Jan 31, 2012

HAIR LUST: Kelly Rowland's curly curls

Kelly Rowland was spotted on the red carpet in Germany rocking my favorite look. Kelly, a wig wearer since her Destiny's Child days, rocked these cute ringlets and perfectly made-up face with confidence. Natural divas, take a note from Kelly; sometimes the best protective styles can be achieved with wigs and/or hair pieces. Wearing a wig is also a great way to try a new look. It's always good to try something new!

Jan 30, 2012

Melissa's Hair: Adding Biotin to my medicine cabinet

Lately I've been experiencing awesome hair growth. My 4b curls are shiny, more manageable, and more moisturized. People are complementing me and telling me they thought my hair was fake! I've been smiling from ear to ear. What's the reason for this great hair story? I've got to give props to my medicine cabinet. I've been a firm believer in taking vitamins since college.

SIDENOTE: ladies, take a multi-vitamin - it helps regulate your cycle and aids in better overall health. Of course, consult your doctor before you start taking supplements in order to ensure optimum health.

Pictured above are the vitamins and supplements I take on a daily basis. My life is pretty hectic and some days I don't eat all the foods needed to receive all the vitamins and minerals my body needs to operate. Below is a list of vitamins I take and what they do:
  • Fish, Flaxseed, Borage, and Omegas - good for the heart and brain functions, The minerals found in these vitamins can be found in seafood.
  • One-a-day Multivitamin - Basically the building block of supplemental health. Multivitamins have most of your daily value of vitamins and minerals.
  • Glucosamine and Chondrotin - for joint health. I exercise but I have arthritis, so this helps in keeping me loose and my joints healthy.
  • Super B-Complex - Said to help to convert food to energy more efficiently. Also, this brand has added Vitamin C for immunity.
  • Vitamin E - good for your skin and heart.
  • Biotin - good for hair, skin, nails.
The vitamin I want to talk about is biotin. A couple months ago I posted about biotin asking readers if they thought the vitamin was worth taking. After some online research, I decided to go ahead and start a round of biotin.

I take 2mg per day (two small pills). The manufacturer suggests you take 5mgs per day but, from my research, people who took the full recommended amount experienced hair growth in unwanted places (face, underarms, groin) and breakouts. No one wants that!

I started to see changes in my hair within two weeks. I been taking the biotin for four weeks. I'll definitely add the vitamin to my regimen. Ladies, if you want to see hair growth, taking biotin supplements are definitely worth a try. Most people don't eat the recommended serving of fruits and veggies in the first place, so it never hurts to add supplements to your diet.

TLC For Your Curls: Part 2 - Pay Attention to Your Scalp

CLICK HERE for  TLC Part 1-Trimming Your Ends

Water, oil, and massage your scalp - When is the last time you gave your scalp some extra attention? There seems to be such an issue on the proper way to care for your scalp. So the purpose of this post is to make it easy for you. The most important thing to remember is: Your scalp is skin. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • If you have dry skin on your face would you walk around with a face full of flaky skin?

  • Would you take your nails and recklessly scratch dry skin off of your face until you didn't see it anymore?

  • Would you put petroleum jelly on your face? Would you leave said petroleum jelly in place for a week without washing the skin on your face in an effort to prevent dry skin?

  •  Even if you don’t have dry skin, would you walk around for 2 weeks without putting lotion or water on your body? Would you shower and not put lotion on?

You have an idea what would happen if you put petroleum on your face and left it for a week. The same applies to your scalp. Petroleum jelly doesn’t prevent or remedy dandruff. The flakes are still there; petroleum only prevents the flakes of dry skin from falling off of the scalp. Water moisturizes skin. Water your scalp. Seal the water in with oil. 

Massaging oil into your scalp is much more useful than scratching.  When you scratch, you can remove perfectly healthy hairs, and actually make skin on your scalp worse. I RARELY see someone gently scratch an itchy scalp. A scalp massage feels great and helps your skin absorb the oil. It also increases blood flow so that your hair receives more of the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to grow.
Try using stimulating oil such as Dr. Miracle oil with his signature tingle, or African Royale Hot Six Oil (a personal favorite). 

If you prefer to make your own stimulating scalp oil check-out the recipe below: 
Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil* to 2 ounces of your preferred oil. (Example: 1 ounce olive oil and 1 ounce coconut oil). Saturate scalp, massage, and cover with a plastic cap for at least 30 minutes before rinsing.

Now that you are informed with information and analogies, take action. Your scalp is waiting for you to show that you care. Healthy scalps make for healthy follicles, which make for healthy hair. TLC Part 3 is coming soon.

*Use caution with peppermint oil. That refreshing tingle can quickly become irritable to skin. 3 drops should be sufficient for 2 ounces. Don’t ask me how I know. I don’t want to talk about it.

Jan 27, 2012

TLC For Your Curls: Part 1 - Trimming your ends

The good news: Winter has been pretty mild and rainy so far.

The other good news: Now is the PERFECT time to give your hair some special care. I've decided to do a three-part post on maintenance for natural hair. Part one involves something that nearly everyone knows is necessary, but a lot of us fail to do.

Trim split ends and single strand knots: It is easy to forget how fragile the ends of natural hair can be. The ends of the hair grew out of the scalp first, which means they have been exposed to environmental damages for the longest amount of time.  When this happens the ends can split and cause difficulty styling and eventually breakage. How do you avoid split ends and single-strand knots? I’m glad you asked:
  • Keep hair moisturized with water and oil. 
  • Be gentle when styling.
  • Reduce heat damage by wearing heat-less styles that keep the ends tucked away. 
Just know that when you have weathered ends already, you can’t “unsplit” hairs. If you have a knot on a strand, you can’t unknot it. Buy a pair of hair shears, and trim them off. Do not use regular scissors, because they can cut the hair shaft unevenly and cause more breakage. It’s not necessary to cut every single strand of hair. Just go section by section, feeling and examining strands. If you feel a knot, clip it off. If you see a split hair, cut above the split. This process can take hours.
One strand... 3 knots.
The good news is, this doesn't have to be done all at once. You can do a section each day. The key is taking your time. Cutting a half centimeter or two centimeters of one strand won’t make your hair terribly uneven. And it can save you a loss of 2 inches of 10 strands. Knots and splits cause larger knots and tangles with healthy hair. You will notice that your hair will curl better and the detangling process will become much easier.

And the final benefit: when you trim your hair as needed instead of becoming Edward Scissorhands, you avoid unnecessary hair loss. You also avoid going to the notoriously scissor happy hair stylist. However, if 80% of your strands are damaged, go to a professional. Remember, caring for your ends is essential. Spend quality time managing the ends of your hair to keep strands healthy and maintain length. Your hair will thank you.

Jan 25, 2012

MUSIC: Elle Varner mixtape, Conversational Lush

The NIN TEAM loves hot new artist, Elle Varner - her hair is amazing and her voice is a candy-coated dream! On Tuesday she released a mixture of all new music. I'm sure this a prelude to her new album due in the spring.

Well, who doesn't love free music? Click the link below to download your free copy if Elle's new mixtape, CONVERSATIONAL LUSH.


Jan 24, 2012

Candice's Hair Diary: Straight Hair

I posted on facebook last week that I was going to flat iron my hair for the first time in 2.5 years. Well... I did it. And right on cue, the rain began. But I can still share with you what's happened so far.

I bought a basic pair of flat irons from WalMart. They were nothing special. Revlon tourmaline flat irons. And I armed myself with these tools.

I was rocking a blowout. I sectioned my hair into top and bottom halves so that it was easier to manage. I very lightly spritzed any dry area with water, then sealed with hot six oil. My ends are fragile from the disaster, so when I do wear a blowout, they tend to get tangled. I gently detangled my hair with the denman brush, and smoothed frizzed hair with the round brush. I took small sections of hair and applied Paul Mitchell smoothing serum to prevent heat damage. I secured flat ironed hair with an elastic band to avoid overlapping hair.

The flat iron has a turn dial setting that goes up to 30. For styling, I kept the dial somewhere between 15 and 20. After 1.5 hours.... I got this

My hair does NOT like to be wrapped. But I can't keep the same hairstyle for too long... even when it's straight. So below are pictures of a few styles I tried on my flat ironed hair. Spoiler: Not all of the styles were successful.

It rained on DAY ONE! Hence, the side eye.
I tried bantu knots. Unfortunately, I have SO many different textures. One side cooperated, and the other side refused. But the cooperative hair was mighty pretty.

Gotta love accessories.

Excuse the flyaways. But I got this style from WhoisSugar on youtube. If you're not into her channel, get into it. I just tucked my twists in instead of letting them hang because my twists just reach my shoulders. Hers is Pocahantas. Mine is more The Color Purple. But I'm okay with that. I liked the style.

This is not just with straight hair. I love switching my styles up. But this week has been more full of fails than usual. I'm not used to straight hair anymore. I'm having fun, even with all the rain and the fails. Ciao, naturals.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Beauty & Glory Sha's Shea Moisturizer

I received a sample of Beauty & Glory Sha's Shea Moisturizer from the Curlytalk Natural Hair Meet-up in a November. My swag bag was filled was filled with lots of goodies, but this was by far my favorite.

I stopped using pure Shea butter on my hair because it weighed my hair down. I've been on the hunt for other moisturizers that had the natural effects of Shea Butter, but without the heavy build-up. I found the perfect combo in this product.

B&G Sha's Shea Moisturizer is filled with some great natural/organic ingredients - check the recipe below:
Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea) Butter, Aspalathus lineans (Rooibos Tea) Extract, Calcium d-Pantothenate (Pro-Vitamin B5), Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Oil, Citrus sinensis (Orange, Sweet) Essential Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Simondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Palm Stearic Acid
The mixture is super smooth and creamy. For my 4b curls it softened my hair and gave my hair lots of elasticity. I started using it on my second day twist-outs. What I liked best about the product is how moisturized my hair felt throughout the day - this is a feat for my hair. Also, you don't have to use so much product to get the moisturizing effects - GENIUS!

  • Light, non-greasy formula
  • Small amount give a big effect
  • Long-lasting results
  • Price for amount is kinda high
  • Available online only

CLICK HERE to purchase

Jan 23, 2012

HAIR LUST: Ample Accessories

The shot above is the cover look from New African Woman Issue 10. I chose this shot for today's hair lust because of her cool kente flower accessory. Accessories are the perfect way to add a spark of life to a regular hair day. Sometimes, you may get bored, finding the right accessory is a sure way to end your boredom. Big & Bold is my favorite type of hair accessory, but small and delicate work too. I hope this look inspires some great hair creativity.

Sanaa Lathan named the new face of Pantene Pro-V

Actress, Sanaa Lathan, was recently announced as the new face of Pantene. She will represent the company's Nature Fusion line. The current Nature Fusion spokeswoman is Eva Mendez. There's no word on why the chose Sanaa, but I'm sure her great personality, good looks, and gorgeous head of hair helped them make the decision.

I don't think that Sanaa is relaxer/chemical free, but I know most women in Hollywood use weave as a style to protect their hair. The new Pantene line is not directed at strictly black women, but the use of more natural ingredients is becmoing a viable and marketable trend in the beaty and cosmetics world. The truth is, most women want to take care of their hair with the least amount of chemical. I'm not mad at that.

The picture above showa Sanaa and her mother (who is relaxer-free). Pantene is making a great move by incorporating this actress into their roster. I'm sure many women will try the new line based on her commercials.

CLICK HERE for more info on Pantene's Nature Fusion collection

Jan 21, 2012

Discussion: Getting To Know Your Face

"Going natural looks good on you, but it wouldn't look right on me."

I hear this way too often. So I've been thinking, and I have a theory. I don't think it's only the hair that makes natural hair 'not look right'. I think we are so used to hiding our faces behind long hair that the thought of our face not partially hidden under a cloak of hair is a bit unnerving.

Have you taken a minute to look at your face? I mean.. REALLY look at your face? What's so scary about a face your face that you can't imagine wearing your hair curly? It's okay. I had to get acquainted with my own face. I also gathered some naturals at different stages in the journey to share their feelings about their faces after going natural.

So... here's me before going natural.

My hair was almost always at least shoulder length. I was well aware of my forehead. And my whole head. It's big. I cut my hair (first picture), but still kept my forehead covered. It was like second nature. I was self conscious. That's why I transitioned for a year instead of doing the big chop.


 HELLO FOREHEAD! My high cheeks looked higer. And my nose and lips looked say more.... "ethnic" to me once I saw my face without hair. And it took a while, but now I'm fine with that. Also... I learned that a round face was MUCH more noticeable sans a side swoop. You can look at my pictures and tell when I was heavier. 



Shana has worn short hair for years: long before her big chop in November. She was self-conscious of the shape of her head before going natural. But she decided that natural was the way to go.

After going natural, Shana has more of an appreciation for her natural features. The biggest change for her was a "natural state of mind".  She considers going natural the best decision she's made regarding her appearance, and is really happy to start her hair journey.
This was Sade with a relaxer. I love her pretty hair. The jury is still out on what Sade noticed about her own face. So I'll tell you what I noticed. She's 'girl next door' cute.

Her face stands out SO much more. She's a doll, and much prettier. THe shape of her eyes stand out so much more. She doesn't look different. It's just that everything is... "er". Her smile is smiley-er. Eyes are pretty-er. She looks the same. Except the face in THIS photo would shand out much more in a crowd.
I know we all have insecurities. But if you're afraid that your natural hair won't "look right" because of your facial features, RELAX! There are unique things about all of us. But these differences make us unique. Never be afraid to flaunt your natural beauty. Your face was made to "look right". You never know what you might find underneath your side swoop/bangs/face framing hair.

Jan 20, 2012

Roots 'n Rhythm- Corinne Bailey Rae "Closer"

Corinne Bailey Rae's video for "Closer" off of her sophomore album The Sea shows a more sensual side than what we grew accustomed to on her previous album.

When the world was first introduced to Corinne Bailey Rae, her thoughtful lyrics, earthy girl next door personal style, and great melodies quickly caught on with a lot of music lovers like me.

From her debut single "Put Your Records On"
 But "Closer" is sassy and so is her hair! I mean, does she have the twist out of life or what?

  In a revealing article on CurlNikki.com about her hair regimen, Rae talks about how she creates her signature ringlets with just four plaits that take about a day to a day and a half to dry.

Check out the rest of the article for details on her natural hair journey, hair cut disasters, and how at one time she wanted to start a natural hair blog of her own.

Jan 18, 2012

DISCUSSION: BARBIE gets a natural hair makeover!

Barbie does a BIG CHOP - lol
This natural hair revolution is making its way into to homes across the land. Not just with women returning to chemical free tresses, but even Barbie is getting a makeover! There's a new phenomenon in the fashion doll industry - it's all about remixing Barbie's hair to make her have a more natural appearance.

Growing up, my mother brought me lots of African American dolls; I even had some dolls who wore kente cloth dresses, reminiscent of my father's African heritage. However, the dolls always had straight silky hair. As a kid, I didn't really mind, I just wanted to style the doll's hair. But, this may have spawned my obsession with having the perfect straight ponytail - a long hair style that my hair wasn't capable of doing.

Even after seeing all these gorgeous dolls, I wonder, do little girls just want to play in Barbie's hair or is their roll play with the doll creating a subconscious need for long straight hair? Are we taking the fantasy out of play time?

The popularity of remixing Barbie's isn't new. There are several blogs that give parents step-by-step instructions on giving your Barbie new hair, new clothes, new eyes, and even new limbs - anything to enhance the dolls and make them more realistic. Check out Kristl Smith Tyler's cool blog, How to Play with Barbies, where she uses Barbies in roll-playing exercises to increase confidence in  her children.

Recently, a natural hair meet-up group in Columbus, Georgia, gave remixed dolls to a local Girls, Inc group. The girls who receive the dolls loved their natural hair dolls. The group gave the dolls away during the Christmas season in order to increase confidence in the young ladies. (source) This is a great idea and I'm sure more community organizations will follow suit. 

Other people remix their dolls just for asthetics. Can you blame them? If you were a Barbie collector, like I was, this is an ultimate dream to have a Barbie that has the 'Barbie' characteristics, but the individuality you desire. This Barbie renaissance is moving forward with great speed - I'm happy to see more variety in the doll land.


Do you think this movement is a positive direction for Barbie? Do you think the Mattel Company will follow the lead and start manufacturing dolls with more natural features?
Do you think little girls really care if the doll's hair is 'just like' their hair?

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