Jun 29, 2012

LINK LOVE: Protecting your hair while swimming.

With Nashville temperatures hanging above 100 degrees, I'm sure I'm not the only natural wanting to jump in the pool. Wondering what to do with your hair during swim season? UrbanBushBabes.com has given 5 tips to protect your hair while in the water. From silicones to conditioners:
My favorite tip:

1. Wet you hair thoroughly before you go into any ocean or pool. Your strands will drink up the fresh water giving it way less room to invite that chlorine or salt water in.

Makes perfect sense, right? Ok. I already knew that one, but I did learn a few new things. Click here to read the entire article on their site...

Jun 28, 2012

Hair Lust: Luxurious Locs

I LOVE the rich, beautiful color of this model's locs!  We can try all the products and techniques in the world, but hair this healthy comes from within.  Eat well. Drink well. Be well!

"Beauty is the currency that comes from being well."  - Akua Auset

LINK LOVE: Is protective styling for you?

Singer, Ciara, rocking french braids
The ladies over at BGLH have an awesome article posted - "5 signs Protective Styling is NOT for you"

OH! I had to post the link because I know so many ladies who don't want to go natural because they don't like protective styling. You do remember this is YOUR hair and you can do whatever you want to do to it? Natural hair is all about a certain level of freedom, so feel free to do as you like to achieve your style options.

Personally, I go back and fourth with my love for protective styling. For my ultra-curly hair, protective styling is the best way for me to retain length and prevent massive tangles and single strand knot. Y'all know I love my Poetic Justice braids as a long term protective style. I hate two-strand twists and Bantu knots as daily style options. Some ladies swear by it. It's really a matter of personal choice.

"DO You value styling over length?  -  Why should I go natural, only to keep my hair hidden all the time?, is a common refrain from naturals who don’t like the idea of rocking the same style for 1 to 2 weeks at a time. If you are one that likes to switch it up on the regular, and ‘length goals’ aren’t a concern of yours, then feel free to mix it up!" (SOURCE)
Make sure to check out the FULL ARTICLE from Black Girl with Long Hair

Jun 27, 2012

Discussion: Styling Kids' Hair


The recent post of Yasmeen and Yusef made me wonder. Do you ever think parents can allow kids to go too far with their hair? Granted I see children with the same styles everyday, and I get happy when I see fearless kids breaking up the monotony of a low fade or twisted ponytails with bows on the ends. But if your child wanted to rock out a la Willow Smith....

Photo courtesy of Willow's Tumblr

How  would you feel when he or she asks you to dye their hair blue for the summer because blue is a favorite color? If the child is not up for a promotion at work, or getting lewd things cut into their hair, what's the limit? We all know that hair grows back, and a temporary color washes away.
Does limiting style options really protect the child, or would you be more inclined to say no in order to avoid being uncomfortable as a parent? I can understand wanting to avoid statements like "Purple streaks? I bet she just does whatever she wants..." or "You really let him get Spiderman cut in his hair? Don't you think that's ghetto?"

This also brings another question... I notice a stronger reaction when children are given weaves and relaxers at a young age. What about locs? Did you feel the same way about the first picture of the blog that you do about the last picture? Why do we feel that permanent changes are okay... sometimes? Let's talk about it.

Have you ever told your child "no" to a hairstyle that they wanted? Why or why not?
What do you think if you saw a young girl with orange streaks or a boy with a unique cut and color on his hair?

Full disclosure: I am not a parent.

Jun 26, 2012

Product Review: Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak

When my product choices are limited, I can usually rely on the Organic Roots Stimulator line of products to get me out of a hair jam.  During a last minute trip for the Lock & Twist Gel, I noticed the Olive Oil Replenishing Pak.  After a quick scan of the label, I decided it was worth a $1.25 to give it a try.

After washing my hair, I opened the Replenishing Pak to a light, sweet scent.  The conditioner was thick enough to cover my locs without using the entire pack, leaving enough for a second application if I liked the results.  According to directions, the conditioner could be used as a quick conditioner for 2-3 minutes or as a deep conditioner.  I'm not one for the dryer, so I decided to allow the conditioner sit for an hour under a plastic cap.

When I finished my hair, it wasn't as soft as I expected after a deep condition, but the smell was lovely and I was more than pleased with the sheen.  I've learned to take certain products for what they offer, so I'll definitely keep this one in mind if my hair ever has a dull appearance.  I would definitely recommend this product if your hair lacks sheen.

More than anything, I think using the Olive Oil Replenishing Pak reminded me of the many benefits of olive oil for the body.  I definitely plan to incorporate it into my hair routine more often. 

Have you found a wonder product or DIY conditioner with olive oil that delivers on moisture and sheen.  What's your favorite olive oil treatment for your hair?

Style Tips: Styling mini-twists

Do you wear mini-twists? Do you get bored wearing your twists down? Below are a couple of styles I wear once I install my mini-twists - Here are a few style ideas.

Ponytail Faux-hawk

  • Divide your hair into three sections.
  • For each section, twist both sides of hair to the hair back of your head, then secure into a ponytail.
  • Center your ponytails above each other to hide the bands et voila! A cute faux-hawk.
  • Create a hump in the front to give your style a little pizzazz.

Jun 25, 2012

PRODUCT REVIEW: NAAT Brazilian Keratin

So the awesome people at NuNAAT sent the team a box of their product, NAAT Brazilian Keratin line. The info sheet stated the product is great for all hair types but works best for those with chemically straitened hair. That being said, the product line is made with nourishing products that work well with curly hair divas, as well.

The line includes:
  • Deep Conditioning Shampoo - Formulated with mild surfactants, Green Keratin and amino acids, all of which provide deep cleansing without being abrasive. Designed for daily use. Sodium chloride free.
  • Deep Conditioner -  Contains high-capacity conditioning ingredients so hair is easily untangled. Our exclusive formula contains Green Keratin and amino acids.Reduces frizz and tames unruly hair. Designed for daily use.
  • NAAT Intensive Hair Mask -  Apply after hair has been shampooed and rinsed in place of normal conditioner. The mask will intensely hydrate and repair hair fibers. Leave in for 10-20 minutes, then rinse well. To make hair even smoother, Deep Moisturizing Conditioner can be added to ends of hair after Intensive Hair Mask has been rinsed out. Use every one or two weeks, as necessary.
  • NAAT Brazilian Keratin Liquid Keratin Leave-In Re-constructor  - A non-rinse formula. Once a desired amount is applied to hair, leave in for a few minutes before blow-drying as usual. A flat iron seals hair cuticles, causing the keratin to effectively penetrate hair fibers. Designed for frequent use, or as needed.
  • NAAT Brazilian Keratin Serum Ultra Shine - Our special silicone formula creates a film that protects hair against environmental  damage, keeping it moisturized and providing extra conditioning, more shine and increased flexibility. This styling product can be used on wet or dry hair. Apply a small amount and distribute evenly. Use as often as desired.
Toya, Candice, and I used the product and we had mixed reviews. Below check out out high/lows and if we'd recommend the product to you!

Jun 22, 2012

Roots 'n Rhythm: Sabrina Starke "Sunny Days"

A friend of mine just put me on to Dutch soul singer Sabrina Starke and I am completely in love with her music right now. It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do too since she first debuted in 2008 and has released three albums since then.

Starke first hit the scene with her debut album Yellow Brick Road which yielded her a hit song overseas called "Do for Love".   Her follow up album Bags and Suitcases was released in 2010 and had a hit with the her bubbly single "Sunny Days".

She's back out now this summer and is no longer rocking the locks but a clean shaven head and a new look.  Her new album, Outside the Box, which features her new single "This Time Around", is less reminiscent of India.Arie. and more reminiscent of Estelle and Amy Winehouse.

It's a bit hard to find information on her because she is an artist from the Netherlands. About everything I've found on her is written in Dutch.  However, her new album is available on iTunes and you can also check her out on Spotify and on her Youtube channel. With a great voice like hers and a hot new album,  I sincerely hope she joins the list of overseas soul singers making their mark stateside sooner than later.

Jun 21, 2012

Nashville Naturals: Yasmeen and Yusef

This week while I was doing some clothes shopping I came across these two adorable young naturals. Their hair just put me in the mood for some summer fun. I am a big fan of short hair in the summer. If your head is cute enough to rock a funky fresh hair cut, I say go for it!

Yasmeen is 9. Her low cut curls and curly side bangs made me long for the days of being young and free. My camera doesn't do her style justice. It was really fly. I had to refrain from touching it.

Yusef is 8, and his hair was pretty fly, too. Mohawks are nothing new, but his curls are attention grabbers.

I'm happy they (and their mother) obliged to being on the site. I think it's great when parents let kids express themselves with their hair. Don't these short styles make you want to feel the summer sun on your scalp? *hands you each a pair of scissors* Send us pictures please!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque

Ask me why it's taken me so long to write this review and I'll have no answer for you. All I've got to say is that Shea Moisture is the truth and if you don't believe me, your life is not that great - lol! Anyway, Shea Moisture Deep Treatment mask is one of the best deep conditioners I've ever used. My super coils (4b curls) love the stuff.

When you open the jar you are presented with this super thick mixture, it's almost pudding like. The instructions say you can use it as a traditional deep conditioner or as a leave-in. I use it as a deep conditioner, sometimes sitting under the dryer and letting the mixture permeate my dense curls. Every time I rinse my hair, my curls are popping! My hair is super soft, manageable, and smells awesome.

The good thing about Shea Moisture is its availability. You can purchase online, at Target (and it's online market), Walgreen's, and now even at WAL-MART! The pricepoint is a bit high, $9.99, but the mask lasts a long time.

I definitely recommend this product! No matter you hair type or density you hair will love you for deep conditioning with Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque.

Jun 19, 2012


So, I recently scaled down my hair regimen. I used to spend almost 4 hours on Saturday morning managing and manipulating my hair. My routine went something like this:
  1. Detangle
  2. Wet with leave-in conditioner
  3. Wash with shampoo
  4. De-tangle again in the shower
  5. Add conditioner in the shower
  6. Wait 2 minutes
  7. Rinse Conditioner out
  8. Add deep conditioner
  9. Sit under the dryer for 30 mins
  10. Rinse conditioner
  11. Rinse with Apple Cider Vinegar rinse
  12. Dry with old t-shirt
  13. Seal with Olive Oil and Coconut Oil
  14. Two-Strand Twist
  15. Add rollers to two strand twists
  16. Sit under dryer for what seemed like forever waiting for my hair to dry
  17. Hair is dried, remove rollers
  18. Remove two strand twists
  19. Style
  20. Then at night, I'd have to repeat twist my hair again so that it would shrink (I sweat at night). 
DUDE! Twenty freakin steps! I thought that having natural hair was supposed to 'freeing', but having twenty steps every saturday morning was really wearing me out. I realized my regmian was super overwhelming and I was starting not to like doing my hair. When I looked at my regimen, I really needed to bring somethings down and doing something throughout the week that would take away from my washing day.

I clipped my ends (taking off almost a half inch) which decreased my de-tangling time. I started moisturizing my hair daily. I started banding or pineapple-ing my hair every night to keep definition. I've tried to pull back on using heating elements on my hair so as to retain moisture. I co-wash some weeks and do the whole she-bang on other weeks. And sometimes . . . I may have a LAZY week! I may not do those things, I may just let my hair rest, doing it's thing, rising to the sky or shrinking to the roots. Lastly, I really worked on finding one product line that can give me what I need. You all know my favorite line is NuNaat Karite Special Shea Products.

So, have you recently scaled down your haircare routine or added some steps? Let's discuss!

Toya's Hair Diary: Summer, Summer, Summertime

Products used: Ampro Gel, Curl Max Curl Pudding & Activator, & Coconut oil

 Y'all...it's hot. I mean, it's getting really really hot. I can't be the only natural girly whose hair feels like a thick ball of fire in the summer months. Although I am looking forward to my hair growing a little more this summer (or so I hope), I have got to get this hair together.  I had to get my ends trimmed a few weeks ago after going too long without getting them done. It was just getting to a length that I really loved and then UGH! I had to get it cut. Let THIS be a reminder to everyone to not be so tired that you don't wrap your hair up at night. It's worth it. Anyway, I'm not loving my afro puff as much anymore and it's time to start getting creative. Natural hair is fly and I need to represent. So in an effort to keep it funky, I revisited my hairdo from when I was Janelle Monae at Shut Up and Sing in October.

October 2011

June 2012

It was so hard getting all of this hair to cooperate! I first had to try and blow dry the hair straight to stretch it out so I could pin it all back.  I looked all over the place for extra bobby pins to keep the back up. I was at the Jefferson Street Jazz and Blues Festival when thankfully I ran into Kiya from Lovely Bands who went out of her way to hook me up with even more bobby pins from her own head!  You gotta love the natural hair community.

I've been looking for Youtube videos to help me find an easier way to create this look as well as some other styles to pull my hair up in this heat. Here are some that I am feeling right now:

What change ups in your hairstyle have you tried because of the heat?

Jun 18, 2012

HAIR LUST: Beautiful Blue Afro

Here's another wonderful photo for our hair lust category! So many times, I hear natural girls say they get tired/bored with their hair. Heck, I've said it a couple of times! That's why I post pictures like the one above - to help show all the diverse things natural hair can do. I'm so loving this wonderful turquoise 'fro! I wish my hair wasn't so sensitive to color, because I'd do this. It's fun to look at!

Now, I don't recommend anyone to do their color at home - please find a trained professional who can test your strands and give you the best color possible.

LINK LOVE: Affordable Organic Hair Products

As we continue on this natural journey it almost makes sense to start using natural and/or organic products in haircare routine. However, many don't use natural/organic products for various reasons - one of which is the cost. I can say for myself, cost is a big deterrant for me because trying new organic haircare products may work on my hair. But, it is too costly of a decision for my wallet if a product does not work for me.

Luckily, I found this article on KisforKinky.com that gives us a list of affordable organic haircare products that you may like to try. On her list are wondeful products from Aubrey Organics, Giovanni, and Burts Bees. All of these companies are well known for their stellar products and how well the work for skin and hair. Take a look at the link below:

Jun 12, 2012

Naturalistas on Instagram: June #NaturalGlamChallenge

I'm new to Instagram and I absolutely love it- as if I needed yet another social network to get hooked to.  Who would've guessed that Instagram would be a great site to interact with other naturalistas?  For instance, Instagram user @NaturalHairstyles101 started a Natural Glam Challenge for the month of June. In this challenge, you post a picture a day pertaining to that day's topic (see above). Today's challenge was to post a picture of your product wish list. Here's my pick:

Yes, a Huetiful hair steamer. I hear this does wonders for moisture!  I can't wait to try it.  By the way my birthday is December 26. Feel free to make this a combined birthday/Christmas gift if your heart desires.

Searching different hashtags is very useful in finding what other natural hair lovelies are trying out as far as hairstyles, products and maintenance.  So the next time you are on Instagram, try and do a search on #NaturalHair, #NaturalHairProblems (that one is often hilarious), and of course #NaturalGlamChallenge to participate in the fun of posting a different pic each day. Happy surfing!

Jun 11, 2012

A NASHVILLE NATURAL: Jessica's Wonderful Wedding Hair

I had the honor of styling a friend for her wedding. To say that Jessica (aka Stix) is unconventional is an understatement. She's the epitome of cool even when she doesn't try! Her gorgeous golden locs give me life on a bad day, but this day, her wedding day, she glowed with love.

She's a regular at Kinky Rootz Natural Hair Salon in Nashville. Kristi Alderson does her color and maintenance. But I had to step in to give her sophisticated style for her afternoon wedding. Take a look:


Congrats Jessica! You made a gorgeous bride!

Jun 8, 2012


Can someone find me the number to the hairstylist who created this masterpiece? Thanks! Pictures like the one above, give me faith to go on this natural journey. I always tell ladies, if you feel bored with your hair, go cruise the internet to find some style inspiration. This photo is going in my stash and will help me get through those tough times; hopefully I can re-create the look real soon. Hope you like it!

ROOT'S 'N RHYTHM: "Feeling More" - Tabi Bonney ft Nicole Wray

Tabi Bonnney is a DC based rapper, fashion designer, and video producer. He's released numerous mix tapes and completed productions for underground sensation and hip-hop raper, Wale. The West African born rapper just released visuals for his latest single, "Feeling More" which features singer Nicole Wray (don't remember Wray? Click here!)

As soon as I stumbled upon this video, I knew I had to post it on the site. First up, it's an absolute summer/bbq banger. The light production and breezy vocals just make you want to find a crew of freshly dressed individuals then sip wine coolers on someone's rooftop apartment. Bonney did well with relaying the breezy concept and added lots of pretty models rocking awesome natural hair and cool clothes.  It's a good deal! Check out the video below:

Jun 6, 2012

Celeb Style: Lauryn Hill at SummerJam 2012

New York Hip-Hop radio station, Hot 97, has a yearly concert that brings out all the latest and greatest hip-hop artists. The best thing about these events is each featured artist gets to bring out a guests, usually a hip hop legend. This year was filled with many surprise guests, but no one was ready for the legendary Ms Lauryn Hill!

I was yelling at my computer screen when Ms. Hill hit the stage with her preppy hipster style. She rocked a pair of sky high Guiseppe Zannoti slingback sandals, wide leg pants, a pinstriped jacket and plaid blouse. Atop her head, a classic TWA. Lauryn is beautiful, no matter what. The TWA looked good on her and went  to show that one can rock natural hair no matter what your style.


Jun 5, 2012

Product Review: Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness Leave-In Creme

In a quest to find a good leave-in conditioner, I came across Herbal Essences None of Your Frizziness Smoothing Leave-in Creme. I have a few Herbal Essences products, so I thought I'd give this a try. The major selling points for me? The smell and the price. It's under $4 at Wal-Mart. I LOVE a great smelling leave-in conditioner. After washing my hair my favorite shampoo, and conditioning with another brand, I used Herbal Essences None of Your Frizziness Leave in Creme as a leave in for styling. (To see the style tip, click here)

Let's start with the good. I like this leave in because it's light, which is what I look for in a conditioner. It makes the application easy. Did I mention I love the smell? Also, this conditioner is water based, so you can use it every day if you want. And what hydrates hair more than water? (That's rhetorical. The answer is nothing. NOTHING hydrates more than water.)

The not so good about this conditioner: The conditioner is indeed water based. So you will definitely need some additional oil to seal moisturize hair. Another con to water based conditioner is that it's wet, so expect some shrinkage or avoid it altogether if you are looking to moisturize a 2nd day style.

Overall, I would recommend this leave-in creme, especially for a post-wash leave-in. But I also recommend using this in conjunction with an oil or oil-based cream for sealing in the yummy scented moisture this creme provides.

Have you tried this product before? What do you think?

Tips & Techniques: Easy Stretching For Dense Hair

Lately I've thoroughly enjoyed wearing a shrunken afro because it's much cooler, however, I thought it was time for stretched styling.

There are many sites, products, and videos that talk about keeping hair stretched. Sometimes, those topics don't deal with DENSE hair. Dense hair is hair that has more mass in cubic centimeters than other people's hair (source). That means you have more hair strands on your head than most people. Is that you? If so, that's okay my super-dense haired natural friends. Soon, I'm going to start posting styles that are modified to help you achieve styles.

Let's start with an easy way to stretch hair without the extra 20 twists or the extra 5 hours of drying time. I decided to stretch my hair with my own variation of banding. After washing and conditioning my hair, I moisturized with a leave in conditioner and sealed with oil. On damp hair, I divided into sections, and secured with ponytail holders. Those without the metal clamps work best and help reduce snags. My hair is really dense so I have 5 sections.

Once the sections are secure, twist each of the sections into twists small enough to stretch. Using too much hair in one twist makes it harder to manipulate and increases drying time.

In order to keep the hair stretched, wrap each twist and tuck in the band or use bobby pins to secure. (Yes. I know how the middle looks. I wasn't done. Let's stay focused on the back two.)

It took about 15 minutes to put this style up before bed. In the morning, I untwisted my hair, removed the ponytail holders, and this is my style for the day.

See.... what had happened was... I woke up the next day and forgot to take pictures, and then decided to blow my hair out. This is from the end of the day. But it works! Trust me.
Hope this helps. If you try this style and remembered to take pictures, share it with us on facebook.

Jun 4, 2012

DISCUSSION: Should we do away with the hair typing system?

Lately there's been talk in the natural hair community about hair typing.

What is hair typing? Andre Walker, celebrity hair stylist, came up with a hair typing system to categorize wavy, curly, and highly textured hair. Depending on your hair type, hair stylists and hair care manufacturers suggest techniques and products to help your hair grow and become more manageable. The system which starts at 1a (bone straight) to 4c (kinky) usually becomes the road map to new naturals.

Some take issue with this system saying that it causes natural hair wearers to block themselves from tips, techniques, and hair styles available to the wearer. In addition, some say the hair-typing system causes a form of prejudice among the community (source). It's true that when there are more 'curly' representations of natural hair in the press/television/websites and not so many kinky hair representations. This can be misconstrued as saying kinky haired naturals aren't as desirable as curly haired naturals.

There is definitely some truth to this concern. Why? Because there's more to taking care of natural hair than finding products that only cater to your curl pattern. Other factors to consider when describing and caring for  your hair is scalp health, elasticity, density, porosity, and your wave pattern (source). When taking these factors into consideration you will be open to trying various techniques, styles, and products.

In addition, the longer you are on the natural journey the more your hair will change. The techniques you used when you first transitioned or big-chopped will change as time passes. So, the hair typing system may not be relevant when you hit your 3, 5, or 10 year mark. Who knows!?

So, how do you feel about the hair typing situation, are we making a big deal out of nothing or should we do away with the system and encourage learning your individual hair? Let's discuss!

HAIR LUST: Blonde Curlies

The babies are killing the natural hair game! I might need to make a page just for natural kiddies! Anyway, take a look at this cutie. Her naturally blonde curls are just amazing. Women are paying hundreds od dollars to get her color. I hope, when she gets older, she appreciates her lovely locs!

Jun 1, 2012

Product Review: Curl Max Curl Pudding

Confession:  I have become increasingly skeptical about so many product lines getting into the natural hair game.  Every time I turn around it seems like one more line is jumping on the natural hair band wagon.  Just because someone comes out with a "pudding" doesn't mean that they actually know about the inner workings of natural hair.  Not to mention (since I'm confessing here) that I have become quite the natural hair product snob.  When it comes to ingredients, I was starting to believe that if I couldn't pronounce an ingredient then I wasn't paying for it. That was until I won a prize pack of Lustrasilk's Curl Pudding from their new Curl Max line at Curl Rehab's National Natural Hair Meetup a few weeks back.  It was then that I decided that bending the rules a bit wouldn't hurt.  For one, it's research.  For two, I wasn't exactly married to the product regime I have been using lately. My hair tends to change with the seasons.

When I co-washed my hair this past weekend, I decided to give it a shot with just a touch of coconut oil on my hair. Again, I was so skeptical! Lustrasilk with a natural line?  *Side eye*  Here is a picture of my hair wet:

Okay Lustrasilk! I am so glad tried it!   I was so surprised by how my curls sprung to life. I honestly was anticipating a glorified moisturizer with no hold (I've been burned before) but what I got was a moisturizing product with a lot of hold.  Much to my surprise, it has really become an all in one product which is a plus for this wash 'n go chick. Also it gave me less shrinkage than Kinky Curly. By the way, we had to break up...again. I tell you me and Kinky Curly have been having an on again off again relationship for about a year and a half. After using the Curl Max Curl Pudding, we are definitely off again. And at a price point of under six bucks?

Loving it! These curls are poppin'!

Lustrasilk's Curl Max Pudding
-Firm Hold
- Less shrinkage
- Great price
- All in one product

- Flakes a little
- May be too drying for some hair. If so, I recommend scrunching some oil in it after it dries.

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