Jan 30, 2013

Link Love: How to Get Your Wash and Go Curls to Hang

Cassidy of Natural SelectionBlog.com

To all my Wash and Go girls: Is it just me or do some people not get that the Wash and Go struggle is real?  Those of us about that W&G life know that there are about fifteen steps between washing and going.  One of the hardest things sometimes is getting some hang time with your curls. Right now my hair is in an in between stage so the curls just aren't always hanging on their own. They need some extra assistance which usually consist of some Paul Mitchell gel, raking, heavy sighing, drying and a lot of patience.

This week I came across an article on Black Girl Long Hair where Cassidy from the blog Natural Selection shares with readers her Dickey (of Hair Rules) approved technique for elongating your curls.  After reading it, I definitely see how changing my washing routine up a little bit may help my curls to start swinging.  The technique is easy enough and definitely worth a shot.  Check it out here.

Jan 29, 2013

STYLE: Twisted curls

I wanted to try something different with my hair. Twist outs are fun and easy, but I decided to switch it up.
I wanted to have curly hair, but I didn't want to do a regular set with flexi rods. So, I used the flexi rods but this time I twisted my hair in 2 strand twists first.Then, I set my hair while it was still in 2 strand twists. I used Dr. Miracles Curl Care soft hold cream to moisturize my hair. Finally, I added Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion on the twists before I put them on the flexi rods.

I liked the style so much that I did it again the next week to try to improve it. I followed all of the same steps except this time I sealed my twists with African Pride Hot Six Oil. (I've loved this stuff since I was a kid.) Also, when I wrapped the twists on the flexi rods, I wrapped them with more space so my curls could hang more to my liking. Because unlike the relaxer days, I can't wait for my natural curls to "fall" as time goes on. My hair wasn't blown dry or straightened. As time goes on, my curls only go up. Also, I inflicted self-punishment sat under a hooded dryer for about 35 minutes.

You can really see the difference in spacing on the larger orange rods.

My idea worked! I set my curls and they came out longer and that made me happy!
This is a twisted curl, right after removing the flexi-rod. I was excited!

I have tried flexi rods before, but never on twisted hair. I like this style better because the curls don't come out like perfectly spiraled barrel curls. And that makes me feel a little less like I am auditioning for a role in Little Orphan Annie. Also, the twists dry faster than my loose hair does.Click here to see a previous flexi rod on loose hair.
The left is separated curls on trial 1. The right is twisted curls on trial 2.
They are about the same length.
Do you prefer organized structured styles, or do you like hair that looks like organized chaos? Give me a bit of chaos! Let me know which you prefer in the comments below.

Jan 28, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Teyonah Parris at the SAG Awards

Two things I love: Celebs who are natural and finding natural hairstyles for special/black tie events. This is actress, Teyonah Parris. Doesn't she look gorgeous on her purple gown and regal twisted updo!

Teyonah is  currently playing the role of the first African-American secretary on Mad Men. I watch the show often and didn't know Teyonah was a fellow naturalista; most of the actresses where wigs to convey the style of the 1960's.

Hmm . . . I'm going to keep  my eye on this gorgeous actress - she's repping #TeamNatural quite nicely!

Jan 25, 2013

HAIR LUST: Wedding Bliss

OH! The feelings!!!!! When I post Hair Lust photos I strive to encompass all sorts of natural curls, kinks, and coils. When I stumbled across this picture, I was overwhelmed with happiness. Although, the natural hair 'movement' is moving strong, it's still rare to see images of girls with tightly coiled (sometimes called 4b) hair featured in ad campaigns, television shows, or photos.

That's why I'm loving this gorgeous picture featuring this lovely bride and her beau. Her kinky coils are alive with happiness as she basks in all the love of the day. Let's see more displays of tight coils in the media, so everyone can feel the love!

Jan 22, 2013

Ashiya's Hair Diary : Walk The Talk

My business is starting to grow and I am overjoyed, but I broke one of my own client rules : always make time for self-care.  Lately, I have not had much to share in my hair diary because I was not honoring my normal self-care routine.  After some inspiration from a few different sources, I'm back and I've shifted my time with my hair to work better with my new schedule.
After a quick lesson from Kaneesha Martin on choosing hair products, I fought thoughts of becoming a product junkie again and decided to start trying professional salon brands as she suggested.  I let fate make my first product selection by going to the closest retailer of professional brands to see what was on sale.  Sally's Beauty Supply won.

Much to my surprise, that feeling of "I should try it all!!" never returned to me.  I realized I know my hair well enough at this point to rule out products that will not benefit me by reading the label well.  I decided to give the Silk Elements Megasilk Olive Shampoo and Conditioner a try.  The shampoo cleansed pretty well. I was also please with how easily the shampoo washed away after creating such a rich lather.  The Megasilk Olive Conditioner was acceptable.  It didn't seem to nourish my hair like other conditioners I've tried, although it did give some control to my new growth.  The both created a lovely, light scent, which I definitely appreciate.

Jan 21, 2013

LINK LOVE: DIY Recipes for Natural hair sealants

Refined Shea Butter

I guess everyone is on the homemade/DIY tip for making their own sealants and balms for natural hair. Last week I posted about essential oils and carrier oils to help with moisture retention. Black Girl Long Hair just posted three awesome recipes for DIY Homemade moisture balms and sealants. Click the link below and take a look:

FROM BGLH: Whipped Shealoe with Grapeseed Oil – great non-greasy sealant

- ½ cup unrefined shea butter
- ¼ cup aloe vera gel
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tsp pure honey (some say it helps to lengthen the moisturizer’s shelf life)

Melt the shea butter slightly in a pot on the stove or by warming over a hot water bath. Do this until the butter is soft but not completely melted. Whip the butter with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the grapeseed oil and honey to the shea butter. Whip again. Finally add the aloe vera gel. Whip all the ingredients together on low speed. Cover the mixture and store in a dry cool place.

CLICK HERE for more easy DIY recipes

Jan 16, 2013

Reader Question: What, where, and how? Oils for natural hair

Yesterday, I posted a handy info-graphic about the usage of oils/roots on natural hair -  CLICK HERE. One of our readers had a question about how to acquire the right oils to help aid your hair. Believe me, I was ULTRA confused when I first big-chopped. I had ALL these oils and didn't know how to use them.

Before I get into the questions, there two things you need to know about oils: Some oils are carrier oils and others essential oils (which are noted in the referenced article).
  • Carrier Oils are known as a base oil, vegetable oil, or butter that is used to dilute essential oils before they are applied to the skin or hair.
  • Essential Oils are simply known as the "oil of" the plant from which they were extracted. An oil is "essential" because it carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of that plant. Essential oils are VERY potent and should ALWAYS be used with a carrier oil such as Shea, Coconut, JoJoba, etc.

Are you all really using all of these oils and home remedies?

No, of course not! If I was using all those oils, my hair would be a greasy mess. Currently I use/take: Moringa Pills for health and hair growth, lavender (mixed with Jamaican Castor Oil) to retain my edges while wearing braids, and Coconut Oil (mixed with Shea Butter) for my own body butter.

And do they really work. I tried the coconut oil and had no glorious luck. Maybe I used it wrong. It was waxy and made my hair clumped.

It's really a game in figuring what your hair likes, what smells really good, and what's cost effective. The key is finding the right oils to work for you - lighter oils/butters for light/fine textured hair, dense oils/butters for thicker textured hair. Most carrier oils will help aid in moisture retention, hair loss, and shine. However, you must use them for an extended period of time to see the best results.

Coconut Oil and Shea Butter are the two carrier oils that people tend to love or hate. I found that using those oils alone gave me mixed results - my hair may be too greasy or I might get a waxy buildup. However, when I melted them in the microwave, with a teaspoon of Olive oil, I had a great sealant on my hands. Add a drop (or two) of Lavender Essential Oil, and you've got yourself a great smelling hair balm.

And are you buying them in Wal-mart, essential oils man, world foods? turnip truck, etc?

I buy all my oils (carrier and essential) from Ebay! Ebay has free shipping and no taxes. I usually receive my product within the week. Other readers buy their oils (carrier and essential) from the local flea market, Whole Food/Whole Body, Trader Joe's, and even you local grocery store.

So, I hope that answers the questions about oils. If you are still confused, hit me in the comments section or on the Facebook page.

HAIR LUST: Blond Bombshell

You know I go gaga over a girl with awesome colored hair! Besides being ABSOLUTELY gorgeous, this models hair is super fly. The color boosts her curl pattern. Very nice!

Anyone out there thinking about coloring their hair in 2013?

Jan 14, 2013

Plants and Roots for healthy hair growth!

I love finding info-graphics such as these! This one really reenforces the importance of having a healthy diet in accordance to having healthy hair. Personally, I have used a number of these growth enhancers and have had great results. So, I  'Googled' each of these enhancers to see how it effects hair growth. See my findings below. Most of these roots, extracts, plants come in pill or oil form. Of course, check with your Doctor before starting any new health regimen:

Panax Ginsing - Panax ginseng is also reputed to enhance cell metabolism and stimulate blood flow, it is used to counter hair loss. (source)

Rosemary - Rosemary tea and rosemary oil are both used extensively in hair care routines for very good reasons. According to Organic Facts, rosemary stimulates hair follicles, causing hair to grow long and strong. Rosemary also combats premature hair loss and stops hair from falling out during brushing, shampooing or just daily living. (source)

Moringa Oil - Moringa oil is a popular natural supplement to increase the health and strength of the hair and scalp. It can be massaged into the hair and scalp and allowed to remain there for several minutes, delivering rejuvenating vitamins and minerals to the follicles of the hair and tissue of the scalp. Regular massage with this oil can help reduce split ends and dandruff. (source)

Lavender -  Regular usage is helpful in controlling hair fall and improving hair growth. Daily scalp massage with lavender oil will definitely ensure significant hair re-growth in a few months. You can use lavender oil for hair growth and get rid of problems like itchy scalp and dandruff as well. (source)

Coconut Oil - If you are a natural and not using coconut oil, you are missing OUT! Coconut oil is a huge blessing for your hair. It is one of the most effective conditioners ever and helps in regrowth of damaged hair. That’s why it is used in most hair care products. (source)

Peppermint Oil - (source)
  • Scalp Health: Peppermint oil is a natural astringent and helps to balance your scalps acid mantle. It can also normalize sebum production and protect against oily skin.
  • Hair Growth: Because of its ability to relax blood vessels and stimulate blood flow to hair follicles, peppermint oil has also been used to stimulate hair growth.
Lemon Grass - Applying lemongrass essential oil to hair directly is a sure way to promote hair growth and maintain healthy hair. For this, make sure a diluted oil is used (2 - 4 drops in ½ cup warm water). This essential oil is a valuable component in homemade shampoo recipe as it increases the aroma and quality of shampoo. (source)
Aloe - Aloe vera can be used to treat a number of hair ailments such as dandruff and hair loss, or simply as a means to boost hair's moisture and shine. It is recommended that aloe vera be used for a minimum of two to three months to receive its full benefits. (source)

Centella Asiatica - Centella Asiatica is said to improve circulation in your veins and capillaries and to stimulate hair and nail growth. (source)

Zingiber Officinale - is the same as ginger.

So there you have it! What do you plan to add to your 2013 hair care regiment? Let us know on our Facebook Page.

Health Before Hair : Black Girls Run! Preserve The Curls

BGR! HQ Team : Nashville, TN, 2013

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Black Girls Run! Preserve The Sexy tour here in Nashville.  During the workshop, founders Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks shared their experiences with allowing their hair to grow naturally.  Like most women, they continually adjust to balance the work they put into maintaining their hair with their fitness routine.  When Ashley shared her frustration with not knowing what to do with her hair in the beginning of her transition, I realized it is easy to feel that way at any point.  Our understanding of our hair will evolve with us.

Jan 8, 2013


Hello All! I wanted to make sure that everyone knew who won the lovely prizes from the Christmas Wishes Giveaway last month. Below you will see each sponsor and the winner(s) for each giveaway. If you are a winner and you haven't been contacted by me: First, check your junk/spam email. If you had't received an email, then email me at melissa@natural-nashville.com.

If you didn't win this time, don't fret, we'll have plenty of giveaways in 2013! 

Question: Hardwater on natural curls! (UPDATED)

Only two days into running this blog and we already have a reader question:

"Know a way to get rid of excess product in natural hair? No matter how much I rinse, something is still there. I don't know if it's the hard water or what!"
This is a great question! When I came to college in TN I dealt with the same problem. I had a relaxer at the time but there was a noticable difference in the way my hair felt after I washed it. The dorm director informed us that since we lived in TN, we were prone to have lime and calcium build-up.  My hair was dry and my skin was super dry, itchy, and tight. I tried conditioning my hair like a maniac, but that didn't really help as much as I'd like. Living in the dorm left me with no choice, I couldn't buy a water filter to help decrease the amount of mineral deposits in the water so I had to deal with having weird hair that wasn't quite as bouncy as I wanted it to be.
Hard water contains significant quantities of dissolved minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and silicon. These metals can react with substances in soaps and shampoos and reduce the effectiveness of those products’ cleansing properties, making it necessary to use more of the cleanser (source).
Doing some research on the subject, I found several great ways to decrease mineral deposits and help rinse extra build-up out of natural hair:
  • Buy a water filter - water filter do just as they say, filters unwanted metals and ions from your water when you shower.
  • Use a gentle shampoo that is sulfate free. Such shampoos need to be followed by a deep conditioning treatment. Many times sulfate free shampoos may cause dryness.
  • Pre-oil hair with Extra Virgin Olive Oil before washing it. This will protect the hair from potential hard water damage.
  • Co-Wash hair with  hair conditioner - this will help coat your hair from the effects of hard water.
  • Clarify hair with a clarifying shampoo at least once a month.
Hope this helps - I know dealing with product build-up due to hard water is a challenge. Make sure to test each technique before you commit to any routine.

Candice's Hair: Annoying Hair and Weave Fails

On the positive side: I recently wore real lipstick in public. Not  lip gloss, not lip glass,  and not lip tint.
Real lipstick color. I was satisfied with myself.

I'm still nursing my color damaged ends. I've said it for months, but sometime soon I will cut off the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 inches of damage. But I am definitely not ready for that to happen yet. I'm being a baby about saving my hair, but within the next 2 months I promise you will see an overly dramatic post as I have the rest of my damaged kinks removed. I've put it off long enough. But on less than stellar hair days I usually keep my ends hidden (like in the picture above).

In other hair news, my hair was SO annoying last month. I was super annoyed that I keep getting single strand knots and that my twist outs were not turning out right about 50% of the time. I was also annoyed that it seemed to take longer and longer for my hair to dry. But I'm having more success nowadays. I've made it my goal to keep my hair stretched as much as possible. I mean, I love a good afro, but it just doesn't serve me well when it comes to meeting my hair goals. And  it's an even smaller deal when I think of my long term goals of school and graduation and my future career. I would much rather be a super-success and have my hair twisted back than be less successful with a FANTASTIC 'fro.

Of course, I'm not putting up the crazy, fuzzy hair days.
I only take pictures on good hair days. Enjoy!
But being honest, I do have hair goals. And I know that keeping my hair stretched will help me reach my hair goals faster. That way, I can rock my super afro occasionally. In the meantime, I've been trying to try some new things with my hair. Below this paragraph, you will see reasons that I won't be sporting havana twists until I get a lot more practice in. Installing extensions is not as easy as youtube makes it look.

I just.... I don't understand how a twist could  turn out THIS horrible. 

So... I will continue working on my weave installation skills. Right now they are HORRIBLE. But maybe one day I will learn to install hair. I'm always open to tips and suggestions. I'm trying to expand my hair options that do not include going to a salon. Am I the only one who is a fish out of water when it comes to extensions? Who is your favorite Youtuber for extension tutorials?

Jan 4, 2013

CELEB STYLE: Janelle Monae covers Elle Canada for February 2013

Co-writer Toya would have had a heart attack  if we didn't post this awesomeness on the the website. We are fans of Janelle Monae and everything she stands for! Check out Janelle on the cover of Elle Canada! She's rocking her signature tuxedo style and fresh Covergirl face.

Jan 3, 2013

SALE: Shea Moisture BOGO 12/30-2/23

I was walking through Target and saw this. I had to share the good news after I got mine because Naturals in Nashville sure do know they can clean out sale shelves. Target is having a Buy one get one 1/2 off sale on Shea Moisture products until February 23. I checked Target.com, and it looks like this sale is only in stores.

The Curl Enhancing Smoothie will serve my kinks well in these slowly dropping temperatures. Be sure to get your favorite Shea Moisture product before the sale ends... I know I did.

HAIR LUST: Long Lovely Curls

Every time I post a Hair Lust photo I want to steal the hair of the model's head. This photo is no different. He hair is so curly and so long! I can't wait for the day when my hair gets this length (isn't that the chant of the Natural Girl?). But really, this photo is the bomb!

Jan 1, 2013

Melissa's Hair: The Braided Updo

Happy New Year Natural Ones!!

I hope everyone had a joyous season of celebration! Me? I spent time with family and friends. I ate too much and chilled real hard - pretty great times!

Anyway, I wanted to share my holiday hair with everyone.  I wanted to enjoy myself. I thought I'd stick to the Marley Bun I'd been rocking for the last couple of weeks (view video here) but I decided not to. I decided to do something different for the holiday season especially since I would be hosting family and friends. I didn't want to fuss with my hair.

So, I went to my favorite braider, Braids Ashanti, and told her I wanted a braided updo. Five hours later, this is what I walked out with:

If you think it looks tight, uh-yes, you are right! But it got loose around the second or third day. The teeny-tiny braids are swept up into a larger braid. Then Ashanti, crocheted the synthetic afro/marley hair to the top of my hair to give me length and versatility. All my hair is protected under the cornrowed/braided style. When I left her house, she gave me four cool french buns at the top of my hair. As soon as I posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook, I received rave reviews.

The next day, I took the french rolls down and created a dramatic swoop/pompadour on top. This look is my favorite as well. I'm just saying, I'm loving this new braided updo and I will probably rock it a little longer. Let's face it, my hair loves to be braided up and I like the convenience of it.

Here's a close-up of the do and a bit of wear and tear. A week later, my hair still looks nice although my edges as a bit fuzzy.

Many people ask how I maintain my edges when my hair is braided. Well, this handy-dandy combo of Motions leave-in conditioner and Jamaican Black Castor Oil helps keep my hair and scalp moisturized while aiding in maintaining my edges. I spray my edges and in between my braids with leave-in conditioner and seal in the moisture with Jamaican Black Castor oil. Wah-La, Magic!

If you like my up-do and want to try something similar, make sure to check out Ashanti. It's a great alternative to rocking the traditional puff or twist out.
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