear of heat on natural coils

I like straightening my hair in the cooler months because it has a better chance at staying straight longer. Plus, I like to get a good cut and my hair trims better when it's straightened. I know this goes against the cardinal rules of being natural, but hey, it's my hair, I do what I want. :-)

So, I was reading some posts from one of my fave natural hair bloggers, KisforKinky, and came across this wonderful recommendation for a ceramic flat-iron.

Apparently the Remington Shine Therapy Frizz Control - Humidity Resistant Ceramic Flat Iron, is the BUSINESS! When I researched the reviews on this product, I was amazed to find that many natural women are in love with this iron. In addition, this iron is only $40, which is a steal compared to the ceramic, tourmaline, and all those other irons that are uber-expensive.

Click the link below to read the review on KisforKinky.com. I will be making this purchase in a couple weeks and will definitely give you a review. Oh yeah, scared of heat ir do you think using heat on your hair is a sin? Join the discussion going on at KisforKinky.com:

Oct 24, 2011

Melissa's Hair Diary: My AWESOME fro and hair goals

I've seen lots of natural bloggers who say it's good to set hair goals. I scoffed at them. I thought, "Ain't nobody gonna put no boundaries on what my hair can/will do." But . . . I kinda always had some things I wanted my hair to do. I always wanted wear my hair fro'd out.

So, one night, I was tired, and I didn't feel like twisting my hair so I put it in two pony-puffs, slapped on my satin cap, and went to bed. When I woke up, my hair was surprisingly stretched. Ohh. At that moment I realized, my hair is kinda long. I took out my three pronged comb and continued to separate my hair until this wonderful afro formed. My bangs moved in the wind, my ear were covered with lucious coils, and my hair was surprisingly round.

Like yo, I finally had an AFRO! I never knew I wanted a fro, but I have one, and I love it! This is exactly what happened when I went to work:

Everyone loved my awesome fro and I realized - I have secret hair goals! These goals started when I stopped wanting my hair to look like Tracee Ellis-Ross, I found some ladies whose hair I wanted. Now that I have my aweseome fro, my ultimate goal is Leela James:
 Look at that blow-out! YES! So fly! So huge, so much hair! 

So, like yeah, I have hair goals, and it keeps me on track, and not like, wanting, to cut my hair. My fro is nice and it's growing bigger. One day, I'll have my Leela James fro and I'll be blogging about that!

Oct 21, 2011

Hair Lust: Coil Confidence

This is AYO, Afro-German singer-songwriter, and this is her AWESOME hair! When I found this pic I had to research who she was. Hmm. . . she may have a new fan. She performs guitar driven afro-pop-neo-soul, kinda like a young Sade - easier to undestand when you listen to her music. But for now, let's just stare at her awesome coils!

Product Review: Paul Mitchell Super Clean Sculpting Gel

I have been using Paul Mitchell's Super Clean Sculpting Gel since I did my first Big Chop in the 90's.  I was a receptionist at a hair salon that did not know a thing about ethnic kinky "textured" hair so I kind of got guinea pigged into using certain products.  We won't even talk about the haircut I got there one time.  Let's not bring back those memories. *Moment of silence for my jacked up hairline please*

Anyway, out of all the products I spent my employee discount on, my Paul Mitchell gel was the only one that was tried, true and not insanely overpriced for its results. How do I know?  Because I have tried to substitute this gel for something cheaper too many times and have yet to get the same results.  This is the only gel that defines my 4a/4b curls and is a staple in my hair regimen.

The Super Clean gel is part of the Paul Mitchell's Firm Style line. It comes in various sizes but if you use a good bit of gel to set and define your hair in sections, I suggest getting the 16.9 oz as it has an easy to use pump.  The gel is at almost a liquid consistency and is not sticky nor does it have a strong fragrance (hence the "clean"). Here's a tip: if you have fine to medium hair and/or a texturizer or relaxer that you define with gel and then dry naturally, I recommend their Super Sculpt Drying Glaze  from their Flexible Style line if you find this gel makes your hair too crunchy. I rocked that for quite some time when I got the notion that putting a relaxer in my hair would make it more manageable.  My hair was more porous.  Looking back that only made it more manageable for about three weeks before the new growth and the older hair started working against each other.  When I decided to go completely natural, I found that the Super Sculpt Drying Glaze didn't provide enough hold or definition for me.  I believe that part of the reason is because the creamy products I am using on my hair (Cantu Leave In and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie) are too thick for it to provide any hold.  This is why I strictly use the Super Clean Sculpting Gel now.  It's my favorite hands down.

- Good shine, clean feel and smell.
- Non-drying (may depend on what other products you use on your hair).
- Great for hold and definition
- 16.9 oz size goes a long way

- Paul Mitchell products can be pricey depending on where you get them.  I recommend getting them at the salons in Wal-mart or Trade Secret in the mall where they are cheaper and sometimes buy one get one half off.  Their products are more expensive at drug stores.

Oct 20, 2011

READER QUESTION: Shedding, Dermatitis, and Self Image - OH MY!.

So, we have another reader question. This one is several questions in one and it's all about starting your journey as a natural.
I have some hair issues that I am hoping you guys can assist me with. I am seriously starting my natural hair exhibition and I am dealing with some things. First, I have only been without a perm for 5 weeks but my hair is short so I have a lot of new growth. I do not know how to rock my hair while the perm is growing out. I am a freelance designer and PT stylist so people look for me portray a certain image (or maybe I look for that in myself) but my hair is the important part about how I dress and feel. My other issue is moisture. I have seborreic dermatitis and I am allergic to coconut oil and alcohol so what can I use or make to keep it hydrated. My hair sheds a lot too! - Q from Nashville

Hey Q! Thanks for asking this question. The questions you've asked are quite important and need to be addressed. Believe me, there are so many ladies with at least one or all of these issues. The fastest answer to all your questions is one simple word: PATIENCE. Many of the issues you've discussed will end in time. However, don't let this distract you from the journey. Let's get to your questions so that we can ease your way:

Oct 19, 2011

Natural Leader: SueZette is a sassy natural!

Tell Us About Yourself (Age, Career, Where you're from, what brought you to Nashville) - SueZette Yasmin Robotham, Code Name Zette, Reppin' those Southern girls by way of Tampa, Florida and Atlanta, GA. Ed Reformist by day, SUPERWOMAN by Trade. I moved to Nashville for work, I now live in the City That NEVER. SLEEPS!  

Why did you choose to stop relaxing your hair? - DAMAGE! OMG my hair was so damaged between the relaxers and my obsession with color, and perms never really got my hair completely straight. I simply could not take it anymore.

How did your family and friends react to your choice? - I think my friends were extremely supportive since several of them were already natural. My mother being the traditional Jamaican woman that she is was given pause, but guess who now also rocks a TWA...Ma Dukes

Red Hot!!
Did you do a big chop or did you transition? - My last perm was April 25, 2004. I started getting twists and braids after that, or I'd wear curly half wigs that matched my natural texture. On February 20, 2005-I woke up...took my twists out and said today will be the day I cut my perm off finally. I went to this spot in Atlanta called Sweet Potato Pie for my big chop and haven't looked back since.  

What is your current haircare routine? - I like to mix it up. I've had the big huge afro, I've done another big chop. I wear weave. I wear half wigs. I get my hair dyed some random color. Whatever mood hits me...I follow.

List some of your favorite products? I LOVE Jane Carter's Moisturizing Conditioner. Nothing like it. Cantu Shea Leave-in is a phenomenal leave in. Giovanni Deep Moisture is the protein boost I usually need. Beautiful Curls Leave-In...also in my go to arsenal.  

So, what is your ultimate goal: Length or Curl Definition? - Neither...Healthy hair.  

Headshots for her website
What do you LOVE about your curls? What do you wish you could change? - I love that my hair curls straight out the follicle so it looks like I have little candy curls all over my head. Curly Sue if you will...:) I don't think there's anything I'd change...I'm happy to be nappy!  

Do you have an hair idol, any celebs or bloggers you follow? Uhm right now I'm on a bit of a weave kick...and I'm in LOVE with Angela Simmons' hair (I know her stylist Nikk Nelson also from the A). In regard to a natural hair idol...Ursula from Set It Off...her short platinum caesar is still EPIC.

SueZette sports a fly weave
What would you like to tell someone who's struggling on their natural journey? - Patience. It's going to take time to discover what products work, to create a regimen, to find styles you like. But the journey is so fun and worth it.

Where can we find you on the 'net?

Oct 18, 2011

HAIR LUST: Ford Models Diversity Promo Shoot

Back in July, Ford Models published a diversity promotional spread featuring models from their women, direct, plus, and lifestyle divisions. This is a way modeling agencies promote their product. I love this photo because it highlights all the beauty of women of color and the varying hair types and textures. Plus, it's just a gorgoeus photo.

Photographer: Michael Schwartz
Models: Marquita Pring, Damaris Lewis, Bre Joyner, Vanessa Fonseca, Tonya Pittman, Jessi M’Bengue, Amber Tolliver, India Lane, Sabina Karlsson, Elora Perez

Melissa's Hair Diary: Respect the process

I didn't realize I needed to get 'used to' having my hair out again. I can't lie, it's alot of work, especially now that it's gotten longer. I have a new regimen, which includes washing and deep conditioning my hair every weekend, new techniques, and new products to achieve my hair's best look. I'm not gonna lie, I like my hair now, more than I've ever liked it before.

My new signature, side-puff
I guess I need to thank you, the readers, for my recent appreciation of my hair.  Now, I have a business card that says I edit/write a site about Natural Hair. Now, people expect my hair to look a certain way. Before, I wasn't compelled to make sure it looks 'ok', expect that I might see readers who ask me "How I got my hair like that?", nor be compelled to keep up with my hair escapades.You hold me accountable to the process. And I hope this site helps you be accountable too.

After my big chop, other naturals told me to appreciate every stage of my hair; be patient with the process. Of course I didn't, I was disgusted about my hair. I spent too much time wondering why it didn't look like some other person's and not appreciating what God gave me.

Now I know what they meant. I kinda miss my TWA. I miss that I didn't appreciate the TWA season for what it was, a time of exploration. I just slapped a weave on my head and kept it moving. Now, I'm not saying I'm against weave or anything, but do what YOU need to do to cope or transition.

I want you to appreciate each moment of this new experience. Respect your hair. Tell yourself that it looks good, because it does. Listen to friends and family members who give positive feedback. Take lots of pictures so you can compare the growth of your hair. Doing this will really allow you to love, not dread, the experience. Respect the process.

Oct 17, 2011

Toya's Hair Diary- Drastic Times and Drastic Measures

I am positive I would regret this but this past week I really got the urge to cut off most of my hair.  A few weekend's ago I went to the Oktoberfest/Germantown Street Festival (that's me at the festival with my friend Pricilla) and twisted my hair up the back and teased the front out.    It's an easy style that's perfect for those days where you have to wash your hair but you don't have to time to air dry it all because you have to get out of the house.  I loved it!  Being the 80's nostalgiaholic that I am, I started thinking about rocking my hair like this (keytar optional but much desired):

Did anyone else think that the girl playing keytar in Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" video was Holly Robinson-Peete from 21 Jump Street from back in the day?  Was that just me?

I fully understand that I have more options with more hair and my trusty go to afro puff would be gone but there's nothing like the feeling of a fresh cut.  I miss a good line up.  And while I would be in love with my sassy hair cut for about 2 weeks, there's no hiding a bad hair day once it happens outside of wearing a hat, which I have plenty of. I think wanting to go back and cut off most of one's hair is something that happens to newer transitioners.  Waiting for your hair to get past the in between awkward stage can be such a pain.  It took me about five years from my first Big Chop to get to this:

Seriously, what was I thinking when I cut my hair in the first place?  You really don't know what you've got 'til it's gone do you?  I think I've found my answer.  Wait it out, don't cut my hair, and enjoy my options.  

Oct 14, 2011

Roots n' Rhythm: Janet Jackson featuring MC Lyte "You Want This"

Rockin' new braids for the summer was nothing new in the 90's. I remember come summertime if you wanted to get in the pool or go to the amusement parks, most likely you were contemplating some sort of protective style be it braids, cornrows, or (and I am dating myself here) a curly perm. What yall know about a Care Free Curl, a Wave Nouveau, and an Elante' Curl?

Some people, like Jamie Foxx, once wore one all year long but I digress.

Even though braids were nothing new when Janet hit the scene in her Poetic Justice box braids, like most trends, Janet took them to the next level. Soon everyone wanted to rock them. I even remember walking up and down the streets of Philadelphia trying to find the right salon to get my braids done so I could rock this updo:

Check out one of the videos where Ms. Jackson was her most fiercest, "You Want This" and see if you can spot some other great natural hairstyles as well.

Oct 12, 2011

Link Love: BGLH discusses trimming your ends

It's time to trim your ends! Do you shudder at the thought or pick up the scissors with confidence? No matter how long we try to hang on to weak, damage, or over-processed ends, at some point it's time to let it go.

Trimming your ends gives you healthy hair. Smooth ends retain more moisture, moisture allows for less tangles, less tangles means more growth. We all want more growth, right? So, it's imperative that you trim your ends as needed.

Click the links below to view the discussion of how/why of trimming your ends:

Product Review: Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Renewing Treatment

While visiting Ulta in Murfreesboro, I picked up a jar of Moroccan Argan Oil Intense Moisturizing Treatment. It was on sale for $5.99, but regularly retails for $7.99.I wouldn't call myself a product junkie, but I do love trying new stuff. The difference - I research what I want to try instead of blindly buying any product that catches my eye.

My recent research has led me to finding oils that are better absorbed into my coily 4b hair. Type 4 hair is the worst at absorbing oils because of the coils, so any intense, deep-conditioning treatment, aids in helping with tangles and dryness. That's why Moroccan Argan oil has been on my radar - it's supposed to be the new super product in the natural hair and skincare world. Argan oil is noted for it's high amounts of vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and non-greasy feeling.

Well, pure Argan Oil is pretty expensive. I've seen 4oz bottles going for almost $16. The word on the hair blogs - a little goes a long way - so the price is relative to the use you'll receive. However, there are a slew of new products being released that contain Moroccan Argan Oil. Organix has an entire line of products containing the new super oil.

After I washed and conditioned my hair with Twisted Sister, I deep conditioned with the Organix product. Upon opening the jar, I saw the creamy formula pictured above. It was pretty heavy in my hand. The smell is very strong, almost too strong. Knowing that Argan Oil has a faint smell, this product by Organix has alot of perfume.

The directions say that you can leave the product on for 3-5 minutes, but the best performance is found when you wrap you heard with a hot towel and leave the product on for 15 minutes. I left the product on for about an hour. I wanted to make sure it really got in there.

The product washed out quite easily, there was a good amount of slip, but not enough to write home about. There wasn't alot of residue left on my hair, but the perfume smell was quite strong. My curls were looking plush, but definitely not as bouncy as when I use other deep conditioners. Detangling was pretty easy, but no big difference.

Actually there's not much actual argan oil in this product, it's listed as the one of last five ingredients on the list. I'm going to conclude that one may get the best benefit from using the entire line than so that you have more argan oil in the process.

  • Great value
  • Creamy mixture
  • High fragrance
  • Not enough Argan Oil
  • Have to use entire product line to reap full benefits
Retail Value: $7.99

Oct 11, 2011

HAIR LUST: Carlito Arias' lux locs

So, I was bopping around the internet trying to find pics for this week's Hair Lust.  So why not find a guy with really fly locs? I think I succeeded!

Let me introduce you to actor/model Carlito Arias! I'll give you ladies a moment to collect your thoughts . . . ok, yeah, his locs are gorgeous, he's gorgeous, and this picture is awesome! Check out Carlito's website for more info on the up-and-coming actor.

Oct 10, 2011

Melissa's Hair Diary: Melissa tries and fails with flexi-rods

Won't be smiling when I wake up in the AM.
So, now that my hair is out, I get the chance to play with it. For three months I stalked YouTube looking at girls do cool things with their hair. Of all the styles I stalked, using flexi-rods was at the top of my list. So, how happy was I that a friend had a whole bucket of rods for me to use? I ran to her house, picked up the rods, and went home to get ready.

Well, it took me about an hour to put about 25-30 rods in my hair. To set my hair, I used Karite Detangling Cream and Leave-In, water, and aloe vera juice. I thought this would be a good overnight process; that the rods were soft enough for me to sleep in - boy was I wrong. I tossed and turned all night, not being able to lay my head flat because flexi-rods were stabbing me in my brain.

Smile isn't so big in the AM
The next morning, I rolled out of the bed to remove the rods. Whew Lawd! There's a special way to remove the rods so that one's hair doesn't become a tangled mess. I figured this wrist flip technique and was left with the style above. I wasn't upset but I wasn't exactly pleased. There was not enough shine and my hair was furry at the roots.

After I seperated the curls, I liked the style a bit more, but wasn't thrilled. There was no shine and my roots were pretty shrunken. Still, I had to go to work. I thought my co-workers may see something better than what I saw in the mirror. The work response - 50/50. Some people liked it, some were indifferent, and some were confused, asking me "WHAT was different with my hair?"

This left me thinking about washing my hair and starting agian, but I was so tired. I couldn't fathom going through a two hour wash, detangle, and condition session. Oh yeah, don't forget about some sort of two-strand twist. I was forced to wear my hair again.

Actually, the second day wasn't very bad. My hair definitely shrank, there was no shine, and most of the curls kinda just, became invisible. So, I threw on a elastic head-band and kept it moving.

Will I try flexi-rods again? Sure. What changes will I make to get a better result?

1. Definitely use some sort of setting lotion that prmoises hold and shine.
2. Set the style with my hooded dryer instead of sleeping in the rods.
3. Figure out some way to keep my curls stretched so I can achieve second/third day hair.

So what about you, have you tried flexi-rods on your natural hair? What was your result?

Toya's Hair Diary: Reason #56 That Some Women Won't Go Natural

Ok maybe it's not technically #56 but there are many reasons why some women don't think they could go natural.  I was reminded of these reasons this week as I was going back in my journal from last April when I started my mission to "Get Back to the Natural Me".  It took me nine months to finally go natural again and I want to talk about the reason why.

I could easily rattle off ten  reasons off of the top of my head why some women are apprehensive about gong natural.  Some of them would include "I don't have the right kind of hair", "I work in corporate America" and "I don't want anyone to think I've suddenly turned militant (because you know when you go natural you are immediately "blacker" than everybody else right?)  But the reason that I want to talk about in my hair diary today is one that a lot of women deal with and it is "I need to lose weight before I can even think about going natural".  Trust me, I get this one.

The picture of me cheesing above was taken immediately after I cut all of the relaxer out of my hair one night.  Almost a year before this picture was taken I decided that I needed to lose at least 20 pounds before I went natural again.  At my best weight, I was about 30 pounds lighter the first time I went natural. After gaining weight and switching to a relaxer,  I kept my hair straight because I have always had a round face and figured that my chin length straight bob made my face look more slender.  Going natural and cutting my hair down to a teeny weeny afro, I thought, would only make my face look rounder.  Ok...fatter.  I'll be honest.  I was really scared.

Hiding behind straight hair was making me miserable.  It was making my social life miserable too because I love to dance and roller skate and my straight hair was NOT having it pass two hours of doing either.  Committing myself to get in shape has never been easy for me.  It's been a lifelong battle.  Looking back now, I was losing this battle to my insecurities and they were holding my happiness and my curls hostage!  I was basically saying that I didn't get to go back to being myself until I lost at least 20 pounds of myself.  That is no way to live.

I took the risk of cutting my hair before reaching my goal weight and the risk of the result not being the most flattering. These were huge risks to me. There was no telling what my hair was going to look like after I cut it myself.  I am no hair stylist, trust me.  But as you can see by the picture above I was more than happy to finally be natural again and all my fears were gone.  It reminds me of this scripture actually:

 "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:13

As of this week  I've decided to try to get in shape...yet again. But the difference this time is that I'm not holding my happiness hostage.  And yes I wince every now and again when I see I've been tagged in a picture on Facebook and I think my face looks a little too chunky. Nevertheless, I am smiling a lot wider now with my natural hair than I ever did when I wore it straight and that's because finally I am much happier. Most importantly, I am back to being myself.

Oct 7, 2011

NATURAL LEADER: Dominique does it her way!

Dominique sports her short relaxed 'do
Tell Us about Yourself (Age, Career, Where you're from, what brought you to Nashville)? Hey! My name is Dominique, I’m 26, I’m a full-time graduate student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN and I work part-time serving that white stuff – frozen yogurt, that is. I’m originally from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and I moved to Nashville, TN in 2003 to attend the ILLUSTRIOUS Fisk University. FISK FOREVER!! I left in 2010 to move to Memphis for grad school, which is where I currently reside. However, Nashville will always have a place in my heart because that’s where I grew into the woman I am today.

Let's get into it - Why did you choose to stop relaxing your hair? Lord, this question! Well, first, this isn’t my first time going natural. I’ve actually attempted going natural five times and was successful twice.

March 24th 2009, I gave myself my LAST and final relaxer for the rest of my life. I have been basking in the natural glory ever since! I chose to go natural for THE final time because I was getting bored with straight hair. I’ve always been bored with it, to be quite honest, which is why I always attempted going back to my natural texture. Having my hair relaxed was very limiting as far as physical activity and for me it came to the point where it just wasn’t worth it anymore. I couldn’t sleep a certain way, I couldn’t go out if it was muggy outside because my edges would peek through, I couldn’t get crunk in the club because I’d sweat my hair out, couldn’t exercise – couldn’t do nothin’! It just wasn’t worth the hassle.

How did your family and friends react to your choice?LOL I’m laughing just thinking about it! Okay, all those times I attempted to go natural in middle school and high school ending up with me relaxing because my parents weren’t having it. My daddy hated it, my mom hated it, my aunts, uncles and cousins hated it.

When I came home from my BC my sophomore year of college, my mother said I looked like a “lil’ boy” and my daddy stopped talking to me for a week! He was livid. Like all the other times, I kept getting met with opposition from the people I cared about the most so I ended up relaxing it to appease them. I just wanted their approval and if I had to relax to get it, that was something that I would have to do.

When I went natural in 2009, my family didn’t like it BUT they liked it better than the first time I did a Big Chop because when they saw me in 2009, it had grown out longer than the original BC my sophomore year of college. I had it in a ponytail with the waves poppin’ like popcorn so of course it was more “acceptable”. Now that’s it longer, they’ve come around a bit more but they’re still not thrilled with it. They love to tell family members that I went away to college and became a pro-Black, militant, mini-Black Panther. Sounds good to me; what’s the problem?

Did you do a big chop or did you transition?I did a Big Chop. I went to the barbershop about a week after my last relaxer. I had the barber cut it and shape me up. I LOVED IT! It was a shock at first, even though I only had about 4 inches of hair at the time (Halle Berry cut), but I just went home, brushed the residual hair off my clothes, put some make-up on and went out.

What is your current hair care routine?Let me preface this by saying, I’m lazy. If I had to choose between co-washing and taking a nap, the latter is going to win every time. Therefore, my routine is NOT set in stone.

I’d say about once a week I co-wash with Mane-N-Tail conditioner (FI-YER!). I always work in sections so I’ll mist my hair with my moisture mix (aloe vera juice, water and leave-in), finger detangle & put my hair into 8 sections. Then I’ll get in the shower, put Mane-N-Tail on each individual section, being very generous with the product, and finger detangle again. Then I’ll take my wide-toothed shower comb and go through the section one more time to make sure I got to the ‘nitty gritty’. I work one section at a time, re-twisting each section before moving on to the next. I rinse the conditioner out while the twists are still in, slap a little leave-in on it, a lil’ coconut oil, and braid it up for a braid-out.

I don’t use shampoo but I do use a bentonite clay cleanse once a month. I just add Apple Cider Vinegar to bentonite clay until I get a yogurt consistency and apply that to slightly damp hair. Let that marinate for an hour or so, or until I’m done with my nap (lol) & rinse it out.

Oh! I almost forgot the most important thing! Every two weeks I do a deep condition with my hair steamer – I use Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Conditioner then sit under the steamer for 20 minutes. After the steamer I proceed to slap some leave-in on it, seal it with coconut oil or either blow it out (using the tension method on cool setting) and braid it up OR just braid it up.

List some of your favorite products?I’m probably the least product-junkyist person on this earth. If I had to choose my favorite things, they would be aloe vera juice, coconut oil, Shea butter & Mane-N-Tail conditioner. Besides bentonite clay, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Organic Root Conditoner, that’s all I use PERIOD. I’m not into products, to be honest. I like to keep it as simple and homegrown as possible.

So, what is your ultimate goal: Length or Curl Definition?I don’t have a goal, per se. I DEFINITELY don’t care about defining my curl. I’ve worn my hair curly maybe twice. Each time I wore my hair in its curly state, I got more compliments from black women THEN than I ever do when I wear my hair kinky – let that marinate. I eventually want to loc within the next 5-10 years so I’m letting my hair grow for that purpose. I’m not length or curl obsessed at all – I just try to take care of it and the rest will happen on its own time.

What do you LOVE about your curls? What do you wish you could change? I love everything about them to the point where I wouldn’t change a got dern thang!

Do you have a hair idol, any celebs, or bloggers you follow?I love me some Corinne Bailey Rae! Her hair is just so thick and full, it’s sickening! I used to follow MopTopMaven but she’s no longer blogging - but hun-nay, her hair? That right there? Please! Amazing.

As far as blogs, I follow Black Girl Long Hair and CurlyNikki – not necessarily for advice because I’ve been in the game for 2 ½ years. I basically know all I need to know to continue being a lazy natural. I read CurlyNikki more so just to laugh – Nik is hilarious!

What would you like to tell someone who's struggling on their natural journey? I would just say do what feels right to YOU. Do what would make YOU happy. If you’re not happy, what’s the point? Remember that it’s your hair & your choice. Don’t do something to appease others because while they’re happy because of what you chose to do for THEM, you’re gonna be unhappy because you didn’t choose what to do for YOU.

Hair Lust: Lil Cuties!

Really, can these kids be ANY cuter!? Look at their lil curly locs free and ready to go play outside. Aww, makes me kinda want a kid - for like five minutes (LOL).

Roots n' Rhythm: Elle Varner ft. J. Cole, "Only Wanna Give It to You"

Elle Varner is new to the music scene and she just dropped the fresh video featuring J. Cole. I'm so loving her wild natural hair as well as this awesome kente cloth cocktail dress. Her first single, "Only Want to Give it to You" is a cool song with a 90's vibe - you may recognize some of the samples. The song features Elle walking the city streets looking for love. Take a look and be inspired!

Oct 6, 2011

DISCUSSION: My partner prefers straight hair!

QUESTION: If your partner preferred straight hair, would you change your routine?

A couple days ago a fellow natural-haird friend text me a picture of her new haircut. I knew she was going to the salon to for her six week deep condition and trim. On this visit she also decided to get her hair flat-ironed just to do a length check and even out her ends.

Later I asked if she liked her straight 'do or if she preferred her curly fro? She said she loved rocking her fro, but her boyfriend liked her hair straight. She went on to tell me the story of when she walked into the house (after her salon visit) and her boyfriend exclaimed how much he "loved" her hair and told her "preferred" her new straight do.

I reminded her that when they started dating, she had a curly/kinky fro and wore it for much of their relationship. She agreed and said that he always mentioned how he'd like to see her hair straight and he never really preferred afros on any girl. This had been the first time he saw her hair straight.

Currently, I'm not in a full time relationship, but this situation left me thinking, "What if I started dating someone and he preferred for me to wear my hair straight? How would I feel? Would my love/like for this person make me change my current haircare routine?"

Lot's of people have hair preferences for their mates but most make an exception for the relationship. With the natural hair movement going strong, how many mates really prefer straight hair?

We'd love to read your comments. Hit the link below:

Tips n' Techniques: How to keep moisture in natural hair

My biggest problem has always been keeping my hair from feeling dry (which leads to breakage, tangles, and knots). When I have a hair problems, I head to YouTube. If you are like me, you've watched 100's of haircare videos on YouTube. Some girls have techniques that are easy to replicate, while other techniques leave you confused.When it came to moisturizing natural hair, all the girls have a different trick. Below, I'll tell you what REALLY works for my hair and why it can work for you.

Oct 4, 2011

EVENT: The International Black Film Festival Nashville, Oct 5-9, 2011

The International Black Film Festival start this week in Nashville. The festival is screening several culturally enhancing movies this week. Some of which will be great interest to the natural hair community. Click the picture above to view the full schedule. Click HERE for ticket information.

Below are several previews of movies screening this week, which are you excited to see?

First up, Dark Girls:

And, From The Rough, feat Taraji P. Henson - spotlighting Catana Stark, former swim coach of Tennessee State University:

Hair Lust: Model, Danielle Desiree

I found pictures of Guyanese-American model, Danielle Desiree all over tumblr. I had to find out who was the girl with the beautiful hair. This lovely lady from Houston, TX continues to receive love in the natural hair community. Recently, Danielle did an interview with Naturally Beautiful Hair. In the interview, Danielle talks about her transition and why she joined Team Natural: 
"After years of weave, my decision to go natural was simple...I wanted to wear the hair God gave me." (source)
 Well, I love it! Take a look at Danielle's portfolio on Model Mayhem - Click Here

LINK LOVE: Kim Coles Takes Us on Her Hair Journey

Always hilarious and always real, Kim Coles documented her journey to natural hair earlier this year. After a year of secretly watching Youtube videos of other naturalistas and studying the natural hair community, she decided to embark upon her journey to "re-appreciate her hair". This is part 2 of her three part video series which leads up to her doing The Big Chop. In this video she talks about all of the milestones in her personal hair journey from press & curl and perms to box braids & her once signature micro-braids. If you are looking for some TBC confidence, we hope this video will empower you.

For parts 1, 3 and more of Kim Coles post TBC hair journey, check out her Youtube Channel here.

Oct 3, 2011

Melissa's Hair Diary: I'm in LOVE!

Yesterday, I spent an inordinate amount of time releasing my hair from box braids. Like, 11 hours! WHEW! My arms are tired. My braids have been in for three months. I had alot of tangles, lots of shedding, and lots of worries. Worries? Yup, I was totally in love with my braids and so were lots of other people. It's very rare that I have low hair self-esteem, but this time, I don't know, I thought I wouldn't look as fly when I removed my braids.
However, my mood began to change as I released my hair from it's tangled knots. My hair grew, and it grew A LOT! And, the texture is changing. I'm still a 4b, but I have a lot more curls. As I sprayed leave-in conditioner in my hair I started seeing curls and waves and all types of cool lil surprises. My hair is strong and plentiful.

Ever tried Whole Body Nashville for natural hair supplies?


On my way to Whole Foods, I decided to visit Whole Body. If you are not familiar, Whole Body is the 'drug store' portion of Whole Foods Market. The store is dedicated to giving shoppers "Premium Nutritional Supplements and Body Care Products" (source).

Usually, I get my natural vitamins, supplements, and haircare products from Amazon.com. But it's quite nice drive to Whole Foods/Body to get a product I immediately need. It was nice to know that they sell Rose Water as well as a huge selection of essential oils (great for mixing in Shea butter and coconut oil). Oh yeah, they have a great selection of LOCAL bath and body care products. Created by Nashville residents using local or regional supplies. That's a great way to give back to the community.

So far, I was highly pleased with Whole Body. I almost kicked myself as I wondered what took me so long to visit this spot. Then, I walked to the haircare section, not really thinking they'd have supplies for Natural, African American hair care. Well, call me surprised, I came across this section (below):

Although, not as big as the selection at Target, Whole Body has a couple brands that are usually found online: Jane Carter Solutions, Kinky Kurly Hair products, Queen Helene products, and a couple more I hadn't heard of but definitely would like to try. I was amazed.

So, take a trip to Whole Body in Green Hills. It's a great spot to get all your supplies in one place.
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